EXPLORING EUROPE WITH TODDLERS
Europe is a continent full of rich culture, beautiful scenery, and delicious cuisine. It’s also home to many great vacation destinations for parents wanting to explore Europe with toddlers.
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From the seaside resorts of Spain to the pristine mountains of Switzerland, Europe has plenty for families looking for an active getaway where they can explore new places together.
For this post, we’ve gotten some help from other family travel bloggers that have explored Europe with their toddlers. London has great things to do with kids, and although it didn’t make the list, it’s a favorite for many parents.
Here are 10 countries that you should consider when planning your next vacation to Europe with toddlers.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
NORTHERN EUROPE WITH TODDLERS
Catherine from Postcard Narrative
One of my favorite places to visit in Europe with toddlers is Denmark, specifically Copenhagen.
Not only does Copenhagen have a kid-friendly infrastructure, but compassion toward kids is woven into Danish society, making it one of the best places to travel with little ones. Anywhere we dined, toured, or strolled, people made a point to interact with our social and highly active toddler.
Here are the five top things to do with young kids in the Copenhagen area:
- Find nostalgia and watch your toddler’s eyes light up at Tivoli’s historic amusement park. There is a massive playground any kid will love to explore.
- Take a day trip to Legoland or at least make time for a visit to downtown’s Lego store.
- Take a Canal Tour.
- Burn off some energy at one of the 100+ playgrounds. Many offer community centers with indoor activities in case of rain. We had a blast at Skydebanehaven.
- Interact with the animals at the Copenhagen Zoo or Blue Planet (northern Europe’s largest aquarium).
Make sure to enjoy brunch at Mad & Kaffe. If the thought of a sit-down meal with an unpredictable child stresses you out, grab a takeout pizza from the Neighborhood in the Vesterbro district and have a picnic.
Visit between April – July for the best weather and a lower chance of precipitation.
Denmark’s Public transport is a dream, so book accommodations near a station. We recommend the Tivoli area as its train station is a perfect hub for local attractions, Legoland, and the airport.
WESTERN EUROPE WITH TODDLERS
Keri from Bon Voyage With Kids
One of our family’s favorite international travel destinations with toddlers is the City of Lights, Paris! France is a kid-friendly country, and Paris is a great place for les enfants!
After all, many families live there, and there is so much to do there with kids, even toddlers. With so many beautiful parks, many of which have beautiful playgrounds, exquisite food, walkability, and excellent public transportation, toddlers can enjoy this beautiful city too.
Our favorite things to do with toddlers include visiting one of the beautiful gardens, like Jardin du Luxembourg, so tots can stretch their legs and even enjoy some playground time!
Another fun activity is the Aquarium de Paris, where your little one can learn about sea creatures. Plus, it’s a chance to relax a little bit.
For parents that want to take a tour of Versailles, there is a private tour just for families with young children.
You can also take them to the gorgeous Monmarte area to ride the train or visit one of the beautiful carousels throughout the city, one of which is at the base of Monmarte.
Of course, you can visit Disneyland Paris for a day trip, by taking the train from the city! What’s more toddler-friendly than Mickey Mouse?
For dining, the French love chocolate, and when we have visited Paris with our kids, a chocolate croissant is a favorite breakfast treat or snack.
There are many creperies, particularly in the St. Germain area, where toddlers can get a savory or sweet crepe, a family-friendly chain called Flam’s that serves a type of flatbread common in the Alsace region of France, and many brasseries where tots can get a Croque monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) and a side of frites (fries).
For the world’s best hot chocolate, stop by Angelina’s on Rue de Rivoli for this special treat. There are many hotels in Paris to stay in, but our favorite is the Crowne Plaza Paris in the Republique area.
If you are traveling with a toddler to Paris, be sure to travel with a narrow stroller, as some sidewalks in Paris can’t accommodate wide strollers. A carrier like the Tula Toddler Carrier is the perfect stroller alternative.
SOUTHERN EUROPE WITH TODDLERS
Dani from Diapers in Paradise
Malta, a small island nation in the Mediterranean, is a fantastic international destination for toddlers. With its fascinating history, it is no wonder that Malta feels like a perfect blend of Italy and the Middle East.
Malta is truly a year-round destination, as the weather is sunny and hot all the time. But the spring is the best bet for having the most events, slightly cooler weather and more greenery, and avoiding the busy tourist season in the summer.
Some of the best things to do in Malta with a toddler include exploring the silent city of Mdina, which is a labyrinthine medieval walled city with no cars – only horse-drawn carriages!
