US citizens planning to holiday in Europe with their little ones often wonder what the best places to travel with children in the EU are. While preparing your trip, you are bound to find more than one European city that tugs at your heart.
Fortunately, travel between EU countries is easy and budget-friendly —especially when booked in advance— so make your list, get your required documents in order, and book your flights as soon as possible.
US citizens do not need a visa to travel to the European Union, however, starting in 2021, they will be required to register for the ETIAS.
This mandatory visa waiver for Europe will grant US holders entry and the freedom to travel between all the Schengen countries for up to 90 days. Registration is quick and easy and can be done online in just a few minutes.
What is the best family holiday destination in Europe?
If you have been wondering where the best place to travel with toddlers is, or what the best European family vacation spots are, you are in luck. Read our expert round-up to help you decide which of these EU countries suit your family’s preferences and interests best.
Make sure to read until the very end in order to learn how to make preparing for your vacations with kids a stress-free experience.
Family Vacations in France
The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum in Paris, are undoubtedly some of the best places to see in France. Nevertheless, there is plenty more to explore, from visiting the French countryside to cruising down the Seine river, to walking in the endless lavender fields of Provence.
It is almost impossible for a family to get bored in France. The country is not only full of castles and historic buildings, churches, and museums, France also boasts some of the nicest family-friendly beaches in Europe.
Make sure to try French cuisine, from crèpes to its endless variety of cheeses, to coq au vin, rich onion soup, or a simple pain au chocolat, your kids are bound to love the local food.
Traveling to Italy from the US with Kids
Italy is an ideal travel destination to visit with children for countless reasons. Not only do little ones —and adults— love Italian food but the sights are absolutely worth it.
From the Colosseum in Rome to Piazza Elisabetta in Florence, and the canals in Venice, Italy not only has modern cities and culturally rich historic sites.
Nature lovers will surely feel drawn to its breathtaking countryside in Tuscany and Lake Como, and families who love to soak in the sun will undoubtedly enjoy its crystal-clear beaches in Sardinia, Calabria, and the Amalfi Coast.
Holidays in Spain with Children
Spain is an amazing country to visit with family, especially for those who want to enjoy cooler weather in the mountains, and beautiful, warm beaches such as those of the Canary and Balearic Islands.
If you’re more interested in big cities, Madrid and Barcelona are some of the best places to visit in Spain. The two are connected by high-speed trains and quick, domestic flights. Both are chock-full of art, architecture, museums, and children’s parks.
Southern Spain offers a wonderful opportunity to see how the Arab invasions have shaped this now catholic country. The Alhambra boasts buildings that stand tall and proud after hundreds of years. Kids visiting this area can experience first-hand the juxtaposition of Islamic and catholic art and architecture perfectly blended into one.
How do I plan a family vacation in Europe?
Planning a trip to Europe with children —from toddlers to teenagers— requires a little preparation, so make sure to check the following off your to-do list:
- Make sure every family member has a current passport with at least 6 months validity remaining.
- Apply for an ETIAS visa waiver for every family member traveling to Europe with you, using their personal data and passport information.
- Pick one or more of the recommended European destinations for family vacations described above.
- Research the best dates according to the activities and weather you would like to enjoy during your stay.
- Book your flights, choose direct flights whenever possible if traveling with small children.
- Book your accommodation: Many European cities not only offer hotels but also alternatives such as short-term vacation rental of apartments, houses, and villas, which may be more comfortable and budget-friendly for large families.
- Consider taking out travel insurance so you do not have to worry about healthcare costs in case of emergency.
- Research local transportation: If you are wondering how to get around Europe, rest assured. Most European cities have great public transport options, however, should you prefer to drive, you may want to make your reservation ahead of time, especially during high season.