13 Under The Radar European Vacations With Kids

Kids playing

Vacationing with children is a magical experience. Watching young ones stretch their legs and minds in new surroundings is as thrilling as it is crucial, and these early trips can be fundamental to instilling a sense of curiosity and wonder in prodigious minds. However, it isn’t all fun and games, and choosing the right destination can be the difference between a dream and a nightmare, between a good holiday and a great one.

Our Favorite “Under The Radar” European Vacations With Kids

Black family smiling while planning travel.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Europe has countless famous cities that attract millions of visitors annually, from London to Paris via Berlin, Barcelona, and beyond. These are all brilliant places, but why plump for the obvious? The old continent has so many underrated and overlooked getaways that it can take time to know where to start. From abandoned bobsleigh tracks to salt mines, castles, chocolate, and transparent factories, these European vacations with kids will please everyone.

1 – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pliva Waterfal, Jajce Waterfalls
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is arguably Europe’s most underrated country, and Sarajevo is a fun-filled playground for all the family. The cable car transports visitors to Trebević, where the abandoned Olympic bobsleigh track is second to the incredible views that await, while the city shimmers with curiosities and activities. Sarajevo is also an excellent base for exploring the rest of the country, be that the waterfalls in Jajce, the famous bridge in Mostar, or the wild horses of Livno. 

2 – Zadar, Croatia

sea organ steps zadar
Image Credit: Sean_Freeman/Shutterstock.

Croatia is no longer the hidden gem many claim to be, but Zadar remains in the shadow of more popular cities like Split and Dubrovnik. The largest city in Northern Dalmatia offers plenty to families on the move, and the gorgeous Greeting to the Sun will have young travelers (and older ones) enraptured. Zadar has a great mixture of historic attractions and innovative developments, perfect for visitors of all ages.

3 – Cadiz, Spain

Cadiz Spain
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The south of Spain is hot in summer. It's hot at times, but Andalusia might be the most fascinating region in this marvelous country. The magic and history of Cordoba, Granada, Seville, and the others are well documented, but overlook the charms of Cadiz at your peril. The city of watchtowers was big news in the 17th century, and its history remains tangible today. Lather the kids in suncream and head to the Tavira Tower, Playa de la Victoria, and more before settling in for some flamenco in the evening.

4 – Birmingham, England

Birmingham England.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Great Britain might not be the hobbit-filled fairytale land that many hope for, but it is still a fabulously exciting destination that encapsulates the ‘something for everyone’ cliche. Somehow, someway, Birmingham manages to be overlooked, despite being England’s second-largest city and a primary transport and business hub. Kids don’t care about transport and business, though. They are more interested in theme parks, science experiments, and chocolate museums (yes, a chocolate museum.)

5 – Ohrid, North Macedonia

Ohrid Macedonia.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Ohrid (North Macedonia in Southeastern Europe, bordering Albania) is home to a church for every day of the year, and some of them are straight out of picturesque dreams. Lake Ohrid is also considered Europe’s oldest lake, but kids will be too busy staring and swimming to worry about age. North Macedonia is fantastic value for money, making this a kid-friendly getaway that won’t break the bank.

6 – Olomouc, Czechia

Olomouc Czechia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Prague is a brilliant city to visit, no matter your age, but families looking for something quieter should make a beeline for Olomouc. This Moravian marvel in the east of Czechia is as gorgeous as the capital, with spirals and cobbles as far as the eye can see. It also has an Astronomical Clock, and Olomouc also has a brilliant range of parks for stretching the legs. 

7 – Trieste, Italy

Miramare Castle in Triste Italy.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If the little ones are excited about going to Italy, but Trieste doesn’t move the needle, show them a picture of Miramare Castle. That should be enough to get them buzzing. Located in northern Italy close to the border with Slovenia, Trieste might be Italy’s most fascinating city. Aside from Miramare, Trieste has a fantastic Museum of Natural History, exciting adventure parks, and much more. 

8 – Dresden, Germany

Dresden Germany.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Dresden has come a long way from the rubble of World War II. The rebuilt city in Germany’s east is stunning, and it is now one of the most exciting destinations in the country. Kids will love the museums, galleries, theaters, and city streets, while there is more than enough to keep teenagers busy. The Transparent Factory deserves special mention, what with it being a see-through factory and all that. 

9 – Lille, France

Lille France
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Just a short train ride from Paris and Brussels, lovely Lille is getting more traction as a must-see destination. It isn’t difficult to understand why, what with its proud past as a merchant center and historical architecture, not to mention its current status as a creative hub in northern France. The city is jam-packed with kid-friendly indoor and outdoor activities, including the incredible Palais de Beaux Arts—France’s largest museum outside of Paris. 

10 – Wrexham, Wales

Wrexham Wales
Image Credit: David Pimborough / Shutterstock.

If you haven’t yet jumped onto the Wrexham bandwagon, what are you waiting for? The North Wales city has been given new life by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s takeover of the football club, with more and more people discovering Wrexham’s fascinating history as a result. Amazing attractions surround the city, from the gardens of Erddig to the jaw-dropping aqueducts in Chirk and Pontcysyllte. The Xplore! Science and Discovery Center is pretty awesome, too.

11 – Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon Portugal
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Is it possible for a place to be mega popular yet underrated all at once? Step forward, Lisbon. The Portuguese capital is one of the most photogenic cities in Europe, and it deserves every single visitor that boards its famous trams and walks its darling streets. Here you can gorge on custard tarts before heading out for a spot of dolphin-watching. Spend the afternoon in the mountains before returning to the beach for a stunning sunset.

12 – Bled, Slovenia

Bled Slovenia
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Lake Bled is straight out of a fairytale. If you asked a child to draw a picture-perfect lake, they would probably create something not dissimilar to Slovenia’s most popular spot. The lake is shimmering blue, with a romantic island and church in the middle, while the surroundings are all dramatic mountains and jagged cliffs. Oh, and there is also a castle on top of one of the hills—Bled is a brilliant kid-friendly getaway.

13 – Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Cluj Napoca Romania
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Romania might not be on the top of most lists of European getaways, but that means more fun for those who chose this gorgeous country in Europe’s east. The Transfăgărășan highway is one of Europe’s great roads, and the capital Bucharest is one of the most underrated on the continent, but Cluj-Napoca is arguably the best option for family fun. The incredible Turda salt mine is just an hour to the south, and Cluj has fabulous museums, tangible history, and a tremendous botanical garden. Excellent food and drink options, too.