The Top Underrated European Cities to Visit with Kids

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A beautiful European city with castles and lighting.

It’s no secret that Europe is full of amazing places to visit with kids. The cities of Barcelona, Paris, Rome, and London are always in the headlines for their kid-friendly attractions and activities.

But there’s another side of Europe that doesn’t get as much attention: its underrated smaller cities. From Amsterdam to Zurich, we’ve compiled a list of the lesser-known major European population centers that are surprisingly great for a trip with kids!

Note: Just remember that if you’re planning to visit Europe from the end of 2023, you may need an ETIAS travel authorization. ETIAS is due to be implemented by November of that year, so be sure to check!

H2 – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

As we’ve said before on this blog, Amsterdam is a surprisingly great European destination for families. Although it may be infamous internationally for its red light district, there are tons of kid-friendly attractions such as the Amsterdam Royal Zoo, the Anne Frank House, and the Van Gogh museum to visit.

Kids will also love the city’s outdoor spaces like Zandvoort beach and the Vondelpark. And renting a bike to explore the city’s numerous canal-lined streets is a must if visiting with children.

H2 – Budapest, Hungary

This severely underrated European capital is a great destination to visit with kids year-round. If you go in the winter, you’ll get to experience the charming Christmas markets and take your children ice skating. 

But if you go in the spring or summer you’ll be able to fully appreciate the wealth of green spaces like Városliget Park and incredible Art Nouveau architecture that make up Hungary’s capital. A trip down the Danube river on a boat cruise is also likely to delight young ones.

H2 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Children who love fairytales are likely to get a kick out of visiting Copenhagen’s most famous and iconic landmark – the Little Mermaid statue which sits on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade.

However, this iconic sight is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to kid-friendly attractions in Denmark’s capital. You should also visit:

  • Den Blå Planet, Northern Europe’s largest aquarium
  • Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest theme parks in the world
  • The iconic 17th-century Round Tower and its spiral staircase

If you visit Copenhagen in January and February your kids might also be lucky enough to see the northern lights. The city is also great for visiting with toddlers, as it has a ton of green spaces and is incredibly flat, so won’t give you too much work with a stroller!

H2 – Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is a gorgeous fortified city on the Croatian coast with a rich history and incredible historic architecture. The city’s Old Town is likely to excite both kids and adults alike (especially if you are Game of Thrones fans, as much of the series was filmed here!).  Stroll around the city and take in the medieval walls, castles, and distinctive red-tiled roofing.

If you bring your kids in July or August, they’ll be entranced by the city-wide Summer Festival of music, dance, and theater. Dubrovnik also boasts some of the best beaches in Croatia. Although most of them are pebble beaches instead of sand, they are great for kayaking or scuba diving.

H2 – Florence, Italy

Florence is a beautiful city with a lot of history, and it’s also a fantastic place for your kids to learn about and get excited by art. Bring the little ones to the Uffizi Gallery Museum and watch them be entranced by works by masters such as Caravaggio and Michelangelo, and the Palazzo Vecchio, where they can take an al fresco painting class.

Kids will also love climbing the bell tower of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore to enjoy the incredible views of Florence from the cathedral, and a trip to the beautiful Giardino di Boboli gardens. Don’t forget to take an afternoon stroll along the river Arno and stop off for some gelato!

H2 – Vienna, Austria

Vienna is a great place for kids as it has many museums, parks and things to do with children. Here are some ideas:

  • Visit the Vienna Natural History Museum for fossils, stuffed animals, and a planetarium show about the planets in our solar system
  • Check out the Kunsthistorisches Museum which is full of art from all over Europe throughout history
  • Go to Schönbrunn Palace, which emcompasses a former royal residence, a children’s museum, and the world’s oldest zoo all in one place.

If your kids are music lovers, then a trip to the Vienna House of Music, which explores the city’s most famous musicians such as Mozart and Schubert, is a must. You can also take them to the Vienna State Opera to see an hour-long opera for children.

H2 – Zurich, Switzerland

If your children have a sweet tooth, then they will appreciate a trip to Switzerland’s largest city simply for its status as a haven for chocolate lovers. However, the city also boasts some of the best museums in Europe that will help even the youngest kids learn about science and history.

Zurich’s gorgeous old town will also dellight kids with some stunning architecture. The city’s location on the shores of Lake Zurich and proximity to the Swiss Alps also make it an ideal base for a whole host of day trips for outdoors-loving families!

No matter which of the cities you decide on for your next European trip, one thing is guaranteed: your kids will thank you for your choice!

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