With its fairy-tale castles, historical landmarks, half-timbered houses, cuckoo clocks, sandy beaches, mountain lakes, and cows grazing along picturesque hills, Germany is an ideal destination for families traveling with kids.
Germans love children and provide them with wonderful opportunities to enjoy their childhood to the fullest. Whether in an urban area or in the countryside, there are plenty of exciting things to do and explore for babies, kids, tweens and teens.
What makes Germany good for kids?
Germany is a very convenient and easy destination for families traveling with kids. It is safe, has a well-developed infrastructure, has a good health care system and amazing access to organic and locally grown foods. Family bathrooms, waiting areas, and wheelchair access are available in almost every German airport and larger train stations. Long-distance trains have family compartments, and most platforms are equipped with elevators, while sidewalks are stroller-friendly. Although some smaller stations lack these facilities, travelers can always find a helping hand.
Restaurants and cafes do not usually offer separate kids' menus, but they are happy to help by cooking a kid-friendly meal or serving a smaller portion, taking special food requests into consideration. High chairs and changing tables are offered almost everywhere, and there is always a place to squeeze in a stroller. Many beer gardens and cafes are located next to playgrounds, which is a nice add-on for older kids.
If your kids need a diaper change or you run out of baby food, larger drugstore chains like DM or Rossmann offer changing stations and baby goods. Tap water is safe to drink all across Germany.
Where is best in Germany for kids?
Depending on your family's preferences, you will find activities for every age, taste, and budget across Germany. Every Bundesland (state) has great itineraries and programs that cater specifically to young minds, creating an exciting and educational experience for children of all ages, such as NRW-Tourism or Bavaria.Travel.
From wildlife encounters in the Harz Mountains to amazing playgrounds like Gut Königsmühle, museums designed for kids, and sports opportunities, Germany holds endless possibilities to keep your kids entertained. Older children and teenagers will appreciate the historic attractions of the Hanseatic League in Lübeck or following a treetop path of Panarbora in Waldbröl. And theme parks like Legoland are always a hit with everyone.
Best things to do in Germany with toddlers and little kids
Stay on a farm
Staying at a Bauernhof (farmyard) is an experience every kid will love. Help take care of the farm animals and be rewarded with a wet cow-kiss or fresh eggs. Bauernhof Urlaub has a great selection of farm stays all over Germany: like Vogtbenedikthof in the Black Forest or Hof Faasel on the Baltic Sea.
Explore the beaches and islands
"Beach" is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Germany, but be sure to add the coastlines and islands of the Baltic and North Sea to your itinerary. German coastlines vary from windy dunes to long, wide strips of sand packed with colorful beach chairs called Strandkorb. Most of the beaches are flat and perfect for building sandcastles and taking long walks.
When it comes to the best beaches in Germany for kids, there are a few that stand out. Sylt, located in the North Sea, is known for its long sandy beaches and clear water. It's a popular destination for families and offers activities for kids from learning about marine life in Sylt Aquarium to windsurfing courses. Another great option is the island of Rügen, located in the Baltic Sea. The island boasts over 60km (37 miles) of sandy beaches – Prora beach with its tragic WWII history being one of the best thanks to its shallow waters, perfect for kids to swim and play in.
Lounge by a lake
Water enthusiasts will enjoy spending their vacation in Germany by a lake. Ones that are perfect for families are Lake Constance (Bodensee), Chiemsee, and the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau, which includes the largest lake in Germany, Lake Müritz, among others. In case there are no lakes nearby, every city has indoor and outdoor swimming pools for children of all ages.
Meet the animals at wildlife parks and zoos
There are superb wildlife centers and zoos all over Germany – Berlin, Duisburg or Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich are the standouts – but there are more unusual animal encounters on offer, too. Pretend you're on safari at Serengeti-Park in Hodenhagen, Lower Saxony, surrounded by lions, giraffes, and elephants, or take a day trip to the island of Helgoland off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in search of seals.
Wildgehege (smaller game reserves) are common throughout Germany. Kids can feed deer, sheep or goats while enjoying a walk in the forest or a park.
