Hidden in the huge labyrinth that is Europe, there are literally tonnes of things that will appeal to kids, youths and teenagers, especially if you're willing to look beyond the obvious (Disneyland Paris, Costa del Sol) and seek out the obscure (cycling in Normandy or horse riding on the west coast of Ireland).

It is hard to generalise about kid-friendliness in Europe. For more details, check the Lonely Planet website and search the specific countries you will be visiting.

My Little Nomads (www.mylittlenomads.com) Has a comprehensive list of family-friendly hotels plus plenty of other advice.

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/family-travel) The website has regularly updated family travel information, articles and advice. There are also numerous kid's books including Not For Parents: Europe.

Practicalities

  • Europe, in particular Mediterranean Europe, is very family-orientated. Expect waitstaff to ruffle your kid's hair and bank on seeing young children sitting around at family meals in restaurants until late.
  • Nappies (diapers) are widely available; baby-changing facilities vary from country to country, but are generally pretty comprehensive.
  • Baby formula and baby food are widely available in all European countries. However, brands differ. You might want to bring your own stash as back-up.
  • For cheap rooms, check out Europe's hostels, many of which have at least one family room.
  • Plan ahead and select a few preplanned big-ticket items aimed specifically at kids before you leave, such as Disneyland Paris or Legoland in Denmark.
  • Don't write off the less obvious sights. Many of Europe's art galleries and iconic monuments give out kid's activity books that lay out special interactive itineraries for children.
  • Hit a festival. Many European festivals have a strong family bias and have been entertaining children for centuries from Seville's Feria de Abril to France's Bastille Day.
  • Most European countries have a pretty relaxed attitude to breastfeeding in public despite the fact that European women are less likely to breastfeed than women elsewhere.
  • Cots are usually provided free of charge for young children in hotels on request. Reserve when booking.
  • In the EU, some form of protective car seat must be used by all children under 1.35m (4ft 5 in). Check when booking a vehicle for seat availability.