Millions of families travel to Europe every year. Those hordes of tourists contribute nearly a trillion dollars to the European economy. If you’re one of the many that have always dreamed of making your pilgrimage to the Colosseum of Rome or the tapas stalls of Barcelona and will have enough money saved up next year to make your dreams real, you might be wondering which European city you see should visit with your family. There are a lot of options of cities to visit in Europe for a family vacation. If you can only visit one or two on next year’s family vacation, here’s where you should go.
And if you have never been to a European city before, don’t worry, I’m going to cover the easiest ways to get around a city in Europe, it’s not that hard!
The European continent is home to some of the world’s greatest, most historical, and stunning cities, from the small and intimate to the vast and impersonal, but all with their very unique appeal and sell.
From Sweden to the North, Poland to the East, Italy to the South, and Ireland to the West, metropolitan cities abound, and it is truly worth your while to stop anywhere in between.
Table of Contents
- Best Cities for Family Vacation in Europe
- How to Get Around in a City in Europe
Best Cities for Family Vacation in Europe
That’s a hard question to answer. After all, every European city has its own special attractions to offer.
To help narrow the list of places that you might pop into, though, our team has created this list of the best cities to visit in Europe with family.
Pick any one of these dream destinations, and we’re confident that you’ll have a blast!
Kicking off our list of five cities in Europe that everyone needs to visit in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic and arguably one of the most historically beautiful and best-preserved cities on the continent.
The Vltava River partitions the city in two and is connected by 18 bridges. On one side rests the Old and New Town, and on the other stands the Lesser Town and Prague Castle.
It is known as the “city of a hundred spires”, thanks to its gold-tipped church towers that decorate the city’s skyline. The city’s story is a thousand years old, with remnants of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque culture scattered throughout the city.
And for those who favor the views, the journey to the top of the Prague Castle, built in the 9th century, is truly worth the panoramic views of the city, while you will have walked in the footsteps of Bohemian Kings and Roman Emperors.
The city of Barcelona is a living piece of art. The people are fabulous, the food is to-die-for and the wonderful, beaches and parks will make it so you’re never at a loss of things to do.
While over-tourism has pushed this world-class city to the brink of destruction, Barcelona still stands tall among the best cities to visit in Europe.
Put Barcelona at the top of your European itinerary sooner rather than later because tourist hordes may soon spoil this gem.
While not as big as some of the powerhouse European cities, Dublin is one of the continent’s best and it will be a blight on your travel record if you fail to tour the famous Irish capital.
Perhaps one of the most appealing features of Dublin is that, whilst still, a city with a population of one million people, a lot of its best attractions are within walking distance making it the perfect trip for a personal and intimate stay.
Dublin is the epicenter of both Irish history and the Irish present. Some of the best things to do in Dublin include a trip to the GPO, the City Hall, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, or the Guinness Storehouse.
Elsewhere, take a pint in the Temple Par, shop in Grafton Street, go for a coffee in O’Connell Street or take a walk in St Stephen’s Green and you will thank us for recommending a trip to Dublin.
When you ask somebody that’s never been to Europe where they want to go, 8 out of 10 times they’ll tell you Italy. When you ask them where in Italy they’d like to visit, Rome is likely the first place on their list.
Rome is a city that’s steeped with history that’s too dense for us to recount in this blog post. All you need to know is that the remnants of a once-great empire are still a treasure to behold to this day.
Come to Rome to see incredible art, bury yourself in fabulous stories or even try your luck at bumping into the Pope in nearby Vatican city.
There are lots of tour guides out there that can help with planning your trip around this popular destination.
England is sometimes cited as being the United States of Europe. That comparison is made because many people from the country made up the early settlers of the USA.
While the United States and England do share a special kind of relationship, London definitely has a culture all its own.
Stop into London for the outstanding theater and stick around for the delicious beer and fish and chips. You definitely won’t regret doing so.
