If you’re treating your family to a vacation in Europe, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go. Across the continent, there’s so much choice, which means it can be tricky to narrow down your options.
If you’re struggling to decide where’s best for you and your family, this list is here to help you out!
No matter your travel style or the age of your kids, there’s a dream vacation that everyone will love! From city breaks to beach getaways, here are 10 of the best family vacations in Europe for your next overseas trip.
1. Paris, France
Best for: iconic city attractions
First on the list of best family vacations in Europe has to be Paris. There’s a reason why this city is one of the world’s best – it’s a destination that has tons to offer so it’s the ideal place for a family vacation!
Paris boasts plenty of kid-friendly things to do to keep everyone happy. The Eiffel Tower is obviously the draw, but you’ll want to visit the Louvre, head to the Arc de Triomphe and explore the Centre Pompidou, too.
If you need downtime, a boat trip on the Seine is always a fun choice with family. You’ll also find a brilliant number of parks in Paris – the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg is a favourite that everyone will love. Not only is it really scenic but there are loads of fun things for kids in this park, too. Little ones will especially love the pond where you can rent toy sailboats.
Further out of the city, families can also visit the stunning Palace of Versailles. A family vacation to Paris also wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Disneyland! It’s an amazing choice for families of all ages and will definitely go down well.
2. Bruges, Belgium
Best for: picturesque scenery
Pocket-sized Bruges is an essential city to add to your list of best European vacations for families. This gorgeous city might be small, but it still has a ton to offer.
A fairytale setting, Bruges is walkable so it makes a great relaxing city break, and one that’s easy to navigate as a family. The Market Square is the key attraction and is the city’s beating heart – it’s a lovely place to take in the charm.
You’ll also want to visit the canals where a boat ride will be a fun experience. It’s a really pretty city so this is a great way to spend an afternoon, taking in the sights from the water. The tranquil Minnewaterpark is also a perfect spot to while away an hour or two if you want to get away from the busy centre.
No matter the age of your kids, this is a destination that ticks the right boxes. As a city that’s famous for its food, Bruges is a winner for families, too. Kids will love the chocolate shops and the chocolate museum in Bruges. Fries and waffles are big in Belgium, too, so children will be kept happy!
Where to stay in Bruges: Grand Hotel Casselbergh Bruges
3. Edinburgh, Scotland
Best for: charm, history and magic
Another city that’s overflowing with charm is the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. As a country, Scotland has loads to offer families, and its capital is a great starting point for your vacation.
Famed for its cobblestoned old town, Edinburgh is one of the best cities in the UK and is a must for families who love history and culture. You’ll want to visit the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace as well as Edinburgh Castle. There are several museums in Edinburgh that are good for families, too, including the Dynamic Earth science centre, which is brilliant for kids.
Walking tours are really great in Edinburgh for hearing stories and tales about the city. There are also options for Harry Potter-themed walks and ghost tours if you want something spooky!
If you have energy, a hike up the extinct volcano of Arthur’s Seat is a fun challenge for all the family. There are a few trails to pick (some are easier than others with kids in tow). Once you’re at the top you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the city – it’s a great spot for a picnic.
Where to stay in Edinburgh: Cheval Old Town Chambers
4. Barcelona, Spain
Best for: fun cultural attractions
Beaches, waterparks and the most picturesque cultural attractions… what’s not to love about a family vacation to Barcelona?
As a unique destination, Barcelona is an amazing choice for a family vacation in Europe. There’s loads to see and do within the city – from the lively Las Ramblas boulevard to the famous Gaudi sites.
Both adults and children will love visiting Park Guell – this Gaudi park is a photogenic spot that’s easily one of the best and most iconic places to see in Barcelona! Other landmarks include the Sagrada Familia as well as Casa Batllo, which is a fun and magical Gaudi house that kids will love to explore.
If you’re travelling in summer and want to soak up the sun, Ciutadella Park is a must. It’s an idyllic spot for a walk or a picnic – it also has a lake where you can go rowing. For families who love the beach, Barcelona also delivers. Barceloneta is the closest beach to the city, but Bogatell is a good option if you want somewhere a little quieter.
Where to stay in Barcelona: Grand Hotel Central
5. London, England
Best for: endless things to see and do
Another of the best family vacations in Europe has to be London. The English capital has so much to offer making it the perfect place for families of all ages.
If you want a culture fix, there’s loads to see and do. Kids will love visiting the Natural History Museum as well as seeing the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. The London Dungeons is also a fun attraction for older kids to learn more about London’s past.
Elsewhere in London, you can take a ride on the London Eye, see Buckingham Palace and take time out at one of the Royal Parks. You won’t want to overlook a trip to the shops either. Harrods department store is an iconic visit, while Hamleys toy shop is a must if you’re travelling with little ones!
