I love the idea of winter sun, but I also love the idea of embracing Autumn in its full glory in one of Europe’s many beautiful cities. Europe city breaks are something we have not done enough of as a family, and something we’ve always taken for granted with Europe being on our doorstep.
So after a little bit of research, a number of conversations and lots of recommendations I’ve compiled a list of what I think are some of the best Europe city breaks ideas in the hope that it will inspire my family and yours to explore Europe a little more.
What to see: Cruise down one of Amsterdam’s 165 canals or hop on a family-friendly bike (bakfiets) to explore in one of the safest cities in Europe for cycling. There are plenty of indoor places to explore too. From the Nemo Science Museum to Artis Zoo, the Tropen Museum, Van Gogh Museum and Maritime Museum, children will be spoilt for choice.
Don’t leave without Trying pancakes and waffles.
What to see: For those with older children Checkpoint, Charlie and the wall are musts. Whilst those with younger children will appreciate the Dragon and Fairytale playgrounds, Labyrinth Kinder Museum, Legoland Discovery Centre and Berlin Zoo.
Don’t leave without Seeing the Pandas at Berlin Zoo.
What to see: Watch the performers in Market Square, take a boat tour of the canals or horse-drawn carriage around the ancient cobbled streets. Watch sweets being made and have fun sampling chocolates in the rows of chocolate and confectionary shops. Venture a little further out and you’ll be rewarded with picture-perfect windmills and the beach.
Don’t leave without A box of Brugges finest chocolates
What to see: Budapest Zoo, one of the oldest Zoos in the world and the Children’s railway, a train service run by children. Head up to Fishermans Bastion to take in the amazing views. Cross over from Buda (the west) into Pest (the East) and back again on Chain Bridge. Just make sure you stop at the Szechenyi Thermal Baths, the largest thermal spa complex in Europe on your way.
Don’t leave without trying one of the 21 outdoor family-friendly thermal pools.
What to see: Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. The changing of the guards at Rosenberg Castle and Amalienborg Palace is fun to watch or head indoors to Europe’s largest Aquarium, the Blue Planet (Den Bla Planet) and of course the Lego store. But for the best way to see Copenhagen a boat tour of the colourful harbour and canals is a must.
Don’t leave without visiting Lego’s flagship store in Denmark (it is Danish after all!).
What to see: Take in the sights of the city by tram on scenic route 28. For something a little more private commandeer an electric Tuk Tuk to take you up to the gates of Sao Jorge castle or Jardim da Estela playground. There’s plenty to do indoors too at Lisbon’s Oceanarium which is regarded as one of the best aquariums in the world, and the Time Out Market to sample food by some of Portugal’s best chefs.
Don’t leave without Trying pastel de nata (Portuguese tarts).
What to see: The Eiffel Tower and its carousel are a must. Cite des Sciences, Luxembourg Gardens and Jardin des Plantes, the city’s botanical gardens which have a Zoo and playground are favourites of Parisians. If you have enough time and energy, Disneyland Paris also makes for a pretty awesome day out.
Don’t leave without watching the Eiffel Tower light show at night.
What to see: For the history and museum buffs a visit to The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica and Spanish Steps are musts. For families that want to see the other side of Rome, Villa Borghese, Rome’s central park has lots of fun things on offer.
Don’t leave without Trying some pasta, pizza and gelato.
Europe has so much to offer families, the challenge is just deciding which city to visit first! Once you have I’ve got plenty of top tips for you on how to plan a stress-free break with little ones. If it’s your first family holiday make sure you check out my post on how to plan your first family holiday and don’t forget to pack these 14 family travel essentials!
What are your favourite places for Europe city breaks and what places would you recommend to visit in them?
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