Ultimate Guide for Finding Family-Friendly Hotels in Europe
Kinderhotels in Europe are like magical unicorns for traveling families and unlike anything else. But finding and narrowing down family-friendly hotels in Europe can feel harder than spotting an actual unicorn.
If you’ve traveled as a parent then you know there’s a big difference between going on a trip and going on a vacation. I can say with certainty that the majority of our “vacations” as a family are more like trips with lots of planning, bouts of hiccups, and a fair share of whining (I’m being honest here).
But when you stay at a kinderhotel, or a glorified place specifically for families, it’s like you’re on an actual vacation.
Picture this: you check into your kinderhotel and get the kids signed up for their kids’ club. They bolt to their secure, super fun play area and leave you and your partner to enjoy whatever the heck you want…alone.
✔️ You want to have dinner in peace? Done.
✔️ You don’t want to change a diaper for an entire afternoon? Done.
✔️ You want to explore the local area without hearing any whining, sip warm coffee, or read a book in peace? Done, done, and done.
Your kids will love it there so much that they literally cry when it’s time to go to bed or (dare I say it?) leave for good.
Long example short: a kinderhotel is not your average Holiday Inn.
So, What is a Kinderhotel?
First things first: what is a kinderhotel? The best way I can describe one is that it’s like a family cruise on land. Meaning, it’s (typically) all-inclusive and its main focus is on the family.
Staying at a kinderhotel is an experience all on its own because everything is provided for you. The rooms are designed for families (and if you have a larger family then you know how hard it can be to find a place); your meals are included in the price…and there is often so much really good food; pools and waterparks; there are activities, playgrounds, spa services, saunas, and more.
But the part that really separates kinderhotels from just a resort is the childcare.
Family-friendly hotels in Europe typically offer some sort of childcare with kids’ clubs for all ages (babies up to teens). And I can tell you from personal experience that your kids will not want to leave.
I love my kids, and I love traveling with them, but it’s a lot for all of us sometimes. This way we all get to enjoy our time away.
Different Types of Family-Friendly Hotels in Europe
Like anything, there are different types of kinderhotels, and you may have to dig around to find one that fits your travel style, budget, and location.
The specific kinderhotels (under the “Kinderhotel chain” category below) will definitely cost more, but they’re truly worth it if it’s within your budget.
Don’t brush this off like I did the first time I heard about campgrounds in Europe, because they’re such a game changer for our family.
Camping here is not a pitch-your-tent-and-sleep-under-the-stars kind of place. (They do have those, but that’s not what this is.) While you can take your RV or camper, they have actual accommodations like mobile homes for you to stay in.
You may not get all the amenities and experiences as a traditional—and more expensive—kinderhotel, but they’re excellent for families and can be much easier on the budget.
The Kinderhotel Rating System
Most of the properties below have a rating system. Stars, crowns, flowers, and smiley faces (just as some examples) are how they differentiate their services and hotel quality.
For example, Familotel uses a crown system. A three-crown hotel may offer slightly less childcare time and things like different activities or amenities than a five-crown hotel.
If you’re staying at a kinderhotel and want to explore the area more, perhaps you’ll pick a place that offers slightly fewer perks. But if you plan on making your hotel the main attraction, you can find a spot that has more to do there.
You Get What You Pay For
I’m listing several different types of family-friendly hotels in Europe below, but just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
If you’re looking for a 100% relaxing trip where you don’t have to lift your pinky finger, and your kids are well taken care of for the entire day, you may have to slap down some extra Euros for that kind of service.
If you can travel during the off-season and are flexible with your dates, you can find that even some of the more expensive places are actually affordable. And keep in mind that meals and childcare are included, so weigh those extras and see if it works for your family.
There are also cheaper options like camping (don’t freak out…it’s not actual camping) that include similar extras, so don’t write this type of holiday off immediately.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that you’ll need to look closely at the listings; some camping places/categories require you to bring your own towels and linens…or you can pay extra to have them there for you.
