There’s a captivating magic that descends upon Europe in winter—the snow-dusted streets, the aroma of hot chocolate wafting through the air, and the glow of Christmas markets illuminating city squares. While most are drawn to tropical destinations during the colder months, there’s something special about exploring the continent when it’s wrapped in a winter wonderland. Beyond the holiday rush, many European cities transform into kid-friendly havens during winter, offering a perfect blend of outdoor adventures and cozy indoor experiences. If you’re planning a family holiday, or just looking ahead to 2024, here’s a curated list of 20 kid-friendly European cities that will make your winter getaway truly magical.
Our Favourite 20 Kid-Friendly European Cities To Visit This Winter
1. Thessaloniki, Greece
The first kid-friendly European city to visit this Winter is Thessaloniki. Greece’s second city is a hidden gem in winter. Experience the joy of strolling through its historical streets adorned with festive lights and decorations. Don’t miss the White Tower, where panoramic views of the city await, surrounded by a serene winter atmosphere.
Grab your free Thessaloniki family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Thessaloniki with kids.
2. Helsinki, Finland
Finnish winters are the stuff of fairytales, and Helsinki, the capital, embraces the season with open arms. Families can revel in traditional Finnish Christmas markets, indulge in gingerbread cookies, and take a ferry to Suomenlinna, a fortress island blanketed in snow. You will be transported to a magical experience!
Grab your free Helsinki family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Helsinki with kids.
3. Vienna, Austria
Vienna’s classical elegance is even more enchanting in winter. Families can enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides through historic streets, visit the Wintermarkt in front of the City Hall, and attend special winter-themed performances at the iconic Vienna State Opera.
Grab your free Vienna family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Vienna with kids.
4. Nice, France
Nice may be synonymous with the sun, but its winter persona is equally enticing. Explore the French Riviera without the summer crowds and enjoy the city’s festive atmosphere. Take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, where palm trees and Christmas lights create a unique winter ambience.
Grab your free Nice family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Nice with kids.
5. Málaga, Spain
Swap the beach for a winter wonderland in Málaga. The city’s holiday spirit, combined with its mild climate, makes it a perfect winter escape for families. Visit the Alcazaba fortress, enjoy the festive decorations in the historic centre, and try traditional Spanish churros.
Grab your free Málaga family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Málaga with kids.
6. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is straight out of a fairytale, especially in winter. With its medieval charm and snow-covered landscapes, this Estonian gem is a delight for young children. Climb Toompea Hill for panoramic views of the city, and let your kids experience a magical winter in the enchanting Old Town. If you have the opportunity to visit Tallinn, we promise you that it will be truly worth it during this time of year.
Grab your free Tallinn family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Tallinn with kids.
7. Interlaken, Switzerland
Interlaken is not just for the adventurous; it’s a winter paradise for families. From skiing to paragliding, the Swiss Alps provide an unforgettable backdrop for your winter getaway. Take a scenic train ride to Jungfraujoch, the “Top of Europe,” for breathtaking snow-covered landscapes. Allow the beauty that envelops you to captivate your senses, creating a moment of renewal amidst the snow-cloaked splendour. Interlaken, with its winter wonders, offers an enchanting escape for families seeking both adventure and serenity.
Grab your free Interlaken family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Interlaken with kids.
8. Budapest, Hungary
Discover the enchanting winter allure of Budapest with your family. Immerse yourselves in the therapeutic embrace of Széchenyi Baths, where the thermal waters weave a magical cocoon against the winter chill. Allow your kids to revel in the warmth, creating memories as you soak in the panoramic views of the Danube. Embark on a journey through Budapest’s history as you explore the fairytale setting of Buda Castle, adorned with captivating lights that transform it into a winter wonderland. And, experience the whimsy of a ride on the historic Children’s Railway, winding through a snow-kissed forest landscape—a delight for young adventurers.
Grab your free Budapest family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Budapest with kids
9. Bath, UK
Bath’s Roman Baths beckon with equal allure. Unwind in the warm, mineral-rich waters while the kids marvel at the historic surroundings. Extend the festive joy with a visit to the Bath Christmas Market, set against the stunning backdrop of Bath Abbey, offering a magical experience that enhances the city’s festive charm.
Grab your free Bath family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Bath with kids.
10. Paris, France
The City of Lights becomes the city of enchantment in winter. Imagine strolling down the Champs-Elysées with your family, surrounded by the glittering lights of Paris. Ice skate at the Eiffel Tower, explore the Louvre without the summer crowds, and indulge in French pastries at festive markets.
