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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Which European cities are good for family trips?

Which European cities do you think are kid-friendly? We're daydreaming about pinching our pennies and possibly taking Toby to Europe this summer (he'll be two!), and I'd love to find a city that would be great with a little rascal in tow.

Which cities in Europe would you recommend for a family trip? Yolanda wrote a brilliant guide to Paris with kids, and Louisa Kamps wrote a beautiful essay on a family trip to Amsterdam. Thank you SO much for any insights! xoxo

(Photo of Berlin by Travel & Leisure)

339 comments:

1 – 200 of 339   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

You could ride bikes all over Amsterdam and it is super flat.

Elizabeth Jaime said...

If you want to go to a big city, I'd suggest Paris (metro!). However, my sister in law just took her small children to a small town in the south of france. She loved that they were able to rome the farm land, experience swimming in the rivers and just taking in all that nature in Europe has to offer. The kids don't stop talking about the gypsy kids that swam with them in the river!

x Elizabeth of Thompson & Prince

Elizabeth Jaime said...

Roam* Obviously I am thinking about ROME!

Fi said...

London is great for kids, but perhaps give it a miss this summer as it will be horribly expensive with the Olympics coming up.

Fancy Pants said...

It's not somewhere you'd want to stay for the entire trip probably, but Bernkastel-Kues Germany is a beautiful family friendly wonderland. Here is some info about it from a trip I took (my friends had their two year old twins there for a month this summer and they had run of the town!!): http://cookslikeshetalks.blogspot.com/2010/11/germany.html

Amie L. said...

We took our daughter to Amsterdam when she was 13 months and had a blast. Italy would be great- gelato! Paris with the ferris wheel. I think you could go anywhere. Pick a spot you want to go to and then just look up good kiddy activities for ideas. We are thinking about a France trip soon with our now 2 year old and 3 month old and I think the pastries alone will make it doable.

Emily H. Arent said...

Joanna, you should take Toby to Copenhagen! It's an unbelievably charming city! I lived there for a year and a half, and I love it because it's totally cosmopolitan but it's really not that big. You can easily bike anywhere you want to go :)

You could rent a cargo bike, and Alex could pedal you and Toby around town! There are also plenty of super chic and inventive playgrounds, give them a google! And the harbor baths at Islandsbrygge and Amagerstrandpark are the pinnacle of Danish family summer.

And don't forget, Copenhagen is home to the #1 restaurant in the world at the moment (Noma) and the shopping is drool-worthy (danish design!!) so there would be plenty for you and Alex to enjoy as well!

Anonymous said...

definitely one of the scandinavian countries like sweden or denmark with lots of parks, kid-friendly museums, libraries, shops. even tramps/buses with easy access for your stroller.

sarahlynnstern said...

My in-laws have told me all about taking their 3 kids to Florence and Tuscany when their youngest son was a baby. They said it was wonderful and everyone loved the "bambino" so much, that they got treated wonderfully everywhere they went, with extra food at restaurants and extra gelato and lot's of fun attention. I can't wait to go there with our daughter-to-be one day!

Fancy Pants said...

I should also mention it's just 45 min from Luxembourg, about an hour from Frankfurt and very close to many other fun attractions:)

Katherine Summers said...

Copenhagen is everyone-friendly! Danes just about all speak English (so there's no communication trouble for your kids). It's highly, highly walkable and very bikable, and the public transit is super-modern, so if you do need to take the "S-tog," that's fun in and of itself. The pastries are amazing. There are great museums, a couple of castles, and lots of open public spaces and some gorgeous parks. Plus, canal tours and the Little Mermaid! What's not to love?

Erin said...

I'm going to Brussels, Bruges, and Paris in May (second time to Paris) but have no little ones to take with. I'll let you know if Brussels and/or Bruges seem like kid-friendly cities. I bet any European city is kid-friendly. You'd be doing Toby a huge gift by taking him abroad! Give him the travel-bug while he's young :)

Giulia said...

Your little guy still uses a stroller so you should be fine in any European city. Our daughter is four and our son is three - we are skipping Europe b/c they are not in a stroller and not used to walking long distances in a large city. We'll be going a little later. We did go to Switzerland with our daughter when she was little and it was a blast.

Simone said...

I live in London and I do think it's pretty child friendly.

However, so many friends say that Barcelona is the most friendly European city & it does have a great reputation.

Rome is very compact & easy to get around with a little one.

Happy planning :)

megan said...

We went to Ireland last year - our son was just almost two so we didn't have to pay for the extra ticket (yay!). We met my parents over there, too - which meant that we got to go out a few nights while my parents stayed in (score!). It was tons of fun. I was adamant not to rent a car - which made it more challenging but still doable. We used trains and buses. From Kinsale back to Dublin we rented a car - I drove and it was harrowing! The trip was a blast however! Ireland is great!

ariane said...

I just returned from living in Berlin for a few months and it was incredible. I don't have kids but I thought it would be a great place for them. There are parks literally everywhere and they're all directed at specific ages. Their parks usually have ping pong tables (BYO paddles) trampolines and small climbing walls. Though it's just past christmas is a great time, they have little markts everywhere with rides, santas, gift and food stalls. Cafes and restraunts are so kid and parent friendly too and museums are very inclusive to english children too!
Stay in Prenzlauerberg for lots of parks, cafes, and galleries/studios.

Eden said...

My husband and I loved Slovenia. Ljubljana was a clean, quiet city with a lot of kid and family activities. From here you can travel to Lake Bled. The Julian alps are beautiful. A lot of our guide books neglected Slovenia, but we loved it. We would definitely go back with kids someday and do more exploring!

yocheved zivar said...

i lived in berlin for a year and kreuzberg and prenzelberg and both super child friendly.. lovely little babies at many of the cafes and markets.

www.freeladydiaries.blogspot.com

Ida Thue said...

Copenhagen for sure! You can bike everywhere. It's incredible safe. Cosmopolitan, yet small and manageable. And oh so charming!

Ps: I'm Danish and very biased. But still, it really is worth visiting!

Mira said...

I've heard that Barcelona is very kid-friendly. We're planning on testing its reputation later this year, with our daughter who's due in March. :)

Stella said...

Stockholm! if the weather is nice there are beaches in the city, plenty or playgrounds and the city itself is very kid-friendly. parent+stroller rides for free on the bus too!

Patricia Villamil said...

copenhagen and hamburg and my favorite barcelona!

jess said...

We lve in London with our 5 yr old boy and I could gve you some great kiddie tips if youre coming here... However we went to stockholm last summer, without the boy, but though of him the whole time as it is super child friendly. We are taking him with us this summer and going to Barcelona! Good advice already posted 'cghoose where you want to go first and then seek out kidie things'. Most cities in europe will be child friendly. Its he eveneings that are tricky with a little one. Amazing blog btw!

betta said...

Hi Jo!

I'm from Barcelona, so I obviously would recommend it, but when my son was 4 I took him to Rome (just the two of us). I must tell you it's impossible to push a city stroller in the stone paved ruins, but you could solve it with a trekking one. The best thing about Rome, though, was a book called "I bambini a la scoperta di Roma". There, you could find small scavenger hunts for them in the major attractions. We had fun! Here I have a link to it, and I think I was able to buy it in english too.

http://www.lafeltrinelli.it/products/9788878741416/I_bambini_alla_scoperta_di_Roma/Rosaria_Punzi.html

Alys said...

All of them are fine as long as you don't go to the wrong areas, e.g. the red light district of Soho in London

Narinan said...

Hi there, such a nice blog! I just saw it via Miss Moss and your great sandwich.

I live in Barcelona, it's a nice city and very easy goin for kids. I also lived in Antwerp. I found Belgium and Holland two very nice countries for kids. There are beautiful restaurants with amazing kids corners, a kid's dream like tree houses, etc. You just wauld like to be a kid again when you see that. I only saw it in those countries.

Good luck and thanks for sharing!!

kenneth

Anonymous said...

Antwerp in Belgium is lovely, very compact and interesting with fashion, history and lots of yummy food! or canterbury in uk, Venice in Italy is magical and the Italians love a bambino! Xx

Franziska said...

Oh, but Bern of course!!! :D

Do come to Switzerland's cozy and small capital complete with a gorgeous green river to swim in right in the city, lots of chocolate, a rose garden with a view to die for, a UNESCO protected old town, a bear park, awesome gelato, desserts, fresh food and lots and lots of lovely people.

http://fffleur-de-lys.blogspot.com/2012/02/unterwegs-in-bern.html

Aaaaand... even your husbands paper, the NY Times thinks so:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/travel/36-hours-in-bern-switzerland.html

Totally unbiased greetings from... Bern!

smiles, Franziska

Charmaine said...

