Why spend a fortune in France or get lost in the endless crowd at those Italian tourist traps? These days, travelers in the know are looking to the east. In fact, some of the best travel spots in the world are in the many culturally-rich Eastern European destinations.
More than just snowy streets and museums, the cities of European Europe are affordable, safe, and filled with places the entire family will enjoy.
Let’s run through just a few of the very best Eastern European destinations.
Belgrade for Kids
The capital city of Serbia is famous for its non-stop nightlife and fascinating history. What too many families don’t realize, however, is that it is actually a really kid-friendly place. Explore the Museum of Illusions, where nothing is quite what it seems then relax beside the popular Ada Ciganlija (Ada Lake) where you can spend a day at the beach exploring, enjoying the great local food, and taking in its natural beauty. Older kids will love the Military Museum, Royal Palace, and The Nikola Tesla Museum.
Hotel Pick: Want to feel a bit of the tropics during your European sojourn? Kengur Resort (budget) is one place the kids are sure to love.
Family Fun in Budapest
Hungary’s largest city is easily one of the most beautiful places in Europe, if not the entire world. Bring the kids up to the top of the massive Budapest Eye Ferris wheel where you can take it all in then explore the Theme Park and The Budapest Zoo.
Known as the City of Baths, the natural wonder sits on top of a fault line that’s left with 120 natural hot springs. Bring the swim gear and come ready for a place that is second to none.
Hotel Pick: The great thing about these Eastern European destinations is that you can always upgrade without feeling the cost. That means you can stay somewhere like the iconic four-star K+K Hotel Opera (mid-range) for just 50 euros per night. More expensive, but perfect for kids is the Aquaworld Resort Budapest (luxury) , just outside of the capital.
Nestled beside the Adriatic Sea, Dubrovnik has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. Its historic Old Town district has a calendar bursting with events all year round for the entire family. If you are lucky enough to visit Croatia during the summer, you’ll find sun-soaked beaches along with the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, which runs through most of the season.
Prague for Families
The Czech Republic has transformed in recent years and is now formally known by its new name: Czechia. This tourist hotspot has all of the ingredients for a perfect family holiday. From Prague Castle to the Prague Zoo, there are wonders at every turn. Hop on a boat to explore the watery central network of the city on a boat, sample the hearty local cuisine, stroll through Stromovka Park, then get a view from above at Petřín Hill and Lookout Tower.
Hotel Pick: Treat yourself to the Esplanade Prague (mid-range) after a long day of exploring.
Family Trip to Romania: Sibiu
In the heart of Transylvania, you will find one of Romania’s greatest treasures. And forget about Dracula! With a perfectly preserved medieval old town, you can step back in time as you wander along the cobblestone streets straight out of a fairy tale. This underrated treasure of a city has all of the charms of Prague without all of the tourists. And, by the way, if you’re interested in those vampires, head over to Corvin Castle in Hunedoara for a spooky excursion.
Hotel Tip: You can always get more for less in Romania. For a bargain on all the comforts of home, check out Hilton Sibiu (mid-range).
Exploring Tbilisi with Kids
One of the most up and coming Eastern European destinations, you can find great deals and incredible natural beauty in Georgia. Start in the capital city, Tbilisi, to dive into the rich culture of this former Silk Road stop. Get your blood pumping at the magical Mtatsminda Amusement Park, play with the giant chess board at Rike Park, then take the cable car up to Narikala Fortress.
Hotel Pick: For a one of a kind spot with all the amenities, look to Shota Rustaveli Boutique Hotel (mid-range).
Wroclaw, the Heart of Family-Friendly Poland
Known as the Venice of Poland, your kids are going to love this city. Start by searching for the 300+ gnomes hidden around the town then get a bird’s eye view from St. Elizabeth’s Church. Nature-loving little ones will adore Botanical Garden and Japanese Garden while everyone can appreciate the impressively beautiful Municipal Swimming Pools.
Hotel Tip: An international pick like DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Wroclaw (mid-range) ticks all the boxes.
Slovakia: Bratislava for Kids
The largest city of Slovakia, Bratislava is full of family-friendly spots. Have an educational afternoon at Atlantis Science Center, Slovak National Museum, and Zoo Bratislava. Climb up to the spooky UFO Observation Deck then snap selfies at the Devin Castle and Modry Kostol.
Hotel Tip: For a beautiful kid-friendly hotel in the center of it all, check out LOFT Hotel Bratislava (mid-range).
Considering a road trip? Check out these Whirlwind European Road Trips for Families.