Grab your free Paris family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Paris with kids.
11. Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne’s lakeside setting is captivating year-round. In winter, the snow-capped mountains create a postcard-perfect backdrop for family photos. Take a cruise on Lake Lucerne, visit the Swiss Museum of Transport for interactive exhibits, and enjoy a scenic ride on the cogwheel railway to Mount Pilatus.
Grab your free Lucerne family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Lucerne with kids.
12. Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland’s capital is a winter wonderland, offering unique experiences like whale watching and Northern Lights safaris. Bundle up and enjoy the magic of Reykjavik with your little ones. Explore the iconic Hallgrímskirkja Church, take a dip in the geothermal pools of the Blue Lagoon, and visit the family-friendly Reykjavik Zoo.
Grab your free Reykjavik family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Reykjavik with kids.
13. Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon’s charm extends into winter with its mild climate and festive atmosphere. Explore the historic streets of Alfama, take a tram ride through the city’s hills, and enjoy panoramic views from São Jorge Castle. Don’t miss the enchanting Christmas lights in Baixa, Lisbon’s downtown district. Baixa is certainly a beautiful district to visit during this time of year.
Grab your free Lisbon family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Lisbon with kids.
14. Barcelona, Spain
In the winter, Barcelona unveils its architectural wonders, captivating the eyes and hearts of visitors. The city’s mild winter climate provides an ideal backdrop for exploring Gaudi’s masterpieces with your family. Venture to Park Güell, where vibrant mosaic art adorns every corner, creating a whimsical and colourful playground for both the young and the young at heart. Wander through the park’s enchanting pathways and discover the magic embedded in its architectural details. Explore the lively La Boqueria Market, where the winter season adds a touch of festivity to the bustling atmosphere.
Grab your free Barcelona family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Barcelona with kids.
15. Florence, Italy
Florence’s Renaissance beauty shines in winter. Marvel at the art and architecture without the summer crowds, creating a more intimate experience for your family. Explore the Uffizi Gallery, climb the Duomo for panoramic views, and take a stroll across the iconic Ponte Vecchio.
Grab your free Florence family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Florence with kids.
16. London, UK
London’s timeless appeal is enhanced in winter-becoming a true winter wonderland. Ice skate at Somerset House, explore festive markets, and witness the city adorned in Christmas lights. Take a magical trip to Hogwarts at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, visit the Natural History Museum’s ice rink, and enjoy a family-friendly West End show.
Grab your free London family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in London with kids.
17. Lapland, Finland
For the ultimate winter experience, head to Lapland. Santa’s official hometown offers husky sledding, reindeer farms, and the chance to witness the enchanting Northern Lights. Stay in a cozy log cabin, meet Santa at Santa Claus Village, and embark on a magical Arctic Circle adventure. This is a super duper, exquisite trip both for young and old.
Grab your free Lapland family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Lapland with kids.
18. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges’ medieval charm reaches its peak in winter. Stroll along cobblestone streets, enjoy Belgian hot chocolate, and let your kids marvel at the fairytale-like surroundings. Visit the Belfry of Bruges for panoramic views, explore the Markt square, and take a boat tour along the picturesque canals. And, when your fingers start going numb, warm up with mugs of Belgian hot chocolate in the historic Craenenburg Cafe.
Grab your free Bruges family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Bruges with kids.
19. Copenhagen, Denmark
The birthplace of hygge, Copenhagen is inviting in winter. From Michelin-starred restaurants to the vibrant Tivoli Gardens, there’s something for every member of the family. Explore the National Aquarium Denmark, enjoy a festive stroll in Nyhavn, and experience the warmth of Danish hospitality at Christmas markets.
Grab your free Copenhagen family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Copenhagen with kids.
20. Rome, Italy
Last topping our kid-friendly European cities is Rome. Rome’s ancient wonders take on a different allure in winter. Explore the Colosseum and Roman Forum without the summer heat, creating a more comfortable experience for young travellers. Visit Vatican City for a unique winter pilgrimage, toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and indulge in seasonal Roman delicacies at local markets. And don’t forget, what Italy is mostly known about! We reckon a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza would be just the thing to cosy up after a brisk walk in the chill.
Grab your free Rome family travel guide for more ideas on what to do when in Rome with kids.
Whether you’re drawn to the snowy landscapes of Scandinavia or the mild winters of the Mediterranean, these 20 kid-friendly European cities promise a winter escape filled with joy, adventure, and unforgettable family moments. So, bundle up, grab a mug of hot chocolate, and enjoy your magical winter holiday at any of these kid-friendly European cities.