Personally, I would suggest London! There are lots of kid friendly spaces like the Science Museum, and London is a nice mix of old and modern.

Also, the British south coast is perfect for children. While London is expensive, the rest of the UK is surprisingly affordable. Places like Bath, and the Cornwall coast such as New Quay are great for a child-friendly vacation in my opinion.

Ania said...

Can't imagine a children-unfriendly city over this side of the pond so I guess I don't understand your question

{www.heiratnichtausgeschlossen.blogspot.com} said...

You should absolutely come to Munich! It's perfect for kids (I can tell now with my twin boys).
There are mountains for hiking, reachable within an hour, you can go swimming in the lakes around Munich and in the city itself are many green parks. The 'Englische Garten' is one of the biggest city parks in the world. Not to forget pick nicks in the beer gardens.
In Poing near Munich you can feed and cuddle deer and beavers and little pigs... I really love it there. You can see impressions on the blog plus many more from Munich city and around.

If you visit, let me know! :-)

Claudia said...

copenhagen, all the way. My boyfriend and I just went there this past summer and I remember how kid friendly it was. Lots of carriages outside of restaurants, like you posted about.

Amsterdam would also be really fun, and it's probably cheaper, too.

Nicole Jeannette said...

I'm going to save this info for the future!

Caroline said...

Oslo in the summertime! A lovely city that's perfect for families. I agree about the southern coast of England, too - Brighton is a charming little city with an old-timey pier that kids would love.

Anonymous said...

Germany and Scandinavia are great for kids. Scandinavian restaurants as well as German restaurants usually have seats for children changing tables, microvaves to warm up food... In Sweden it is just normal to take your kid everywhere with you and Germany has a big focus on family-friendly travel, so places where travellers go ( museums, restaurants, trains, hotels...) are prepared for it. Also, both countries are very safe, organised and easy to travel, so there are no unwanted adventures ;-)

Ana Degenaar said...

I definitely think Copenhagen too and surprisingly Barcelona. My father is from there and It's known for being kid friendly apart from all the partying of course.

lynsay said...

Copenhagen is my vote. Tivoli gardens and all the biking. There is a great place called tis-villa-lie and this hotel is great for being on the beach. You an take the train from Copenhagen and be there in a little over an hour. The best part is you can bring a bottle of wine for the adults and sit back and relax.

http://www.helenekilde.com/site/galleri.php

The only downside can be danish summer, which is hit and miss. Last July I was wearing the same outfit as I am wearing in New York today...it was freezing. However I have also seen it sunny and beautiful.

ks said...

Barcelona offers easy access to outdoor culture and the beach...but little ones are literally adored in Rome-Toby would be fussed over by all and the city is mind-numbingly beautiful. Watch Roman Holiday and be inspired!:)

Jennifer said...

I recommend to travel with him right before he turns two, so his plane ticket is still free!

Emily said...

Please go to Vienna!
beautiful, very safe city, delicious food, so much to do and so much culture to enjoy. the public transportation is incredibly good and clean.

Natalia said...

Definitely Berlin!!! Cheap, colorful, exiting. Many many Cafes with something called "Spielecke" were the KIds can play while their parents get their coffee. Child friendly and very green in summer. You have to see Berlin once in your life.

Heather in Toronto said...

We took our daughter to Paris for the first time when she was two! It's a wonderful age for travel - our daughter was still small enough that she would sleep in the stroller, and we spent hours pushing the stroller and talking while wandering through all the Parisian neighbourhoods. There are plenty of (clean) playgrounds,toy sailboats you can rent in Luxembourg Gardens, puppet shows, and great kid-friendly food. It's also really easy to rent an apartment, and there are lots of options if you want to pick up some food and cook at "home".

And I echo those who've said Barcelona is great for kids, too. My daughter loved the aquarium and the zoo. It's a bit tricky because they eat so late there, but we found that if we fed our daughter before we went out, she would sit in her stroller and watch the ipod (yes, we're bad parents!) or fall asleep while we were eating.

Of course, I don't think there's a wrong answer to your question. You'll have a great time no matter where you go. While you may not go to every museum or see all the key sites, you'll have different experiences that will be just as (or more) magical. Plus, you'll end up with some amazing photos!

Heather

Clara said...

My boyfriend and I went to Madrid and few years ago and I was surprisingly smitten with the whole city. I had already been to France, Italy, etc... didn't think I would love Spain so much, but I did! The city operates so well (public transport is amazing), people are super friendly, and there's lots of outdoor space- squares and gardens, for little kids to run around. If you go, you must must must visit the Mercado de San Miguel for the most amazing tapas. Can't wait to hear more about your travel plans! xoxo

tamara said...

I don't have a kid and I'm far from doing so, so I may not be on base here, but I would rather go somewhere awesome once I'm old enough to remember and appreciate it (maybe at least five or six). I guess you guys wouldn't want to travel for very long without Toby, but if you're going to save up, maybe it would be more fun to do it when he can create memories from the trip.
Anyway, I went to Barcelona this winter and enjoyed it. I bet a little one would appreciate Gaudi's architecture, plus you could play on the beach one day.
I'll also put in a vote for Slovenia, a small and underrated country. The capital of Ljublijana is sophisticated and has gorgeous architecture and parks. You can take a bus to Piran, a beautiful town on the Adriatic with a very Italian feel. The lake town of Bled is also nearby and Toby would probably like feeding the swans and maybe swimming in the lake.

Tee said...

My vote is for Stockholm. It's clean, efficient, beautiful (lots of water...and the Archepelago), very kid-friendly, the food is great and everyone speaks English. Plus, there is a lot to see and do. I've been lots of places in Europe and this is my fave.

Alie said...

I'd love to know the answer to this question as well - we've got a 15 month old and I've got big dreams of traveling. Please compile the results for us in a post!

Ruth said...

We've no kids, yet. However our last 2 trips to spain left me thinking that they are very laid back about kids. It was common to see a family with strollers hanging in the square @ 11pm. No big deal. Neat, huh? Plus the food is spectacular & cheap. Btw, @ Bell's brewery enjoying the sour brown...out of town from chicago @the moment.

Ruth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I was a single, childless gal when I lived in Spain, but my aunt and uncle took twin 5-year-olds and an infant to Madrid and they had a great time.

mags said...

I've also been thinking of traveling to Europe before my son turns two (before he's longer considered a lap child :) but I'm really scared about a 10hr+ flight with a toddler! Maybe I'm just too chicken??

Meadow said...

I was a kid when we lived in Prague and I liked it :) My sister was even younger.. basically a toddler. We did a lot of walking and took public transport - the trams are fine with kids.

I was in Paris this summer as well as London and I am not sure that the subway/tube is the best way to go with a stroller (the tube scares me and I'm an adult not towing a kid around).

Anonymous said...

Edinburgh, Scotland! Or Madrid, Spain :)

Kate said...

London is very child friendly, but I suppose I'm saying that since I've grown up here. But there are so many things to do and places to go to and exciting galleries to visit- it is hard to get bored, even if you are a very impatient child!

I think Rome is also a pretty kid friendly city, but I don't know it as well. Have fun deciding, I love planning holidays!

www.styleisalwaysfashionable.blogspot.com

Nancy said...

We found Krakow to be very kid-friendly accommodating, especially our hotel!

Kathryn said...

I am currently living in Germany and my sister is brining her 4 & 7 y.o. daughters to visit in June. She is most nervous about the 12 hour flight from SF! I am planning for us to take the train to Paris and spend 5 days in Paris in a rented apartment. We will also do a day trip out to Versailles. Then fly to Munich and spend another 5 days there with trips to Dachau and to Fussen to see the Alps and castles! My nieces are super excited about all the castles! It seems like it will be a hard balance between maximizing my sister's time and making sure the kids are happy. Toby won't remember anything at this age, but he should be fairly easy to travel with. I've seen tourists here with their pre- & teens and I think that would be the hardest age to travel with!

Julia said...

Reykjavik! Iceland is a wonderful family orientated country and there's a lot to do in the capital.

Edinburgh is also great for kids and it's a good base for exploring and taking day trips - so easy to hire a car and drive around Scotland.

Please post the feedback you get, this is a great topic!

Al said...

