There’s no excuse for being bored in Europe – there’s far too much going on! From carnivals, themeparks and zoos, there’s a wealth of family friendly attractions just waiting to be explore this year!
Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, UK
There are only 4 places in Europe to see the beautiful and bold giant panda and since the pair arrived at Edinburgh Zoo, they have been incredibly popular. Crowds mass to catch a glimpse of the two giant pandas named Tian Tian and Yang Guang, who are expected to start their own family soon, fingers crossed. In addition to the pandas there are also another 1,000 animals including the UK’s only koalas, the white-faced saki monkeys, sun bears and chimpanzees, amongst many others.
Disneyland Resort, Paris, France
Just outside Paris is Europe’s most popular themepark; Disneyland Resort. With over 10 million visitors annually, this is one family friendly attraction that won’t fail to impress kids of all ages. From the Haunted House, Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain rides, your best bet is to wear comfy shoes, book your Disneyland Paris tickets in advance and prepare for a few queues.
Barcelona Aquarium, Barcelona, Spain
The L'Aquàrium de Barcelona features 35 separate giant aquariums housing the very brightest and boldest fish species from around the world. The biggest aquarium in the world offers face-to-face views of around 400 fish species including sharks, rays, giltheads, morays and ocean sunfish. Head to the Oceanarium to spot the sand tiger shark and sandbar shark. The Explora section is billed as an interactive leisure and educational area with plenty of exhibits to see, touch and smell.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
The Tivoli is the second oldest themepark in Europe, before Disney was even thought of! Opened in 1843, the amusement park and gardens span 20 acres (8 ha) just outside Copenhagen. Opening annually from April to September, rides this year include the Demon, the Ferris Wheel and the serene Dragon Boats. There is also the ubiquitous rollercoaster to test your nerve! This year Tivoli presents live music with ‘Glassalen Live’, a combination of 80 concerts at the Tivoli Classical festival and the Danish premier of dance act Shadowland.
Dubrovnik Cable Car, Croatia
Croatia is set to be huge this year (and rightly so) and one particularly exciting attraction for the whole family is to ride the Dubrovnik cable car. Seemingly suspended in thin air, the cable car whisks travellers over the old city at a height of 400 meters for a fantastic view below. And for added interest, hop back on and ride the cable car back in the opposite direction – double the photo opportunities!
Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy
Constantly smouldering, mighty Mount Etna captivates children and adults alike. Take a trip as high up as you can go and let the guides lead you on a trail around the paths, possibly even close enough to see hot sparks and lava from a safe distance. Be aware that Etna is pretty active - and is in fact actively spewing molten lava as I write! Standing at a height of 10,900 feet (3,329 meters), Mount Etna is the tallest active volcano in Europe. The volcanic soil that surrounds Etna is incredibly fertile as you’ll soon taste if you sample some of the delicious local food. Adults will appreciate the full bodied local wine that is produced on the volcanic soil in the local vineyards.
Eden Project, Cornwall, UK
You’ll spot the huge domes of the Eden project from a distance. This hugely popular UK visitor attraction open in 2001 and lies within a disused pit near to the town of St Austell in Cornwall. The domes are connected and house the sweltering hot Tropical Biome which houses tropical plants such as the banana, coffee and rubber trees, as well as the rare (but stinky) Titan Arum which only flowers every few years. The Mediterranean Biome is a little cooler with plants and tree from around the Med. Outside is the uncovered Outdoor Biome which has local plants, fruit and vegetables growing in the carefully presented gardens.