Pass on Paris. Leave London behind. The greatest treasures of Europe are not the ones that you hear about every day. To dig into the culture (and save some cash!), get off the beaten path. Smaller cities and tucked-away towns are much easier for family travel. A family trip to Europe can be more affordable and easier to plan than you ever imagined. You just need to know where to look!
Ready for an adventure your whole family will never forget? Here are Europe’s most underrated destinations.
1. Sicily, Italy
The weather is better. The vibe is laid back and kid-friendly. Prices are lower. There are so many reasons to choose Sicily over Rome and other Italian hotspots.
Snap pics of the flamingos along the Vendicari coast and wander the lush beaches at Cefalù. Stock up on picnic supplies at the vibrant street markets of Palermo and Catania. When you are ready to explore the wider region, go island hopping around the Aeolian Islands.
Check out the Panoramic Hotel in Taormina for fantastic views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Between the travel epicenters of Italy and Greece, there is the rarely mentioned Mediterranean nation of Albania. With flawless Mediterranean weather, beautiful beaches, turquoise seas, and snow-covered mountains, Albania is way more than you think. Explore the laidback beach resort town of Himarë and check out the Greek and Byzantine ruins of the UNESCO-listed Butrint National Park.
Every bit as beautiful as anywhere else you will find around the Mediterranean area, Albania is one of Europe’s most underrated destinations and you can snag major deals here. If your family loves days at the beach and exploring nature, this is the place for you.
For a champagne experience on a beer budget, places like the Hotel Villa Pascucci are a dream.
3. Northern Spain
Why splurge on a family trip to Europe only to be lost in tourist traps? While the southern coast of Spain is very often overrun by tourists, the north is a breath of fresh air. Race down the famous trails of Santiago de Compostela; take surfing lessons in Santander; and walk amongst dinosaurs at the Jurassic Museum of the Asturias.
And, yes, there are beaches! Galicia has a stunning shoreline that would rival anything you would find along the Mediterranean Sea.
Forget the Peach State! The most beautiful George is the one tucked away on the Black Sea next to Turkey and Armenia. It is a safe and welcoming place for families of all kinds. Older kids will love hiking up medieval towers and cycling down the ancient Silk Road, while younger ones can live it up at the ultra-affordable amusement parks.
5. Bucharest, Romania
Looking for somewhere where you can unwind while the kids are living it up? Welcome to Therme Bucharest. At the largest wellness center in Europe, you can go for a massage, yoga, or just lounge poolside while the kids splash down the waterslide. A pass for two kids and two adults for a full day of unlimited activities costs only $53! For an easy and reliable stay, check out some of the center’s partner hotels, like the Golden Tulip Victoria Bucharest, Phoenicia Grand Hotel, or the Caro Hotel with free wellness access.
6. The Alentejo, Portugal
The Algarve is well known for its kid-friendly resorts and it’s a place I’d highly recommend for a family vacation. That said, it can be packed with tourists. If you guys are the kind of family who likes to push away from the crowd, make your way up to the Alentejo. Between the Algarve and central Lisbon, this quaint region is perfect.
Known for its famous beaches, the Alentejo is a Starlight Tourism Destination. That makes it a dream destination for stargazing. If you love the luxe life, be sure to visit Tróia, a region known as the Hamptons of Portugal. Tróia Resort has incredible beach houses for the whole family, e.g. the Troia Residence – Apartamentos Praia – S.Hotels Collection.
If you want a family trip to Europe to experience Old World Beauty, look no further. Bruges is straight out of a fairytale and it’s the prime place to start an adventure through Belgium. One of the most up-and-coming spots that still isn’t on most tourists’ radar is Ghent.
Take a boat trip through Ghent then explore the medieval streets. It’s a very walkable town, or you can get around on a bicycle like most of the locals.
Attention, outdoor lovers! Your perfect family trip to Europe starts in Slovakia. Explore the Oravský hrad castle then go rafting down the Dunajec river. Gawk at the High Tatras and hike the Low Tatras. Explore natural wonders like waterfalls of National Park Malá Fatra and the hidden ice caves.
Stay in the heart of it all at the Villa Betula Family Resort. It was made for families of all sizes and ages.
9. Faroe Islands
A far-flung part of the Kingdom of Denmark, the dozen and some islands that make up the Faroe Islands are just outside of the UK but a world away from anywhere else on the planet.
Another dream family trip to Europe for nature lovers, the kids will love admiring the puffins and the raw nature. Stay somewhere like the Hotel Hafnia, where you can be in the heart of it all.
10. Andros, Greece
One of the most unspoiled islands of Greece also happens to the closest to Athens. that means it’s ultra-easy to get from the main international airport to this fab island of the Cyclades archipelago.
For a kid-friendly pick, check out Andros Holiday Hotel.
Look for more Mediterranean options for your family trip to Europe? You NEED to read this first.