Cities of Germany, Belgium (Flanders cities are wonderful: Ghent, Antwerp and Brugge. Skip Bruxelles it's ugly, dirty and dangerous) and Netherlands. Amsterdam is great, there is a very big "children culture"... No traffic, children friendly places, a slow lifestyle...
I wouldn't suggest you big cities as Paris, London or Rome (I love them but I wouldn't recommend them until Toby is at least 4 or 5, especially in Summer). In Italy go for Tuscany (all cities) or quiet places in the North (Turin or the lakes, really great). Switzerland is amazing but uberexpensive. I guess also Scandinavia would be nice, but I've never been there.

Source: I am Italian (from Tuscany, near Florence), have been living in Belgium for 2 years and a half, I travel a lot, visit London and Paris at least two or three times a year and my boyfriend lives in Amsterdam XD

Kisses and I hope you and your family will have an amazing trip!

Al

-The Red Dot-

Regula said...

Smaller and not cheap, but a nice city to discover: Zurich in Switzerland. I live here with two kids and it's really a great place for families. Everything is close, so you can easily discover the old district by walking. If you - or your little one - get tired, you jump on a tram and visit the zoo (www.zoo.ch). And if he falls asleep in his stroller, you slightly drive him through a museum or do some shopping under the railtracks (http://www.im-viadukt.ch/)
We have a lake where you can swim, hills you can climb on, nice places for breakfast like this (http://fuerdich.ch/cms/?kafi/fruehstuecke) and if you're done with the city, you are in the mountains in almost no time. Wherever - I'm sure you will have a great time in Europe!

lyndsey said...

T+L also did a kids' guide to Paris:
http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/taking-the-kids-to-paris

(Full disclosure, I work for T+L.)

I was lucky enough to travel to Europe as a kid and I remember loving Venice + Florence (so much gelato!), and all of Germany (the suuuper fast cars on the autobahn were fascinating as a kid).

Rachel said...

I love the Berlin picture - I used to live a few minutes from the Dome and the TV tower!! Sighh....

Speaking of, Berlin is surprisingly kid friendly. This of course depends on the neighborhood a bit, but the most beautiful areas of Mitte (think SoHo) and Prenzlauerberg (the Park Slope) are FULL of kids!! I always felt left out walking without a stroller on the weekends. Tons of little parks, cute stores, lots of walking/biking!!!

Laura D said...

I vote for Reykjavik and Copenhagen too; I also really rate Barcelona. Check out Casa Migdia, a gorgeous boutique guesthouse an hour north of the city and near the sea for the most stunning fun and gorgeous place to take kids ever. The owners have 4 small children. It's my favourite family friendly hotel in the world.

Laura (UK-based family friendly travel expert at www.i-escape.com)

Anonymous said...

I would have to say lisbon, because is my home town, but i would have to say that there are other european capitals more children friendly. Although I think in general all european cities have kids in consideration!!! I Have been to paris, rome, Amsterdam, brussels, Dublin, but as a mother of a todller I've only been to brussels and Amsterdam last december and I found it great and easy to travel/walk around with the baby car and everything!

You're most welcome to lisbon,joanna, i bet you would not regret it... :-) I can give you some guidance to the western european City if you want!

Macacagravaporcima

Jennifer_NJ said...

We have the wanderlust right now as well. Love all these tips. I have 3 ages 13, 9 and 4. Good info. all as we've never been out of the states yet!

Joanna, let us know of the verdict!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I returned from a city break in Amsterdam today. Even though iIt was our first break away from our one year old we kept saying how child friendly it was. The science museum, bike rides, city library, farms and boat rides make it suitable for little ones. There is also lots of food that kids will love e.g. Waffles, pancakes, chocolate sprinkles on toast ... It takes no time to get from place to place and there is a really laid back vibe. As a Londoner, I find that travelling with a stroller is a pain on trains/tubes plus it takes an hour to get anywhere! This Is annoying if your toddler (like ours) likes taking naps in bed rather than the stroller.

Ana Medina said...

Definitely Berlin.

There is even a special guide book called Berlin mit Kind (Berlin with kids)and you can buy it everywhere.

Theresa said...

Berlin!
If cost is any consideration, Berlin is a great place to go. Many other large cities in Europe can be quite expensive, but Berlin is one of the cheapest in Western Europe. It still has tremendous amounts of things to offer. It's also great to go in the summer (usually warm, but not too hot) and it seemed very kids friendly (though I don't have kids myself). If you are based in Berlin, you can also add a few days at the coast or another city (e.g. Hamburg is only 90 minutes away by train).
I am originally from Germany (living in CA now), so I may be biased, but having been to many of the cities mentioned, Berlin is definitely one of the more relaxed ones and seems easy to enjoy with kids in tow!

lucinda said...

We are planning a trip to Iceland this summer with our almost 2 year old son. It's somewhere that my husband and I have always wanted to travel to, the flight isn't as long as other destinations and there seems to be lots to do near Reykjavik (and lots of great parks). We'll be renting a house in Reykjavik and mostly taking day trips from there... swimming in the thermal waters, hiking and waterfall viewing.

Mersey said...

My Italian teacher (from Italy) always told me that if you want a good vacation in Italy, bring a baby! They love them!

Anonymous said...

Sweden!

<3 Julia

Diana Trushell said...

I would suggest Venice! The old city is completely pedestrian and when I was there last summer I saw so many parents with toddlers strapped on like backpacks. From Venice you can also take day-trips to the peripheral islands such as Murano (famous for their glass) on little water taxis, but still no worries as to smog or traffic!

xo

LION-TIGER-BEAR.blogspot.com

carley said...

My husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon. While visiting the city of Siena, we saw so many families enjoying the city. In October, the main square (Piazza del Campo) was filled with Italian couples meeting up with friends, and watching their children (very well dressed children I might add) run around with their toddler pals.

At night we saw a young father jogging with his young baby in a stroller whilst singing a lullaby in Italian (likely their version of driving around until the baby falls asleep). The whole time we were there I had "baby fever" (even though I feel that we are likely 3-5 years away from that big step). When we have a child I think our first big trip as a family would be to rent an apartment in Siena for a month and live like locals.

Looking forward to see where you decide to go!

p.s. I showed my friend Diana the "whaa whaa" post with Toby the other day, as it is here fav SNL skit and she laughed big time. A baby doing "debbie downer" definitely not a downer. :)

Benedicte said...

I think the most North you go, the most "kid friendly" the way of life is. For exemple, I absolutely adore Barcelona, but I don't think it's very interesting with little kids (the Spanish have lunch at 4 or 5 p.m and dinner at 11 at night, etc...). Brussels is great (except that you can smoke in cafés, not nice for babies). Italy is nice, though quite expensive (not as much as London) and hot and crowded in the summer. You could make a trip from Paris to Amsterdam, via Bruxelles, Bruges, Antwerpen. It's not far, either by car or by train. Paris-Amsterdam is 500km (more or less 300 miles, I think) and they are all beautiful cities, not too big (except Paris).

rachael said...

Edinburgh! Lots of cheap flights from there to all over Europe. Barcelona is a wonderful city aswell
http://www.edinburghfestivals.co.uk/festivals

Amanda said...

I would say Munich! It is an absolutely gorgeous city with A LOT to look at - which is always fun for the little ones who don't want to hear long historical spiels. I also found that Germans were some of the friendliest among Europe. Also the transit system is completely understandable, even to a non-German speaker! Also nearby is Neuschwanstein which is a GORGEOUS castle that Cinderella's castle was modeled after - real life Disney!

Martha said...

Definitely Copenhagen! When my family went, we didn't see a single crying baby the entire time. Every single baby was happy and clad in adorable striped Scandinavian gear.

Megan said...

Berlin Berlin Berlin! That bridge has free summertime symphonies (incredible and full of happy listeners gathered around) and dancing, there are endless farmer's markets, amazing parks, and great food. Plus, it's pretty cheap in Berlin and the majority of the population is quite young (40 and under). Try Charlottenburg, where the young families mostly live. I adore that city.

Kelley said...

Switzerland!

Mallory Nickels said...

London is a wonderful city to get your feet wet {as far as European travel goes}. There's no language barrier, which can remove a level of stress when you have a child with you. There are TONS of museums chock full of fun things for babies to look at. And you could spend a whole day at Hyde Park, it's huge!

Maryli said...

Cities in Spain! We went to Bilbao and San Sebastien last fall when our son was about 10 months old and it was great! We were able to go to late meals or out for a drink without a problem, and there were always parades and festivals during the day. Everything was laid back and kids were everywhere, but they weren't always the center of attention so we enjoyed an adult type atmosphere.

Krista said...

Edinburgh so far is my favourite for kids. http://www.kristaewert.com/2011/12/edinburghwith-children.html
But that being said, today we went into London and took in the Science museum and Covent Garden and it was a lovely time.

