Best Family Vacations in Europe
From Colosseum-touring in Rome to playing soccer in Madrid, Europe features something for travelers of all ages and interests. To help guide you to a European locale that offers a winning mix of family-friendly attractions and affordable hotels, as well as high approval among vacationers and experts, U.S. News editors ranked the top places to visit across the continent. Vote for your favorite spots below, and get inspired to plan your next trip.
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From the London Zoo and the London Dungeon to Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station and The London Eye, this city captivates its visitors both young and old. Many of the top attractions offer tours, which are an excellent way for families to engage with and learn about the sites. London is known for its high price tags, but you can find budget-friendly lodging at chain hotels or vacation rentals. You can also easily move around the city using the affordable Tube, though splurging for a ride on the city's iconic red buses may be worth it once.
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With iconic landmarks and kid-friendly attractions like the Centre Pompidou and Luxembourg Gardens, the City of Light offers a fun and enriching vacation experience. And let's not forget the Eiffel Tower, which is sure to delight your children as it lights up at night. Nearby Disneyland Paris is also a popular attraction for those with little ones. If you'd rather stick to central Paris, you'll find many of the city's top attractions sit within a mile of one another.
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In Rome, you and your kids can form lifelong memories as you brush up on ancient history at the Colosseum and the Pantheon. And with plenty of piazzas for children to roam and kid-friendly museums to tour, Rome is an educational and crowd-pleasing city to explore at any age. Not to mention, the city's culinary scene is awash with kid-approved items, such as pizza, pasta and gelato.
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Brussels' quirky attractions (think: the iconic Manneken Pis statue and the Mini-Europe theme park) will entertain both children and adults. All travelers will appreciate the Grand-Place, a massive square with impressive architecture. There are also various museums, many of which offer kids programs. As families wander between museums and landmarks, they can feast (sans silverware) on treats like waffles and smoutebollen (similar to donuts), which are sold at food trucks throughout Brussels.
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Barcelona is known for its nightlife, but there are several reasons for families to visit. Gaudí's artwork in Park Güell is sure to impress adults and make children feel as if they've wandered into a fantasyland. Similarly, the street performances along Las Ramblas captivate and surprise audiences of all ages. Plus, families can always head to the beach for some outdoor fun or watch a soccer game at Camp Nou stadium.
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Contrary to Amsterdam's dubious reputation, families visiting the capital of the Netherlands will find loads of kid-friendly attractions, including Vondelpark, the Artis Royal Zoo and Zandvoort beach. Opportunities for learning and culture also abound at sights like the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum. And thanks to the city's bike-friendly atmosphere, families can cycle around town and soak up the culture and scenery on a bike tour.
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Prague's fairy-tale setting leaves a lasting impression on its visitors. Kids will likely get a kick out of seeing the bizarre-looking Dancing House, exploring Prague Castle and trying to make sense of the Prague Astronomical Clock. The unique marionette shops of the city will no doubt intrigue children as well. Meanwhile, parents will likely love the city's cultural heritage, tasty beer and reasonable price tags.
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You don't have to be an urban sophisticate to appreciate Stockholm. Sweden's capital offers tasty kid-approved dishes like Swedish meatballs and open-faced sandwiches, plus museums focused on everything from ABBA to contemporary photography. Kids will particularly enjoy checking out the zoo, aquarium and historical buildings at Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum. To save money as you bounce between attractions, take public transportation or rely on your own two feet.
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This beautiful Italian city offers an array of attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages. When the kiddos get weary of museum-hopping through the Uffizi Gallery, take them for a stroll along the scenic Ponte Vecchio or follow your taste buds to a gelato shop. For a more protein- and carb-heavy meal that's sure to please even the pickiest of eaters, try some of Florence's excellent Tuscan cuisine. Once you've let your food settle, go for a ride on the antique carousel in Piazza della Repubblica, a perennial family favorite.
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Chocolate may be a top reason why many families choose to visit Zurich, but the Swiss city certainly offers travelers significantly more (in terms of both attractions and food). It's hard to beat Zurich's incredible location between the banks of a beautiful lake and the base of the Swiss Alps. After snapping photos for your family's next holiday card, explore one of the city's massive museums or its historic Old Town neighborhood. Then, fill up on cheese fondue or authentic German fare at a local restaurant. Arrive in winter to savor a meal on Zurich's Fondue Tram.
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Montenegro#11 in Best Family Vacations in Europe
A tiny Balkan country with more than 180 miles of coastline overlooking the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro delights visiting families. During your trip, you can stay in historic towns like Kotor and Budva, which will enchant children and adults alike with their narrow, winding streets and souvenir shops. After your family gets a satisfying dose of history and culture, take advantage of the country's exquisite beaches. Popular stretches of sand include water sports-focused Jaz Beach and Lucice beach, with calm, shallow water ideal for swimming.
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If your kids appreciate music or play an instrument, chances are they'll be enchanted by Vienna's House of Music. The museum highlights works from the city's famous musicians, including Mozart and Schubert, through interactive exhibits. Meanwhile, bookworms will find multiple independent bookstores filled with titles for readers of all ages. Vienna is also home to Wiener Prater, a large public park that features an amusement park with several rides.
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Given Innsbruck's location amid the Austrian Alps, the city beckons to families with powder hounds. Kids can enroll in ski or snowboard school to sharpen their skills. Plus, multiple hotels are available at the base of the mountains. For those itching for a day off of the slopes, check out the Alpenzoo Innsbruck and Hofburg, a 16th-century palace. Opt for a package from a local ski resort like Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck to bundle accommodations, transportation and lift tickets.
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Madrid features some of Europe's most kid-friendly attractions, including the Casa de Campo, where families will find the Madrid Zoo Aquarium and the Parque de Atracciones Madrid amusement park. Children who need to stretch their legs can run around Retiro Park or play on its playgrounds while adults enjoy the park's formal garden. No Madrid visit would be complete without watching a soccer match at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and touring the Royal Palace.
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As one of the most walkable cities in Europe, families will find this destination convenient above all else. What's more, its lush pastures – including St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park (home of the Dublin Zoo) – provide a relaxing respite from city expeditions. For a different take on sightseeing, families can sign up for a part-land, part-water excursion with Viking Splash Tours. And when it's time to eat, parents can enjoy a pint of Guinness while little ones savor classic Irish dishes like shepherd's pie and beef stew.
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