Are you visiting Europe with toddlers in tow? In this guide we will round up our best travel to Europe with toddler tips to help you plan the best European toddler friendly itinerary alongside advice on the best cities and the best European countries to visit with toddlers.
Travelling Europe With Toddlers Tips and Tricks
Now that you have decided that you want to go travelling Europe with toddler in tow we round up our favorite tips that will help you plan this trip of a lifetime with information about how to put together your European itinerary, the best ways of traveling round Europe with a toddler and more.
Can you travel to Europe with a toddler?
Firstly if you are wondering can you travel to Europe with a toddler my answer would be you absolutely can.
While Europe might be renowned for its museums, culture and city breaks it is also a really toddler friendly place to carry.
Travel Off Peak
One of the main benefits of traveling with a toddler or preschooler as opposed to traveling with school aged children is that you are not yet beholden to the school holidays.
School vacation means that your European destination will be both more crowded and more expensive and therefore should be avoided if you can.
Traveling with a toddler you can travel off peak and in Europe you will be rewarded with less crowds and a more affordable trip.
Although the exact weeks that are considered off peak in Europe vary depending on your destination school destination you can consider the below months largely off peak:
- Europe in January
- Europe in February
- Europe in May
- Europe in September
- Europe in November
Also depending on the other months you may find some weeks will be off peak.
Know the Season
Now you know what is considered off and on peak it is important to remember that Europe as a continent is large and as such the weather varies greatly by location.
Also Europe is seasonal, but the temperatures will vary by city or country depending on where you go.
If you have a particular season you want to travel in with your toddler in Europe you should check the weather at the location you chose before booking your travel.
Don’t Overschedule your Itinerary
While it can be tempting to pack your European itinerary with many countries given their close proximity I would anyone against over scheduling and overpacking any itinerary with a toddler. And this is definitely true.
Depending on where you are traveling in Europe and the duration of your trip I would suggest not picking more than 3 destinations over a two week period. If you have less than 2 weeks for your European travels then I would definitely reduce the amount of places you visit.
Use Public Travel
Most of Europe, certainly in Western Europe there is usually, and especially in the large cities, good public transport available.
If you are visiting Europe with toddlers I would suggest that you try and do at least some of your travels via public transport as driving in some European cities can be quite stressful.
For more information on public transport systems in Europe with toddler check out our dedicated posts such as:
- Using the London Underground with toddlers
Travel Like the Locals
And once you arrive at your destinations you should embrace traveling like the locals. For instance if you are traveling to cities such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam with toddlers you should consider getting round the city like the locals i.e. use a bike.
Pick Your Accommodation Carefully
One of the things to remember when choosing your accommodation in Europe is that hotel rooms tend to be much smaller in European cities than their US counterparts. So if you are traveling with a lot of luggage you may find the room a bit of a tight squeeze alongside a stroller and a pack and play.
For tips on picking toddler and baby friendly hotel rooms check out this post.
So think carefully if you want to stay in a hotel, airbnb or some other type of vacation rental.
Pick your Location Carefully
As well as picking your accommodation type carefully you will also want to consider the location of your European accommodation.
If your toddler still naps and won’t sleep in a stroller you will need to make sure you are staying somewhere central so you can get to all the major tourist attractions and sites while still being able to get back home for nap times.
Don’t move around too much
And while you are in your location, I would recommend picking one place and using this as your home base. You can easily do day trips with toddlers on public transport or by hiring a car while still keeping your things in one place.
This is much easier than changing accommodation every two to three days.
Don’t Miss the Beaches
While Europe may be renowned for its cities and its culture, you don’t want to overlook beaches with toddlers.
Beaches are a great place to go with toddlers and Europe has some fantastic beaches. Some of our favourites are in Spain and Italy but also Cornwall in England. Be sure to try and schedule some beach time with your toddler in Europe if you are traveling in Summer especially.
For tips on visiting beaches with toddlers check out this post.
Should you bring a stroller to Europe?
Now if you are traveling to Europe with a toddler one of the most pressing questions you will probably have is “Should you bring a stroller to Europe?”
Now while some European cities are more stroller friendly than others I would always recommend bringing a stroller to Europe for toddlers.
The reason for this is because it is really useful for a jet lagged toddler to nap in and also because you will be doing a lot of walking in Europe which may get tiring for little legs.
Also depending on what European country you are visiting you may find that you have limited access to high chairs and clean changing facilities so a stroller you can double up in these instances.
For more information check out our city and country stroller guides:
Should I bring my car seat to Europe?
One of the biggest questions I am asked regarding taking a toddler to Europe is “Should I bring my car seat to Europe?”
I would always advise anyone bring a car seat with them for toddlers when they are traveling. The reason for this is that firstly it makes traveling on an airplane safer and easier.
Personally I always take my car seat with me on the plane. Just be sure you have a car seat that is compatible for air travel.
This can then also be used for car and taxi travel. This is law in most European countries.
The only downside to taking a car seat to Europe is that it will take up a lot of room in your hotel room or accommodation. However for me the pros vastly outweigh the cons of taking a car seat to Europe.
Where in Europe should I take my toddler?
Best Countries to Visit in Europe with toddlers
Before we dive into specific cities, regions and beaches that we love to visit with toddlers in Europe here are some of our favourite countries in Europe with toddlers:
Italy with toddlers
Italians are known for losing children and it is one stereotype that really does hold true. We have never felt more welcome anywhere than when we visited Europe with our toddler.
Italy is a great country to visit with a toddler for this reason but also because there is some of the most toddler friendly foods and a great mixture of city and beach destinations.
For a definitive guide on visiting Italy with toddlers check out this post.
UK with toddlers
The UK is my home country and for me it is one of the easiest places to travel with a toddler.
And given that English it it’s native language and the breadth of shops and ease of healthcare, add up to make the UK one of the most toddler friendly Europe countries to visit.
The UK in my opinion has something for everyone including for toddlers to enjoy.
Greece with toddlers
If you want culture and beaches then you should look no further than Greece. Greece with a toddler is a great travel choice. The beaches on the Greek islands are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and Athens is one of the most interesting cities in the world.
Also it is relatively easy to travel around Greece and island hop with toddlers due to the many ferries that run between the mainland and the islands.
But if you don’t fancy traveling by public transport you could also consider taking a Greek island Cruise with toddlers.
Netherlands with toddlers
We lived in the Netherlands for several years with our toddlers and have to say it is one of the more family friendly European destinations.
There is a variety of accommodation options from luxury hotels for families to resorts and parks that have amenities that are perfect with toddlers.
The cities are also toddler friendly, especially if you fancy riding around on a bakfiets (box bike).
WE also love all the toddler friendly theme parks in the Netherlands such as de Efteling not to mention all of the fantastic zoos.
France with toddlers
We love visiting France with a toddler. You have a great variety of holiday types from Eurocamp holidays to city breaks, rural countryside retreats, beaches and of course there is always a chance to do Disneyland Paris with toddlers.
These are just five of our favourite countries to visiting in Europe with toddlers. For a more comprehensive guide check out our best European countries to visit with toddlers list.
Best European cities to visit with toddlers
Now we have told you some of our favourite countries to visit here are some of our favourite European cities to visit with toddlers
to name but a few. For more information check out our Barcelona with toddlers post.