With the milder weather on its way, it’s a chance to head outdoors for days out or trips away with the family. Heading to Europe on the ferry lets you experience other cultures, traditions and cuisine and short breaks to France, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium provide tons of family fun. Plus, travelling in early spring means you often miss the bigger queues you would find in the summer – bonus! Take a look at DFDS' list of some of the best family friendly places to visit this spring.
Efteling – The Netherlands
Step inside a fairytale world this spring at Dutch theme park Efteling. Stroll through the Fairytale Forest, fly through the home of the fairies in interactive dream flight Droomvlucht or try your hand at defeating the fire-breathing dragon on the rollercoaster Joris en de Draak.
With live shows, a range of restaurants and accommodation on-site, as well as rides and immersive worlds, it’s a delight to visit with the family and you’ll come home filled with wonder!
Berchtesgaden – Germany
Berchtesgaden is a lesser known Bavarian town located in southern Germany.
It is full of natural beauty, myths and history. Local legend has it that angels given the task of distributing the earth’s wonders, dropped everything here by accident, including the Watzmann, Germany’s majestic second-highest mountain and the pristine Königssee Lake.
Beneath the ground is The Berchtesgaden Salt Mines where you can explore via a guided tour which includes a boat ride in an underground lake!
Above ground, take a boat trip on Königssee Lake craning your neck to marvel at the surrounding snow-capped mountains reflecting in the glassy river. If you venture into Berchtesgaden National Park you will be met with stunning scenery, and a range of walking routes for all the family to enjoy.
Amsterdam – The Netherlands
If you’re looking for more of a city break, Amsterdam is a great place to visit with the family. Take a canal cruise and see the historic waterfront merchants’ houses, visit the house of Anne Frank, hire bikes and take a picnic to the park or head to Artis Zoo on the edge of the city. There’s an abundance of museums in Amsterdam too, including the interactive NEMO Science Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and Madame Tussauds where you can spot a celebrity or two.
Nantes – France
Nantes is a family friendly city in Brittany with over 100 parks and gardens to explore, a grand castle and many museums.
Head to Île de Nantes, a creative hub on an island in the middle of the river where you can find Les Machines de L’ile Nantes, a museum housing a range of magnificent machines including a 40 foot mechanical elephant which you can ride on!
Step back in time at the The Château de Ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany), where you can walk the ramparts, climb the turrets and look out across the moat.
For lunch, enjoy a savoury crêpe or galette then treat yourself to some regional Petit Beurre biscuits – the pack will be gone before you know it, they are so delicious!
Mechelen – Belgium
This hidden Belgian gem is nestled between Brussels and Antwerp and is an ideal destination for a family break. Most the city centre is pedestrianised so you can let the little ones run wild, exploring their new surroundings.
You can climb the UNESCO Worls Heritage St Rumbold’s Tower to see fantastic views across the city and if you’re visiting on a Saturday the central square comes alive with a weekly market.
The Toy Museum holds one of the biggest collections of toys in Belgium and regularly holds interactive workshops for children to enjoy. There are also self-guided children’s tours of the city which can be picked up from the Tourist Information office. Child friendly maps with routes and interesting information can be followed alongside tasting booklets which will take you to cheese, pastry and chocolate shops en route. A visit to Belgium wouldn’t be complete without chocolate now would it?
Lyon – France
With two Roman amphitheatres, sprawling parks and hidden hideaways, Lyon is an exciting place to visit for all the family.
Once the kids have tired themselves out playing at being Romans, head to Parc de la Tête d’Or for a picnic and a stroll. You can enjoy pony rides, boats on the lake, a mini train and several playgrounds, as well as a zoo where you will find animals from all over the world.
There are several museums in the city too including a Movies & Miniature Museum and an Automatic Puppet Museum, both of which display the skilful work of local artisans.
In the heart of the city are a network of Traboules, little pathways that lead to hidden doorways into courtyards with towering staircases. Looking for the hidden hideouts will be sure to make you hungry so head to Les Halles food market for authentic French produce. Crêpe anyone?
Start your family break to Europe on a crossing with DFDS. Find out more about your discounted routes here.