Europe has some of the most fabulous destinations in the world, from elegant villas with incredible views of the Mediterranean to Michelin-starred restaurants in a glitzy city to ancient castles that allow a glimpse of royalty. The catch is, it may be a little difficult to plan a vacation that both children and adults would enjoy. You want a destination that provides age-appropriate activities to keep the kids busy while letting you relax at the same time. As for accommodations, crammed spaces are a no-no while child-friendly facilities and an efficient transportation network are a must.
To top it all, your destination must provide premium comfort and unlimited relaxation opportunities, with a little adventure in between. Because what is good is a vacation if it does not invigorate? With that said, here are five upscale European destinations perfect for you and your family.
Rugged and rustic, Scotland is a magical destination rife with fortresses, secret coves, enchanting lochs, and gorgeous glens. But Scotland also has a posh side, with its bustling cities, brilliant architecture, luxury holiday homes, gourmet cuisine, and endless festivals. Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital, is full of attractions visitors of all ages will enjoy, including the Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the National Museum, Arthur’s Seat, and a Harry Potter tour. Glasgow, Edinburgh’s rival city, boasts of fascinating museums, stunning landscaped parks, and historic castles.
If your family loves the outdoors, head to the Scottish Highlands to witness some of the most striking natural landscapes in the UK – from rocky mountain ranges to sandy coasts. Board the Jacobite Steam Train through the town of Fort William to the fishing port of Mallaig. Visit Puck’s Glen with its cascading waterfalls and rocky woodland gorge, said to be home to spirits, or board a ferry to the Isle of Skye to wild swim in the crystalline waters of the fairy pools.
Make the best out of your holiday in Scotland by staying in a 5-star luxury Scottish castle. Several castles offer self-catering and group accommodation, ideal for families that want lots of privacy and enough space both indoors and out.
Quieter than Mallorca and mellower than Ibiza, Menorca is a gem destination for those seeking peace and solitude. However, the island also teems with fun-filled activities guaranteed to entertain and burn that extra energy.
Scattered on the Menorcan coast are white sand beaches with warm and clear turquoise waters shallow enough for children to swim safely. If you are looking for a remote beach with all the conveniences you need, such as restaurants, pedalos, beach chairs, go to Cala Galdana. For wildlife lovers, visit the Lloc de Menorca Zoo to see native and exotic animals, as well as venture into a wetland and a lemur forest. Tour the countryside in a Jeep Safari, passing through archeological sites, rolling hills, and sandy coastline. Enjoy the waterslides, trampolines, and go-karts at the Aquarock Waterpark, or conquer the zip wires, sandpits, swings, and climbing frames in Castillo Menorca. Get on a boat trip and discover secluded coves that are impossible to access on foot, then explore the 186-km ancient coastline path of cami de cavalls on a horseback ride. If your kids are older, try snorkeling or scuba diving.
After spending the entire day visiting attractions, wouldn’t you want to relax somewhere luxurious and quiet? Rent a spacious upscale Menorca villa while you’re on the island and experience utmost comfort and relaxation.
Paris is not just for couples in love. The City of Light also has plenty of activities in store for families – Disneyland Paris, Parc Astérix, Centre George Pompidou, Luxembourg Gardens, and traditional desserts. But it would be nice to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the lush countryside, golden beaches, historical landmarks, picturesque towns, and majestic castles.
Be awed by the beauty of Le Mont-Saint-Michel, walk the Gardens of Versailles, float above Loire Valley on a hot air balloon. Roam the streets of the UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux, wander through a sunflower field in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and inspire the artist in you at Claude Monet’s home in Giverny.
If it is beaches you want, there are Nice and Saint-Tropez in Cote de Azur. But if you prefer a low-key beach with equally azure waters and soft fine sand, head to Plage de la Nartelle or Plage Les Eléphants in Sainte-Maxime.
From the medieval walls of Dubrovnik to the island clubs of Hvar, Croatia has become a coveted holiday destination not only for Game of Thrones fans and partygoers but also for families longing for a Mediterranean getaway. Croatia has beaches, countless of them. And because they are all superbly beautiful, you will have a difficult time picking a favorite.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see as many stunning coves, isles, and bays as you can. Rent a yacht and explore the vividly blue sea littered with islands that vary from lush green to rocky gray to sparkling white. You can soak up the sun on the exciting Croatia yacht charter while enjoying the splendid sceneries or take a plunge into the warm waters while the crew pours you a glass of bubbly and the kids are watched over. But Croatia is not just about beaches. You have the cobbled streets of Dubrovnik, the surreal Krka National Park, and the towering mountain of Biokovo in Split. Make a beehive to the Museum of Illusions in Zagreb, canoe to the Blue Cave at Bisevo, chase waterfalls at Plitvice Lakes National Park.
Make your family holiday more memorable by staying in one of Croatia’s unique lodgings. Can you imagine sleeping in a lighthouse? How about a treehouse or a plane?
Italy is a default in almost every traveler’s destination bucket list. Rich in historical sites, blessed with a stunning natural landscape, and full of postcard-perfect villages and remarkable cities, Italy has something for everyone of every age. The capital Rome alone, has so much to offer: the Colosseum, paintings at the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, Villa Borghese, and gelato.
The countryside has as much to offer as the cities, maybe more. Head out to Tuscany and admire art, nature, and architecture on trips to Florence and Pisa. Explore the Tuscan country on a bike ride, or take long walks through markets and vineyards.
Ride a gondola in Venice, go on a private boat tour in Lake Como, or sail along the balmy waters of the Amalfi Coast. Hike the trails in the Cinque Terre region, lounge at a beach in Sardinia, eat all you can in Bologna and see the majestic Marmore waterfalls in Umbria.