The 10 best European winter destinations for families

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Winter is the time of the year that most inspires family warmth and moments to spend together with those you love. It is the perfect time for pleasant trips between parents and children, also thanks to the arrival of Christmas and its magical atmosphere.

They are numerous the ideal European destinations for families who want to venture into winter exploration.
Here are the top 10 winter destinations, between theme parks, markets, events and the classic beauty that distinguishes the Old Continent.

1 - London, UK

The city becomes magical with the arrival of Christmas, and dresses up for the party. See Leicester Square and Covent Garden fully decked out before taking your kids to meet elves and reindeer from Hamleys, a huge toy store, or hypnotize them with the games department of Harrods, the famous department stores, an unmissable stop for a Christmas tour of the city.

Immortalize all together in front of the T-Rex del Natural Hystory Museum, a decidedly family-friendly museum; right in front there is a large skating rink where you can have fun together.

Even the parks are filled with lights and the scent of mulled wine, one above all Hyde Park where the Winter Wonderland, a real toy land for adults and children, with Ferris wheel, rides and restaurants. Not to be missed to make the little ones happy, even the Lego Store and the London zoo.

For those who have been enchanted by the magic of Harry Potter, you cannot miss the Harry Potter studios at Warner Bros. 20 mins, taking the train from Euston Station to Watford Junction (approximately £ 20,00 / € 23,00 return); from there the shuttle that costs £ 2,00 / € 2,37 departs and takes you to the studios. Park tickets cost £ 45,00 / € 53,40, under 16s £ 37,00 / € 43,90 and free under 4s. Tickets must be purchased well in advance and online on the official website. Furthermore, in the King's Cross station, in the neighborhood of Camden, there is the famous track 9 and 3/4 , where you can take a beautiful souvenir photo!

  • Recommended period: in winter it is undoubtedly the one under the Christmas holidays when the city comes alive with original markets and Christmas attractions in great style
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.200,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 75,00 per room -

2 - Paris, France

"Paris is always a good idea".
The classics of the city can become a wonderful memory to share with the family, such as a climb to the third level of the Eiffel Tower to enjoy the breathtaking panorama together.

Not far from the tower is theaquarium, a must for all families. Do not miss the Louvre museum that manages to let itself be appreciated even by the youngest guests thanks to the guides on Nintendo 3DS.

La City of Science, in the Villette Park, is one of the most popular destinations for families: interactive experiments and workshops make it the perfect place to experiment together.

Equally playful and fun they know how to be Centre Pompidou and the Museum National D'Histoire Naturell. A real gem is the Musée des Arts Forains, or the museum of rides, which is home to vintage rides and many functioning attractions.

The best child-friendly parks to enjoy in the crisp winter air are Le Jardin des Plantes and the The Jardin du Luxembourg.
Less than 50 km from the city there is the desire of every child: Dysneyland Paris. Visiting it is like entering a dream, especially when it is wrapped in the magic of Christmas.

  • Recommended period: it is perfect for every winter month, although like other cities it too enjoys particular charm between December and January, due to the Christmas holidays that bring lights, charm and magic to its streets and monuments
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.100,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 70,00 per room -

3 - Strasbourg, France

It is the capital of Alsace, a secular city definitely suitable for a family vacation. Its cosmopolitan atmosphere and the canals that run through it enchant all ages.

Many points of interest are proposed as places where children are welcome, such as the Palais Rohan inside which stands the Archaeological Museum where your children can discover Asterix and Obelix and have fun with their history.

Al Alsatian Museum instead they will be able to discover how people lived in Alsace in the past and how their peers enjoyed themselves in the past.

Unbeatable destination if you travel with children then there is Il Vascello: a center dedicated to science that allows the little ones to manipulate interactive media, and explore themes such as the human body, water or the animal world.

Between November and December the Christmas markets enliven the city, and in Place Kléber a gigantic Christmas tree appears. Then there is less than an hour's drive from the city Europa Park, the amusement park largest in Germany. 85 hectares of rides and fabulous themed areas, a stop to be included to ensure fun for your children!

  • Recommended period: to enjoy the beauties and attractions of Europa Park in winter version, and to enjoy the Christmas markets, the best time is between the end of November and the beginning of January
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.650,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -

4 - Rovaniemi, Finland

We cannot talk about winter destinations with a Christmas flavor without mentioning the undisputed homeland of Christmas. It is precisely in the capital of Finland that resides the most beloved man in the world, Santa Claus.

