Looking for ideas for unusual family holidays in Europe? Then you came to the right place. We have complied 8 unique ideas to inspire you! No more rushing through cities and squeezing in every second. Relax and have fun instead!
1. Be surrounded by animals
Most people like animals and many have beloved pets. So, it’s no wonder that many are interested in animal encounters on their family holidays. Watching animals feeding, playing and interacting with their surroundings is hypnotizing, and a great way to entertain the kids.
If animals excite you, then farm stay is definitely the ideal choice. Guests of all ages are welcome to have a close encounter with their favourite animal. Meeting harmless local farm animals could easily be a holiday highlight, especially for children.
The animals are kept appropriately according to their nature. You have the possibility to pet, feed, and groom cows, calves, pigs, sheep, horses, ponies and chicken!
There are also plenty of incredible wildlife experiences here in Europe. For example, you can go on a wildlife safari in Sweden to spot elk/moose, the king of the forest, and other large mammals.
2. Self-catering family vacation
A self-catering holiday can be interpreted as staying in a self-contained furnished, clean and comfortable accommodation. The kitchen has pots and pans, cutlery, stove and such, for you to prepare and cook your own meals. It’s for families who want maximum flexibility, has unique dietary requirements, or don’t want to spend a fortune on their vacation.
Self-catering accommodations give you the freedom to enjoy your holiday as you wish. You can go on different adventures in different places, you are not limited to a certain area like all-inclusive resorts. Explore the local culture with the kids, and experience a slower pace of living.
No more trying to get your kids to eat unfamiliar food, it isn’t fun. As well as, no set mealtimes, so you and your family can eat whenever according to your day.
Family time is precious, and self-catering accommodations provides the best privacy. Engage with others if you want, but you don’t have to spend so much time amongst several hundred other holiday goers.
Separate rooms allow you to have romantic evenings together as a couple under beautiful moonlight after the kids goes to bed.
3. Take your beloved pets with you
If you are a pet family, then the thought of leaving a family member behind when you go on vacation seem heart breaking. When you are on your holiday, you will spend a lot of time worrying them. Constantly checking your home security camera pet care or calling the care taker just to make sure they are alright.
You have probably experienced the frustration of trying to find out accommodations for both people and pets. Can my pet stay in this place? What are the rules? Where can they visit? Is there the possibility for them to roam free and play without the leash?
Don’t worry! Today there are tons of pet friendly vacation spots that gives your beloved total freedom! Anything from pet friendly hotels to farm stays for them to run around in the vast open fields. There is no shortage of travel options for you and your four-legged family member.
Also, let’s face it, pet care whilst you are away is expensive and they will always wonder where you went. So, why not bring them with you! Go on a farm stay, the most pet friendly option, and let them loose whilst your family enjoy the beautiful countryside. The experience will bring you closer together.
4. Family horseback riding
Want to grant your girl’s wish of wanting a pony? Or satisfy your boy’s desire to become a cowboy? You are in luck! There are many family vacations that focuses on horseback riding. During the time, you would pick up basic skills of horseback riding and learn more about the majestic animal.
There are many family holidays you can take, but one of the best and most unique is a riding adventure. It is immensely fun for the whole family, and you get to spend quality time in nature, as well as connect with the horses.
The kids will talk about this experience forever after riding horses in the countryside, watching the sunset and come back to a warm cozy cottage/cabin.
There are farms that breed all kinds of horses, granting you to find your perfect companion. However, most horse places are dependent on the weather. Some of them aren’t even open in certain season.
5. Lakeside trip: Sauna and spa, fishing, canoe/kayak
Imaging holding a cup of hot chocolate with the family all snuggle under a fluffy blanket lounging on the porch to watch the sunset together. That’s how the end of a lakeside trip day looks like. Spend the days swimming in the clear and clean lake, kayaking/canoeing down the calm river, or go on a fishing safari.
Kayaking/canoeing are not all about going down fast rapids. You can just float or calmly paddle across the still lake. Definitely an activity that suits all ages and levels, and a great family holidays experience!
It doesn’t matter if you are a serious fisherman, or just want to catch some fish as a beginner. It is something that the whole family can enjoy! Teach the little ones about fish, nature and that it is not always about the result.
Normally, your family would stay in a cottage/cabin by the lake surrounded by beautiful forests. However, there are other types of accommodation available. However, most places have spas and saunas.
So, after a day full of action, how about a family sauna night for relaxation and recovery? Many places have a wood burning sauna floating on the lake, so be sure to try it out! Experience the process of gathering wood to heat the sauna!
6. Gather ingredients for an outdoor cooking experience
Outdoor cooking is a very popular camp/farm activity for families. It is an activity most children and teenagers have never experienced before. The closest “cooking” with an open fire kids nowadays do is either roasting marshmallows or hot dogs.
Most kids usually have their food prepared for them by parents in a kitchen. Therefore, they never know about the joy involved cooking outdoors. Outdoor cooking is an adventure, involving open fires, heavy metal pots and pans, gathering the ingredients and such.
Families would start with picking the vegetables and other materials directly from the farms. This shows the children where our food comes from and that they shouldn’t take anything for granted. Afterwards, you start preparing the ingredients together and then begin cooking.
Each day, you will get to cook unique local meals that can’t be replicated in a kitchen. During the day, do some physical activities, such as hiking, biking, or canoeing, so that you could recover with the delicious meal you prepared.
There is something very special about outdoor cooking. Everything tastes better when you cook it yourselves outside. It teaches kids responsibility and communication, improve their productivity and creativity, as well as keep them busy.
Don’t worry, it will be in a controlled environment to keep kids safe while learning valuable life skills on their family holidays. As well as, allowing them to step outside their comfort zones to enjoy the experience with the family.
7. Active and adventurous hiking holiday
Spend the day outdoors in the fresh air with your family and enjoy nature. Being active is actually more fun than most people think.
But most children may not be easily persuaded by a hiking holiday, especially the older ones. However, throw in a wildlife safari, close encounter with wild animals, or a dip in the cool lake and they might start considering.
You can also get a knowledgeable guide who knows how to entertain, and can tell you about the landscapes and wildlife. Then the hike would fly past and take the pressure off the parents! There are usually fantastic activities and sights along the trail, so be sure to plan your day accordingly. You might go past a village, a playground, abandoned mills and even cross paths with wild moose/elk!
If you go on family holidays during autumn, there is a good chance there will be wild berries and mushrooms for you to pick along the way! Most commonly, you will find wild blueberries and Penny Bun mushrooms. However, there are many poisonous mushrooms and berries, so you need to have sufficient knowledge about them beforehand! Otherwise, ask the locals, who will gladly tell you about which ones to pick!
Most importantly, you need to carefully choose your trekking/hiking trail. Don’t overestimate your family’s abilities and strength. Be realistic and always read up on the trail beforehand.
8. Biking and cycling vacation
Consider a family-friendly cycling vacation for your next family holidays! Cycling is a great way to spend quality time together, or to clear your mind from the daily stress alone. You get to combine moderate exercise with sightseeing, what is more exciting than this?
It doesn’t matter if you are a cycling enthusiast or a casual biker, the best way to experience a new place is on a bike. It is much more intimate than driving. You will see, hear, and smell things that you would miss otherwise! It can be better than walking because you can travel further and visit more places.
However, you need to carefully choose your cycling route. Don’t overestimate your or your family’s capabilities. Choose a route with a distance that you know you can do and is comfortable with. Otherwise, you would just overexert yourself.
Sightseeing can get tiresome and boring for kids quick. However, with the excitement of cycling between places and the possibility to ride on challenging or interesting roads, the kids would start to look forward to each day on their bikes!