5 family-friendly sights to discover in Paris with children.

Paris is renowned as a place of romance; husband and I had a couple of short breaks there pre-children. On our recent trip we were really impressed with how fab it was to explore Paris with children. We had a stop off in the french capital as part of a longer trip to France but it would work just as well as a child-friendly city break.

Top attractions when visiting Paris with children:

1.Eiffel Tower

This was the attraction that our children were most looking forward to in our Paris trip. It is of course the iconic image of Paris and our children’s expectation was in no small way shaped by a certain Peppa pig episode where Daddy Pig is air lifted from the top of the Eiffel Tower! Our apart-hotel was within walking distance and we even had a view of the tower from our room meaning it was a constant landmark during our days in Paris.

Children next to Eiffel tower
Eiffel Tower view from the Champs de Mars

Best Eiffel Tower views:

  • From the river. A boat trip on the Seine provides a lovely view of the tower.
  • Trocadero centre. We didn’t go here as a family but I managed to sneak a solo visit in on an early morning run. I had thought that I would beat all the crowds and have the place to myself but was staggered to find that at 6:30a.m. the lookout point was already full of tourists snapping away. There were even quite a few couples dressed up in wedding gear having professional shots taken! The light was really beautiful though at that time of day so I can see why the professional photographers take couples there then.
  • Champs de Mars. This is the gardens right next to the Eiffel Tower (the opposite direction to the river). We went here to take a few photos just before going up the tower. It would be a great place to let the kids have a bit of a run around and let off some steam. Unfortunately it was 40°C when we were there so nobody felt much like running around apart from one piece of shade to the next!
Father and children walking down steps of the Eiffel tower
On our way back down from the top.

Top tips for going up the tower:

  • BOOK YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE! This is my main piece of advice. Tickets go on sale around 2 months in advance and the slots do get booked up. (We booked around 6 weeks before our visit and the earliest time slot available for our chosen day was 11:30). There are time slots every half an hour and you can choose from a ticket just to the 2nd floor (either lift or stairs) or a ticket to the summit. You can book the tickets easily online here and then print them out to take on your trip.
  • If you have a baby or toddler that won’t be able to walk I would recommend taking a sling. There is nowhere to leave strollers at the base of the tower. You can take strollers up with you but you will need to fold it and then carry it around with you.
  • Have a drink and enjoy the view from the 1st floor. On the way back down we stopped off on the 1st floor and had a (very expensive) but much needed cooling slushie. There is a small bar serving drinks with nice seating on some astroturf. It was a great place to have a rest with a cooling drink and cooling breeze.
  • Have a ride on the carousel. Everyone loves a carousel but a carousel with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower is better than most! We went on this carousel a couple of times as often passed it on the way back to our accommodation. It’s sandwiched between the river and the tower so pretty easy to find.
Child on carousel next to Eiffel Tower.
M enjoying the carousel

2. Seine River Cruise

A great way to see the city when visiting Paris with children is by doing a cruise along the river. It’s a good way to get your bearings and work out where all the main sights are. Also which kids don’t enjoy going on a boat trip?! There are plenty of options for river cruises but we decided on the Batobus. This isn’t a tour meaning there is no commentary, they are very clear about that when you get on. If you do want a live commentary go for one of the many other cruises.

The reason we chose batobus was that we could hop on and off whenever we wanted. With a toddler you are never quite sure how long their attention is going to last so it was good to have the option of being able to escape the boat if needed. You can buy a day pass or a 2 day pass like we did (which is only €2 more than the 1 day one). There are 9 stops along the route to choose from all near major Paris landmarks.

Mother and children on a boat in Paris.
Enjoying the view from the rear deck.

The boats have glass sides and roof (which is retractable) to allow you to take in the views. There is also an open terrace at the back which due to the extreme heat when we were there was the most comfortable place to take in the views.

Top Tips for the batobus:

  • Your pass is valid for 24 or 48 hours from the time you buy it so if like us you start your ticket at lunchtime one day it will be valid for the rest of that day, the whole of the next day and then until lunchtime the next day. We made use of this to take the boat along the river on each of the three days.
  • The Batobus website has useful information about ticket prices, where the stops are and journey time between the stops etc.
  • You can’t take large baggage/ suitcases on the boat.
  • We did take our pushchair onboard and didn’t need to fold it up. Be aware however that there are often lots of steps to get to and from the dock that you would need to carry it up and down.

3. Jardins du Luxembourg

I’ve been to Paris a couple of times in the past and never been here. Almost every article I read about Paris with children recommended the Jardins du Luxembourg so we thought we better check it out. We were not disappointed!

We used the last morning of our batobus pass to sail down the river to St Germain-des-Prés. From there it is about a 15 minute walk (although we took longer than that at toddler pace!) to the gardens. It was a really lovely walk and we stopped off at a pavement café en route for refreshments. There are metro stations around as well depending on which part of Paris you are travelling to the gardens from.

Lady with coffee in Paris pavement cafe
Enjoying the pavement cafés of Paris’ Latin quarter

The jardins du Luxembourg was originally created in 1612 by Marie de Medici alongside a new residence the Luxembourg palace. The Luxembourg palace is now the meeting place of the French Senate, much to the disappointment of my children who really fancied going inside it!

The gardens made up for it though. The centre piece is a large pond where you can hire small wooden boats to sail on it. On a cooler day I’m sure we would have done this but it was soooo hot when we were there and with no shade anywhere around the pond none of us were keen to hang out there for too long. Instead we spent more time exploring the shadier parts of the gardens.

Children in Jardins du Luxembourg in Paris
Admiring the gardens.

The gardens really are beautiful but the children’s highlight (obviously) was the playground! You have to pay to go into the playground (I think it was €3 per child when we were there) but was worth it for them. It was mostly shady, there were toilets and tables/ seats for parents to sit down while the kids played. There was also a great variety of play structures for children of all ages.

Children in playground
Enjoying the fabulous playgrounds in the Luxembourg gardens.