In fact, one step away from the Arctic Circle is the Santa Claus Village, where the bearded man resides and works, along with his elven helpers. This timeless place, especially in winter, knows how to give a fairytale atmosphere with its whitewashed landscapes, its tame reindeer and the feeling of being in a dream.

It is possible to venture into asnowmobile excursion to enjoy forests of birch and fir woods, or opt for a romantic tour aboard one sled pulled by huskies. And hope to spot her, the much sought-after Northern Lights. In the city instead there is Arktikum, a museum dedicated to the Arctic territory, which effortlessly keeps adults and children busy, with its beautiful exhibition spaces and interactive activities.

  • it can be reached via a stopover in Helsinki, to then move to Rovaniemi airport, about 10 km from the city center. From there bus (approx € 7,00) or car rental - Get directions
  • Recommended period: winter in these latitudes lasts about seven months and despite the arctic temperatures that even reach -20 °, the enchanting snow-covered scenery of the village of Santa Claus in the holidays melt even the most cynical hearts
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 2.000,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 95,00 per room -

5 - Wengen, Switzerland

Many families choose to spend their winter holidays in the snow, ed one of the best destinations for a white week between comfort and quality services is this Swiss country located at 1.250 meters above sea level.

Particular attention is paid by this destination to families: there are many play areas within the town and its inhabited center is also closed to motor vehicles. The ski area Piccolo Scheidegg-Männlichen is perfect for families with its 110 km of slopes, mostly of easy or medium difficulty.

For those who don't ski, the toboggan runs and the hiking trails offer a valid alternative. An immersion in nature, healthy air and outdoor life that is good for young and old.

  • the easiest way is by car. Alternatively, via the EuroCity 52 train, from Milan station you can get to Lauterbrunner in 3 hours and 30 min (€ 89,69) from here with the Wengernalpbahn railway network you get to Kleine Scheidegg, € 30,80 - Get directions
  • Recommended period: Christmas and New Year are celebrated with bonfires and mulled wine. In February, a Children's Party is held at the Hasenstall every Thursday, while the Ski School organizes exhibitions, music and fireworks every Monday.
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.660,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 90,00 per room -

6 - Munich, Germany

This elegant city is a poetic place where you can slip into an enchanted dimension. THE Christmas markets are the hub of winter and the Bavarian city offers splendid and particular ones. One above all, the Marienplatz, it looks like an animated picture with its warm lights, the stalls and the sweet songs that are sung here. Children can browse among wooden toys, puppets and nutcrackers and have their own version of mulled wine, the kinderpunsch to toast with adults.

The Sendlinger Tor market and the Chinesischer Turme market in the English Gardens are other institutions among Munich's Christmas markets.

Also not to be missed in the city is the Deutsches Museum, the museum of science and technology largest in the world with 47.000 square meters of exhibition space, the Spielzeugmuseum, the toy museum with historical pieces divided by era and Obletter, the largest toy shop in Germany.

About an hour and a half from Munich stands the temple of the most famous bricks on earth: Legoland, a real universe entirely made of lego bricks, which is capable of making every little child mad with joy.

  • Recommended period: from the end of November to the end of December, in addition to the markets, there is the Tollwood Winter Festival, a huge festival around the themes of ecology and environmental awareness
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 910,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 60,00 per room -

7 - Prague, Czech Republic

The Hradcany district is the most suggestive of Prague. Located on top of the hill overlooking the old city, offers fantastic views. You can visit the Castle here and entertain the children by watching the changing of the guard.

The nearby Cathedral of San Vito with its play of light and its gargoyles also teases the imagination of the little ones. On the wonderful Petrin Hill, reachable by funicular from the city center, children can play in the maze of mirrors or take a ride with the ponies.

To visit the district of Mala Strana, passing through Charles Bridge, animated by street artists and painters. The Vicolo D'Oro, is one of the most beautiful in the city, featured quaint little houses create a very special scenario.

