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Car Hire Adventures In Europe's Most Child Friendly Cities

Apr 13, 2008
The school bell has rung, the chalk dust has settled, it can only mean one thing-it's
time to start planning the perfect school holiday escape! With Europe's cities buzzing with lively events and attractions during the school holidays there's no better time for children to get an extra lesson in culture, history and fun.

1. Copenhagen:

Topsy-turvy towers, elegant royal palaces, colourful marching guards... simply walking through the streets of this city is like stepping into the pages of a storybook. That's before even mentioning marauding Vikings, jolly Lego folk or the magical Tivoli Gardens. For children, a city break in Copenhagen is guaranteed to captivate enchant and enthral.

What To See in the City:

Copenhagen is one of Europe's most child friendly cities, offering plenty to keep the little ones amused. In Copenhagen, there's no escaping Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson's legacy. A visit to the city's iconic Little Mermaid statue on the waterfront is a must, as is the captivating 'Wonderful World of Hans Christian Anderson', a child-centred interactive museum on Rådhuspladsen. To see real-life tin soldiers in action, be sure to catch the impressive midday changing of the guard ceremony at Amalienborg Palace.

What To Do Outside of the City:

A hire car allows you to explore all of the attractions of the city's surrounding countryside. In Copenhagen there are plenty of options open to you. A whole-day excursion to Legoland makes for a fun-filled day out for all the family. Situated in Billund (240km west of Copenhagen), Legoland is one of the safest and most well-planned theme parks you'll ever visit. Meanwhile, nearby Roskilde's excellent Viking Ship Museum (32 km west of Copenhagen) is where the imagination can really run amok.

2. Barcelona

Bright and breezy Barcelona, with its quirky Gaudi buildings, vibrant cultural scene and blissful beaches is the half-term city break that appears to have it all.

Things To See in the City:

One of the best ways to familiarise children with the city is to take them on a walking tour of Gaudi's most stunning buildings. The crazy, fantastical architecture of Sagrada Familia Cathedral and Parc Guell is sure to leave kids spellbound. Meanwhile, Picasso's discombobulated drawings at the splendid Museu Picasso and the interactive exhibits at Fundacio Joan Miro will have mini Miros and pint-sized Picassos reaching for the crayons and paint boxes. Of course there are plenty of other non-cultural attractions on offer in the city, including the fun Tibidabo Amusement Park, set in a stunning mountain location, overlooking the city.

Things To Do Outside of the City:

After all that walking, a day-trip by hire car is a special treat for tired little feet. Barcelona is convenient to a number of fine beaches. Casteldefells, situated within a half hour's drive of Barcelona is a pleasant sandy beach, that is guaranteed to keep the bucket and spade brigade amused for a few hours at least.

3. Paris

Paris's stunning attractions have long captivated city break tourists. However, with children in tow, you'll get to see the city from a whole new point of view. With two world-class amusement parks on its doorstep and a range of child-friendly spots to be found around the city, there's no reason why children can't get in on the City of Light's charms. Besides, it's the perfect place for the petit enfants to brush up on their French!

Things To See in the City:

The city's iconic Eiffel Tower is a definite must see attraction. Even if you've seen it before, it's worth visiting the impressive 276-metre structure just to see the look of awe it inspires on the faces of the young. Meanwhile, river cruises on the Seine offer the chance to see the city from a watery perspective and will surely ignite the imagination of wannabe pirates.

To truly feel like the king of the castle, be sure to make a visit to the delightful France Miniature Park-you'll get the chance to play Gulliver in a Lilliputian land where the Palace of Versailles is knee-high and the Arc de Triomphe is nothing to shout about.

Things To Do Outside of the City:

Situated 32km to the east of Paris, a day-trip to Disneyland Resort Paris is guaranteed to be number one on the wish list of every kid on vacation in Paris. The enchanting theme park is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary and now boasts hundreds of attractions. A whole day should be allocated to seeing its main highlights.

Meanwhile, heading north, a 30km drive will take you to Asterix Park, a charming homegrown amusement park which features a range of exciting attractions based on the diminutive French cartoon character.
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