We eventually dragged the kids out of the playground and bought take away baguettes from a small café just nearby and then sat for a picnic on the grass in the middle of the gardens. It was a perfect lunch- tasty food, nice views and the children could get up and move around whenever they wanted! If you are visiting Paris with children I highly recommend a visit here.

4. Montmatre / Sacré-Coeur

Our eldest daughter has had a fascination with churches since being a  toddler. After the devastating fire we had to settle for seeing Notre Dame from the outside. We found a lovely little garden in the Latin quarter with a fantastic view on one of our stops from the Batobus.

Girls in gardens with view of Notre Dame behind.
Notre Dame is still worth admiring from the outside.

It was down to the Sacre Coeur to give us our full Paris cathedral fix. Although very touristy I had loved wandering around Montmatre on a previous visit. Being in Paris with children this time it was great to be able to show them the area and the cathedral. To get up there we took the metro to Abbesses from where it was a short stroll to the bottom of the funicular. There are others metro stops nearby but that was the most convenient one for the metro line we were on. Without a stroller I think we would have taken the steps but carrying it up all the steps wasn’t appealing! The funicular costs the same as a metro ticket and we were able to take our stroller on without a problem. It isn’t a long ride, but the children enjoyed it.

Family on steps outside Sacre Coeur

A rare photo of the complete mini travel tribe!

The views of Paris from outside the Sacre Coeur are fabulous and a look inside the cathedral (free) is well worth it. After taking it all in we enjoyed browsing the art shops of Montmatre. We didn’t have any portraits done but the children loved watching the artists at work.

Mother and children walking around the Place du Tertre in Montmatre.
The Place du Tertre at the top of Montmatre is full of artists and restaurants.

Moules frites for dinner rounded off the trip (mussels are one of our children’s favourite foods!). We ate at one of the restaurants in the square after being pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t ridiculously overpriced. Rather than taking the funicular we walked back down the pretty, winding streets to the metro station.

Top tips for Montmatre/ Sacre Coeur:

  • I used google maps on my phone when walking back to the metro station from the top of Montmatre. The small streets are a bit of a maze, fine if you have the time to get lost (and children that are willing to walk further than absolutely necessary- we did not!). If you don’t have data it might be worth having a paper map.
  • We found a great ice cream shop on the walk from Abbesses metro station to the base of the funicular. There were a couple of tables outside to sit down and enjoy the yummy ice cream and people watch from.

5. Jardins des Tuileries

These gardens sit between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde so are generally in the middle of most Paris sight-seeing itineraries. We had disembarked the Batobus by the Louvre and then got back on at the Place de la Concorde. We debated going into the Louvre but decided that our children were a bit young to appreciate it on this trip. Hopefully we will be back in Paris when they are a bit older and can then show them this iconic art gallery. They did enjoy seeing it from the outside and loved peering into the glass pyramid to see the people below.

Children walking through the Jardins des Tuileries in Paris.
Marching through the gardens.

I thought the gardens were stunning. There are gorgeous flowers, beautiful fountains and wide paths for the children to race around on. There was a fairground when we were there too, although we managed to steer the children away from this! They did enjoy the playground. As you walk with the Louvre behind you this was towards your left. There was also a carousel and some trampolines.

Children playing in playground.
The playground in Jardins des Tuileries.

Top tips for Jardins des Tuileries:

  • You can hire small sailing boats to sail on the large basin in the centre of the gardens.
  • As we arrived towards the place de la Concorde (the opposite end of the gardens to the Louvre) we found a great, reasonably priced, family-friendly crepêrie tucked under the arches by the entrance to the gardens. The crêpes were tasty and there were books and games for the children. If you are in Paris with children I would recommend Rosa Bonheur la Crepêrie.

There are plenty of other amazing attractions to explore in Paris with children. In three days we felt like we had seen loads but we didn’t even make it to the Arc de Triomph. Still it’s always good to have a reason to return to a great city like Paris and we are lucky enough that it’s close enough to the UK to make return trips pretty easy. Where else should we add to our list for next time?

Pin it for later:

Pinterest link

Exploring Mallorca with kids

Mallorca has been a favourite holiday destination of many Brits for years. Whether it’s the party crowd heading to Magaluf or families heading to numerous family friendly beaches and resorts around the island. Never one to follow the mainstream holiday crowd we had never been to Mallorca until this year. Now we know why it is so popular and what we have been missing – a stunningly beautiful island! We spent a week staying in a lovely villa in the north of the island. Here is the Mini Travel Tribe guide to exploring Mallorca with kids.

Pollença

We stayed in a villa just outside the old town of Pollença. This is a beautiful old town just a few miles inland from the coastal Port de Pollença. The town is full of lovely winding streets and small Plaças with nice restaurants to enjoy. Just don’t drive into the centre of the old town like we accidentally did one day! That trip ended in a local calling the police to come and remove a car.  It was parked where it shouldn’t have been in a narrow street meaning we couldn’t get through the gap! Luckily (for him really!) the car owner arrived before the police did and unapologetically moved his car so we could get through. Nobody batted an eyelid so it seemed like it is probably quite a common occurrence.

Children looking at view of Pollenca in Mallorca
Stunning view of Pollenca and the surrounding countryside from the top of the Calvari steps

Tips for Pollença with kids:

  • Have a meal in the main square (Plaça Major). There are some lovely restaurants and it is so atmospheric. The lovely thing is that the children can play while you eat/drink, making it a much more relaxed experience.
  • Climb the Calvari steps. There are 365 steps, one for each day of the year, leaving from Plaça Seglars to el Calvari chapel. Although it is a lot of steps, they are not steep and so even B’s little legs (aged 2 at the time) managed them. At the top you can have a look in the lovely chapel. Our girls loved this, although not sure if that was mostly because it was nice and cool after the hot climb up the steps. If you go towards your right when you get to the top of the steps there is also a lookout over the valley. It is a spectacular view. You will also find a small cafe next door to the chapel. We managed to get one of the few outdoor tables where the kids enjoyed an ice lolly and us adults had freshly-squeezed orange juice.