While there, try out Bacchus if eating in a very fancy medieval dungeon is up to your toddler’s alley.
Another highlight is Popeye Village, which is the set from the 1980 movie “Popeye”. The set has been left intact and turned into a Popeye-themed amusement park. And while that sounds incredibly cheesy, it’s quite well done and a lot of fun for kids.
A few other favorite things to do are visiting the colorful boats of Marsaxlokk harbor, a stop by the Malta National Aquarium and the amazing playground outside of it, and of course – the beaches!
The beaches to the north of the island tend to be the most family-friendly, with Mellieħa Bay being one of the best.
If you plan to move around the island a lot but want to be closer to beaches and stay somewhere walkable, consider staying in St. Paul’s Bay or Bugibba instead of the more popular but closed-in Valletta.
The Seaview Hotel Malta is in a fabulous location and within walking distance of an ultra-popular destination for delicious Maltese food, Tarragon.
Barcelona is simply a great destination for every kind of traveler. The Catalan capital has plenty of incredible sights to offer, even for the smallest family members.
A must when visiting Barcelona with kids is the impressive Sagrada Familia. The basilica is the city’s landmark and one of the most famous sights in Spain.
A visit is worthwhile even from the outside because of the imposing building’s extraordinary details, shapes, and colors. Here you can walk through the neighboring park to admire the Sagrada Familia from different angles.
Some of the best things to do in Barcelona with a toddler include:
Another great activity during your family vacation in Barcelona is a visit to the beach. Here, all family members will have fun.
The city beach is located just a few minutes’ walk from the center of Barcelona and is easy to reach.
Along the city beach, there is also a long promenade, perfect for a walk. Street artists often build extraordinary works of art out of the sand, which is fascinating, especially for the little ones.
Another great activity with kids is visiting the Tibidabo Amusement Park, located on the mountain of the same name. Here, you will find a great Barcelona viewpoint and lots of fun rides and fun activities for toddlers.
Catalan cuisine is diverse, so there are plenty of delicious dishes to try in Barcelona.
While there, a visit to a tapas bar is worthwhile, as there is a wide selection of small snacks, such as Cerveceria Catalana. Another great option is Café Bliss.
The best time to travel with children is spring and autumn. This is when the weather is mild and fewer tourists.
From Places of Juma
Croatia is one of my favorite countries in Europe and on top of that a fabulous destination for families with toddlers!
This picturesque Balkan country delights with hospitality, the warmth of its people, and their joy in children, but also with the most beautiful landscapes, beaches, and numerous attractions.
In Croatia, you can do a lot with your family. A must for adults are the coastal cities like Split and Dubrovnik, both of which are UNESCO cultural heritage sites. In addition, some of the most beautiful sandy beaches in Croatia are also nearby and perfect for families with small kids!
But it’s not just sightseeing and swimming that’s interesting there are also plenty of kid-friendly activities. One of the biggest highlights for toddlers is the Funtana Dinopark in Istria.
The Dinopark covers nearly 80,000 square meters toddlers will be amazed by the life-size and movable dinosaur figures!
Take your kids for a bike ride along the coast or explore the most beautiful spots on a kayak or boat tour. Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path in Croatia. There is so much to do and see.
We also found the food in Croatia to be delicious! In Pula, there is a lovely restaurant (Restaurant Jupiter) where you can get the best pancakes with ice cream.
You have to visit the pizza restaurant in the “Saloon” in Porec your toddler is sure to love it!
Another highlight is the many lovely family-friendly accommodations in Croatia. My favorites are the mobile homes at Camping Platz Lanterna and the Falkensteiner Family Hotel Diadora in Zadar.
Samantha from The Wandering Wanderluster
Italy is without a doubt one of the most family-friendly destinations in Europe. Sicily is a fantastic family destination for families looking to explore Europe with toddlers.
Deceiving in size, Sicily has a lot to offer families traveling with children of all ages, including even the youngest family members.
Aside from its internationally recognized cuisine that most toddlers will eat with minimal fuss, the island’s main drawing card is the number of children-friendly sandy beaches.
Both shallow and warm during the summer months, parents can relax as their little ones paddle along the calm shoreline, build grand sandcastles or find treasures washed up from the sea.
Sicily also has several family-friendly resorts in coastal towns, including popular destinations such as Cefalu and Siracusa.
