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  • Europe
On the Road with Kids in Europe
Fast Facts
Historic Interest
Boating & Sailing
Garden / Park
Food & Drink
Ancient Ruins
Family Entertainment
Things to Do
Places to Visit
Family Travel Tips

Gondola Rides

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

There is more to family travel in Europe than the Acropolis, Eiffel Tower, Trevi Fountain and Tower Bridge. Visit medieval castles and weave tales of dragons, dungeons, damsels and even Frankenstein. Tour Roman, Greek and Celtic ruins but beware of the English penchant for old stones or soon you will be touring everything! Explore sun-drenched islands off the coast of Spain, Italy, Greece and Croatia. Bike on country roads from Ireland to Austria. Take a river cruise or barge holiday through the heart of old Europe. Discover the fjords in Scandinavia. Ride the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig in the Scottish Highlands or take a scenic train trip from Chur to Martigny in Switzerland. Hike in the Alps and Pyrenees or trek across Corsica. But don't expect to spot wildlife, imagine stunning scenery instead. Our family travel guides will help you discover how to travel in Europe with kids.
When to Travel
Europe may be the world's second-smallest continent but the weather varies greatly across the region and oftentimes within a country. What's more, each country has it own schedule of feast days and festivals and the high season varies from place to place. That said, the following generalities can be made. Winter in northern Europe is cold and, in many places, snow-packed whereas it's mild and rainy throughout the Mediterranean. Spring and fall offer a mixed bag of weather; it ranges from near perfect to wet and cold, even in southern Europe. Summer is hottest in the south and coolest in the north yet the highest temperatures are registered at some inland locations, Florence for example. The peak summer season in most European cities is Easter, June, September and October. July to August is the peak summer at the seaside and some Alpine resorts. The peak ski season is Christmas and entire month of February. European cities with quaint Christmas markets are crowded on December weekends. Expect high prices and crowded spaces.
Health & Safety
There are no specific health risks or vaccinations required for family travel to Europe and random, violent crime rates are much lower in Europe than most places in the world, including the United States. That said, petty theft is a real problem and health insurance doesn't always travel abroad. What's more, travel is good opportunity to review to review the immunization status of adults and children. The World Health Organization advises that all travelers, independent of their destination, be up to date with routine vaccinations against measles, rubella, mumps, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough) and poliomyelitis.
Money Matters
The Euro is used in 23 European countries - Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Monaco and Vatican City - but is not accepted as payment in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Russia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Switzerland is a bit of mixed bag. The euro is accepted in many tourist areas but change is often given in Swiss francs. The symbol for the euro is €. Euro notes are identical in all countries but each country issues their own coins. All notes and coins can be used in those European countries that have adopted the Euro. The most convenient way to get local currency is from an ATM (cash machines) but it isn't always the cheapest as banks charge a transaction fee for withdrawals made from another bank's machine and/or for international transactions. What's more, cash withdrawals with a credit card are considered a cash advance and may incur higher fees. - Do your homework before you depart. - Credit cards are readily taken in Europe and are almost always required to rent a car and make advance bookings for hotels, tours and attractions. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted. Many small establishments, from retailers to B&Bs, don't take American Express as merchant fees are high. The Discovery Card is all but unknown. While there is no fixed standard for tipping in Europe these rules of thumb will help you through. If service is included, there's no need to tip on top. If service isn't included, add 10%. Tipping for other services is generally not required.
Things to Keep in Mind
Electrical voltage in Europe is 220. The shape of the plug is different in London than it is in Rome and neither is the same as New York. Check your electronics before you depart to determine whether you need a plug adaptor or a voltage converter. (Most laptop computer, mobile telephone and digital camera chargers are dual voltage, meaning they operate safely at both 110 and 220 volts.)
  • Travel Voltage Converter
  • Travel Power Plug Adapter
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Travel Trivia
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