Amy Archer said...

i am from sweden and everywhere there is kid friendly i think, people have babies in buggies all over the place and everyone is so nice. its a beautiful place and i kid you not the air smells like flowers there!

Anabel said...

No one has mentioned Portugal, and from what I understand, it's apparently very kid friendly, and lots of fun. Plus, if you're like me, you don't want to go to a place filled with tourists... Portugal gets overlooked a lot, at least by Americans.

Anonymous said...

Stockholm! Absolutely beautiful!

Not your goddess said...

Well, Reykjavík is a very cool (and safe) place to visit, kids are welcome everywhere and most of the museums have great kid corners where they can play or even make some art themselves.
Copenhagen and Stockholm are pretty cool too, although I haven't been there with kids. I wouldn't recommend London, it's just too crowded.

Anonymous said...

summer in the swedish archipelagos! rent a little house on one of the small islands, and go shopping groceries the nearest ICA. go for a swim with your rowing boat and enjoy the midsommar. stockholm is just around the corner, just take one of the incredibly fast landing ferries that come to almost every island.

Anonymous said...

Munich in Germany! Bike lanes everywhere, AWESOME playgrounds, beergardens, lots of museums, art, galleries, cafés everywhere.. and SO MANY other kids. Also: lakes (Neuschwanstein!) and mountains close by. It is certainly a more expensive city than Berlin, but so much more affordable than Paris, London or Rome. According to Monocle Magazine: the most livable city! Come and see!

xox
lili

Emilie said...

I lived in Zurich, Switzerland for two years and it's probably one of the most kid friendly cities out there. It's beautiful, clean, safe and you can go everywhere on the tram ( they run every 8 minutes) also you can do easy day trips to the Swiss Alps ( beautiful) and other worthwhile cities ( like Bern and Lucerne, and also Zug) from the centrally located train station. I absolutely loved living there, people are very friendly too.

Joy said...

Joanna-- you would love Copenhagen for all the biking, the stylish women, the charm, the city appeal...it's low key and incredibly kid friendly- everyone speaks english so there's no confusion. Toby could run around the tivoli gardens, and don't forget the swans! They are everywhere, and so magestic. Let me know if you want suggestions on where to stay/what neighborhoods to explore. i'd be happy to help! xo

kate said...

i'm always a paris pusher-man, but i had a really amazing trip to spain with my parents growing up: we stayed in barcelona mostly, seeing all the amazing architecture, we took a day trip to figueres to see the dali museum and this toy museum (http://www.mjc.cat/), and we went to the guggenheim in bilbao and spent easter in san sebastian! pretty amazing :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

awww berlin. love that city. i'd say any of the main cities in germany/austria, solely because that's my area of expertise....but then again, i've never navigated them with a child. :)

Rebecca said...

Sweden!
Beautiful parks and museums. Bike rentals. The adorable Astrid Lundgren's World (Pippy Longstocking).
In Stockholm you can ride the bus and metro for free when you have a stroller/pram in tow!

asiajane said...

We brought our first kid to Florence when she was 9 months old. It was great because she was small enough to carry around and the city wasn't too overwhelmingly large.

Ana Simões said...

Lisbon, Lisbon, Lisbon. It's sunny most of the time, it's never too hot or cold; you have amazing beaches (Cascais), romantic castles and woods (Sintra), and a really nice city where children are welcome everywhere. The offer on apartments for vacation-rental is growing and they are usually in the most beautiful neighborhoods - Príncipe Real, Graça, Lapa, Alfama.
Also, people just adore kids over here. They'll talk to Toby even if he doesn't understand them. If you come, you'll all have a blast.

Anonymous said...

One of your biggest challenges in Europe when travelling with kids is hydration, especially if you are there in the warmer months! Public water fountains are rare and the locals will want you to buy small $8 Fanta's or bottles of H2O. Seriously, this is something we take for granted in the States but ends up denting your wallet, especially for longer trips. By all means take your own water bottles and fill them up at sources you trust

Uxue said...

I deeply recomend you San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain. Beautiful town, beaches, more Michelin Star restaurants than any other place in the world, the Pirenees near by, never ending beaches, Bilbao (Guggenheim one hour trip), Biarritz (France) less than one hour (5 hours in train to Paris, one hour by plane), Pamplona (San Fermin fiestas) surf, culture, food, everytnig nearby. Really apropriate for children, children friendly society, one of the most secure cities in the world, ...

dutchdelights.tumblr.com said...

You should definitely come to Holland! And besides Amsterdam you should also visit Utrecht, it's only a 20 minute train ride from Amsterdam, and very pitoresque, less touristy and beautiful! I'm sure you Alex and Toby will have such a 'gezellige'* time here!!

*Dutch word that means fun, cosy, nice and pleasant at the same time

Leah said...

I visited Krakow last year (without kids) and found it my favorite place on my European adventures. There is the largest underground church which Toby would love (he can lick the walls!) and they have a lot of other neat things to do. There is a park that wraps around the entire walled city that is beautiful. You don't need to stay for long though, it's small.

Spencer and Michelle said...

Venice, Italy. Small enough for kids to romp around. St. Mark's Square is a big open area that Toby can chase birds in. It has good food, lots to see and do.

Eleanor LS said...

Copenhagen x100

Great parks, castles, walking and biking is preferred, buses and metros accomodate strollers and are always on time.
There is a cool zoo, but you can actually see the elephants for free from the park in Frederiksberg.
In the summer if it's warm enough you can go to the harbour baths.
You can also go to the Round Tower and get a nice view of the city without being completely tired out and it is very cheap.
And Tivoli tops it all for kids :)

Arielle said...

I'd say go to ICELAND! My sister-in-law is from there, and has shared the beauty of her country with me. It's a beautiful place to visit with lots of things to do. Plus, flights there from NYC are pretty inexpensive, as far as international traveling goes. It's also a pretty short flight. You can bike all around the country, see the beauty of nature (they believe in elves for a reason), and check out the hot springs (I'm sure Toby would get a kick out of them). Also, I think Iceland Air still allows for a 3 day layover to Denmark at no extra charge. I almost did it the last time I went to Denmark, but I just didn't have enough time.

Sally said...

Go to Paris! You could take a picture of Toby outside the hospital where you born. :o)

The Franglaise said...

I live in Paris and I wouldn't say it is a baby friendly city. Kid-friendly maybe, but not baby. That said, if you came here with Toby, you guys would still have a blast! London is super baby and kiddie friendly (e.g. changing tables are mandatory in all restaurants and bars!) but if you'd like some sunshine then I'd suggest Lisbon, Barcelona or the Greek islands. Portuguese/Spaniards are Greeks love kids! Plus, there's the beach in all these places so Toby would adore, as would you and Alex. Good luck with your choice (it's not easy... so many options!). :)

xx

Alex said...

Amsterdam or Edinburgh are so great. Definitely my favorite places I went in Europe this last semester and I would agree they are kid friendly.

Cait said...

The Netherlands is a great place for kids. And because of the public transportation system, it is easy to get around and visit all sorts of places. Rotterdam, where we live, is a bit more industrial than Amsterdam, but it is wonderful and if you use it as your starting point, it's never more than an hour by train to Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht, Delft and Antwerp. All great daytrips.
And if you are into pinching pennies, you could do a house swap. We have a great house in Rotterdam near the train station, complete with a bike with kiddie seat and a toddler bed!

thalassamov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Lisbon, Portugal. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, with a natural light you won't find anywhere in the world.
The weather is great, we have like 260 sunny days per year, amazing beaches, beautiful places in the country (you can't miss Alentejo). Besides that it's a city (and a country) filled with beautiful monuments and history and great places for the kids also (you may want to check this websites:

1) http://www.visitportugal.com/NR/exeres/7C1682B3-B8D4-4B7F-A154-2C7B63461B5A,frameless.htm

2) http://www.golisbon.com/practical-lisbon/family-lisbon.html

3) http://ruk.ca/content/ten-things-do-kids-lisbon


i am sure you will all love!

kiksses from portugal,
Rita Barreto

Eirin said...

We took our 5 month old daughter to Amsterdam, Copehagen, Oslo and Bergen. We found all of them to be very kid and family friendly. One really nice thing about the trains in Europe is that they have family cars with room to park strollers and usually a small play area.

We loved biking around Copehagen and Amsterdam. Norway was lovely but it can be expensive to be there.

Anonymous said...