Finding Family-Friendly Hotels and Kinderhotels in Europe
This is—by no means—a complete list, but it is a starting point if you’re just dipping your toes in and have no idea where to begin.
Important Things to note:
- Consider this a starting point—you will still have to sift through to find specific kinderhotels in Europe from this list. It can be overwhelming at first, but use their search features to narrow down where and what you’re looking for.
- You can request catalogs/brochures from some of the kinderhotel chains. The majority will not come in English, but they’re still fun to look through, and Google Translate can help interpret them for you.
- There are a lot of stand-alone kid-friendly hotels/resorts (i.e. they’re not under an umbrella/parent kinderhotel company like in the first section), so I’ve listed the ones I’ve found in their own section. I’m more than happy to update this, so send me places you’ve stayed at!
- A lot of kinderhotels and campgrounds require a minimum stay, which is sometimes at least 3 days. However, you can always call and see if they have availability for a shorter stay.
Family-Friendly Hotels in Europe
This is a great place to start your search for a kinderhotel in Europe. The links below are family-friendly “hubs” for finding specific places…kind of like kinderhotel chains. The last two links are also great resources.
- Kinderhotels.com (Austria, Germany, Italy, Croatia)
- Familotel (Germany, Austria, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hungary)
- Kinderhotel.info (more than 12 countries)
- Familux Resorts (in Austria and Germany)
- Familienhotels (in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Great Britain)
- Iberostar Hotel and Resorts (family hotels in Greece, Montenegro, Spain)
- Labranda Hotels and Resorts (Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Canary Islands, Malta)
Little Travel Society
Great search capabilities and more than 300 family-friendly stay around the world listed. I like that real people write about the places mentioned so you can get a little inside scoop on each listing. Easy to go to the actual property’s website from the review page. There are also great blog posts with excellent family travel tips.
Little Guest Collection
Another site with a great search function, but you have to send in an email inquiry if you’d like more info about booking a specific place. Thankfully they’re very fast at responding if you send an inquiry—even if it’s vague and you’re not sure where you want to go. This is a good jumping-off point to at least find the name of a specific place with amenities and activities that you want.
Family-Friendly “Camping” in Europe
While you can certainly find full or half-board (all-inclusive) places in this category, it’s much less of a “resort” feel and more of a relaxed atmosphere.
Don’t forget to make sure these have the services and amenities you’re looking for with a kinderhotel.
- Yelloh Village (in France, Spain, and Portugal)
- CenterParcs (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France)
- EuroParcs (the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria)
- Eurocamp (located in 9 different countries)
In Specific Countries
These are family-friendly hotels I’ve found that I think are one-offs, as in they’re not affiliated with one of the chains listed above, but still offer the same quality and type of family-hotel service. I tried to include them only if they had kids’ clubs, but if one slipped through the cracks, feel free to correct me. And please share if you know of others that I can add to the list.
As mentioned in this post several times: make sure they have the services and amenities you’re looking for with a European family-friendly hotel.
- Sun Gardens (Dubrovnik)
- Family Hotel Armin (Rovinj)
- Pine Cliffs (Algarve)
- Pestana Hotel Group
There are literally hundreds if not more than a thousand amazing all-inclusive kinderhotels in Europe, so I’m 100% certain I’ve missed some. But if I kept searching I’d never actually publish this post. I’m happy to add to this list, so please comment/email if you know of more, especially the “stand-alone” section.
Where We’ve Personally Stayed
I’ll do my best to keep this list current, and hopefully, we’ll be adding more the longer we’re here.
- July 2021 | Yelloh Village Camping La Capricieuse (Normandy, France)
- Dec/Jan 2022 | Alpenrose Familux Resort (Lermoos, Austria)
What about any alternatives in the US? I feel like the US is a bit behind on this…
The US really is behind on places like this, and every time we go to one it’s more and more apparent. I’d love to make a list like this for places in America!