Trips to Europe with kids can be terrific fun and make memories that last a lifetime. And trips in Europe don't need to cost the earth. After all, regular families in Europe take trips too, and there are certainly affordable options.
See below for a number of less-usual ideas for Europe trips with kids. (You may also like to consider some top Europe destinations for family vacations.)
Europe Trip Ideas
For something a little different, consider these suggestions.
- Barging: Pilot your own barge, or cruise along in catered luxury. Often, bikes are provided along with the barge, so families can explore beyond their river or canal.
- Biking: Have a look at some high-end family bike holidays on which all details are handled. A lower-budget option is suggested, too.
- Castle Stays: Pack the plastic swords and crowns, and take the family to stay overnight in a castle. Some are surprisingly affordable.
Stay Somewhere Fun
The places below provide fun for the family right on the property. Enjoy them as destinations or as a home base for exploring the environs.
- Eurocamp: Forget your usual ideas about camping. Guests can stay in bungalows or deluxe three-room tents equipped with beds, and enjoy resort-like facilities and kids' programs.
- Center Parcs Family Resorts: here's where European families go for getaways. Stay in a large cottage and a huge recreational property, with kids' programs and an indoor tropical pool complex.
- Familotel Holiday Hotels for Families: A great idea for families with young kids, these family holiday hotels in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland offer kids activities, childcare and babycare, play zones, baby gear and even strollers. Choose from ski holidays or summer holidays with pools, slides, and outdoors fun.
- Hay Hotels: Stay in a barn in the German countryside. At "heuhotels", guests sleep on a bed of dried grass, perhaps in a loft, or in feed stalls fitted out with wooden platforms; bring your own sleeping bag and towels. (Though a few hay hotels are offering more amenities.)
Other Ideas About Places to Stay
Budget travel is perfectly respectable in Europe, and here's a way for families to save big-time. "Hostels" have changed much in recent years, and former "youth hostels" now welcome people of all ages including families who, in many places, can stay in "family rooms." Spartan but clean, these rooms typically have bunk beds, and sometimes a private bathroom; otherwise, a toilet and shower will be just a few steps away (--and extremely clean, in our experience.) Some hostels are housed in architectural treasures: castles in Scotland, a centuries-old villa in Verona, former monasteries... places that are low in cost and high in character.