Atomium , Bruxelles
Featured Posts,  Travel,  Visit Europe

Family friendly weekend destinations in Europe

If you work during the week but still want to go for a short break away with your family then the best thing to do is to go somewhere close in Europe. Short breaks in Europe are perfect as you can safely comeback home on sunday evening without messing with your children school schedule or with your allocated holiday days.

We’ve been on a few weekend escapes ourselves as a family and just as a couple so below I will share with you my experience and the others experiences.

Paris 

Probably a very obvious choice for most of you because the european Disneyland is there but Paris has a lot more to offer especially for the families with older children.

Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris by wen lei huang

On my 30th birthday my husband as a treat took us for a short break In Paris. I can’t remember the name of the hotel we stayed in but it was in the centre so this enable us to visit all the historic attractions in Paris. My most favourite place was the Notre Dame Cathedral and surprisingly not the Eiffel Tower maybe because I normally hate heights. The gargoyles and chimeras, the massive bourbon bell and the rooftop view over the city make from Notre Dame Cathedral a must see place for the families with a hunger for historical venues. And if you have energetic children then the almost 400 steps spiral staircases each way up the cathedral will be a challenge and a joy.

And in the evening when the light and the dark meet the Notre Dame Cathedral is even more imposing and beautiful:

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral by domingo leiva

But there are other attractions you can visit with your family:

  • Musee Du Luvre – for the families with a hunger for art;
  • Eiffel Tower – for families that like heights and to explore Paris from above;
  • Musée de la Magie – for families that enjoy a little bit of magic;
  • The Cité des Enfants – a hands down and specially designed for children;
  • Parc de la Villette – situated just outside The Cité des Enfants –  an old industrial park transformed into a futuristic park; this is huge so really deserves a visit;
  • Paris Plage – this is simply a beach for the summer days in the parisian life; unfortunately we were unable to pop over as it rained the day we wanted to visit it. I think it is a great idea for an in city beach. Maybe Boris will get this idea and do one along Thames.
  • And let’s not forget Disneyland Paris that is of course on our bucket list for places to visit with both girls in a couple of years. One of my fellow bloggers wrote a very comprehensive post about where to meet the Disneland characters – Where to Meet the Characters at Disneyland Paris.

Stockholm

Maybe not the most obvious destination for a weekend away but I guarantee that it has lots of family friendly attractions.  So if you always fancied it and you go and book a weekend in Stockholm then here is what the capital of Scandinavia has to offer to you and your family:

  • The Royal Palace ( Kungliga Slottet) will probably be the first place to go for families that like to discover nice architectural sites:

    Swedish royal castle in Stockholm
    Swedish royal castle in Stockholm by Mats And a

There are ten Royal Palaces and are all located around Stockholm and Lake Mälaren and they are in easy reach by subway, bus, car, train or boat.

  • Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum)  – The museum keeps Vasa is the only ship from the XVII century that still exist in our era. It keeps 95% of its original components and it is filled with hundreds of sculptures.  Besides Vasa you can find nine other exhibitions on the same theme , a well stocked shop and a very stylish restaurant.
Vasa Museum Stockholm
Vasa Museum by muha…
  • Skyview Stockholm – This is a bit scary for people that hate heights like me but it looks like an attraction that kids will absolutely love.

SkyView takes you to the top of the Ericsson Globe, a spherical Stockholm landmark in the south of the city.  You are transported up the 130 metres in a glass gondola attached to rails on the superstructure of the building.(source: http://www.visitsweden.com

Skyview Stockholm by Leo-setä
Skyview Stockholm by Leo-setä
  • Gröna Lund Tivoli – This is an amusement park. It had to be included as children love them! i know a few adults that love these too.  This amusement park is not like the ones you are used to in UK though. It retains a lot of its historical charm while making room for some modern rides too. It also includes amusements arcades and restaurants too. Apparently the Power Tower is quite a big attraction here as it is one of the tales free fall amusement park rides – 350 feet! Oh Gosh I feel dizzy only thinking about it!
  • Lill-Skansen – is the perfect place for the lovers of animals. This is an indoor-outdoor children’s zoo and it holds bunnies, miniature pigs , cows, horses and lots more. While there you can also visit the  Skansen Aquarium and World of Monkeys with over 200 exotic species.

I never visited Stockholm but again this is a place on our bucket lists of places to visit with the girls. Husband quite fancies to move there forever and ever. But if you would like to hear more from someone that visited Stockholm then do pop over Trish Burgess blog and see what she has to say in The ‘Absolut’ spirit of Stockholm.

 Bruxelles

A beautiful city that its in easy reach from London especially like Paris. I visited this wonderful city when I was pregnant with my first born over 5 years ago (again for my birthday). Although we were childless as such we explored more child friendly places rather than not because of my pregnancy. Well that if you ignored the Delirium Cafe – not really a cafe and more like a very cool bar where you can enjoy drinking more than 2000 types of beers from all around the world. My husband loved it there.

But if you are there with your kids here are the places I recommend you to visit:

  • Grand Place – Is probably the place where you should start your tour of Bruxelles. This is the most known feature of Bruxelles if I can say so. It’s really impressive and the buildings that are surrounding the actual place are real architectural pieces. Every september there is a festival here so it is quite nice if you can visit then. In easy reach from here you can get to Le Musée de la Ville (where kids are offered a game-route as a challenge to discover the museum), the City Hall of Bruxelles, Street Light Museum and lots of other museums, lots of cafes that sell the most yummiest waffles in the world, an impressive Haggen Dazs restaurant and many restaurants that sell lots of fishy dishes.
    Grand Place Bruxelles
    Brussels – Grand Place by Ton Nolles

     

  • Mini Europe – If you ever visited Legoland then this place is mostly like the little city miniature section they have there. I loved this little museum! We visited it on a week day so it was really quiet and relaxed – a bit romantic too. Anyway I am sure your kids will enjoy it! Over 80 cities and 350 buildings are presented here. The United Kingdom is represented by the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben (which stand very close to the Paris Eiffel Tower) as well as the Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford, the Royal Crescent and Circus in Bath, Dover Castle and Arlington Row in the Cotswolds. Of course, the Brusseles Grand-Place is represented there as well – can you believe it costed €350,000 to construct? It also holds moving objects like trains, cable cars and gondolas as well as an erupting Vesuvius, an animated fall of the Berlin Wall and a corrida in Seville. Now…you understand why I said that your kids would love visiting this place?
Mini Europe Bruxelles
Mini Europe Bruxelles by Tilemahos E.
  • Atomium – An impressive piece of modern architecture. Built in 1958 its taking its shape from an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times. The structure consists of nine 18-metre diameter spheres linked together and rising to a height of 102 metres! Internally there is a snack bar, a restaurant and various exhibition spaces that are all linked by a series of escalators and stairs. Yes and I did go up to it’s top although I was shaking with every single part of my body! The escalators are very high…..but a lot better to go up on them then stairs. 
Atomium , Bruxelles
The Atomium in Bruxelles by Emad Drwish

 Bruges – Although not exactly in Bruxelles but in easy reach and quite even be the destination for the weekend this city promises it has it’s pleasures for the little ones.  Again is not a place I visited myself but I so wish I would. My friend and fellow blogger Stephanie however she visited this city with her family and she written all about it in a post full of beautiful pictures – Bruges with children,in a weekend.

This is it from me today but I promise I will comeback with more posts about beautiful places to visit in Europe and Romania that are family friendly too as well as fascinating.

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