Taking your children to Europe will introduce them to new cultures, cuisines, languages and histories, and make them much more aware of the world beyond their normal day-to-day existence. With so many wonderful destinations on offer, it can be tricky to narrow it down to an itinerary that works for everyone. To get you started, we’ve put together a selection of some of our favourite family-friendly cities.
London is an easy city to visit with kids because the culture is familiar, there are no language barriers to navigate, and the city is blessed with numerous green spaces that are easily accessible so the kids can go squirrel spotting when they’ve had enough of sightseeing. You could easily fill an entire day visiting the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, which sit side by side in South Kensington and just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park. Bigger kids will enjoy the gallows humour on offer at the London Dungeon, or you can really thrill them with an after-dark Jack the Ripper walking tour. Kids of all sizes (and their parents) will love Hamleys in Regent Street, which is the biggest and oldest toy store in the world.
Your children don’t have to love science to enjoy a visit to the Science Centre NEMO, which is housed in a distinctive green copper-clad building on Amsterdam’s waterfront, but there’s a good chance that they’ll leave the five floors of hands-on science, well and truly hooked. It’s just one of many highlights that are located within the city centre, which is easy to explore on foot, by bicycle or even by boat. A visit to Anne Franke’s house will strike a poignant note with older children who are familiar with her story, whilst the smaller kids will love the Tropen Museum’s summertime rooftop beach. All that activity is bound to work up an appetite: we recommend the traditional thick-cut Dutch fries, and poffertjes, which are little clouds of pancake goodness, served dusted with icing sugar.
In this lovely Scandinavian city you’ll find the world’s two oldest amusements parks: the famous and magical Tivoli Gardens in the heart of the city, and the lesser known Dyrehavsbakken (also known as Bakken) which is just ten kilometres outside the city. Both are well worth a visit, especially for their classic wooden roller coasters. Copenhagen is another city that’s easy to get around, with a vast network of cycleways so you can explore at your own pace, and the main shopping street, the Strøget, stretches for more than a kilometre and is completely free of cars. Of course, no visit to Copenhagen is complete without a visit to see the statue of the Little Mermaid (of Hans Christien Andersen), and if time permits the kids will be thrilled to hear that the original Legoland is a three-hour drive west in the small town of Billund.
Prague’s beautiful fairytale setting enchants even the most jaded teenager. The views from the top of the Great South Tower in St Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle make it well worth the climb, whereas smaller children will delight at the daily Changing of the Guard and the hourly workings of the Prague Astronomical clock. The city’s Lego museum is the largest in Europe and be sure to ride the Petřín funicular to the top of Petřín Hill, where you’ll find not just panoramic views of the city but also a small castle-like building that houses a befuddling mirror maze. For older children, a visit to nearby Terezin offers a sobering but educational opportunity to learn about this World War II concentration camp.
If you’re taking the kids to Italy, a visit to this beautiful city is a must. The Children’s Museum is a great way to show them what life was like under the rule of the Medicis, while the Institute and Museum of Science has kid-friendly exhibits relating to the work of Galileo Galilei. If they need to run off some steam, climb up the 414 steps of the Duomo’s campanile (bell tower), or up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. You’ll be rewarded by a fabulous view of the city, particularly at sunset. Finish your day with a gelato in the place where it originated!
Your personal travel manager will spend time with you to come up with a list of everything you want to accomplish with your family adventure, and then design the best possible itinerary to suit your family’s needs.