If you love theatre and are dreaming of seeing a West End show, there are loads of brilliant, family-friendly musicals and plays in London, too.
TIP: Download the Citymapper app to help you navigate the London Underground and bus network
Where to stay in London: The Ampersand Hotel
6. Rome, Italy
Best for: fascinating history and tasty food
If you want a family destination in Europe where your kids are very welcome, make sure you add Rome to your list. An extremely child-friendly city, Rome is one of the best European city breaks for families!
There’s a reason why so many people love Rome. This is a capital that’s steeped in history and has loads for everyone to enjoy. It‘s also a city that boasts the tastiest food, so there won’t be any complaining at meal times.
For things to see and do in Rome, you can’t miss the Colosseum, the Vatican City and the Trevi Fountain. You’ll also want to visit the Villa Borghese gardens, which offer a picturesque setting for some downtime.
Rome is also a wonderful city to leisurely wander – you’ll be able to take in the atmosphere, discover different piazzas and stop off at gelato shops along the way.
Where to stay in Rome: Residenza Maritti
Best for: getting outdoors into nature
Considered one of the safest countries in the world, Iceland makes one of the best family vacations in Europe. Despite being easy to reach from the Eastern USA as well as the rest of Europe, this is a country that feels different to anywhere else.
This is a destination where there’s so much to uncover that both adults and kids will be impressed. It’s also very much an eco location so a lot of your time will be spent outdoors adventuring.
The best way for families to travel around Iceland is on a self-drive tour or package – you’ll be able to create your own pace and itinerary to suit everyone’s interests.
For things to see and do, Iceland has a whole host of wonders. The Golden Circle is the most popular sightseeing route and takes in jaw-dropping natural scenery, including geysers and waterfalls. You’ll also want to make the most of the country’s geothermal pools and hot springs. The Blue Lagoon is the most famous but there are plenty of others too – many of which offer free entry for younger kids.
If you want a winter city break, Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik is a good option – you’ll be able to head out on a tour to spot the Northern Lights. It’ll be a magical experience to be part of together.
8. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Best for: world-class museums and activities
On first look, Amsterdam might not seem like a family-friendly destination. But whether you’re travelling with teens or toddlers, Amsterdam is actually one of the best family vacation spots in Europe!
There’s so much to love about Amsterdam. Not only is it a fun city to explore by bike or boat, but it also has world-famous museums and galleries for everyone to enjoy. The Van Gogh Museum and the Nemo Science Museum are great options when travelling with kids. You won’t want to miss the Anne Frank House while you’re there either.
No trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a canal cruise – you can either do private cruises or bigger boat tours. They’re a lovely, relaxing way to take in the sights from the water.
If you want to spend some time away from the city, you’ll find great day trips from Amsterdam, too. If you’re visiting in the tulip season, Keukenhof Gardens is a fantastic visit. You could also head to Efteling Theme Park, which is a fantasy, fairytale-themed amusement park.
Where to stay in Amsterdam: ‘T Hotel
9. The Alps
Best for: adventure activities and skiing
If you want an outdoorsy escape, look no further than the Alps for a dream family vacation in Europe. Across France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy, you have several choices for a family holiday in the Alps.
If you’re vacationing in winter, the Alps are a glorious setting for skiing, snowboarding and winter activities. Resorts vary in terms of their style and offering, but they’re always a fairytale setting.
For the most affordable family trip to Europe, Austria can be slightly cheaper than its neighbours. French ski resorts are generally bigger and at a higher altitude which means snow often arrives earlier, while Switzerland is great if you want more of a luxury family vacation.
If you’re travelling in summer, these holiday destinations are equally amazing. You’ll be able to fill your days with everything from hiking, cycling, zip lining and rafting. It’s the perfect European destination for active families.
TIP: If you’re heading to France, look out for resorts with the ‘Famille Plus Montagne’ accreditation.
Where to stay in The Alps: Arosa Lenzerheide in Switzerland, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria, Les Gets in France
Best for: history, beaches and sea
Greece is a bucket list destination and a must for a family-friendly vacation in Europe. As a country, there are so many places to explore. The capital of Athens is a great starting point – it’s bursting with history and has fascinating spots to take in.
If you’re staying for a longer break, heading to the Greek Isles is one of the best options for families. As Greece has thousands of islands, you’ll be spoilt for choice deciding where to go. Each group of islands offers something different so all families will find something they love.
Not all resorts are family-friendly in Greece though – you’ll want to watch out for party resorts on Mykonos. Santorini is also notoriously expensive and can get busy, so it might not be the best if you’re travelling with younger children. However, there are loads of places that are perfect, including Corfu, Lefkada, Naxos, Milos and Rhodes.
As the largest of the Greek islands, Crete is usually a favourite with all. There’s so much to do on this island so it’s a good bet for the whole family – from beach days and boat trips to hiking and exploring ancient historical sites.
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