Children walking down the Calvari steps in Pollenca, Mallorca.
Walking back down the Calvari steps

Beaches: Mallorca is blessed with an abundance of beaches perfect for children. The closest ones to Pollença are Cala Sant Vincenç and Port de Pollença but you wouldn’t have to go much further to discover many more.

Children looking out to sea at Cala Sant Vicenc beach in Mallorca.

The gorgeous outlook at Cala Sant Vicenc

  • Cala Sant Vicenç is a couple of small coves with beautiful sand and some small beach bars/ cafes near by. There were quite big waves when we were there so it wasn’t ideal swimming for little ones. They did enjoy playing in the waves though and the sand was perfect for sand castles.
  • Port de Pollença beach is a narrow bay and is much more sheltered so calmer water for little ones to play in. There are plenty of shops and restaurants here and a couple of small play areas dotted along the beach too.

Alcudia

Around 12km south east of Pollença is the prime holiday spot of Alcudia. This is made up of the port and beach area (which is where most of the hotels are) and the old town which is slightly inland. We didn’t visit the port area (although I have heard great things about some of the beaches here) but went into the old town of Alcudia early one evening for a stroll and dinner.

Like Pollença it is a beautiful old town, also brimming with winding streets which transport you to atmospheric Plaças. Pavement cafes and restaurants are plentiful and we enjoyed super tasty paella while the girls got their fill of mussels (their favourite holiday food).

Before dinner we had a quick look in the beautiful Church of Sant Jaume d’Alcudia. We then climbed up the medieval ramparts, which gave a great view of the town from above and out to the bay of Pollença. I believe that sometimes you can walk all the way around the walls but part of it was closed when we were there so we just walked a small section. For the girls this was probably long enough for them to enjoy the view without getting bored. The toddler was asleep in his pushchair being minded by Grandma and Grandad while we were up there. We were grateful for this as the fences weren’t particularly substantial and it would have been a much less relaxing experience if we had been constantly worrying about him throwing himself over the side!

Children on ramparts of Alcudia old town in Mallorca

Enjoying the views from the ramparts of the old town Alcudia

Tops Tips:

  • If you are driving like we were, there is a large free car park just south of the old town.
  • There are steep steps to get up on the ramparts, not suitable for a pushchair so if you have a baby or toddler it would be worth having a carrier. As mentioned above the fencing isn’t particularly toddler proof so they will need to be kept close if not carried.

Palma

We had a great day exploring Palma. There is a beautiful old town capped by the jaw-dropping cathedral. We also loved the aquarium. Read all about what we got up to in Palma in our separate post here.

Serra de Tramuntana – taking the scenic route from Pollença to Sóller.

The edge of these mountains can be seen looming to the north west of Pollença. They are a UNESCO world heritage site (my husband’s motivation to explore them!) and are stunningly beautiful. The mountains stretch right along the north west coast and are a magnet for cyclists and walkers. Having young children with us we didn’t attempt any hikes and instead opted for a scenic drive with stop offs for photos along the way. 

Views of Serra de Tramuntana to sea.

Views to the sea from Serra de Tramuntana

The scenic drive from Pollença to Sóller was a 55km journey but probably took us about 1 hour 20 minutes of actual driving. We took the motorway back at the end of the day which was much quicker! It was quite a lot of driving for the children but we managed to keep them entertained and stopped along the way. The Ma-10 road passes Lluc monastery, which could be a really interesting stop (we didn’t have time). I was slightly concerned about what the road would be like as our hire car was more like a mini bus and the fiasco of driving through Pollença old town was still haunting me!

The road is winding and quite narrow but it is a main road so there are no single track parts. You do have to concentrate, which was a shame as it meant not being able to take in the stunning views so well. And the views really are stunning! In my opinion the first part of the drive was the most beautiful, although there was a gorgeous view point just before the final descent into Sóller.

Views of the Mallorcan mountains

Views of the Mallorcan mountains.

Sóller

Sóller is a lovely town in the valley between the mountains and the sea in north west Mallorca. Lots of people arrive here by the vintage train from Palma. I had heard lots of good reviews about this trip but since we weren’t staying in Palma we decided to drive there instead. We had a lovely lunch in the main square, Plaça Constitució and then got the vintage tram to the coastal Port de Sóller.

Tram driving past a church in the main square of Soller

The trams drive past the church in the main square of Soller.

The tram ride was probably B’s favourite part of the whole holiday! If you are in Mallorca with kids, I’m sure they will love it too. It takes around 30 minutes each way winding slowly through orange groves until you reach the port. We had to forcibly remove the toddler from the tram on both journeys as he was enjoying it so much!

Child on tram driving past orange groves

Enjoying the tram and its views.

Once at the Port there is a nice small beach and restaurants around a pretty harbour. The children enjoyed looking at the fish in the harbour- there were lots swimming around by the jetty.

Beach and mountains at Port de Soller

Port de Soller

Tips for Sóller with kids

  • Enjoy lunch in the main square. It is a beautiful square full of pavement cafes and the trams come through every half hour. This was very exciting for the children and built the anticipation for having our own ride on it.
  • The tram leaves from next to the train station, just a 2 minute walk from the main square.
  • The tram is cash only so make sure you have money with you. You can’t buy tickets in advance- just pay when you are on the tram. You can find more information about the tram and train from Palma here
  • There are lots of other tram stops but it tended to fill up at the station. I would advise getting on here as it could be tricky to squeeze on further down the line.

There are plenty of things that we didn’t get around to doing while we were in Mallorca. We will definitely be back at some point to explore some more of this beautiful island. One of the things we didn’t have time for was a trip on the Cap de Formentor. It was on my “to do” list so I definitely want to make it there next time! What else did we miss? Do you have any other top tips for Mallorca with kids?

