When our kids are little, it can seem like we have all the time in the world with them, but in reality, we only get 18 summers.
Ask any parent of a child in their late teens and they will tell you those years fly by. The older they get, the more you find yourself wishing you could slow down time and keep them young and at home with family for just a little bit longer.
Traveling with your children is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Getting them out into the world to explore different countries and culture will teach them lessons for more lasting and valuable than what they will learn in the average classroom.
This article continues our series on of our favorite destinations to visit before your kids fly the nest. In the first article we explored locations a little closer to home. Here are our top recommendations for European vacations you won’t want to miss…
If you are more interested in a family vacation full of adventure and exploration, Iceland is the place to go. Waterfalls, glaciers, black-sand beaches, and enjoyable wintry weather make for an incredible time with your loved ones. You can ride along beautiful green fields on ponies’ backs one afternoon and then take a thrilling off-road buggy tour on the next.
For older kids, dog-sledding and floating in the famed Blue Lagoon can prove to be extremely enjoyable activities. So many families visit Iceland that it has claimed one of the top spots in the tourism industry.
London, United Kingdom
London is one of those destinations that is perfect for older kids and teens. It has a “cool factor” that they just can’t resist.
The London Eye looking down at the tourists, following in Harry Potter’s footsteps with a visit to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station or the Harry Potter Studio tour, exploring the Tower of London as you learn about its grizzly history, and taking a selfie from the top level of a double decker bus as you pass over the iconic Tower Bridge… all things your teen is sure to be posting all about on Instagram and Snapchat! My son still talks about our last visit where we just happened to march in the Queen’s birthday parade and we actually caught a glimpse of the whole Royal family.
Paris is for couples, right? Not necessarily! There are a lot of child-friendly places to visit in the City of Lights. Centre Pompidou, the Luxembourg Gardens, the palace and gardens of Versailles and several other important landmarks offer a fun and enriched cultural experience.
And of course, who can forget the Eiffel Tower! It may be a romantic spot on the books, but it is sure to delight your children when it lights up at sundown. Disneyland Paris, on the other hand, is designed especially for families with little ones in tow. The best part most of the city’s best spots are located within a mile of each other. Want to plan an extended European vacation? Combine London and Paris into one exciting trip your kids are sure to love.
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is not the only thing Zurich has to offer. The Swiss city has some of the best family attractions – and the best food – you can imagine. Zurich’s location nestled between the banks of a dreamy lake and the foothills of the mighty Swiss Alps is tough to beat. The views in this area are nothing short of astounding. You’ll definitely want to plan some time to take family photos… you’re likely to leave with one that will become your next holiday card!
There are plenty of cultural experiences that await you in Zurich. Spend your days exploring one of the massive museums or its historic Old Town neighborhood. After taking in the views, do remember to try the cheese fondue and authentic German fare at a local restaurant!
Madrid is one of Europe’s most kid-friendly cities with attractions such as Casa de Campo, where families will find the Madrid Zoo Aquarium and the Parque de Atracciones. When the kids need to burn off some energy, the playgrounds of Retiro Park are the perfect place to visit to let the kids run around a bit while the adults can lounge in the park’s formal garden. Two activities not to be missed are taking in a soccer game at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and touring the Royal Palace.
Italy (any city!)
Italy has been a well-loved travel destination for ages and for good reason: you can visit every year but still not have enough of it. Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, and Naples… Every city has its own distinct local color and culture to discover. A plus: there is amazing gelato to be found all over the country!
From beaches and meadows to piazzas and cathedrals, there is something for every taste. For more information on Italy, refer to my previous blog post – top 10 list of what to do with kids.
We’ve got 1 more installment of suggestions to fill out your 18 summers of travel with your family. This time is will be my recommendations for exotic vacations with the family!
The perfect family vacation begins with scheduling your complimentary consultation. We’ll discuss the details and what your vacation priorities. I’ll give you my suggestions and explain how we can best work together to plan the vacation of your dreams. Don’t hesitate to email me back!