(oh, and i also must say i have never seen no one here ask for $8 for a bottle of water! unless you will go to, i don't know, maybe a top gourmet restaurant and ask for a premium bootle of water or something like that. that's just insane!)

rita barreto

Daniela said...

Choose the place you want to visit independently of Toby. Once you've made your decision, you'll see that all the cities have something for the kids. I went to Paris with my two sons and it was great. We also rented a house in Burgundy for one week and that worked out really well. We could visit some small towns around, but we also had the option to stay relaxing in the swimming pool. We also went to Italy and to London and it was also good. So, the kids pretty much adapt to what the parents want to do. And then you just find the right balance between activities for the whole family, for the child or for the adults. Europe in general is great for children.

Jenni said...

As a Finn I would have to recommend Helsinki. This year it is the World Design Capital and a lot is going on. It's also very clean and safe, in the summer it's nice and warm AND there's almost no night, it's weirdly light throughout the night. In Helsinki there's a zoo an an island (Korkeasaari), an amusement park (Linnanmäki) and so much more. You can have picnic in Suomenlinna, the ferry to this island in front of Helsinki only takes ten minutes. The city is a jewel, and you may also visit Tallinn while there, it's only 80 kms boat trip away. Hope you have a great time planning your vacation - it's always so much fun!

CCouture said...

Italy loves children, the smaller and cuter and more squirmy and, by American standards, more annoying, the better. Discounts and free stuff everywhere if you have a little bambino -- the more rural and away from Napoli you get, the more it's true. :)

Sara said...

Turkish people love babies and are quite kid friendly, ie if your kid spills food on the floor, its no big deal. There are parks and cobblestone walk ways and ferry boat rides. We loved touring around the city with the kids. We have been there many times.
Madrid - went there when my son was 4. Beautiful, easy city to get around. People seemed to enjoy the presence of kids.
Paris, I suppose it was easy to get around with a toddler. Cant say whether it was kid friendly, only there for 8 hrs.
Amsterdam - the captain of the boat scowled at my children for spilling crumbs on the table. I didn't get the impression that kids were welcome, although we were only there for a 10 hour layover.

Pamela RG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ines said...

Lisbon Lisbon Lisbon - my beautiful hometown! You and your family will love it. The light, the river, the food, the cafes and the people. Check out the NY Times travel section for Lisbon pics and you will be sold :)

xoxoxo Ines

Stella said...

Oh Joanna you HAVE to come to Lyon, it's one of the greatest city in the world ! (and I am not saying that because I live there ! It has the museums, the parcs, the greatest food ever (it's the World's Gastronomy Capital !), the culture, the architecture and the people :)
You should really check this city guide out: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/lyon

Pamela RG said...

Hi, I would travel with my children to London because it has many accessible parks like Hyde Park with its fountains,man made lake and walkways, Green Park and St James Park. There is Regent Park where the London Zoo is located. There are free museums too like the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaurs,sea animals etc and the British Museum to see the Roman, Greek statues plus the Egyptian mummies. There is also the London Acquarium to visit. It will also be fun to watch the Household Cavalry parade with their horses around Buckingham Palace. then when we are all tired and hungry, have a meal at Fortnum And Mason or Laduree at Harrods. Pamela - The Style and Travel Journals

thalassamov said...

The combination of your topic with a picture of Berlin took me by surprise! I couldn't stop laughing...:)))))
Berlin has indeed very much to offer but to a teenager,not a small child.
There are so many countries much more children friendly than Germany! (uni and work have took me to a lot of places in Germany and elsewhere in Europe)

We live in Berlin,I love Berlin but after a friend came with her 2yeared old and her hubby,I realised how difficult the city is with a small child.

Language will be no problem anywhere in western and south Europe.Most people now days speak at least 3 languages,english being usually the 2nd language of an average young European.

I would suggest south France,Greece and its islands,Spain,Italy,Portugal.
People there love children!
Much much better than any northern city in Europe,specially during late spring and summer.
You will have everything:the City Trip, the chance to visit great museums and watch the real new tendencies in european art,ancient monuments,lay in the sun and swimm in the wonderfull Mediterranean. Oh, did I mention the local cuisines and the hospitality?
Need to say more?
:)))))))))))))

Anonymous said...

Italy is very forgiving and understanding for people with kids. You could either do big cities or do a costal town where you could do a mix of relaxing on the beach and seeing cool sights.

Christina said...

Hamburg, Germany. My mother's side of the family lives there and we just took our 6 month old to meet everyone over Christmas. Being the first time I've gone as a new mother, I couldn't help but notice how baby friendly the city was. The public transpo is wonderful and has reserved spots for strollers, there are baby changing /family rooms in most coffee shops and dept stores, stokke high chairs in many of the cafes and young families everywhere.

Plus, the city itself is absolutely beautiful, walkable, with unique neighborhoods, a beautiful inner lake with sailing and boat rides, the symphony, amazing architecture, and you can easily hop a train to the Baltic Sea, North Sea, Lubeck or Berlin-- all great day or overnight trips.

xo

Nataly D. said...

Please Joanna do NOT consider Venice! Impossible to navigate all the bridges and ferries comfortably with a stroller. Rome neither, hard to visit the ruins with a stroller. I would recommend any Scandinavian country, Portugal is great too, any beach cities such as along the Mediterranean in the south of France or Spain, lastly the big cities are of course well set up for families, such as Paris, London, etc. I've traveled extensively through Europe, hope this helps.

jordan elizabeth. said...

Normally, I would say London because of its extremely efficient and clean public transportation, all of the fantastic parks, and the history. As someone already mentioned, it may be a little much with the Olympics, though.

I would recommend going up to the Peak District. It's beautiful, and there are so many gorgeous places (and castles!) to visit.

Molly said...

none. any trip with a toddler and significant time change = hell on earth. by the time your kid(s) get adjusted it will be time to go home.

Eva B. said...

Italians LOVE children! We were there in October, and there were kids all over Venice, and all the Italians were mooning over them, it really made me encouraged about traveling with babies, as before I considered it off limits... Rome was great too for that, but I just liked Venice better in general... ONLY thing is- the stairs up and down the canals are NOT stroller friendly! I agree with the Paris idea too, especially after you posted that book about French Parenting... You could check it out firsthand!!! Awww picniking next to the Eiffel tower with him would be so sweet!

http://www.evabstyle.blogspot.com

Suzanah said...

Hands down . . . Prague! Still uses the Czech Crown, fabulous public transportation and unmatched scenery. The only possible unfriendliness would be cobblestone streets on a stroller, but I have friends there that would let you borrow one of their mongo tire strollers.:)

Ladies Holiday said...

I agree with the Scotland comments. Also there is a great website: ciaobambino.com...great resource!

Unknown said...

Take them to Rome! Italians love babies, and there are lots of places where you can eat outside and not worry about Toby making a mess. Plus, gelato! Pizza! Pasta! Perfect kid food.

Katelyn said...

I would imagine pretty much all of them! I suppose as long as you do your research. All cities are full of people, and a lot of people have kids so they must have some way around figuring out the best spots? Maybe check out some blogs etc? There is a website called "City Daily Photo" where all over the world (but lots in Europe) post a pic a day of their city and some of these bloggers might have some insight?

laco said...

it's not Europe. but Puerta Vallarta, is lovely. there are attractions, music, food, and zoological adventures...and when all else fails, try Savannah, Georgia. half-Europe, half-historic U.S. + amazing food. just sayin...gorgeous!

hello, Friday said...

London or Paris. I always find kid appropriate places where I find joy in. xoxo
http://www.hellohellofriday.com/

Morgan said...

I would suggest really anywhere in Switzerland, especially Lucerne. Absolutely the friendliest and happiest people, a great environment for kiddos! Also Barcelona is sososo fun. xoxo flyfromthehighestswing.blogspot.com

redwhitebride said...

Definitely, Copenhagen!!!

Massiel said...

Istanbul is great! Different, but everyone LOVES kids there, no dirty looks at the cafes :)

KAYLA said...

Any of the Scandinavian countries are great. Norway is amazing and somewhere like Stavanger has everything from museums to all the nature-y stuff. And above all it's absolutely beautiful there.

Heather said...

I would recommend Lucerne as well. My Swiss penpal lives there and we stayed with her a few days last October. Not only is it gorgeous, with the Chapel Bridge, and Mt. Pilatus looking over the lake full of swans, there were so many people with kids! Even the buses, which were super-easy to use, were stroller-friendly; you just push a button and the bus leans over so you can roll the stroller up into the bus more easily. I saw lots of people doing this and thought it was so neat!

audrey marie said...

barcelona! there's a beach and its beautiful. my favorite city.