A Day in Palma de Mallorca with kids

It was the first day of our family holiday in Mallorca and the weather forecast was rain and cloud all day. Instead of letting the weather dampen our holiday we instead decided to use the day to explore Palma, the capital of Mallorca. I had fancied visiting this city anyway having heard good reports of how nice it was so this was the perfect opportunity. Here is the Mini Travel Tribe guide to the top 3 family friendly things to do in Palma de Mallorca.

  1. Palma Aquarium
Awe and wonder in Palma Aquarium

We don’t often go to Aquariums but I have to say that we all thought this one was really impressive. It isn’t cheap but we had picked up a map at the airport that had a token on for €5 off each for up to 5 people. When we arrived there was a big queue to get in (everybody obviously had the same idea on a cloudy day!). Husband jumped out of the car to get in the queue while I found somewhere to park, which worked well as by the time we got to him we only had another 5 minutes before we were at the front. The Aquarium is quite close to the beach and the airport, about 10 minute drive South of the centre of Palma. Parking proved a bit tricky too! There are a couple of free car parks very close which were all completely full. We just managed to get a space in an underground car park, next door to the Aquarium- it wasn’t expensive and there was €3 discount if you showed your aquarium ticket.

Once inside there is a set route to follow with different zones including Mediterranean, tropical seas, the jungle and big blue. Most of the tanks were big and even the toddler could see into all of them without any lifting required as they were floor to ceiling or the smaller ones had steps so little legs could get some help up!

There are also a couple of cafes and play areas. The children loved the large pirate ship that was in the gardens area outside. There was a separate smaller playground for young children too and a small splash park if it’s hot. When we were there a man was doing free face painting too.

B wasn’t sure about having his face painted until he saw his big sisters have theirs done.

There is also an indoor soft play area, which we didn’t visit, we had already been in the aquarium for over 3 hours by this point and we wanted to see more of Palma. We managed to get the children past without them noticing it!

There were other options that you could pay extra to do in the Aquarium, an aqua dome and a shark vision boat. These sounded fun but we didn’t pay for them so I can’t comment on what they are like. I think our favourite section was the ‘big blue’ one. This is a huge tank which has sharks, rays and loads of different fish in it. Apparently at nearly 9m deep it is the deepest shark tank in Europe. What was great is that you could view it from all sorts of different levels and angles. This is the tank that you go over in the glass-bottomed shark vision boat.

Top Tips:

  • Pick up a map at the airport with the vouchers in. If there are more than 5 of you in your party get more than one as each voucher is for 5 people.
  • If you don’t have a voucher you can book tickets online in advance meaning that you don’t have to queue for as long to get in.
  • The cafe inside had a large queue where we were there. If we went back I would take a packed lunch instead- there is lots of seating outside next to the play areas.

2. Palma Cathedral

Inside the beautiful Palma Cathedral

Whether you like churches or not Palma cathedral is pretty impressive. You can’t miss it if you are driving past the port as it is visible from quite a distance. From the outside it is a stunning gothic building. We approached it from the water, which gave great views while we then climbed the steps to get to the cathedral. We were disappointed at first as when we arrived it was closed! However we called in later on our way back to the car after dinner to find it open and a service on. Quietly, we sat at the back for a little while to admire the fabulous building and enjoy the beautiful choral music that was part of the service. Check out those amazing stained glass windows.

Top Tips:

  • For a great view of the outside of the cathedral there is a bar called ‘the Guinness bar’ (not very Spanish sounding I know!) in the Parc de la Mar which overlooks the cathedral. The children had amazing ice cream while we had a drink there. There was also space for the children to play after they had finished their ice creams while we finished our drinks.
  • Check opening times if you are going in the afternoon, it closes earlier on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • There is a nice little playground down the first set of steps behind the cathedral that young children will enjoy to let off some steam.

3. Palma old town

The girls exploring the winding alley ways of Palma old town

If you go to the cathedral you are already at the edge of the old town. It is a beautiful, atmospheric place to wander through the narrow winding streets and get lost in. The children loved exploring all the alleyways and we stopped for dinner in one of the small Plaças that we passed. We wandered all the way to the Plaça Major (main square) but were quite disappointed with it. In my opinion many of the other smaller squares were much prettier

General Practicalities:

  • If arriving by car like we were there are many underground car parks. We managed to park in one that brought us out right in the Parc de la Mar, next to the cathedral.

If you have longer in Palma I have heard really good reports about the vintage train to Sóller. We weren’t staying particularly close to Palma so we drove to Sóller for our visit there instead- read our other blog post about exploring Mallorca with kids.exploring Mallorca with kids.

What were your highlights of Palma de Mallorca? Anything that you recommend we do next time?

Family friendly accommodation in Southern Italy

If you’re like us it is always really helpful to have good recommendations of great accommodation that is well set up for families. In August 2018 the Mini Travel Tribe had a fantastic week on the Gargano peninsula in southern Italy. Read about what we got up to in the area here.  

We stayed at the brilliant Agriturismo I Tesori del Sud near Vieste. If you are looking for family friendly accommodation in Italy your can’t go too far wrong here.

I just wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t paid to write this review. I have written it simply because I thought this place was just so perfect for a family holiday that I wanted to let you know about it. Tesori del Sud is a small holiday resort near Vieste. It comprises a small collection of apartments and villas set amongst olive and fruit trees. The apartment and villas sleep between 2 and 6 people and all have large private gardens. Cots and high chairs are available, if you let them know in advance they will have them waiting for you when you arrive.

What we loved about it was that it gave a great balance between the privacy of a holiday house or apartment rental but with hotel-like facilities thrown in; pool, restaurant etc.

We stayed in the largest villa available which had 2 bedrooms, a double and a twin. It also had a sofa-bed in the living area (which we didn’t use), so can sleep up to 6. We had two bathrooms, one en-suite and a house bathroom. Both of these had showers rather than a bath. At the time M (then just about to turn 4) wasn’t keen on showers, so we got inventive! The shower cubicles were really big so the children all got in together and sat on the floor while I gently doused them with the shower. It worked brilliantly and they all ended up having a lot of fun, they even looked forward to shower time!

