Want to try a different sort of family holiday this year? If you’ve got little ones in tow, look to Europe’s top cities for your next break. Open your youngsters’ eyes to a whole new world and create special memories together as a family.
A number of urban destinations are peppered with kid-friendly treasures and attractions to keep young ones occupied. Here are the top city breaks for families in Europe to bear in mind for your next holiday.
A firm favourite with culture vultures and couples, Paris may not seem like the most child-friendly destination at first, however, there are lots of things little ones will love.
Start with a trip to the Champ de Mars Park, a green space complete with a vintage merry-go-round, puppet theatre and huge play area. It’s right next to the Eiffel Tower, a landmark which adventurous kids are sure to want to climb to the top of.
If you want an afternoon at a museum, the Musee de la Magie, which explores the history of illusion and includes magic demonstrations, is great for kids. However, the Louvre is a must for any trip to Paris. The world-famous art museum can be made more child-friendly by taking part in ThatLou, a treasure hunt around the art gallery.
And remember, if you exhaust all the child-friendly options in Paris itself, Disneyland is only a short train ride away.
Young travellers will fall head over heels for majestic Vienna. They’ll gaze open-mouthed at the baroque architecture lining the streets and soaring spires piercing the sky.
First stop, Schloss Schönbrunn. This grand palace is used to having royal children running through its halls – Empress Maria Theresia had 16 of her own. Now the former Habsburg residence is home to a children’s museum where your little ones can try on elaborate costumes and learn what the princes’ and princesses’ favourite games were. In the grounds you’ll also find Schönbrunn Zoo – the oldest in the world. Here, animal lovers can see orangutans, pandas and tigers up close.
For a real Viennese experience, book tickets to a children’s opera. The Vienna Volksoper often stages child-friendly performances of shows such as Pinocchio and Hansel and Gretel. Round off a successful day of sightseeing with a slab of delicious Sachertorte. This local type of chocolate cake was invented in the city during the 19th century and can be found in cafés across the Austrian capital.
A trip to atmospheric Rome will bring your kids’ history lessons to life. The Pantheon and the Colosseum are must-visits, full of exciting archaeological treasures, while the Time Elevator Rome Experience will take the whole family on a 3D tour of ancient Rome.
For some green space, head to Villa Borghese, a giant park featuring a zoo, sculptures and a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Afterwards, wander south to the Trevi Fountain – throwing a coin into the water is a rite of passage for visitors big and small.
Eating out with kids is great in Rome. Italian culture encourages the family to all eat together, so most restaurants are child-friendly. Plus you’ll find pasta, pizza and ice cream on most menus.
Barcelona is a place of magic, with child-friendly gems scattered throughout the city. In the summer, build sandcastles on Barceloneta Beach and on rainy days keep the whole family happy with a trip to the aquarium.
A day at Park Güell offers a unique way to see art. Spanish artist Antoni Gaudí designed this stunning public park and his influence can be seen everywhere, from the multi-coloured mosaics to the curved bench in the shape of a sea serpent. A stroll through the gardens and a ride up the outdoor escalators are sure to go down well with the kids.
Football-mad children will also enjoy a tour of the FC Barcelona Museum and a trip to Camp Nou, while the Tibidabo Amusement Park has rides for kids of all ages.
With its quaint canals, leafy parks and pancake stands, Amsterdam is a perfect city break for families. Plus, the short flight time makes it the ideal place to travel to with young kids.
And once you’re there, it’s easy to get around even with very young children, thanks to the popularity of cycling. Hire a bakfiets or cargo bike, which has a wooden compartment at the front for kids to sit in.
You won’t be short of things to do. The 116-acre Vondelpark is perfect for little ones and hosts free children’s shows in the summer, while the Van Gogh Museum offers a treasure hunt complete with colouring tasks for younger visitors.
For lunch with a difference there’s the Kinderkookkafe, where kids can prepare and cook their own meal. There’s also a playground and indoor play area for them to enjoy while the food is in the oven.
Posted: 26th Apr 2019.