Run free in the national parks
If you find traveling with kids in larger cities a bit overwhelming, then you will love Germany’s national parks and smaller villages. The Black Forest National Park is the place where fairy tales come true: the little villages with half-timbered houses around the town of Gengenbach or the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock in Schonach are an unforgettable experience. The Saxon Switzerland National Park is known for its unique rock formations and stunning landscapes. Harz National Park is home to the Harz Mountains and a variety of wildlife, including lynx, wildcats, and eagles. And for volcanic landscapes, be sure to visit the Eifel National Park.
Best things to do in Germany with young kids, tweens and teens
Find out what's happening in cities
No matter which city or town in Germany you travel to, you will always find kid-friendly activities, playgrounds, and parks. If you are traveling to Berlin or Munich, Berlin mit Kind or Munich mit Kind is a great source of inspiration as well as information on what's on for families. For Dortmund and the surrounding area, check out Dortmund Mit Kind. If you prefer compact cities to megalopolises, aim for Bremen, the home of the "Town Musicians of Bremen," or Düsseldorf with its amazing Aquazoo Löbbecke, which is also great to visit on rainy days.
For local produce and life experiences, go to local markets for an experience every kid will love. The Fish Market in Hamburg, Viktualienmarkt in Munich, the weekly market in Münster, or the farmers market at Boxhagener Platz in Berlin are all great options.
Visit theme parks and drive fairy-tale roads
Germany’s largest and one of the most popular in Europe, Europa-Park offers over 100 attractions, including roller coasters, water rides, and shows. Heide Park and Phantasialand are great alternatives to Europa-Park. Younger children will enjoy wandering through the fairy-tale forest of Zwergenwald Sommerrodelbahn in Ibbenbüren.
For rainy days, DASA – Arbeitswelt Ausstellung is a great hiding place and an educational spot about the World of Work. If your kids love the tales of the Grimm Brothers, be sure to drive some of the 600km-long (373 mile) fairy-tale-road Deutsche Märchenstraße to add some magic to your trip.
Find a museum for every kids' interests
From football to technology, from coal-mining to climate change – there are plenty of regular and open-air museums in Germany to choose from. History fans will love open-air Archeological Park in Xanten or Wikinger Museum Haithabu, or learning about the story of humankind at Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann.
For school-age kids, modern-day history museums Haus der Geschichte in Bonn or The Wall Museum at the East Side Gallery in Berlin are a must. To dive deeper into German historical traditions and lifestyle, be sure to visit the interactive Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof or LWL-Freilichtmuseum in Hagen.
Tour sports stadiums and arenas
If your kids are into football, you might want to stop by a football game or visit their favorite stadium on a guided tour. The FC Bayern Museum and Allianz Arena Tour covers behind the scenes of Europe’s most modern football arena as well as the history of the club. The same applies to the BVB09 and Borusseum in Dortmund. To cover the history of German football, Deutsches Fußballmuseum in Dortmund is your go-to.
See magical castles
Visiting a castle is a perfect way to add more sparkle to your trip, especially for younger children. If Disney's prototype for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – Schloss Neuschwanstein – is too crowded for your taste, try some of the less-visited gems like Burg Eltz in the gorgeous wine-region of Moselle, Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps or Wartburg Castle in the Thuringian Forest.
What to do in Germany with kids in winter
If you are traveling with kids to Germany during the cold months, be sure to plan your trip around the advent time to enjoy the pre-Christmas magical atmosphere and to visit a Christmas market. Germany has great ski and snowboarding slopes, and many resorts in Winterberg and Oberstdorf offer courses for children of different ages.
Planning tips for traveling with children
- When traveling with kids in Germany, the best way to get around is by using public transport. Renting a car makes sense only if you plan to visit remote areas or go on a road trip.
- Deutsche Bahn always offers special family tariffs, has designated family compartments on long-distance trains, and provides treats for smaller kids.
- If you live in Europe, this might not be a surprise to you, but on Sundays and public holidays, all stores and supermarkets in Germany are closed. The only grocery shops that are open are the ones at gas stations or in the train station. Plan your groceries and amenities accordingly.
- Almost every larger city or region in Germany has its own Welcome card, offering discounts or special offers for families and kids, like an Erlebnis Card for Stuttgard Region, Berlin Welcome Card or Ruhr.Topcard. Check if the cost of these will save you money for the activities you have planned.