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Best Family Vacations in Europe
From touring the Colosseum in Rome to playing soccer in Madrid, Europe features activities 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 ranked the best family vacations in Europe. Vote for your favorite spots below and get inspired to plan your next trip. For even more of an adventure, consider taking a cruise to Europe. For the latest deals on voyages, click here. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)
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This city captivates visitors young and old with its London Zoo, London Dungeon, London Eye and Platform 9¾ at King's Cross Station, among other sights. Many of the top attractions offer guided tours, which are excellent ways 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 famous red buses may be worth it once.
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With iconic landmarks and kid-friendly attractions like the Centre Pompidou and the Luxembourg Gardens, the City of Light offers a fun and enriching vacation. 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 situated 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. As you walk from site to site, children will enjoy watching street performers and musicians.
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Barcelona is known for its nightlife, but there are several reasons for families to visit. Gaudí's whimsical 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. Hungry children will enjoy exploring La Boqueria, where they'll find delicious treats, which range from fruit to churros with chocolate. Plus, families can always head to the beach for some outdoor fun or watch a FC Barcelona soccer game at Camp Nou stadium.
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Contrary to Amsterdam's dubious reputation, families visiting the Netherlands' capital will find loads of kid-friendly attractions, including the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo and Zandvoort beach. The city offers plenty of open spaces, such as beautiful Vondelpark. Opportunities for learning and culture also abound at sights like the Anne Frank House, the Moco Museum (home of much of Banksy's work) and the Van Gogh Museum. And thanks to the city's bike-friendly atmosphere, families can cycle around town and soak up the scenery on a bike tour before finishing the day with a sticky stroopwafel.
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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 the zoo, aquarium and historical buildings at Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum. They can also immerse themselves in classic children's books at Junibacken, swim in the massive pools at Eriksdalsbadet or ride the carousel at the popular Gröna Lund amusement park. To save money while exploring, walk or rely on public transportation.
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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 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 prices. Because of its small size and compact downtown area, Prague is an easily walkable city – perfect for those who want to save money on transportation.
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This beautiful Italian city offers an array of attractions that appeal to visitors, young and old. When your children 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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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, the world's oldest amusement park, and Schönbrunn Zoo, the world's oldest zoo. The swimmable beaches along the Danube River and the numerous public playgrounds sprinkled throughout the city ensure kids have plenty of places to explore.
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Madrid features some of Europe's most kid-friendly attractions, including the Casa de Campo public park, where families will find the Madrid Zoo Aquarium and the 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. Luckily, Madrid is an inexpensive city with plenty of public transportation options to bring travelers to each attraction. Before visitors leave Madrid, they should catch a soccer match at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of Real Madrid, and take a tour of the Royal Palace.
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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 historical towns like Kotor and Budva, which enchant children and adults alike with their narrow, winding streets. After your family gets a satisfying dose of history and culture, explore the country's exquisite beaches. Popular stretches of sand include Jaz Beach, which proves excellent for water sports, and Lucice Beach, which boasts calm, shallow water for swimming. Or, for a taste of luxury and glamour, head to the beach overlooking world-renowned Sveti Stefan island resort.
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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. 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. If you visit in winter – and your budget allows it – book a spot on Zurich's Fondue Tram.
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As one of Europe's most walkable cities, families will find Dublin convenient above all else. Interactive exhibits at the EPIC museum provide educational fun, while a stroll down Grafton Street will delight the senses. What's more, Dublin's lush pastures, including St. Stephen's Green and Phoenix Park, 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. 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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A history-laden city overflowing with museums, monuments and plenty of bratwurst, Berlin attracts visitors of all ages. Families will especially enjoy exploring the nearly 520-acre Tiergarten, which is home to Zoo Berlin and its more than 19,000 animals. Kollwitzplatz, an area with an extravagant playground and weekly outdoor markets, is another popular family-friendly spot. Other can't-miss attractions include museums like the history-focused Neues Museum and kid-oriented Modellpark Berlin. Although travelers will have to use public transportation or cars to get around this large city, Berlin is relatively affordable and easy to navigate.
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Filled with historical monuments, cultural museums and lush parks, Budapest features many options for families to enjoy year-round. Some of the city's most unique offerings include the Labyrinth under the Castle Hill – an underground labyrinth that visitors can explore – and the Széchenyi Thermal Baths – architecturally stunning pools where people of all ages can swim. The streets are exciting to wander, but travelers who want to see the city from a new perspective should opt for a cruise up the Danube River. Plus, affordable public transportation, hotels and dining venues make Budapest an ideal budget vacation destination.
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