Europe is very child friendly and your children will open doors to new experiences and relationships
Planning Your Trip
Planning is vital for enjoying a trip to Europe with kids, particularly with babies and toddlers as you will need to ensure your transport, destinations and hotels are all child friendly.
The most popular family holiday destination in Europe is Euro Disney, located just outside Paris. Other popular destinations for families include; London, Paris, Rome, Tuscany, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Provence, Barcelona and the Greek Islands (see our individual destination guides for for more information where to go with babies, toddlers and younger kids).
You will find kids’ menus, hotel playrooms, and kids play areas at freeway rest stops all over Europe along with all your baby and toddler necessities such as nappies, wipes, baby food and powdered formula. Cuisines vary from country to country however, there are generally excellent food choices in hotels and restaurants for toddlers and kids (See ‘Baby & Toddler Essentials‘ in Europe for more information).
There are also plenty if accommodation options in Europe which are baby, toddler and kid friendly. Getting Around Europe is also quite straightforward. Many countries operate fast trains which are efficient and much more hassle free than air travel, particularly with kids. There are also a number of ferry options and there are airports connecting all major cities. Driving is on the left side of the road in the UK and Ireland and on the right in all other European countries (See ‘Getting Around Europe‘ for more information).
The Best Months to Travel in Europe
There are huge differences in the climates of different regions. Summer and spring are usually good options however, during the summer months many of central Europe’s countries get stiflingly hot; August can be a particularly hot period. Temperatures during the summer months can be more manageable close to the sea such as in the Mediterranean but there have been heatwaves here also. Ireland, the UK, Northern France, Holland and Scandinavia tend to have milder climates during the summer months which are ideal with children. Take the usual precautions in the heat. During winter many European countries can be bitterly cold, particularly Scandinavia, Poland and part of Germany and Holland. Again, take the usual precautions against the cold weather.
Preparing Your Kids
If you are travelling with older toddlers or young kids, it helps to get them enthusiastic about what they’ll be seeing in Europe before your trip. Encourage your kids to learn about the countries, cities, sights, and people they’ll be visiting by reading books about their destinations or by showing them cartoons featuring famous landmarks. For toddlers, the Go Jetters often visit famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Peppa Pig has been to London and Tuscany.
Travelling to Europe by Plane
The largest air travel hubs in Europe are, in order, London (LON: LCY, LHR, LGW, STN, LTN), Frankfurt (FRA, HHN), Paris (CDG, ORY), Madrid (MAD), Brussels (BRU) and Amsterdam (AMS) which in turn have connections to practically everywhere in Europe. However, nearly every European city has direct long-distance flights at least to some destinations elsewhere, and other smaller airports can make sense for specific connections: for example, Vienna (VIE) has a very good network of flights to the Middle East and Eastern Europe, while Helsinki (HEL) is the geographically closest place to transfer if coming in from East Asia.
The most popular family holiday destination in Europe is Euro Disney, located just outside of Paris. Other popular destinations for parents with young kids include France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. However, there is so much more to see; from the rugged scenery in the West of Ireland, to Portugal’s turquoise waters to the Eastern European states such as Croatia with an abundance of islands and beaches. Austria, Germany, Portugal and Greece have loads of family friendly hotels and hotels with facilities specifically catering to parents with babies and toddlers. These hotels have child minding services and activities for little ones.
For a beach holiday Europe’s mediterranean resorts such as Majorca, Ibiza, Portugal (pictured), the Costa del Sol and the French Riviera offer some fantastic options for families with younger children.There are a lot of gites in the French countryside which also cater for parents with younger children. Many of these can be booked with stair gates, sterilisers, baby monitors and other equipment in place on your arrival. There are also loads of resorts in Europe such as Eurocamp and Falcon Holiday Resorts aimed at parents travelling with young kids. These have shaded swimming pools and child care facilities also.
The most popular cities in Europe include Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Prague and Athens. City breaks can be difficult with toddlers in particular and careful planning and research is required so that you can enjoy your trip.
Other notable attractions include Neuschwanstein Castle (pictured above), the well-known fairy-tale castle in the Bavarian Alps in Bavaria, Plitvice National Park, with beautiful turquoise-coloured lakes surrounded by a large forest complex in Croatia and the Alhambra, a moorish, architectural wonder located in Granada in Spain. Again, more planning is involved if you are taking a baby or toddler to these spots, however it is possible!
Travel Information – Fast Facts
- The European Union or EU is an area made up of 28 member states that all use a common currency, the Euro.
- You can travel freely between these countries, i.e. there are no border checks (except for a few exceptions) however if you are travelling between countries, your visa and documentation must still be in order.
- When travelling to Ireland and the UK from continental Europe you will need to present your passport. Additional visas may be required when travelling here depending on your country of origin.
- Electrical voltage and sockets vary from region to region so remember to check this before you go if you are bringing electrical equipment with you.
Getting Around Europe
Baby and Toddler Essentials in Europe