Europe With Kids

- Many Ideas for Family Trips

Trips to Europe with kids can be terrific fun, and memorable for a life-time. And trips in Europe don't need to cost the earth. Suggestions below -- for western Europe countries -- include some budget-friendly ideas.
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    Europe Trips with Kids: London. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    Kings and queens, Mary Poppins, Oliver Twist, Platform 9-3/4... the minds of kids are full of snippets about London, which makes visiting in real life all the more fun.

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    Kids walking in beautiful street of Paris Montmartre
    ••• Imgorthand/Getty Images

    Paris has some wonderful sightseeing that kids are already primed to visit: even young kids know about the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame Cathedral may also be familiar thanks to the Hunchback of Notre Dame story. Also, simply strolling along the Seine is fun. And (dare we mention) there are two terrific theme parks nearby.

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    Dancers at a Chestnut Festival in the Aveyron region. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Dancers at a Chestnut Festival in the Aveyron region. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    These ideas start with Paris, of course (with maybe even a side trip to Disneyland Paris) and then go on to renting a vacation home, doing a road trip, staying at an all inclusive Club Med resort (maybe even learn to ski or board!), plus more suggestions.
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    Rome, Colosseum. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    The Eternal City is an unforgettable place to visit with kids. Older kids will be thrilled to immerse in the history of ancient Rome, but you don't need to wait until kids are of an age: traveling with wee kids has good points too, in a country like Italy where people love children. Click above for suggestions for Rome sightseeing; see also Tips about Visiting Rome with Kids, for advice about beating the heat while you walk in the city, finding free cold water, toilets, places to rest, and more. Be sure to eat plenty of gelato -- Italian ice cream! Read tips about the best Italian ice cream.

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    Gondolier on gondola boat in the canals of Venice.
    ••• Kimberley Coole/Getty Images

    Practical tips for having a terrific time in this romantic city-- with little kids along.

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    Visiting Hill Towns in Tuscany and Umbria: Orvieto, Cortona, Assisi...

    Assissi cobbled lane - Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    To visitors, medieval "hill towns" are like storybook towns that time forgot; they did not develop into big cities over the centuries, but rather kept their narrow lanes, massive gates, stone buildings-- perfect for kids' imaginations to travel back in time. See Orvieto, Todi, Cortona, Assisi.

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    More Italy With Kids

    Europe Trips With Kids - Gelato (ice cream) shop, Orvieto. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Gelato (ice cream) shop, Orvieto. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    Click for more idea and tips about visiting this wonderful country with kids -- including a wonderful Adventures By Disney "Viva Italia!" trip.
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    Ideas for Europe trips with kids - Greek beach, photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    Children are welcome everywhere in Greece!

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    Renault Kangoo, 2008 model, Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    ••• The Renault Kangoo has good hatchback storage and a sliding side door. Photo © Teresa Plowright.
    Traveling in your own car is a great way to explore Europe on a family trip. For trips longer than 17 days, check out the "Car Lease Buy-Back Programs" offered by several French car companies to customers who are NOT residents of Europe. (The deal basically sidesteps high taxes in France on new cars.) Customers get brand new vehicles, good prices, and zero-deductible insurance -- my favorite feature.
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    Europe Trip ideas: Eurocamp holiday parcs
    ••• Waterslides at Eurocamp's Ruisseau parc, Biarritz, France. Photo courtesy of Eurocamp.

    Don't let the name fool you: at Eurocamp's "holiday parcs", guests can stay in a bungalow or holiday home, and enjoy swimming pools and waterslides; soccer, basketball, kids programs, restaurants, grocery stores, and more on-site, plus recreation such as watersports. Over 200 locations in France, Italy, Spain, and other countries. (If you do want to camp, bring your own gear or rent a spacious 3-bedroom canvas tent.)

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    Europe Trip ideas for families: Center Parcs holiday villages.
    ••• Photo © Teresa Plowright.

    Center Parcs has "holiday villages" in northern Europe, with large cottages designed for the whole family, kids clubs, and plenty of outdoors recreation. Each holiday village also has a large domed building that houses a tropical pool (with slides, waves, etc.), restaurants, shops, etc. Explore the nearby towns and countryside on your own.

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    Great for families with young kids! These family hotels in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland have kids activities, childcare and babycare, play zones, baby gear and even strollers. Choose from ski holidays, summer holidays with pools, slides, outdoors activities...

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    For a rustic and out-of-the-ordinary experience, families can stay in a barn in the German countryside. Kids can see farm life and animals up close; low price often includes a country style breakfast. Some "hay hotels" also offer guest rooms at affordable prices.

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    Villa Saint Exupery Gardens, Nice, France. Photo courtesy of Hostelbookers.com.
    ••• Villa Saint Exupery Gardens, Nice, France. Photo courtesy of Hostelbookers.com.
    Family-friendly hostels can be a great way to find affordable lodgings on a Europe trip. Hostels have grown up from the "youth hostel" days; many now serve a diverse clientele and often families can book private rooms with en suite bathrooms. Many hostels are in character buildings -- such as the converted monastery in Nice pictured here, which even offers free baby-sitting.
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    Europe Trips - photo courtesy of Irish Horse-Drawn Caravans.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Irish Horse-Drawn Caravans.

    Biking trips, barging, castle stays, and other ideas; vacation home rentals; and more.

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    Photo courtesy of Hotel Crillon le Brave.
    ••• Photo courtesy of Hotel Crillon le Brave.

    In the beautiful Provence region of southern France, this hotel is perched about a small hill village. Families can explore villages, Roman ruins, local markets and festivals, or perhaps go biking or horse-riding. The adventurous might also try kayaking on the Sorgue river.