5 Best Family-Friendly City Breaks in Europe

European city breaks aren’t just for couples and friends. They’re also an excellent option for families. Okay, so it might take a little extra planning and coordination with the kids in tow, but that’s where we can help! So join us as we share some of the best family-friendly city breaks in Europe and how to ensure you have a fantastic time.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Did you know that Copenhagen is repeatedly voted the 'most liveable city in the world?' Not only that, but it's also regarded as one of the cleanest, greenest and most sustainable cities on the planet.

Copenhagen is a colourful and vibrant European city, best explored on two wheels. So hire bicycles for the whole family, and enjoy riding around, taking in the sights and breathing in the fresh, clean air. Everything is in close reach, so even the littlest legs will manage to navigate the city, and there are plenty of parks and open spaces when they need to let off some steam!

Copenhagen amusement parks

You can't go to Copenhagen with the kids without visiting Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park. One of the city's most famous attractions, this 15-acre park is packed full of roller coasters and fairground rides, including the world's tallest carousel.

But it's not the city's only amusement park. Copenhagen is also home to Bakken, the world's oldest amusement park dating back to 1583. The main attraction is an 82-year old wooden roller coaster. Not a thrill-seeker? The amusement park is located in Durehaven woods, a lovely place for a peaceful and relaxing stroll.

The Experimentarium - great for younger kids

If you have younger children in your brood, it's well worth a trip to The Experimentarium. This interactive museum has plenty to keep the kids entertained, including the Tunnel of Senses, where they can learn about sight, sound, taste and touch.

Visit the Aquarium

Children of all ages will have a fantastic time at Northern Europe's Largest Aquarium. Explore the enormous walk-through tanks, come face-to-face with majestic aquatic creatures, and don't forget to visit the adorable sea otters at the outdoor enclosure. The Aquarium also has a fantastic water playground.

Other family-friendly things to do in Copenhagen:

  • Visit Copenhagen Zoo
  • Walk up the Round Tower for amazing views of the city
  • Take a relaxing boat trip
  • Enjoy a coffee in the canalside cafes when you need a rest
  • Visit the famous statue of the Little Mermaid
  • Explore the colourful district of Nyhavn
  • Wander the beautiful Botanical Gardens

Bristol, England

When it comes to city breaks in the UK, most people think of London. But, if you've already been to London with the family and fancy exploring somewhere new, why not head to Bristol?

Located in the southwest of England, Bristol is easy to get to from most places by road, train or even plane. It's vibrant and full of indoor and outdoor family-friendly activities for all ages.

Sightseeing in Bristol

No trip to Bristol is complete without visiting the spectacular Clifton Suspension Bridge. Walk over and enjoy views of the gorge.

If the weather is dry, head to the Blaise Castle Estate and do the 40-minute circular walk. Look out for key points of interest, including the Giant's Footprint, Butcher's Cave, Lover's Leap and the Castle itself. There's also a children's play area by Blaise Castle House and a cafe where you can grab a cup of tea.

Bristol zoos and farms

If your children are animal lovers, take them to Bristol Zoo Gardens. The zoo is set in 12 acres of award-winning gardens and houses hundreds of incredible animal species from across the globe.

Another great place to visit is St Werburghs City Farm. Located in the heart of Bristol City Centre, the farm aims to inspire and connect people from all walks of life. It has a small-holding, community garden, conservation site and community allotments. Plus, a cafe, playground and shop.

Other things to do in Bristol:

  • Visit We The Curious - a state-of-the-art visitor attraction for science fans
  • Step aboard the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot at Aerospace Bristol
  • Discover a world of animal adventures at the Wild Place Project
  • Enjoy a walking tour of the city, learning about everything from Blackbeard to Banksy!

Barcelona, Spain

Do you fancy a short family break that combines the city and beach? Then, there’s no better choice than Barcelona!

