The article was prepared in cooperation with Kaja Wolnicka from moi-mili.pl.
Immerse Yourself in Nature in Iceland
When I think of all the stunning places I’ve visited, Iceland is one of the most accessible and awe-inspiring, with plenty to offer family travellers. Iceland is captivating, diverse, rugged and spectacular. It’s also the perfect fit for a family trip. You won’t find the typical amusement parks or playgrounds here, but if your children are happiest in nature then this is the place to be. Spot dolphins and whales, marvel at seals drifting on ice floes and charming puffins that can only be found in the far north; get up close to foxes, sheep, and horses that graze in Iceland’s rolling green meadows next to towering waterfalls and keep a close watch for herds of reindeer walking along the road — Iceland is an animal lover’s paradise.
Among our most cherished Icelandic memories are those of a boat trip where we watched humpback whales. We also loved playing with black sand, building towers using round, coal-dark pebbles on Reynisfjara beach and bathing in hot springs — this brought joy to our whole family and easily outshone all previous visits to swimming pools and water parks! I must also mention glacier climbing, a simply breathtaking experience. Regardless of whether we were driving or walking next to Iceland’s majestic volcanoes and waterfalls, we were always struck by the surrounding nature as well as the changeable weather, experiencing rainbows, snow, sun, rain and hail within the course of an hour!
On the German Toy Trail in Bavaria
You may associate Bavaria with its famously delicious pretzels and it’s slightly less famous (and therefore less crowded) LEGOLAND. But there’s plenty more to offer visiting families than snacks and bricks! The most memorable stop on our Bavarian journey was undoubtedly Neuschwanstein Castle, also known as the Disney Castle. Said to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle, the building towers majestically over its surroundings and is the most photographed place in Germany.
Beautiful, atmospheric Nuremberg is charming at any time of the year. Adults will be delighted with the old town and its narrow stone streets, while children will love the local Toy Museum and the Playmobil amusement park. Although less well-known than Legoland, in my kids’ opinion, this was far better fun. The park is divided thematically with sections devoted to pirates, knights, dinosaurs and The Wild West, along with a water play area that kids can’t get enough of! Due to its size, there’s enough to keep you busy here all day, with plenty of bars and restaurants with comfortable seats.
Paris Avec La Famille
If you are planning a family vacation in Paris, you should definitely visit the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland. However, The City of Lights boasts plenty more to keep kids occupied. We visited Paris twice — with a one — then a two-year-old — however I don’t recommend this experience very much. As much as I love the city, I think it’s very poorly adapted to moving around with a stroller, therefore, in my opinion, it’s perfect to visit with an infant in a baby carrier, or else with a child who is already able to walk easily.
Children will love a carousel ride at Forum les Halles, at the Eiffel Tower or in the Las B of Lonese. There are also plenty of other merry-go-rounds in Paris’ numerous squares and parks. It is also worth planning an afternoon in the Luxembourg Gardens. P’tits Voiliers, the local tradition of pushing vintage toy boats around the pond, will keep children occupied while parents can enjoy a break on the sun loungers nearby. Both boats and sun loungers can be rented on-site. The Jardin d’Acclimatation is a children’s paradise, with swings, boats, a monkey grove, a trick-mirror hall and even a zoo. Also noteworthy are the Palace of Discoveries, the Chocolate Museum and the Museum of Amusement Parks. If little legs get tired then hop on a double-decker bus to enjoy a slower look at city life.
Occitania — the lesser-known getaway to the South of France
Occitania was established as an administrative region of France just a few years ago after the merger of Languedoc-Roussillon and the Midi-Pyrenees. And while Provence has been attracting crowds for years, Occitania is, in my opinion, still underrated. It’s a breathtaking place, with more than a third of its area consisting of regional and national parks and the rest composed of historic, colourful towns that enjoy a refreshing sea breeze. This is a place of culture, art, delicious food and the warmest welcome in the whole of France. The pace of life in the south is slower; people are never in a hurry and appreciate even the smallest moments of pleasure. When I think of holidays spent there, my first thoughts are of the beautiful sandy beaches of Frontignan and Seté, stretching far into the horizon.
We also enjoyed Carcassonne – Europe’s largest mediaeval town. I have never seen more impressive city walls and a walk around the La Cité Médiéval area feels like being transported to another era. I had a similar experience at the Pont du Gard — the world’s oldest aqueduct bridge. The building itself is delightful, but the surrounding landscape is truly astounding. Camargue is a fascinating stop where you can learn about salt flower and how sea salt is harvested. The Gard river area is a good place for family sunbathing and relaxation and the cherry on top of the cake is the entire Rhone Delta area which is located at the convergence of Provence and Occitania. This is the only place in Europe where you can see herds of wild horses running around, as well as beautiful pink flamingos.