Kelly said...

I love my Amsterdam so much...Maybe you can take a journey there...

One said...

Last April, we took our two kids (then almost 1 and 2.5) to Europe for five glorious weeks (or, rather, the kids and I were there for 5; hubby could only escape for half that time). We divided our trip between Budapest (where I have family), Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna, and a glorious roadtrip through smaller towns in Croatia and Slovenia. Croatia is AMAZING. I've been all over Europe and lived in Hungary, France and England, but I kinda think Croatia is my favorite. It is insanely beautiful, and has a lot of the charm of Italy while being less developed and more affordable. Hubby and I have done two Croatian roadtrips, one along the Dalmatian Coast before kids and then last year through Istria and the Julian Alps (in Slovenia/Austria). Going from Dubrovnik to Bled to Salzburg would be a dream trip and TOTALLY doable with kids. You'd get beaches, mountains, food AND culture. We really like the roadtrip model -- have a relaxed breakfast on a picturesque hotel patio, strap the kids in to his-and-hers Ergo carriers, explore the city, grab a quick bite and then drive to your next destination during nap time (when we'd otherwise be stuck in the hotel anyway...), arriving for a leisurly dinner. Renting a car means you can leave a lot of your stuff in the trunk, so checking in and out of hotels isn't a big deal.

Here is a quick post about the trip with lots of pictures!
http://www.fivetdsisters.blogspot.com/2011/05/roadtrip.html

Here is some Budapest, which was a blast with the kids, too: http://www.fivetdsisters.blogspot.com/2011/04/all-good-things-must-come-to-end.html

Margaret said...

Berlin!

We had a tour guide talk about how child friendly the city is, particularly the area near Museum Island. It's a high priority for Berlin to grow its population, so there is a lot of support for mothers. Apparently moms will get after you if you jaywalk, for setting a poor example for their children!

http://journeycontrol.blogspot.com/

redfrizzz said...

Florence!

One said...

Also -- I have to agree that Copenhagen is incredibly charming and kid-friendly. BUT it is super-expensive, like anywhere in Scandinavia. I think cost has a big impact on how pleasant it is to travel with kids. Unless, of course, you have an unlimited budget :-)

Heather said...

Edinburgh, Scotland! I'm not sure if anyone has suggest it (I know it's not typical Europe) but having traveled all over Europe it is by far my favorite place! There are so many kid friendly things to do! My sister lived there for the last two years, and has two little boys (now 3 1/2 and a 20month old). I was able to visit twice with my little girl and we had the best time!

Anonymous said...

Copenhagen is a definite must! Kid-friendliest place i've ever been. But i currently live in a small german town called Freiburg, also known as the green capital of the world or something - very eco and kid friendly, in the black forest so amazing hikes, mountain lakes, cabins in the woods etc all around. Plus, all the streets are lined with fresh water streams where the little ones splash around barefoot in the summer... I'm not very objective maybe coz i'm currently loving it but it's a very pretty,sunny, green and friendly little town - you should check it out if it's on your way!

Yohanna said...

Paris might be great!

third room studio said...

We took our almost two year old son to London, Paris and Rome and all were equally lovely. I must say that he received a LOT of positive attention in Rome, people loved him, young and old, and we got a lot of extra attention and service from staff at restaurants and hotels because of him! Having said that, Paris was equally easy with a little one, and so many merry-go-rounds, not to mention running around the lawns of the Eiffel tower.
We are off for 6 weeks to the US next month (from Australia) with him (now four) and our 2 year old daughter. Not easy, but so worth it!

Carol said...

Hi Joanna, I live here in Barcelona for eleven years now. We have a year-old baby and he's very friendly but I would not say Barcelona is very kid-friendly. It's a gorgeous city, and the weather is also great, so if you spend a few days here and a few days at the little villages in the north (in the way to France, there are some very very beautiful), it can be a great trip for Toby. Hope I helped! xoxo

bloggirl said...

Curious to hear how the little one fares on the plane and if you have any tips for long plane rides. Mine is almost two and we're embarking on our first plane ride in March!

http://www.shoppingcuresall.blogspot.com

Carol Rial said...

BTW, Amsterdam is fun and beautiful, Croatia is amazing and cheap, and Scandinavian countries are the most kid-friendly ever! Don't forget that Norway is the best country in the world for motherhood!!

..//..//..//. said...

Istanbul. I live here and friends have visited with young children. They enjoyed the ferry rides, throwing bread to the seagulls, all the colours, smells and tastes of the bazaars. There's also the Princes Islands a ferry ride away, with no traffic, where you can rent bikes and have a picnic. Istanbul is also much cheaper than Western European cities.

Jordy said...

I would love to hire a car (or campervan) and drive around, which gives you freedom to go wherever it is that you want to go. My husband I camped around France and Spain with a brief stopover in Switzerland one summer with the help of the cool camping books (a lot more are available on amazon.co.uk rather than .com) but I noticed that there is now a cool camping with kids, however where we stayed would have been absolutely great with a 2 year old. I should also mention, I normally hate camping, but this was one of the best holidays I've ever had.

nora said...

of course I need to root for my hometowns Hamburg and Berlin. :)

But Stockholm would be great for kids as well. All in all: Sweden. Because it's Astrid Lindgrens home country and she wrote the bestest childrens books!

Anonymous said...

VIENNA all the way! :)

Not only it is the most beautiful city in Europe, but it's also great for children. There are many parks where you can stop for a picnic and the zoo is lovely too. And the food is amazing!

Public transport is safe, cheap, clean and you can use a buggy without having to hassle with stairs (like in the tube in London or the metro in Paris) as there are elevators in every station.

Check here for more infos:
http://www.wien.info/en/vienna-for/families

I admit I am biased as I am from Vienna. I've been to many European capitals and Vienna is definitely one of the most kid-friendly cities!!!

Isabella

anja said...

Why would you go to a city, when you could go to the beach? Or do both in Barcelona, San Sebastian, Biarritz, Nice, Porto, Malaga ...

Anonymous said...

Flat, "cycleable" cities: Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Antwerp (Bruges if you like tourist crowds, or Brussels if you don't mind it a bit quirky and uphill/downhill; it's definitely not dangerous like one of the comments says, been living here for 6 years; oh, and there are lots of lovely baby and kid boutiques where you can bust your travel budget on those unique pieces; and let's not forget superb beers and cheeses of Belgium :-)

Away from tourist crowds and Europe cliches: any country in Central/Eastern Europe. Of course I'd suggest Slovenia (my home country) if you like smaller towns, unspoiled nature, any outdoor sport, great but inexpensive wines, top-notch spas (kid-friendly) for a low price... For the true Mediterranean, try Croatian islands...

Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

Hi Jo! We took our 2 small children to Paris Ireland and Malaysia last June and looooved it!! Blogged about it loads starting here:
http://www.thebokflock.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/bonjour-pardon-moi-ma-francais-est-tres.html
France was perfect, we went to Paris and then drove around the Loire and through Dijon and Champagne. We drive around Northern Ireland too and chilled on a beach in Malaysia on the way home.

Our kids were 2 and 6 and they had a ball! I vote France.

Fran said...

We're an American family and just moved to Vienna two months ago. We have a 4 month old and a 4 year old and I'm pleasantly surprised at how kid friendly Vienna is. There is so much to do and it was voted the second best city in terms of quality of life. Getting around the city is super easy and caters towards families. Metros (U-Banhs) have elevators so taking a pram on the metro is a no problem at all. All public transportation has been designed w/families in mind.

Last weekend, we just went to Wien's eistraum (an amazing outdoor skating area w/over 1KM of skating rinks) and in the summer, the city boasts tons of parks, lakes, swimming pools, etc. We live in the 6th district (a very hip and central area of Vienna - Gumpendorferstr.) and we have 3 playgrounds in walking distance around us, the open air market (naschmarkt) is a block away.

Anyway, here is a great resource to see what types of activities you can do as a family...
http://www.wien.info/en/vienna-for/families

Our post on the iceskating: http://greenstreetblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/gruss-gott-weeks-4-5.html

Good luck with your decision!

Lisa said...

I think I can endorse Berlin! There are *so* many young families in Berlin, especially around Prenzlauer Berg (it's a pretty yuppie scene, but not overly expensive, especially compared to NYC). Despite Berliners' reputation in Germany for being rude a-holes (without good reason), it's lovely in the summer and chock full of cafes where you can chill for hours - with a little guy in tow.

Anonymous said...

