From Italy to Germany to Spain to Denmark, there are more child-friendly places in Europe then you can imagine. Fairy tale castles, enchanting zoos, historical sites and thrilling amusement parks are just some of the fun family attractions awaiting you there. With fascinating museums, expansive parks and easy to navigate public transit systems, many of Europe’s major cities are inviting to all ages. Here are 10 kid-friendly cities in Europe whether you are looking for a fun place to visit or a new place to call home.
1. London, England
How can the birthplace of Harry Potter, Paddington Bear, Mary Poppins and Peter Pan not delight any child? Castles, towers and real life guards are sure to thrill all youngsters. London has an amazing amount of free museums and kids 10 under can ride the tube for free. Enjoying the outdoors is easy; all you have to do is pack a picnic and head to St. James Park. From there you can stroll to Buckingham Palace, through Green Park and onwards to Hyde Park, finally ending up in Kensington Gardens. Don’t miss the Diana Memorial Playground here. For little ones interested in armory, visit the Tower of London for an impressive display of weaponry and crown jewels. Head to Covent Garden for some fun street entertainment.
2. Berlin, Germany
Over the past decade, Berlin has become a budget-friendly, kid-friendly destination. It was named Europe’s most family friendly city in 2014. Along with Lego Land and Aqua Dome, check out Kollwitz Platz, the most family welcoming oasis in the city. Lined with wooden bridges, three playgrounds and shops for the grown-ups, this is one gathering place for all to enjoy. The oldest zoo in Germany is also in Berlin, and is proud to house the largest number of species in the world. Tots will delight in all the street art the “urban canvas” of Berlin is known for.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
With the two oldest amusement parks in the world, Copenhagen has been kid-centric throughout its history. It’s no wonder fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson hailed from there. Just strolling through the cobblestone alleys past gingerbread houses will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale. The Blue Planet, Denmark’s national aquarium, is the largest in Northern Europe and is sure to thrill kids and parents alike with their walls of water and over 20,000 aquatic animals. Not only does Copenhagen house a science center, zoo, children’s museum and one of the world’s largest open air museums, but it also offers carefully laid out parks throughout the city so the young ones can let off some steam.
4. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is a safe, compact city that welcomes kids of all ages. A place where babies are often left sleeping in their carriages on the sidewalk while parents shop, the Icelandic capital is certainly child friendly. Here’s where they can explore Viking history and discover troll folklore. Don’t miss the various thermal hot springs, many which have children’s pools and slides. Try to time a trip to view the Northern lights or go whale watching. Adventurous kids will want to climb to the top of Mount Esja, make friends with the wildlife at Tjornin Lake or go riding through the valleys on a shaggy Icelandic horse.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon is known for having a family-friendly restaurant scene where “kids only zones” are the norm and parents can enjoy a peaceful meal to themselves. This charming city also offers many kid pleasing activities. Head to one of the beaches or board a historical tramcar to explore the city. Lisbon is also home to the largest castle in the land, Castelo de São Jorge, where kids can dive into the world of dungeons, dragons, kings and queens. The aquarium and zoo allow for close encounters with wildlife from all over the world. Head to the Estrela Gardens when the kids need to run around.
6. Rome, Italy
Rome is certainly one of the most kid-friendly cities in Europe. Locals seem to delight in giggling children playing about. Pizza, pasta and gelato are everywhere. Gladiator history, mythological statues and ancient archeological sites are all around, making it a wonderland just to walk around and soak in. Hop-on hop-off buses, pedicabs and the metro make getting around easy. With water fountains at every corner, world-class museums and the ancient Colosseum to explored, it’s no wonder so many families travel here every year. Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain, explore some creepy catacombs and enjoy a gelato on top of the Spanish Steps. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to understand why kids and parents love the Eternal City.
7. Vienna, Austria
Seeped in tradition and charm, Vienna has spent a great deal of time and energy making their city child friendly. Schonbrunn Palace is a must visit. Packed with scenic gardens, the world’s oldest zoo, a palace to tour and an amazing children’s museum, you will find yourself spending a lot of time here. The Belvedere is one museum that can easily keep children entertained as they offer a special art detective book that allows them to embark on a scavenger hunt of sorts throughout the museum. Don’t miss the hands-on Haus der Musik, where kids can explore their inner-Mozart. Delicious ice cream, carriage rides and one of the best public transit systems in the world makes this city the ultimate family friendly destination.
8. Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is the perfect place for children with its vibrant colors, whimsical architecture and a kid friendly culture. La Rambla, the most famous stretch in Barcelona, is filled with street performers who swallow fire, juggle swords and delight the eyes of little ones. Barcelona is also home to the awesome amusement park, Tibidabo, which boasts an old fashion Ferris wheel. Other fun things for kids and parents alike is to take the lift to the top of Mirador de Colom to grab a bird’s eye view of the harbor, hit the city beaches or visit the Museum of Chocolate.
9. Paris, France
With buskers, break-dancers and mimes at every turn to tasty treats in every window (mmm, macarons), your youngsters will delight in the City of Lights. It’s not just for lovers! The Eiffel Tower is a must in which your biggest decision will be whether to take the stairs or elevator. Luxembourg Gardens is the place to let the kids run around, participate in wooden sailboat races, ride the famous carousel, see a marionette performance and visit nearly 100 statues that line the park. With kid-friendly museums, parks, galleries and gargoyles, the possibilities for fun and discovery in Paris are endless.
10. Amsterdam, Netherlands
You may think this city is all about Heineken tours and the red light district, but it is also one of the top kid-friendly cities in Europe. How can a city famous for tulips, windmills, clogs and pancakes be anything but? This city is easy to get around by foot or canal boat. However, the best way to explore is by bicycle, so rent a bakfiet and pedal around the sites. In the summer, the roof on the Tropen museum is transformed into a beach. Vondelpark, the most famous park in Amsterdam, will delight the little ones with a paddling pool, playground and cafe. Older kids will be moved by a visit to Anne Frank’s house.