Other than the bedrooms and bathrooms there was a living area with a sofa, TV, table and chairs and kitchenette. The whole place wasn’t big but had everything we needed and was spotlessly clean. The air-con was also much appreciated when we were there in August!

Enjoying a BBQ dinner in our private garden.

Outside each villa has a covered verandah with table and chairs. There is also a large private garden which is enclosed with hedges and had a couple of sun beds to relax on. There was a BBQ out here too which we used on a couple of occasions. We thought this whole outdoor space was amazing with kids as they had their own private garden that they could play in while us adults relaxed with a drink.

One of the children’s favourite games was hunting for lizards in the garden (there were plenty around) and taking photos of them. It was also lovely to sit out here later in the evening and relax with a glass of wine once the children were in bed. We even had a local fox that visited us most evenings!

No cars are allowed next to the villas or within the site. There are parking spaces distributed around the edge of the site so that wherever your villa is you don’t have too far to get to your car. I thought this was really well done as it meant that you couldn’t really see any cars at all while wandering around.

Showing the quiet, traffic free paths at Tesori del Sud.
Wandering the traffic-free paths.

The whole resort is small. We were probably at the furthest point from the swimming pool and restaurant and it was only a short walk. What really made this agriturismo so good for families though were the other facilities within the site:

Swimmming Pool

There is a fantastic swimming pool which is perfect for young children. The large shallow area was perfect for M to practise her swimming in (she was just gaining her confidence at this point and didn’t like being out of her depth). The deeper end of the pool is great for older children and adults. There is a also a separate whirlpool area which everyone enjoyed and the 2 year old loved the tap that ran into this.

The amazing family friendly pool in our Italy accommodation.
We often had the pool to ourselves!

There were plenty of sunbeds around the pool as well as lots of greenery and parasols which made it really pleasant. It was never particularly busy. The busiest part of the day was usually around 5-6pm when the heat of the day was subsiding a bit and people were rising from their siestas!

Restaurant

Next to the swimming pool is the lovely restaurant. In the evening, the tables were placed right next to the pool and it was a beautiful setting. You could opt for breakfast included in your room rate and have a buffet breakfast here every day but we had our own breakfast at our villa.

The restaurant is then open all day for drinks and for food at lunch and dinner time. We ate here a lot – the food was really delicious and not expensive! Plenty of pasta dishes, yummy pizzas and some gorgeous seafood. M became quite obsessed with mussels during this holiday and was very disappointed at any restaurant that didn’t have them. Luckily for her the restaurant here did and they were really good!

M became addicted to the delicious mussels!

On some evenings there was entertainment on by the pool, we saw a singer and a children’s entertainer.

Playgrounds

There are 2 playgrounds for children to choose from. One is probably mostly suited to slightly older children and is the other end of the pool to the restaurant. The best one for us (and a real blessing for parents with toddlers and young children) is right next to the restaurant. It is aimed at younger children and has swings, a small slide, play houses and ride on toys among other things. It was fantastic to be able to sit having a drink before or after dinner while the children played here.

WiFi

There is WiFi available in the restaurant and depending on how close you are to the restaurant you may be able to access this in your villa too. We were quite far away from the restaurant and had a very faint WiFi signal.

Washing

There are washing machines available to use free of charge. With young children it is always handy to be able to get some washing done!

Location

Tesori del Sud is located about 10 minute drive from the charming town of Vieste and its surrounding beaches. The nearest main airport is Bari, which is about 2.5 hour drive away. The last section of the drive once you are on the Gargano peninsular has some stunning coastal views. We combined our week here with a week staying further south in Puglia and exploring the beautiful towns of Salento and the Valle d’Itria.

For more information and to book you can visit the Tesori del Sud website:

https://www.itesoridelsud.it/en/

If you decide to go, I would love to know what you think. I hope you love it as much as we did!

Puglia – around Bari and Gargano Peninsula

We loved our family holiday in Puglia, southern Italy last year. The first week we spent time in The Salento area and the Valle d’Itria. Read about our adventures in these areas here.

There were a couple of places that we visited on our way to and from Bari that I wanted to share.

Polignano a Mare

Cala Porto beach overlooked by the old town.

It was our very first day in Puglia that we stopped off here for lunch. It made a great impression and is a place I would definitely recommend visiting either in passing like we did or for longer. The walled old town juts out over the cliffs, looking down over small beaches and caves. Very pretty, and we had my favourite pasta of the whole trip for lunch here in a small restaurant in the old town. Enter the old town via Porta Vecchia, and get lost in the small winding streets- we did! It’s not big, so even if you do get a bit lost you will soon find yourself back somewhere familiar. There are a few lovely viewpoints looking out along the coast and down onto the small beach next to town.

Views of Polignano a Mare from one of the viewpoints.

Top Tips:

  • If you are in a car, like we were, follow the signs for the car park above town then head downhill into town or to the beach. There was lots of on street parking but it was very busy when we were there so you had to be early or lucky to get one of those spots!
  • By the Porta Vecchia (entrance to the old town) there was a little piazza with a couple of restaurants and a small merry go round for the children.
  • Make sure you go to the viewpoints that are signposted in the old town.
  • Have lunch or a coffee in the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. Its a beautiful spot and the children can play in the square while you keep an eye on them.

Castel del Monte

The perfectly Octagonal Castel del Monte

While journeying from the Valle d’Itria up to the Gargano peninsular we detoured to see this unique castle. It’s a UNESCO world heritage site, so Husband was keen to go as he likes to tick these off the list in each country/ area we travel to!

The castle is visible from a distance away while driving towards it, which built up the excitement for the children. Being on top of a hill also meant that there were gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside from inside. It was a very toddler-friendly place to visit as there was nothing that B could break or knock over! On entering through the shop you come to a central courtyard from where you can go up into the castle. There wasn’t lots to look at inside, the most interesting feature being the perfectly octagonal shape of the castle itself and the amazing views from every direction. If you are in the area it is definitely worth a visit but I’m not sure I would recommend travelling a long distance to go here.

