Kid-approved vacations around Europe

by Jeana Coleman
Stripes Europe

For a great family vacation, why not let science and nature take center stage? Together you can discover all about farm life to sea life, take an exciting camping adventure or go for a little "shock and awe" at some of Europe’s amazing science centers and museums.


Why not stay at a working farm or vineyard? These vacations are part of the Agritourism movement becoming popular worldwide. Many locations in Europe have wonderful opportunities to stay on a working farm where farmers are more than happy to let the kids help. Bottle-feed lambs, gather eggs, help milk the cows, and interact with pigs, goats, horses and more. Some locations even offer the rustic opportunity to stay overnight in a barn and sleep in a hayloft.

Or, take the time to stay at a vineyard or ranch, and see what it takes to grow, harvest and bottle the wine. The kids will get to help pick grapes and the adults get to sample the finished product!

Remember the children’s story of Heidi and her grandfather, who tended the cattle along the mountainside? Relive the experiences of the time-honored, cheese-making traditions in Switzerland. Stay at a chalet and witness as the cows are moved up the mountains for grazing, milking and cheese making during spring and summer, then moved back down to their homes through the village streets as they come home for the winter. 

UK cottage rentals

Whether it’s a moss-covered cottage in the country or a posh seaside cottage with rooms for 20, there are many places to choose from across the U.K. where you and your family can enjoy a great escape. There are also dog-friendly locations available. Classic Cottages and Helpful Holidays are a few sources to help you find the location that is just right.

Outdoor adventures

Camping is a popular pastime in the European culture. There are always campsites available at concerts, outdoor festivals and even racing events. Or pitch a tent in the country near a quiet lake. You can rent camping equipment or purchase supplies through MWR or Force Support Squadrons. For some great camping ideas, visit World Reviewer, 101 Holidays Best Camping Holidays; and Camping Compass.

If you’d prefer to be near the great outdoors but stay in first-class accommodations, check out Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, or Center Parcs with nature villages in many European destinations. Both of these organizations provide exciting outdoor adventures, spa retreats for the adults and exceptional lodging surrounded by stunning nature.

Science & sea life

Center your vacation around spectacular yet educational attractions, such as Europe’s most amazing and world-renowned aquariums and science centers.

Here are a few place you won’t want to miss:

Oceanogràfic – Housed within the extraordinary Ciudad de las Artes y Las Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) in Valencia, Spain, Oceanogràfic is Europe’s largest aquarium and home to more than 45,000 species of fish, birds and mammals. 

Tropicarium Budapest – Central Europe’s largest aquarium lets you see all sorts of creatures from fish, snakes, birds, spiders, monkeys, gators and more. Ride the shark tunnel, see the shark feeding and feed, touch and interact with sting rays.

Sea Life London Aquarium – Walk on a glass walkway above 12 different species of sharks, or if you dare, snorkel with them; visit 14 different global marine ecosystems and their species; and get up-close and personal with penguins at the grotto at London’s top-notch aquarium. 

For some phenomenal, hands-on science centers and museums for kids of all ages, check out Amsterdam’s NEMO or London’s Museum of Natural History and Science Museum.

Wherever you decide, don’t forget to create a little vacation journal and share with other family travelers. Submit your travel stories and photos to and let other military families know the hot spots for their next vacation.

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