I live in Copenhagen with our 1 year old son and would agree that it is very, very baby friendly. There are tons of free indoor and outdoor play places, great kids museums, summer puppet shows in the park, swimming, easy bicycling, parks with toys for kids, a nice zoo, and great libraries for both adults and kids.

We spent Christmas in Italy with my son and, while the Italians definitely treated our baby like he was one of the family, the rest of the trip was difficult. We had to carry him in the Ergo because the streets eat up a stroller (not the end of the world) and there are no changing tables, playgrounds or high chairs to be found in Rome. All things you can work around obviously, but don't make traveling easy.

Naja said...

Copenhagen is beautiful and very family friendly. I'm danish but my husband is american and we live in Copenhagen. All of our family and friends who have come to vist from the States, have loved the city. I would agree though that it can be a bit expensive to stay here. I would suggest that you look into swapping an apartment with someone here, it's cheap and you get a better sense of how people live here. I would be more than happy to help you out :-) Good luck woth your travel plans.

Francesca said...

i would heartily recommend san sebastian in northern spain joanna. there's a beach - 2 beaches actually, one with a playground on it. amazing tapas so you can eat early and don't have to wait for the restaurants which can open late, a carousel, beautiful plazas to run around in, shopping, a gorgeous funicular railway with a little funfair at the top, bike paths and 45 mins from bilbao and the amazing guggenheim. all surrounded by beautiful scenery and architecture. it's pretty much perfect for any age. x

Aditha said...

Paris, of course and BRUXELLES (I love Bruxelles) ! Great, great city with a lot of green places, some nice museums to visit (even for children !) and a lot a events for families, great cafés to eat a big lemon waffle. Sounds great isn't it ?

Guðrún Helga E. said...

I would say Reykjavik or Copenhagen. Both of these cities have lot to offer for families with children.

annie said...

I agree with Amsterdam because it is friendly and easy going and the food is great for little people. Anywhere in Italy - constant diversion, friendly faces, welcoming and plenty of icecream. Barcelona would be good too. All you need to remember is that kids are all-inclusive in European family life but also expected not to run about screaming their heads off in restaurants. I've travelled plenty with my kids when they were little and only France was a bit disappointing.
Warning: high chairs not as frequent as you might think but he should be OK at 2.
Enjoy!

Isabelle said...

Vienna is just wonderful !! Full of parks, lots of delicious pastries and hot chocolate ;), fairy-tales castles, delightful people, a wonderful kids-museum...

Fenke said...

berlin - broad streets and sidewalks, lots of playgrounds and other families everywhere. (though mitte is a bit too crowded.) the same is for copenhagen and amsterdam - everything can be reached in walking distance, they are pretty flat and you can easily borrow bikes.

(btw, word affirmation is: "dudest place," :-))

Charlotte said...

Stockholm! Big enough to have lots of things to do and see, but small enough to get around easily. Plus it's super beautiful and has a feeling of harmony to it.

H* said...

hi from Spain! obviously I'm gonna hardly recomend my country, it's full of beautiful cities to visit.

Considering you're travelling with a toddler I will not recomend the south of Spain because is pretty pretty hot.

I'm from Barcelona and here you can find many different things : beach, culture, museums and in summer is full of activities for kids. You can visit La Pedrera, La Sagrada Familia by Gaudí, CosmoCaixa (Toby will love it), el Tibidabo (an amusement park), we also have the harbor with old ships that you can visit, the Guell Park...

The difference between Barcelona and other cities in Spain is that is quite a big city but more an European city than a tipical Spanish one. From here you're so near to Port Aventura, Figueres-with the Dali museum, la Costa Brava- the most beautiful beaches in Spain. And also so close to the south of France.

Good food, nice weather... anything you can ask for in a summer holidays



In Europe... I will not recomend Rome- too noisy, too stressful.

Bruges is such a beautiful city but too small, in 2 days you will not have nothing more to do.

Cities in the north of Europe like Copenhagen, Stockholm... are beautiful, but way too cold even in summer!


Kisses

Liliana Costa said...

Well, it really depends on the budget. I think que majority of the european cities are quite nice to take the kids. Paris, London, Barcelona, Lisbon (and the south of Portugal as well).
In Paris because it's a lovely city for both Parents and Kids (Disney is a really nice place for them, Versailles as well because of the gardens).
London is really all the gardens in the middle of the city, walk with them near the river, Madame Toussauds museum.
I would say Algarve as well *Portugal* because it's a really nice place to rest. There are lots of places where the kids have places to run and play safely. It's a safe country on its own anyway.
Love Barcelona and Seville but actually I don't know what they have for the kids

Sissi van V. said...

oh, I think any city in Europe is fine to travel with kids, it's more about it what you want from your trip. Like...In Paris there is nice playgrounds for kids also near of the Eiffel but travelling with metro is painful if you have a buggy with you...I live near Amsterdam and it's okei too with small kids but have to figure it out before hand where to go. I'm originally from Finland and Helsinki is very good city to travel with kids, lot of space and nature near there where it is anyway happening... and safe. I have been almost in every capital city in A Modern side of Europe with small kids and liked it:)

Sandra DK said...

Joanna - you guys have to go to Copenhagen ... or somewhere else in Denmark!
It is soo family friendly and easy to get around in (both via train, metro, bike and by feet). Denmark is the worlds oldest kingdom and we have some AMAZING castles here and the city is full of history! Also Denmark is the home of Hans Christian Andersen and you can jump on a train to Fyn and see his childhood home in Odense (it will be a 1½ hour train ride where you will see the beautiful Danish nature and small cities on the way). You can also take the train to Sweden and have a wonderful day in Malmö with seightseeing and shopping. And then yes, you have Tivoli in Copenhagen (which I think may be one of the worlds oldest parks) - it's such an amazing place and each Friday during the summer there is "Fredags Rock" (Friday Rock) where more or less famous bands/artists play for free - e.g. I saw Gavin Degraw at one time! AND Toby will LOVE it too! Oh and yes, you can go see Louisiana Museum (http://www.louisiana.dk/dk/Service+Menu+Right/English) which is just so wonderful both inside and outside! And then of cause you can go shopping at "Strøget" where there is tons of great stores with the best of the best of Scandinavian design goods! OH how I hope you guys choose Denmark as the place for your little family adventure! You will NOT be disappointed! Hope to see you here!
Best,
Sandra

Carol said...

Paris it's always charming and romantic place My favor .....

Aurelia said...

The best city is VIENNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In summer there are a lot of funny, beautiful, exciting and amazing things to do with your kids, like......
http://www.venere.com/blog/vienna-with-kids/
http://www.citykids.at/
http://www.sacher.com/en-vienna-children.htm
and so much more!

xo Aurelia

Marta said...

I´m living in the North Coast of Spain, and I think that San Sebastian (Donosti)is a very nice town to visit with kids (I´ve got a 3 years old boy).
A lot of beaches, a very big aquarium, cycle lane in the whole town and pintxos!!!!
http://www.tripadvisor.es/LocationPhotos-g187457-San_Sebastian_Donostia_Guipuzcoa_Province_Basque_Country.html
If you have any question, just tell me! mcastro@bodegasolabarri.com

AK. said...

I say Vilnius, Lithuania! People don't know much about it, but it's one of the greenest of the former Eastern bloc capitals:)
more you can find here:
http://travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/europe/lithuania/vilnius/overview.html

Moonlight said...

I don't think he will be really happy about this...
Generally I don't know anyone who was taken to a beautiful vacation at that age and be grateful about it!
Since he won't remember anything, I don't think it will really matter...

Isabel Leicht said...

I would love to suggest my hometown, Munich, with its beautiful park the "englischer garten" (even bigger than ny central park!) - but honestly, with a kid in tow, you should visit any city in spain or italy. The people there are absolutely kiddo-fanatic, no matter if the little ones are running around in a high-end-restaurant in Spain ore eating ice cream with their parents 'round midnight at the "corso" of an italian city. if you're with kids, south europe is the place to be!

Anonymous said...

Difficult to choose. I think almost all the cities Ive visited are kid friendly. I belive that you should make your decision depending on the time of the year you are coming to Europe -in summer, you'd better avoid south Europe (I'm from Barcelona and live in Madrid but the weather in summer can be really asfixiating!) if you are not going to the beach!-and how long are you planning to stay!

I loved Berlin and I'm sure it is kids friendly! The weather in summer is great and it is not a BIG city such as Paris or London! Prague is aslo great, one of the most beautiful cities I have visited...

katrin said...