Practicalities:

  • We drove to the castle, which is probably the easiest way to get here. Note however that there is only disabled parking at the castle itself. There is a car park about 1km down the road which when we were there charged €5. They also then run a minibus all the way up to the hill to the castle for €1 per person. We saved money on the minibus by walking- well Husband dropped the children and I at the closest point that you could drive. This was still a good 10 minute walk uphill but it was a pleasant walk through the trees and for us it was quite nice after being in the car for a while. Husband parked the car and then walked all the way up to meet us. As it was downhill the children all managed the walk all the way back down to the car (B was in the pushchair)
  • Food- when we were there they were building a restaurant right next to the castle which should be finished by now. Unfortunately for us it wasn’t when we were there and it was lunchtime! Next to the car park was a large cafeteria style restaurant, which didn’t look great from the outside. Inside it seemed as if it was geared towards tour groups with large tables set up in a cavernous room, but the food was delicious.
  • Pushchairs aren’t allowed inside the castle. We just parked ours outside and B walked (well ran mostly!) around inside. If you have babies or smaller toddlers you might find a sling useful.

Promontorio del Gargano (Gargano Peninsula)

A viewpoint of Arco di San Felice, on the road south from Vieste

We spent a week on the Gargano peninsula, staying at the fabulous Agriturismo Tesori del Sud. We thought that this was the perfect family-friendly accomodation, read our review here.here.

If Puglia is the heel of Italy’s boot, Gargano is the spur! When we first started researching our Puglia trip and I read about this area it was instantly top of my list of places that I wanted to visit. The whole area is a national park (the only one in Puglia). It is very different from the rest of Puglia that we saw- much wilder and greener. The coastline is stunning, with white cliffs and beautiful beaches. Although still busy (it was August), we found the beaches here much quieter than in Salento and the Valle d’Itria where we had spent the first half of our holiday. The interior is mostly forest and along the coast are some lovely fishing towns.

Italy is renowned for fantastic food and being by the coast we has some amazing seafood here. The children are rather partial to mussels and M began to insist that every restaurant that we went to had mussels on the menu!

Vieste

Looking out at the old town of Vieste.

The town closest to our accommodation was Vieste. As with most Italian towns that we visited on this trip we found the best time to visit was late afternoon/ early evening when the heat was subsiding a bit and the early evening light left everything in a gorgeous pinky hue. Shops/ restaurants re-open after siesta and the streets become alive with locals and tourists alike. In Vieste there was a street market on most evenings in the centre of town from 8pm.

Wandering through the old town, you can find lovely little bars overlooking the cliffs to have a drink and plenty of restaurants and shops selling all kinds of souvenirs.

Gelato looking out to sea on the promenade.

There are lots of opportunities for boat trips from Vieste to see the caves along the coast, which I thought sounded great. Unfortunately for us they were mostly around 3 hours long, which would have been too much for the toddler so we didn’t take one.

Top Tips:

  • Be careful where you park in town if you are going to be there for the evening as a lot of the roadside parking was only available until 8pm when it was cleared for the market.
  • There are lots of steps in the old town so it is not very stroller friendly, a sling would probably be handy if you have a baby or young toddler.

Beaches

There are plenty of beaches to choose from all along the Gargano coast. Many of these have lido sections where you pay for sunbeds and parasols, often with parking. If you don’t want to go to one of the lidos parking can be more of an issue! Our favourite beach was Spiaggia Di Baia San Felice, about 15 minute drive south of Vieste. Unfortunately you can’t quite see the famous arch from the beach, but it is a lovely cove which is perfect for young children. There is a lido section which you can pay for and includes parking. There was a bit of on street parking if you get there early enough or like we did you can negotiate to pay just for the parking- we paid €5 I think. There was a small coffee bar too.

B loved playing in the shallow sea.

On the beach, the water is shallow for a long way- perfect for children to play in. We even went on an adventure, wading through the shallows to another small beach, which the children all thought was very exciting!

Peschici

Like Vieste, Peschici is another town with windy alleyways and side streets perched on top of the cliffs. We just called in one day for a wander and lunch so didn’t see as much of it as we did Vieste, but it seemed smaller.

It was hot when we were in Peschici, so a shop selling slushies was a welcome relief to all of us!

There are boat trips from here also and beaches just outside the town.

Forest Umbra

The ‘forest of shadows’ is the interior of the Gargano and was like another world compared with the hot, busy coast! It’s a national park and another UNESCO world heritage site. We drove up windy roads in the cool trees and parked at the visitor centre. There is a small shop here and a ‘nature centre’ (which we didn’t go in). You can buy food from the shop to feed to the deer- this was one of the reasons we headed here! The deer are in a separate part of the forest, through a fence, so not quite the wildness I was expecting! However the children still really enjoyed feeding them and for the smaller children the fence was probably a good thing!

C loved hand feeding the deer, the others preferred to throw it for them!

At the visitor centre you can buy maps of various walking routes through the forest. With young children we drove back down the road slightly from the visitor centre and did a lovely short walk around a small lake. The lake was signposted from the car park and the path was very easy to follow so we didn’t need a map. At a slow pace it took us about an hour and we then had our picnic sat by the lake.

The girls admiring Umbra lake, if you look carefully you can just spot turtles on the other end of the log.

It’s a beautiful setting and we spotted lots of little turtles both sat on logs by the edge of the water and swimming in the water by our picnic spot. There were plenty of fish too who enjoyed eating the crumbs left over from our lunch. The children thought it was fantastic watching the fish thrashing around in the shallows to get to our food!

Feeding the fish.

