The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam

The 4 best weekend travel destinations for families

Discover Amsterdam, Krakow, Copenhagen och Lisbon.

The Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.
December 2022
Traveling with the whole family is fantastic but can also be complicated. If you want to enjoy a long weekend in Europe that’s ideal for family members of all ages, we’ve highlighted four places that pass our stress tests.
WONDR Experience
WONDR Experience in Amsterdam. Photo: Wondr Experience

Go cycling in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is known for its charming canals – and for its less family-friendly places... What makes it perfect for families and kids is that you can easily get around everywhere on a bike (every parent knows how quickly kids tire from long walks). Your little ones will especially enjoy the klompenfietsen, where they can enjoy a bicycle ride inside the comfort of a classic Dutch wooden shoe.

You can easily get around to popular tourist attractions on two wheels, including places like the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, and Anne Frank house – a place whose exciting, albeit tragic history is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on children and adults alike. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on Nemo, the natural science museum, where you can learn how gravity works and uncover nature’s hidden mathematical relationships. This is considered to be one of the top museums in the world for kids.

Older kids will enjoy adventurous attractions such as the WONDR Experience, where they can create fun-filled photographic memories in the Marshmallow Pool or on the aptly-named Pink Beach. All ages are welcome, but children 10 and under can only visit at specific times.

The Dutch capital is also a mecca for food from every corner of the world, charming cafés, and local delicacies that kids can’t get enough of, such as the stroopwaffel (waffle cookie).

Kraków
Kraków

Culture and history in Kraków

Kraków, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can practically be described as the Paris of Poland. The city is equal parts romance, culture, and history – a beautiful place with a mythology that seems taken straight out of Game of Thrones. According to the legend, a dragon plagued the city around the time of its founding but was ultimately conquered when the intrepid residents tricked it into eating a lamb filled with sulfur.

The medieval Wawel Castle is always a hit with the kids, and you can experience one of the world’s most famous works of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, at NMK, the National Museum in Krakow.

On the main square, you’ll find the imposing Sukiennice Cloth Hall, dating from the 15th century. Today, there are a market and several museums here. Kazimierz, the Jewish quarter, with its winding alleys filled with the exuberant sound of klezmer music, is also worth a visit. On Sundays, you’ll find plenty of bargains at the sprawling flea market. 

To experience the traditional cuisine, visit one of the country’s numerous mlecznys (milk bars), a relic of the bygone Communist era. Afterwards, you can eat your fill of pierogis (Polish dumplings), soup, and bigos (sauerkraut casserole).

Tivoli in Copenhagen
Tivoli in Copenhagen

Days of fun in Copenhagen

With its centrallylocated Tivoli, Copenhagen is a paradise for kids. While the merry-go-round and ice cream with flødeboller are a must, there’s in fact more to the Danish capital than just this incredible amusement park. 

A few quicksuggestions: check out the Round Tower – Europe’s oldest, functional observatory, enjoy a traditional Danish frokost lunch in picturesque Nyhavn, and window shop along the Strøget pedestrian shopping street. 

The National Museum is filled to the brim with history. The Viking Age, in particular, never fails to fascinate kids of all ages. From June 2023, the museum will be showing Togtet (The Raid) – an acclaimed new exhibit on the Vikings, where you can follow them as they set sail for Rome in the year 859.

Teens and adultswho have followed the hit series Borgen will enjoy a tour of Christianborg’s Palace on the tiny island of Slotsholmen, which served as the Danish seat of power for around 800 years.

Is it a niceday outside? Pick up some local delicacies at Torvehallerne and enjoy an outdoor picnic at Rosenborg Garden. While there, look for the bearskin caps of the royal guards as they march in procession toward Amalienborg Palace, the home of the Danish royal family.

Don’t forget that Copenhagen is also very bike-friendly, and it’s quick and easy to get around!

Lisbon
Lisbon

Discover the charm of Lisbon

A long weekend in the colorful coastal city of Lisbon is a treat for the entire family. From the incredible view of the ocean and terracotta rooftops from the medieval castle Castelo do São Jorge to the delicious pastéis de nata (vanilla cream-filled pastries) – the city is full of charm.

Start your trip with a ride on the tram. The historic Line 28 is as much a sightseeing tour as a form of transportation — an ideal experience for families with kids and inexpensive to boot. 

As Portugal’s capital is built on a hill, you can also take a cable car or elevator tour to experience it from above – the tourist magnet Santa Justa Lift, an elevator tower from 1899, is the most famous one. When you take this up to the Bairro Alto neighborhood for a fun-filled evening on one of the outdoor terraces, it will create the memory of a lifetime for your entire family.

Since Lisbon is located on the coast, if the sweat starts pouring while you’re trekking up all the steep alleys, just make a short trip to one of the nearby beaches – if not to swim, then to enjoy a romantic beach picnic. You’ll find a wide selection of local Portuguese delicacies at the Mercado da Ribeira food market. 

Text by Daniel Björk

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