VACATION IDEAS

10 Most Family-Friendly Cities in Europe

From peerless parks to hands-on-museums and refreshingly affordable food, these major European cities all say "welcome!" to families with children.

WHERE TO EAT

Don't miss the Sunday roast or anyday fare at a local pub like The Marksman or The Engineer. If you need a taste of home (but better), GBK (Gourmet Burger Kitchen) has several locations where you can get your burger on any way you like—from buffalo to veggie and everything in between.

ROME

Gladiators meet gelato in this city of ancient history and modern cuisine. The locals love kids, and they love food. Need we say more?

WHAT TO DO

No family trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum and the pious will want to pop in on the Pope and visit the Vatican. Keep your shoulders covered and hold onto your hat as you look up at Michelangelo's masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Splash in the Trevi Fountain, climb the Spanish Steps, and enjoy a gelato in one of the city's many central piazzas.

Pizza is plentiful but if you want an insider's look at the Rome's food scene, take one of Elizabeth Minchilli's food tours. In case one gelato just isn't enough, she offers a two-hour all-gelato tour that's a favorite with the junior set.

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a day trip to Ostia Antica. Once Rome's harbor city, it's now a maze of ruins that evokes Pompeii, providing ample wandering of ancient alleys and passageways. Spend an afternoon exploring the remnant rooftops, storefronts and latrines—which kids of all ages always get a kick out of.

WHERE TO STAY

The Residence Barberini has spacious rooms by Roman standards and is walking distance to many attractions including the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain.

WHERE TO EAT

For the best carbonara in town, go where the locals go: Perilli in the Testaccioa neighborhood. For a great lunch after a morning of sightseeing, go to Nerone and try to nab an outdoor table with a view of the Colosseum. (Via delle Terme di Tito, 96, 011/39-06 481 7952)

MUNICH

Munich's motto is München mag dich ("Munich loves you") and indeed it does. There's something for everyone in this Bavarian capital where handcrafted toys are as plentiful as hand-crafted beers.

WHAT TO DO

Start your day at Marienplatz, the central square in Munich's Old Town. Secure a spot in front of Neues Rathaus, the New Town Hall, to see the 100+ year-old Glockenspiel chime daily at 11:00 and 12:00. After that, visit the Toy Museum in the other clock tower, the Old Town Hall. For a more hands-on experience, walk over to Munich's biggest toy store, Obletter Spielwarne in Karlsplatz square or visit Kids Kingdom in Deutsches Museum; one of the biggest, oldest science and technology museums in the world, it offers over 1,000 kid-friendly activities.

The Munich Zoo, Tierpark Hellabrunn, is spread over 89 sprawling acres and offers kid-pleasing pony and camel rides in the summer and a penguin parade in winter. If you believe in "happily ever after," don't miss the German "fairy tale route", especially Neuschwanstein Castle, said to be the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty.

WHERE TO STAY

The Stollberg Plaza Hotel has a fun vibe, spacious rooms, perfect location, and welcomes families. 

WHERE TO EAT

When in Munich... bring the kids to the beer garden!  At Viktualienmarkt, Munich's Farmer's Market, you can sample sausages and more before settling in at the central beer garden to wash it all down. For the true beer garden experience, head to Hirschgarten for the best of Bavarian beers, sausages, potato salad, pretzels, and strudel.

SEE THE CITIES!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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