On the way back to the car we passed a few lovely stalls selling local produce. We ended up buying olive oil and honey. As we were leaving the heavens opened and there was a sudden downpour. We had noticed that the stall holders had started covering things up and packing away- obviously aware of what was to come! The greenery gives a clue that it probably rains quite a bit more here than on the coast. When we got back to our accommodation near the coast everything was dry as bone, it obviously hadn’t rained there at all.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure you bring a picnic, we loved eating by the lake but we also saw loads of other picnic spots as we drove through the forest.
  • It is a few degrees cooler higher up in the forest than down on the coast and is more likely to rain, so just make sure you are prepared for that. For us in the height of summer the cooler temperatures were welcome.

I absolutely loved our whole trip to Puglia- fantastic food, beautiful towns and beaches. Gargano was probably my favourite part of the trip and a place I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to. Have you been to Puglia and if so where was your favourite?

A family holiday in Puglia, Southern Italy- Salento and Valle d’Itria

Last summer we had a fabulous family holiday in Puglia. Puglia (Apulia) is a region of southern Italy- the heel of the boot on the map. We had heard positive reports about the area and managed to get a good deal on flights to Bari, which is the main airport of the area. After a lot of research we decided on 3 centres for our 2 week holiday. We had 3 nights in the southern Salento region, staying in Lecce, 4 nights in the Valle d’Itria, staying just outside Ostuni. The second week we stayed on the Gargano peninsular at the fantastic Tesori del Sud.  You can read about our adventures there in a separate post here.

In my opinion you can’t go too far wrong with kids in Italy. The Italians love children, so cater for them really well, and which kids don’t like pizza and pasta!? Although ours ate more mussels than pasta! The great thing about the puglia region was that it had all these advantages and yet was a lot cheaper than many other areas of Italy. A coffee was €1 pretty much everywhere and €1.50 for a cappuccino.

We hired a car for the duration of our stay, which made getting around easy. When driving in Puglia there are lots of small windy country lanes, which are very pretty but aren’t always the quickest route. Beware of blindly following the sat nav (which we did on occasion) and ending up on a really slow route- not always the best choice when you have children in the car that are eager to arrive!

Salento

Lecce

Lecce is apparently known as the ‘Florence of the South’ and it really is a beautiful city- probably my favourite of the trip. We loved simply wandering through the winding streets of the old town (much of it is pedestrianised) and happening across pretty squares and churches. We found the best time of day to do this was in the evening when the whole place came to life with street vendors and street entertainment. M was particularly enthralled by ‘the sand man’ making art from different coloured sand. We had to drag her away and then had to go back to look for him every time we were nearby!

The Giardini Pubblico (public gardens) behind the Basilica di Santa Croce had a couple of nice playgrounds which the children enjoyed as a break from looking at historic buildings and churches!

While based in Lecce we also did day trips to a couple of other nice towns in the area:

Otranto

We drove from Lecce to Otranto on the south east coast. Otranto old town is a small ancient walled town set on the cliffs. Small winding streets were mostly pedestrianised although we did see the occasional car trying to negotiate some of them- locals only I think as in one instance there was only about an inch spare on either side of the small car! Just outside the old walled town there were restaurants along the sea front which were a lovely place for our morning coffee/ milk shake.

Castro

From Otranto we drove south along the beautiful wild coast to Castro. I would definitely recommend this drive as it was really beautiful. We arrived in Castro at siesta time which was a bit of a mistake as not much was open! There is a marina, which we didn’t go to so can’t comment on and the old town is uphill on top of the cliffs. The main Piazza has stunning sea views and we managed to find the one place in town that seemed to be open to have a late lunch here. It was a nice town but a bit of a ghost town when we were there and so lacking any atmosphere- our fault probably for getting there at the wrong time!

Gallipoli

On a different day we drove to Gallipoli on the west coast of the Salento peninsula. We headed there late afternoon and went to the beach at Baia Verde, just south of town. Once we eventually found somewhere to park we arrived on what was a beautiful beach but was quite possibly the most crowded beach I have ever been to in my life! It was a Sunday afternoon in August, so with hindsight not the best day to go. We did manage to acquire a small area of sand to flop our towels down on and the children didn’t seem to particularly mind having so many people around them while they were making their sandcastles.

After the beach we headed into the town of Gallipoli. The new town is on the mainland and the old town is over a bridge on a small island. It reminded me of a smaller version of Lecce, by the sea. Lots of beautiful buildings and small alleyways to wander through. Lots of shops selling souvenirs and restaurants. We managed to find a nice restaurant for dinner which was on the edge of the old town looking out to sea. Being west facing we were also treated to a spectacular sunset.

The Salento peninsular has some beautiful towns but is very flat. We enjoyed our three days there and were then ready to move on to the hills of the Valle D’Itria.

Valle d’Itria

This area is apparently the most popular with tourists. It is really beautiful- rolling hills, and picturesque towns. We stayed at a small group of holiday homes sharing a pool, just outside Ostuni. We had four days there where we combined relaxing by the pool at our holiday home, a trip to the beach and discovering the pretty towns of the area.

Ostuni

Being our closest town we did go into Ostuni a few times. As with Lecce, we most enjoyed being in town in the evening, when the temperatures were cooler and there was plenty of life in the Centro Storico (old town). If you go here don’t miss wandering up the steep streets to the cathedral, it is really worth it! We had dinner here in the main square and also an amazing lunch of grilled Octopus in a small cafe one day- enjoying the air conditioning. We hadn’t realised when we went in what a specialist restaurant it was- there was no written menu and when we asked what they had it was grilled octopus or octopus panini. Luckily the children love seafood and they enjoyed sharing an octopus while us parents had gorgeous octopus panini.

Locorotondo

This is a lovely little town, set on top of a hill. As with all the towns in this area, the old town area was pretty with a lovely cathedral. We loved the Villa Comunale, a public garden at the edge of the old town with beautiful views across the valley.

Views across the valley from Villa Comunale in Locorotondo

Alberobello

Probably the most touristy and busiest place that we went on this whole trip was Alberobello. It’s a UNESCO world heritage sight (which always inspires Husband to go to places!) and despite the crowds is definitely worth a visit. Throughout this area of Puglia you can spot a few ‘trulli’ dotted around. These are small beehive shaped homes, and the ‘zona dei trulli’ in Alberbello apparently has around 1500 of them! It is really fascinating to wander through the area. Most of them are now small tourist shops and restaurants. Some are still people’s homes and there were a few that you could have a look inside for a small fee. The children were fascinated by the ‘gnome houses’!