After a visit to the Museum of Natural History where a curious collection of fossils and animal skeletons is kept, make the children gape in front of the Clock tower, famous in the world for the particular theatrical scene that takes place at every stroke of the hour. Don't miss it Prague Zoo, one of the oldest in Europe, loved by both local families and tourists and the dinopark, a dinosaur-themed theme park.

  • Recommended period: between November and January the Christmas markets with typical products and dishes and Czech songs, warm up the cool atmosphere: the temperature is still bearable in winter, settling around 0 / -2 °
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.100,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 45,00 per room -

8 - Copenhagen, Denmark

It is a city on a human scale that you can also visit on foot and with your children.

Strøget is a large pedestrian area in the historic center where the Latin quarter, Strædet, which is one of the most beautiful shopping streets in the city, and the Rundetarn, or a 35 meter high brick tower, from which you can admire a beautiful panorama. It is wonderful then the Nyhavn canal, lined with colorful houses, the historic port of the Danish capital.

During the Christmas period in different parts of the city are set up suggestive Christmas markets. Those gods are truly indispensable TiFlights gardens, famous amusement park of the Danish capital. Inside the park there are several areas dedicated to children and services designed for parents (like little houses to breastfeed or warm bottles) and at Christmas it is a unique place to visit with children: lights, decorations, sweets, ice sculptures, elves and ... Santa Claus.

Before leaving the city it is a must to go and say hello to the Little Mermaid, the beautiful bronze statue symbol of the city and protagonist of one of Andersen's most beautiful fairy tales.

  • Recommended period: in February the Copenhagen Light Festival brightens the capital with light installations and interactive experiences. In March, the Copenhagen Documentary Film Festival is held, a documentary film festival
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 1.346,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 80,00 per room -

9 - Méribel (Les Allues), France

In the ski area of ​​the city, adults and children can ski and improve their technique in absolute safety.

Everything in this area of ​​the massif of Northern Alps at 1.450 meters above sea level, it is designed to offer families an unforgettable stay.

This ski resort offers numerous activities including cross country skiing, boarded cross, toboggan runs and specially zones dedicated to families on vacation. The ski area is immense, the slopes are between 2.950 m of Mont Vallon and 1.400 m. The area is connected with other stations and with the valley floor and with Brides les Bains, thanks to a long cable car. An ideal destination for those looking for a bit of luxury in the snow, and the peace of a place not besieged by tourists. Choose a package that includes a stay in one charming chalet, equipment rental and ski passes for the whole family, to be sure of enjoying relaxing days and fantastic moments to keep in the album of the best memories.

  • the fastest and easiest way to reach Méribel is by car. Geneva Airport is the closest but is located about 180km from the city - Get Directions
  • Recommended period: the ski season runs from December to early April, with abundant snowfall in every period thanks to the amplitude of the area and the altitudes it reaches
  • Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 2.750,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 55,00 per room -

10 - Obergurgl (Soden), Austria

In the Ötztal, that is the Ötz valley, winter starts from October and lasts until May. There are more than 250 peaks over 3.000 meters that frame the ski areas of Obergurgl-Hochgurgl, Hochötz and Sölden. In addition to the ski slopes, the valley offers facilities for practicing ski mountaineering, cross-country skiing, for walks with snowshoes and to enjoy healthy and well-deserved relaxation with the whole family.

Hochötz in particular, at the beginning of the valley, has a really good ski area equipped for families with children. The magnificent panorama observable from this valley sweeps over frozen peaks and spectacular natural areas. Take the Top Wurmkogl II chairlift to the viewing platform TOP Mountain Star in Hochgurgl, an incredible building with futuristic architecture at 3.080 meters above sea level, to see one of the most breathtaking views in Tyrol.

The perfect holiday is completed by a walk through the picturesque villages of Vent, Gries and Niedertha ed a day of pure relaxation in the spa Tirol Therme Aqua Dome in Längenfeld.

  • by car is the easiest way. Alternatively, the closest airport is Innsbruck Airport, about 90 km from the city, reachable by bus 8352 in 2 hours and 40 mins, approximately € 10,00 - Get directions
  • Recommended period: the ski season here is really long, and the altitude as well as the connections, skis on your feet, two glaciers at over 3.300 meters above sea level give you the certainty of being able to ski throughout the period
  • Flight + hotel): Round trip flight + 5 days / 4 nights from € 2.580,00 -
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 100,00 per room -

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