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International Family Vacation Destinations

family vacations - turks and caicos

A recent survey showed that Europe is the top continent for family vacations, particularly in Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Greece, Ireland and Spain. However, family vacation preferences have also expanded to include South America, Thailand and the Caribbean.

When thinking of family vacations in Europe, you might imagine teenagers being unimpressed by the Mona Lisa or weary children more interested in the hotel pool than the Roman Colosseum. But when planning a multi-generational trip, Europe’s thousands of years of history, culture and art, combined with amusement parks and plenty of green spaces, beaches and other kid-friendly attractions, make it appealing for all ages. It’s the same versatility that draws families to all the top destinations.

With trips to 27 countries and 95 cities globally, including Caribbean and other warm-weather destinations, you can trust Pleasant Holidays as your expert family vacation planner, whatever your style.

Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular international family vacation spots and their highlights.

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United Kingdom: While the United Kingdom is not in Europe, it’s close by, making it a central spot for country hopping. London is an especially popular destination. Who doesn’t like the Tower of London and the crown jewels? Not to mention actual castles. The British Museum has rooms full of artifacts, including suits of armor, which are crowd-pleasers. The London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel, is also popular, as well as gardens and a zoo. Outside of London, the seaside resort of Blackpool is home to an aquarium, a waterpark and other attractions, not to mention the beach.

France: Just across the English Channel, France beckons, with Paris as the main attraction. Climb the Eiffel Tower and visit the Palace of Versailles or take a cruise on the Seine. The famous art museum, the Louvre, offers special tours for children. Had enough art and history? Head to amusement parks Parc Asterix or Disneyland Paris, or visit the Paris Botanical Gardens, which includes a zoo. Outside of Paris, enjoy the French countryside, skiing in the mountains or the scenic French coast.

greece santorini
Cliff Side Suites. Santorini, Greece.
(Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Holidays)

Greece: The Cradle of Civilization also is full of architectural wonders to see, including the Parthenon, Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis in Athens. Kid-friendly tours are available for all the major archaeological sites in Greece. Take a break from the cities and visit some of the country’s beautiful beaches.

Ireland: Head to the Emerald Isle for your fill of ancient churches, castles, forts, museums, mansions and ghost stories. The Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular attractions with the well-known stone rumored to give all who kiss it the gift of gab. Kilkenny Castle is another of Ireland’s most visited heritage sites. For outdoor adventures, one of Ireland’s most famous sights, the Cliffs of Moher, rises 666 feet, with breathtaking views and the Irish landscape is perfect for biking and mountain climbing.

family vacations - venice
Palazzo Sant’Angelo Sul Canal Grande Hotel, Venice, Italy.
(Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Holidays)

Italy: If you plan to visit different cities in Italy, and it’s hard not to, make sure you see Michelangelo’s Statue of David in Florence and Leonardo de Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper in Milan. Take a guided tour of the Vatican Museums to get a deeper look at Italy’s extensive artistic, religious and cultural history. In Rome, history and art is everywhere, but be sure to see the colosseum, a huge, ancient amphitheater and toss coins in the Trevi Fountain. To keep the younger ones happy, enroll them in gladiator school for a day. Kids also might like visiting one or more of the many car museums in Italy or hiking up a volcano.

Spain: Get to know medieval Barcelona with a family walking tour of the city’s Gothic Quarter. For the next stop, the Prado National Museum in Madrid, which has one of the largest art collections in the world, features works by Spain’s own Velasquez, Goya and El Greco. Also in Madrid, Parque del Retiro, a park surrounding a lake, is the perfect place for a stroll or a bike ride. For the more adventurous, travel to Alhambra in Granada, Andalusia, one of the best-preserved palaces of the ancient Muslim world. For a water-drenched day of fun, visit Siam Park, Tenerife’s water kingdom, ranked the best water park in the world, with heart-pumping slides and lazy river floating.

Caribbean: The Caribbean comprises almost 7,000 islands within 26 countries and features a unique blend of food, music and art. Lounge on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, enjoy water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving and Jet Skiing. Explore some of the nations’ colonial histories by visiting fortresses that are more than a century old. Hike along trails with waterfalls and mountains.

South America: For an outdoor adventure vacation, South America is home to towering mountains, unique wildlife and scenic beaches, as well as natural and manmade wonders. Take a train to Machu Picchu, the lost City of the Incas, in the Peruvian Andes. In Ecuador, enjoy tours highlighting native wildlife and rainforests. Experience “cowboy life” with the gauchos in Argentina and pick a spot to relax on Uruguay’s 410 miles of beaches.

family vacations- thailand
Shangri-La Bangkok, Thailand.
(Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Holidays)

Thailand: Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is the perfect place for foodies, with street foods the highlight of the culinary scene. “Floating” markets still exist, with boats full of items near the sides of canals. Make sure to take a water taxi during your exploration of the city. Among the not-to-be-missed spots are the Bangkok National Museum, Grand Palace and Chinatown. Outside of the city, enjoy pristine white beaches at Phuket and Koh Samui Chiang Rai and waterfalls and forests in mountainous northern Thailand.

Contact your AAA Travel Agent and plan your next family getaway today! 

Featured image: Beaches Turks and Caicos. (Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Holidays)

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