Just a short flight from the UK, Barcelona is a beautiful European city to visit with the family, with plenty to see and do. It’s also a great winter holiday destination, as it doesn’t get too cold. It ticks every box with culture, delicious food, beautiful beaches, and vast open spaces.

Family-friendly beaches in Barcelona

Close to the city centre, you’ll find La Barceloneta beach. It’s busy but beautiful, known for its lively atmosphere, excellent seafood restaurants and talented sand artists.

If you’re after somewhere a little quieter, we recommend the beaches of Mar Bella and Nova Icaria.

Parks and open spaces

Barcelona is also home to several beautiful parks for the kids to run around in. None more spectacular than the Antoní Gaudi-designed Park Güell, known for its colourful mosaics and city-wide views. 

Visit the scenic hilltop neighbourhood of Montjuïc for sensational views, beautiful gardens and fascinating museums. There you will find the Magic Fountain, known for its spectacular sound-and-light shows. Unfortunately, the performances are currently suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s still worth seeing the Magic Fountain in ornamental mode.

One of the most remarkable ways to see the city of Barcelona is from the air! Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city as you journey up to Montjüic Castle.

Other family-friendly attractions in Barcelona:

  • Visit the markets at Las Ramblas
  • Discover the Cosmocaixa (science museum)
  • Enjoy a classic family funfair at the 4- Tibidabo Amusement Park
  • Visit the magical building of Casa Batlló
  • Escape the city crowds at Labyrinth Park

York, England

If you’re looking for a city break closer to home, why not explore York? Whether you’re excited by Vikings, ghosts or delightful tea shops, this mediaeval city has something for everyone! 

Venture around the city walls, visit the castle and book tickets to top York attractions, including the Jorvik Viking Centre, York Minster and York Dungeon.

Visit The Chocolate Story

If you have young children, it’s well worth spending an hour or two at The Chocolate Story. This surprising attraction allows families to sample delicious chocolate and learn all about the history of chocolate making in the city.

Discover The Shambles

Don’t forget to take a stroll down the Shambles - especially if your children are fans of Harry Potter! This beautifully preserved mediaeval street is said to have inspired Diagon Alley. As well as being home to several tea shops and quirky boutiques, the cobbled street also features 4 Harry Potter inspired attractions.

Other family-friendly activities in York:

  • Walk up to Clifford’s Tower
  • Visit the National Railway Museum
  • Explore York Maze & Adventure Park

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is the perfect destination for a laidback city break with the family. With interactive museums, beautiful scenery and lots of open spaces, it offers the perfect balance of indoor and outdoor activities. Plus, it's easy to explore. The subway makes venturing from one attraction to the next an absolute breeze, with buggy ramps and lifts. There are also pushchair-friendly buses and even free passes for under 7s (during the week) and under 12s at the weekend.

Enjoy a magical experience at Junibacken

On your European city break to Stockholm, be sure to visit Junibacken. Situated on the island of Djurgården in the centre of Stockholm, the fairytale adventure promises a magical experience for the whole family.

Meet characters from Swedish author Astrid Lindgren's famous books and ride the story train through miniature landscapes full of dolls, lights and sounds. 

Junibacket is also home to Sweden's largest bookstore - a must-visit for bookworms.

Step back in time at Skansen

Learn about Swedish history and see rare Nordic animals at Skansen. Famous for being the world's oldest open-air museum, Skansen has several child-friendly attractions, including play areas, a zoo, fairground and aquarium. It's also a great opportunity to discover Sweden's history and step back in time to see how Swedes once lived, their customs, traditions, work, celebrations and more!

Other family-friendly attractions in Stockholm:

  • Relax at Yasuragi, a family-friendly spa
  • Enjoy a fun afternoon at the ABBA museum
  • Visit the Tom Tits Experiment (science and technology centre)
  • Splash about at Eriksdalsbadet swimming centre

Book family-friendly city breaks in Europe with Planschange

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