Almost all have kid-friendly facilities and swimming pools where toddlers can build their first swimming skills. Many such as those located in Arenella or Fontane Bianche south of Siracusa are next to fully equipped lidos, so you can split your days between the pool and the beach with ease and head back to the hotel quickly for nap times.
For a fun-filled day, you can also visit the famous Etnaland theme park, which has a water world, dinosaur land, and a park with toddler-friendly rides, such as a carousel and teacups.
Families with toddlers should avoid visiting in July and August when temperatures reach over 100 degrees.
For a more comfortable stay, the best time to visit is May, June, or September when the sea is still warm, the sun isn’t as dangerous for little ones, and the crowds are fewer.
CENTRAL EUROPE WITH TODDLERS
LeAnna from Wander in Germany
Traveling to Germany with toddlers is a surprisingly fantastic destination for the family. After all, what better place to play Knights at real-life castles or visit the actual “Cinderella Castle,” Neuschwanstein, where every age can bring out those Princess fantasies!!
What toddler doesn’t love trains!? Riding on the trains in Germany with kids is often more of a highlight for them than the destinations themselves!
While any time of year is beautiful in Deutschland when traveling with the littles, nothing makes a tot crankier than being cold or wet. So, while it may mean a few more tourists, months like July and even September are ideal for the weather.
Some great places to visit are Munich, the Black Forest, the North Sea, and the Alps, as you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly activities in all of them.
When traveling in Germany, be on the lookout for Biergartens that has playgrounds! Mom and Dad get to have an actual sit-down dinner, and the kiddos don’t have to sit at a stuffy restaurant. It’s a win for all!!
Karolina from Polish Foodies
Poland is one of the best destinations in the world to travel with a toddler. Why? Because Poles love children!
The best time to visit Poland with a toddler is from April to October. The weather is warm enough for your little one to enjoy the outdoors.
Most of the places you visit are suitable for kids. There is a kids’ corner in almost every restaurant and cafe. High chairs are readily available, so no need to worry about a travel high chair.
Outdoor playgrounds are scattered throughout the country. Walk for 15 minutes in any direction, and you are bound to run into a playground.
Poland is best explored by car. If you stop by any gas station, you can be sure you will have a baby changing table available. If you are still nursing your toddler, you can do it in public without worrying about negative comments.
One of the best places to visit in Poland with toddlers is Krakow. There is a Butterfly Museum that your kid will love, as well as the Illusion Museum.
If it’s raining, visit Krakow’s Water Park, an indoor waterpark that toddlers will love. There are also many indoor playgrounds available in the city, so be sure to visit one of them on a rainy day.
When talking about traveling to Poland with a toddler, we can’t forget about the food. Polish cuisine is mild, which makes it perfect for kids. You can be sure they will love pierogi, the famous traditional Polish dumplings stuffed with fruits, cottage cheese, or meat.
Helga from ShegoWandering
The Hungarian capital city Budapest is one of the best places to travel with toddlers in Europe. The city has a long list of things to do with toddlers.
Budapest is known for its historic architecture, the beautiful Parliament building near the Danube, museums, and the delicious Hungarian food. Hungary is also famous for its beautiful bridges in Budapest, thermal baths, and the Buda Castle.
If you’re planning a family trip to Budapest, you should explore some of the following!
First, the Budapest Zoo, that’s beautiful, the animals are treated well and with good care, and there are plenty of activities inside the zoo for families.
A visit to the Budapest Zoo is a great option, but if you are already in the area, you can also think about the most famous thermal bath in Budapest, the Szechenyi Thermal Bath.
Another great option to explore is the Buda Castle and Budapest War Museum, where there are interactive activities for families with young kids.
Families with toddlers might also enjoy a ride on the Budapest Eye or plan a visit to the summer baths on Margaret Island or the water park Acquaworld.
Some of the best food in Budapest that kids will love is the Hungarian Langos with sour cream and cheese, or Nutella, as well as trying some desserts like the Somlói Galuska.
The best place to stay for families in Budapest is an apartment on booking or AirBnB. The safest areas are in the IV, V, VI districts. Those are the central districts that I recommend staying in Budapest with kids.
The best time to visit Budapest depends on your itinerary. Budapest is a perfect destination for the summer. Hungary isn’t as hot as Southern European countries, and you can enjoy outdoor activities.
Although summer is a great time to visit, Budapest is also a destination for the holidays. December is the perfect time to visit the Budapest Christmas Market, which many families love.
Overall, if you want to explore Europe with toddlers, Budapest is a great option to get history, culture, and delicious food.