Europe is one of those places that many parents dream of taking their kids, not only for the educational benefits that their children can enjoy, but for the fun of visiting castles, palaces and other world-famous sites. Figuring out where to go for your first trip to Europe can be daunting though. There are so many incredible countries with delicious food, fun museums, ancient castles and engaging cultural experiences that too many parents may give up on the idea, and assume they will figure it out later. Don’t wait. Go to Europe now using our short list of the easiest cities to go when you have kids in tow.
London really does have it all — palace, museums, history and even a growing culinary scene. Best of all, they speak English there. A trip to Europe is daunting to many parents because they don’t know how to navigate the city, much less a new language. London’s Underground tube system makes it easy to navigate the city without a car, while the free museums make it a budget-friendly destination, at least as far as attractions are concerned. Rent an apartment in Baywater or any neighborhood around Hyde Park, and you have a built in outdoor space for your kids to play and plenty of food options to enjoy.
Italy is by far one of the easiest countries to travel through with kids for one simple reason—they love children. As more and more couples decide to put off having children until they are older, don’t have children at all, or only have one child, Italy is seeing a decrease in its baby population. Grandmothers will regularly tell you how to raise your child, whether you understand them or not. They don’t care. They are letting their opinion be known. In Rome, you have a walking-friendly city with a decent bus system to get you around, a high number of attractions clumped together, and some of the best food in the world to enjoy. There are plenty of family hotels in Rome if you want to be looked after a bit, or you can rent a small apartment to feel a bit more like a local.
Outside of Italy, Scotland is probably one of the friendliest areas in all of Europe. The people are happy, and welcome you with open arms into their castles, pubs and lives. Edinburgh is a very walker-friendly city, or you can hop in a cab to get from place to place. Hike Arthur’s Seat, grab the kid audio guides at Holyrood Castle as you explore, or just wander up the Royal Mile. Just remember to grab your kids a plastic sword and wooden shield to play with. If your children can become knights of the realm, then the entire city becomes a medieval battlefield.
Iceland may be a surprising choice with kids, but the bizarre landscape alone will hold their imaginations captive for at least a few days. Visit in the winter to see the Northern Lights and take a bus tour of the Golden Triangle to see waterfalls, flat plains leading to mountains and geysers under a blanket of snow with Reykjavik as your home base. Travel to Iceland in the summer, and you will find a green and black landscape like nowhere else in the world. Rent a car so you can travel the Ring Road, and see sights like Jökulsárlón and the Skogafoss waterfall. No matter the time of year you visit, the locals living and working in Reykjavik are happy to have you there, most speak English and you can always find an ice cream cone and thermal pool to play in year round.
Spain is like Italy—they love children. Madrid has numerous parks, castles, museums and tapas bars to explore with your kids. Day trip to Segovia to see the cathedral and old fort, and eat the best roast pig you will ever enjoy. It is easy to find playgrounds for your kids to unwind on and meet a few friends, while you sit at the local café sipping coffee in the morning or a glass of wine as the sunsets. There are plenty of rental houses and apartments in prime locations, and Madrid is the perfect launching off point for a road trip through Andalusia to discover Seville, Ronda and Granada.
Has your family been to Europe? What other cities would you add to this list?
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Keryn is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today's modern parent that doesn't see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow Keryn on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus.
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