One of the events you should not miss is the Mcm London Comic Con. MCM London is excited to feature awesome series of workshops, designed to help you create, learn and inspire. Meet the people behind your favorite characters from the film, video games, and online personalities at the London Comic Con.
Take a look at this travel guide if you are visiting London for the first time.
The city of lights. The city of romance. Paris.
The Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe. The Notre Dame. We could almost stop here for the beautiful city of Paris and make our case as to why it’s the best city in Europe everyone needs to visit.
The French capital, Paris is one of the largest, most thriving, and restless metropolises in the world, where over 2.5 million people call it their home while millions more make it their number one travel choice.
And we can certainly see why. Like London, its vast size is shrunk by its impressive transportation system to help you along your way. It’s the city that never ends and never stops surprising.
Enjoy the French cuisine and marvel at the world’s finest artwork. Shop along the Champs Elysses, catch a landscape view of the city from the Eiffel Tower or the Arc, wander the numerous city parks and make it worth your time to discover some of the city’s hidden gems.
There is perhaps no city on earth quite like it. It bore or at least temporarily housed some of the most influential artists of all time and still acts as a source of infinite inspiration.
Sure, Paris’s allure has made it rather expensive. Still, experiencing the city is well worth the price and we have no doubt that, after spending a few weeks here, you’ll never want to leave.
Eastern Europe is often put on the cities to visit in Europe back-burner because it’s not as talked about as the gems that sit in Western Europe. To that, we say, “Great! More Eastern European fun for us.”
As far as the best Eastern European cities go, Budapest is the best.
Budapest features incredible landscapes, river cruises, spas, and wonderful Hungarian hospitality. What’s even better is that Budapest is nowhere near as expensive as more popular destinations in France, Spain, and Italy.
Edinburgh contains some of the British Isles’ finest attractions.
The city’s castle famously inspired the Harry Potter books and those who enjoy walking tours can discover other famed hot spots relating to the series. These visitors may also enjoy one of the city’s many ghost tours – be warned, they are not for the faint of heart!
Nor is the Royal College of Surgeons Museum where true crime fans familiar with the story of Burke and Hare can come face to face with their death masks, as well as the skeleton of William Burke.
If none of this ruins your appetite, don’t miss out on the local delicacies – while you’re in town, why not tuck into a deep-fried Mars bar or haggis?
Berlin feels like a real city. You know, one with movie theaters, casual restaurants, and regular working-class people?
There’s just something about Berlin’s down to earth vibe that makes us feel at home whenever we step foot in it.
You can make a day out of hitting up some food stalls here, checking out where the Berlin wall used to stand or by strolling around this city’s incredible zoo.
Lisbon truly deserves its position on this list of underrated European cities.
But it is something of a rising star on the continent, and it’s not uncommon to encounter returning tourists in Portugal – in fact, many of the country’s admirers visit year-in, year-out for their summer holidays.
Lisbon offers travelers (and residents) vibrant city life just a thirty-minute drive away from white sandy beaches. On top of this, the city’s coastal areas feature several major fishing hot spots, meaning local menus are sure to please seafood lovers, whilst Lisbon’s many bakeries are perfect to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Overall, Lisbon is not only an underrated city but a versatile holiday destination for all, whether you’re traveling with a family, as a couple, with friends, or even on your own.
Amsterdam, located in the Netherlands, is not a hard city to sell by any stretch, and it is absolutely no wonder that we have it so high on the list of European cities that everyone needs to visit, you may not be thinking as a family-friendly city to visit in Europe but it’s!.
Amsterdam is a gem for history and museums, such as Van Gogh Museum in Museum Square which is the largest collection of the man’s artwork, while the city’s food and festivals are other notable reasons to catch a city break here.
A must-do when in the Dam is a canal cruise, a journey along the still waters that dissect the town and is easily the best way to view the city.
