Travel with kids: 4 family friendly European cities

For a lot of people, city breaks and kids don’t mix. The sheer business of a city can make it feel less like a holiday and more like a stressful shopping trip.

However, it’s a shame for kids to miss out on the cultures of other countries. After all, a lot of resorts are just like a little home away from home with a swimming pool. Getting them to experience a city, in all it’s cultural uniqueness, is a great learning experience for them. 

So which European countries are good for that family friendly city break?


It’s not all cafes selling weed and red light districts. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with a lot to offer families. It’s a city that is so easy to get around via public transport and has a number of specially redeveloped attractions for families including the Oosterpark, the Grand Cafe De Tropen and the Tropenmuseum. 

There are a number of ways to get there, including a short flight from almost any UK airport, or even a quick trip over on the ferry. There’s a lot of luggage storage Amsterdam which you can just drop your bags and enjoy the city for the day before heading back to the ferry or to your hotel. 

The people who live there are some of the friendliest people you’ll find anywhere. 


Barcelona is one of the liveliest cities in Europe. It has the best of all worlds. There are many cultural sites and museums alongside beautiful beaches and world class shopping too. You’ll never be able to experience all of Barcelona during your holidays. 



This is one of the most child friendly cities in Europe. The facilities are amazing. You can even get free bus travel if you have a pushchair with you. The public transport is fantastic and attractions are fairly close together, rather than having to haul yourself back and forward across the city. Visit the Viking Museum or the Junibacken, zoo and aquarium. 



If you’re looking for friendly locals and a family friendly city, then head for Lisbon. There are a number of beautiful playgrounds, zoos, theme parks and well designed family accommodation.  Visit the Jardim da Estrela park or the Sao Jorge Castle. Portuguese food is also beautiful and will introduce you children to another style of eating. 

Final thoughts

City breaks can be much more work for parents than a resort. However, it’s well worth the effort of planning a few shorter city breaks. Not only will the adults be able to experience a bit of culture, but children will be able to as well and you’ll have some great family experiences. Many cities have caught on to this idea and have invested a lot of money and thought into providing great family friendly facilities, transport and attraction. Having these in place makes it that bit easier for you to plan and enjoy your trip. If you head to some of the warmer cities, then you won’t feel like you’re missing out on your summer holiday, as you’ll still be able to fit in some relaxation in the sun too.

What are your favourite European cities for family holidays? 

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