One of the best things about a family vacation in Europe is how easy it is to visit another country. You can plan a vacation to Paris and spend a weekend in Athens. Or Barcelona. These five cities should be on your itinerary for your next family vacation in Europe.
5 European Cities To Visit
Vacation Like European Families Do
City breaks are very popular in Europe. During the autumn, when it feels like winter and spring breaks are light years away, my family and I like to steal away for a short weekend jaunt to another city to get a dose of its culture, with visits to its museums, galleries and restaurants.
While the European cities Paris and London are always favorites, I find Spain to also be a great destination for families. Barcelona’s whimsical Park Guell has awesome buildings, stunning tile structures, wonderful panoramic view of the city, abd the Magical Fountain of Montjuic that performs a dance of color, light and music. The Museu de la Xocolata is another of the city’s attractions that entertains the entire family.
Valencia offers Europe’s largest leisure-culture complex, the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences). Comprised of 6 different cultural and entertainment destinations, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias includes L’Hemisferic, which houses the IMAX Dome, Science Museum Principe Felipe, full of interactive and educational exhibitions and L’Oceanografic, Europe’s largest aquarium. In the center of Valencia is Bioparc. This open-air zoo employs the “zoo-immersion” concept, surrounding visitors in the recreated habitats of the animals.
Austria’s grandiose capitol also proved to be a great destination for families. The beautiful historic city Site, boasts opulent palaces, churches, museums and parks, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Despite suffering severe damage from numerous wars over the centuries, including a fire that burned the roof down during World War II, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has managed to survive. My daughter Vanessa proclaimed it to be the prettiest church she’d ever seen. Considering the countless churches we’ve seen during our travels, says a lot.
The Hofburg Palace, or Imperial Palace, was the winter residence of the ruling Habsburg family for more than 500 years. Today the palace is home to the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Spanish Riding School and several museums.
Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” Prague looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale. There are plenty of sights and activities around picture-esque city that families will enjoy, such as the Prague Castle, Old Town Square with its medieval Astronomical clock and Petrin Hill, which has a playground, a mirror maze and an Observation Tower that’s a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower.
As you know, Athens is full of relics of ancient history. Old stuff. And while my kids usually do a lot of eye-rolling when it comes time to see another centuries-old façade, taking a scooter tour of Athens made seeing and learning about the Acropolis, Temple of Zues, Hadrian’s Gate and Panathenaic Stadium, which hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 – all extremely old stuff – much more interesting.
What are your picks for family-friendly city break destinations in Europe?