Perhaps the most unique crown in Amsterdam’s many jewels is that large parts of the city are car-free. The city thus becomes a hub of people, perfect for a pedestrian walk or a cycle, which is a big deal in Amsterdam.
This seaside city is instantly striking and brimming with history.
Home to St Mary’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world, scenes both in the city and on its beaches are breathtaking.
And whilst the architecture reflects the city’s rich history, there are some surprising marks of modernity too in the city’s affection for street art. Visitors to the Zaspa region of the city are greeted with a number of impressive and vibrant street murals and contemporary sculptures.
Did somebody say canals? We did? Oh… Well then, it must be time to mention Venice!
Images of taking Gondola rides around this once sleepy city is what inspires many people to travel to Europe in the first place. Once you get past the gondolas though, is this city still worth visiting?
We think so.
Venice has some pretty cool photo opportunities, decent gelato and some fun churches to explore.
Plan on 2 to 3 days here and you’ll have gotten your fill.
Two Italian cities in a row? You bet!
Rounding out our cities to visit in Europe is Florence.
If you like food and you like wine, Florence is the place to be. There’s not too much more to say about this city beyond that it houses one of the world’s most treasured pieces of art Michelangelo’s David.
How to Get Around in a City in Europe
1) Accompany Other Travelers
If you are a solo traveler, not knowing your way around European cities might make you stand out more as a foreigner, which will undoubtedly attract pickpocketers and other unscrupulous individuals. Although Europe is known as the most peaceful region in the world, it still does not hurt to keep your wits about you! For this reason, make sure that you inform a relative or a friend of your whereabouts and try to find other tourists to tag along with. Not only will new friendships blossom out of this, but these tourists may end up being more familiar with the area you want to explore than you are.
If you want to get the full European experience, then this tip will surely strike your fancy! Backpacking and hitchhiking are both great ways of exploring unfamiliar areas, and they help you avoid having to ask for help and standing out as a tourist. Nonetheless, keep in mind that if you truly cannot make heads or tails of the area you want to explore, you will end up making your situation much worse if you don’t ask for help! An easy way of avoiding this is to rely on your phone’s GPS to guide your steps. If you are concerned about not getting good reception, you should buy a Europe continent map or find an application that works offline. It all depends on what type of traveler you are. If you think this hack is too advanced for you, don’t worry; you can use the next few methods instead.
3) Book a Tour
Worrying about logistics like picking the right means of transportation and finding your way around winding streets and alleys can pretty much ruin the fun of visiting Europe. To avoid this, we recommend that you contact a travel agency and book a tour in the European city of your choice. This way, you can enjoy all the attractions the area has to offer without feeling too overwhelmed. Just make sure that you choose the right tour provider for your needs and budget. To pick the best package, head over to the websites of at least 3 tour providers and compare the itineraries they offer. After you create a shortlist, eliminate providers based on your budget until you find the one that gives the best value for money.
5) Hop on Megabus
If you want to navigate European cities the traditional way, then Megabus is the solution to all your problems. Megabus is a transportation company that operates in the UK, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels.
In addition to being extremely cheap, with tickets averaging between £1 and £15, Megabus can be used to move across the aforementioned cities. So, if you are planning a multi-destination trip to Europe, this is the best way to save money.
6) Rent a Car
Renting a car is one of the smartest ways of moving around areas you have not been to before. It gives you the freedom to navigate cities at your own pace without having to wait around to catch the bus or rely on locals to get where you want. Just use your phone’s GPS or a detailed paper map to reach your destination! That said, when renting a car, we recommend that you check the provider’s license and credentials to avoid legal issues.
Europe is a diverse continent filled with travel opportunities for the intrepid family. Many European Cities are worth visiting, and I have included some of the main ones that should you visit on a family vacation. So, if you’re planning on heading to Europe with your family next year, you’re probably stressing about where to go. We hope that our suggestions have added some clarity to your cities to visit in Europe possibilities.