Helsinki! Especially for kids. I loved seeing tiny little ones navigate the great (and varied) public transport so independently. The plentiful parks and tiny islands on the archipelago are an absolute joy in the sun. Plus, it's World Design Capital this year.

sirius said...

I live in Paris and love it but here is my advice : chose anywhere in Italy, children are loved there ! Country of gelati and easy-going everyday life... Amsterdam is also nice with a kid.

sirius said...

I forgot to add : not London, I mean not this summer with the Olympic Games coming !

Anonymous said...

Vienna!!! Think horse-drawn carriages, the oldest (and undoubtedly most beautiful) zoo in the world, the giant ferris wheel in the Prater, lots of parks and playgrounds, the Danube Island recreational area... not to mention lovely cakes, wine and food aplenty!

Anonymous said...

brussels is NOT ugly, dirty and dangerous! it's cosmopolitan, extermily diverse and with plenty of things to do including great stuff for kids: parks, chocolate, comic strip routes, lots of family-focused activities in museums, and that's just the start of the list!

Anonymous said...

Try Lisbon in Portugal. Just as child-friendly as Spain and Italy and a lot cheaper.

You will need a stroller but you can literally walk anywhere. A bridge like San Francisco's Golden Gate (same constructor), trams like San Francisco, a small but very modern underground system, restaurants in every corner that will cater for your baby if you ask for a soup to be blitzed in the blender or a half portion; fresh fish, old buildings, a castle on a hill, lots of sun, cobbled streets... makes me want to go back!

Clari said...

Hi Joanna,
My husband and I are planning a travel in NYC in may with our son (he will just be 1 year old). It will be so great if you could so a 'NY city guide with kids'... I am sure you have good recommandations to share with us!
For your trip this summer, I think a lot of cities in Europe are kids-friendly. Except perhaps the southern cities wich can be very hot during summer (but perfect in springtime). We live in France (Lyon) and think to travel to Stockholm next summer, of course with our boy! It seems to be a beautiful city and the weather seems sweet during summer.

Bisous
Clari

Lilac In May said...

I'd say here in London but it's going to be kinda busy this summer!

Bilbao! We stayed in a great family hotel, lots of new investment on the water front, the Guggenheim was amazing, and the most fabulous architecture and old town.

Also Geneva is fab, lakes, boats, bikes, mountains, markets, cathedrals, play parks (Signel de Bougy is da bomb for toddlers)

Barbara said...

B A R C E L O N A.
I live here with my husband (he's from Barcelona, I'm both french and italian) and our 3 years old son.
If you decide to come to Barcelona, I could write you down some places to go with kids.

Miss M said...

I wrote a guide to Munich, Germany. You can find it here:
http://babyccinokids.com/category/weekend%20getaways/
There are more city guides for other European cities.

Enjoy reading and if you decide to come to Munich, feel free to contact me and ask anything you would like to know.

I love your blog by the way.
xo

Anonymous said...

No question - Stockholm... I've lived in Europe and Asia - my daughter was born in Paris. She has visited over 25 countries and she is 3.5 years old. Think Cambodia, Vietnam, Bulgaria, UK, Australia, the list goes on and is quite diverse. Out of all of the places we have been, Stockholm (and the surrounding archipelago) is absolutely the most beautiful, pristine, kid friendly and quintessential summer destination :).

Darth Vaner said...

Hello! I'm from Granada (southern Spain) and I recommend you come to my city.

It has many monuments to visit. Very famous is the Alhambra, for example, or the Monastery of La Cartuja, the Mirador de San Nicolas (Clinton said there had seen the most beautiful sunsets in the world and was one of the favorite places of Joe Strummel) and Royal Chapel (where are buried the Catholic Monarchs).

There are streets where it seems you are in Morocco and others are typically European, many cultures intermingle in this city.

We also have a Science Park, where there is a section for children where they have lots of fun and learn.

It is a small town where you can walk to everywhere.

They are very famous "tapas": each drink is served with a plate of food for only 2 euros (there are even places where it is cheaper), so you can fill your stomach for 5 or 6 euros and try different foods (Japanese, Mexican , Spanish, Swedish, moroccan, etc.)

It is true that in summer it is hot, the temperature around 35 º C, but in half an hour you can reach Sierra Nevada or the beach, everything is close here!
It would be better to travel in spring, when there is still snow in the Sierra Nevada and you can enjoy a day at the beach on the same day!

Wherever you go, enjoy! in Europe there are many beautiful cities and we all like children.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Joanna. I'm an American who has lived in Brussels for the past 10 years. We have 2 children (7 and almost 9) and have travelled extensively with them in Europe. I would be pleased to share with you what I've learned and give you some suggestions, which I fear are too long for a comment. Feel free to email me (katherine_raab@hotmail.com).

miss leeloo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobby said...

Personally, having passed through Amsterdam before, I got the impression that there a lot of weirdos there. It's a beautiful city, but also contains a whole lot of people who go to smoke drugs, have sex... etc.. definitely not the most family-friendly city in Europe. Head to Spain - Madrid, Barcelona, Cordoba, Granada, etc - or Italy - Rome, Venice, Milan, Pisa.. that's my advice!

miss leeloo said...

Hi Jo,
Although I don't have kids, I've lived in various European cities and I would say the smaller cities such as Barcelona, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Florence, Copenhagen, Antwerp are easier to navigate with kids as you can walk them (or cycle) and really visit them, without being left with the sensation you've only seen 1/10th of the city (as you would in London, Paris, Rome, etc...). Nordic countries are super child friendly, too.
Enjoy planning the holiday!
miss leeloo

The Blog said...

We have travelled with our 11 month old son a lot and I would recommed these cities:

Helsinki (oops my home town). Small, convinient, packed and this year also the worls design capital. On summer a lot of events, great archipelago, sea and lot to wonder around. For kids, mini beaches on islands, small old amusement park, and outdoors.

Stockholm or copenhagen. Read helsinki but supersize it with trendy swedes.

Munich or Amsterdam. A very family frendly places. Big city and lot to see.

Anna said...

I would say rome! :)
or some scandinavian city, like stockholm or kopenhagen.

Isabelle said...

Anywhere in Italy is great... but not in July-August
Venice, Rome, Florence can get super crowded and amazingly hot which is a bit though for little ones. But in the spring or september it is perfect !

Anonymous said...

You must enjoy a road trip through southernSpain!!perfect for children and no so children,you will love food,landscapes,charming villages,take a peek of Granada,Jaén,Cádiz in internet!!you will fall in love!!!

Marie said...

Joining the COPENHAGEN choir! Please come by our wonderful little city. I's perfect for kids and adults. I know youre curious, why don't you give Toby a shot at the outdoor napping concept weve got going here? :-)
Read more here: http://www.luvaville.com/travel-with-kids/copenhagen
...and feel fre to contact me personally for tips and questions (I live in the city center with two little girls).

Regan said...

As a nature loving expat, I would say Switzerland.

Switzerland has it all: sweet, family friendly, walkable, metropolitan cities (Bern and Lucerne) and AMAZING mountain / lakeside hiking trails in the summer (Grindelwald). Plus the trains are hands down the most reliable of any euro country. If you have extra time, scoot down to the lakes in northern Italy (Lugano). The landscape is breathtaking, people are kind and food is divine. Its a quintessential European vacation without all the stress of places you need to see and be and go...

Sorry to say, but after living in Germany for the last few years I would not recommend it for a young family trip. In general, people will not be very willing to go out of their way to help with train tickets, language gaps, directions, etc.

I write a bit about our travels at my blog: Anarchitectress.blogspot if you're interested. Cheers.

Cecilia said...

If you like Scandinavia you could combine Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmoe (Malmö, Sweden) that are linked together by a bridge. The train to both cities stops at Copenhagen airport Kastrup and you get to the cities or the beautiful country side in no time. There are great beaches and wonderful things to see in the Falsterbo-are, south of Malmoe.

I also think that Stockholm is the next best city in Scandinavia (after Copenhagen).

Scandinavia is child friendly, beautiful and a big contrast to the States.

Hope to read about your visit to Europe, and Scandinavia! :) If you go here, you could contact me to get loads of tips!

Anonymous said...

You shoud think about going to Porto (Oporto) in Portugal. It is a really beautiful city that has a mixture of country side and big city. You have many beaches, several monuments and it is great for kids! Besides, it is not very expensive and the food is amazing!!!
You see artists, fashion stores and most important of all: people there are very friendly. It feels like you have always been part of their family :)
Also, if you do not want to spend your time in just one city, you have many transports there and even cheap (very cheap) direct flights to other places like London, Paris, Amsterdam...
Give it a try, you will love it.

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