Monte Beach

Being a peninsular, wherever you are in this part of Puglia you aren’t too far from a beach. After the crowded beach experience that we had down near Gallipoli I did a bit of google research to try and work out which of the local beaches to try. We opted for Monte beach, which turned out to be a good choice. It was busy, which we expected on any beach being peak season. Despite this we were able to get a decent space and the children had room to play. The sea was crystal clear and shallow for a long way so the children enjoyed playing in the sea, paddling, swimming and splashing in the shallows. If you want a Puglian beach with small children I would recommend Monte as the sea was just so safe for them.

As with most Italian beaches that we saw, there was a lido area where you could pay to have a parasol and sunbeds. There was also plenty of other space to just put down your towel or your own beach chairs. There is plenty of free parking space there too (if you are early enough) but also paid parking which had some shade.

Monte beach was only around 10 minutes from where we were staying in Ostuni. There are loads of other beaches in the area that we didn’t try, so whichever part of Puglia you are staying in I’m sure you will be able to find some beautiful beaches.

We think that Puglia with children is a fantastic holiday destination with something for everyone. Beautiful beaches, fantastic scenery, cultural sights and of course delicious Italian food!

Get all the latest Mini Travel Tribe News
Subscribe to our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Copenhagen on a budget

Copenhagen is a beautiful family friendly city but like the rest of Denmark it is not the most affordable of destinations for many travellers. Read about our tips for things to do on a family city break to Copenhagen here.

Here are a few ideas of how to minimise your costs while still enjoying all that this great city has to offer.

Book an apartment rather than a hotel

We stayed in a fantastic airbnb apartment. There are many ways in which this saved us money. Firstly it was much cheaper than a hotel room would have been. It also allowed us to prepare our own food, saving money on not having to eat out all of the time. With a toddler that can’t sit still for more than five minutes there were other advantages to eating at the apartment for us!

Our apartment was really well stocked with food basics and there was a mini-market just across the road where we picked up more supplies. We noticed plenty of supermarkets and mini-markets all over the city so wherever you are staying you shouldn’t be far from one . We then prepared all of our breakfasts in the apartment and some of our evening meals. We had picnic lunches on most days with food we packed up at the apartment or bought in mini-market shops. In these small shops you could get pizza by the slice and other great lunch/ snack foods.

Think about the location of your apartment- the closer you are to the centre, the more expensive it will most likely be. On the other hand you might offset the additional costs by being able to walk to most places rather than paying for public transport or taxis. If you are thinking about getting a Copenhagen Card (see below) you will get public transport included so having to hop on a bus might not be an additional expense.

Enjoy the many free parks

If, like us, you have small children in tow, then they will always be grateful of a runaround in a park as a break from sightseeing. Many parks have fantastic playgrounds and some will just have open spaces to run around in and enjoy a picnic. They are also often a great place to people watch and get a taste for how the locals live. We enjoyed the Kongens Have (King’s Garden) in Nørreport but there are plenty of parks in the city, discover what is close to where you are staying.

The local outdoor space to where we were staying in Nørrebro was actually a cemetery- Assistens Kirkegård! It is as much of a park/garden as it is a cemetery and was a lovely place to wander around. Although there is obviously no playground for the children, ours did enjoy wandering around looking at the gravestones and trying to spot the most famous residents.

One of the most famous residents at Assistens Kirkegård

Take in a free city view

You don’t have to pay to get great views over Copenhagen. Entry to Tarnet tower, the tallest tower in the city at Christiansborg Slot is free. Well worth it. (More information on this in my other Copenhagen post here).

Head to a market for lunch

We headed to Torvehallerne KBH in Nørreport for lunch one day. It is a fantastic place to wander around (although you will want to keep small children close to you as it was busy when we were there). There are market stalls selling every kind of food you can think of and plenty of picnic benches just outside to sit down at to enjoy your purchases. Some stalls also had their own stools to sit at too.

We enjoyed the best ice cream of the trip here. It was so good, there was no way that B was going to share his and had a huge toddler meltdown when Husband took a bite of it!

Get a Copenhagen Card

If you plan on visiting lots of the attractions this can be a really good deal. It covers public transport as well as 87 attractions in and around Copenhagen. There are 24, 48 and 72 hour options. Children under 10 are free with an adult that has a Copenhagen card. The website lists all the attractions that it covers and even has a handy calculator to work out how much money you will save with the card compared to paying for each attraction individually.

https://copenhagencard.com

Walk or bike around

Copenhagen is very flat and many of the main attractions are reasonably close to one another. I love walking around a city as not only does it get those steps in but it allows you to see corners of the city that would otherwise be missed if you were zooming through on a bus or train. Even with M’s tiny legs we managed to walk around a lot (until the moaning got too much).

If you want to get around a bit quicker, hiring a bike is another inexpensive way to get around. There are bike hire shops everywhere and the whole city is completely set up for cyclists.

If you want to go to Copenhagen these are just a few ways that you could stretch the budget further. I’m sure there are many more free/ cheaper attractions that I don’t know of. Did you discover any budget gems in Copenhagen?

Get all the latest Mini Travel Tribe News
Subscribe to our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

A City break in Copenhagen with 3 children…

Copenhagen is a city that I had fancied going to for quite a while and had heard good things about what a child-friendly city break destination it is. We managed to get reasonable flights last May for the 5 of us and so it was booked. We booked an airbnb in the Nørrebro area which was walkable to most of the main sights but was also well linked with buses for when little legs were tired after a day of sightseeing.

Here are our top ideas for things to do in Copenhagen with young children (at the time ours were 1,3,6).

Tivoli Gardens

This is probably one of Copenagen’s most famous attractions and is a great place to go with or without children. There is loads to see and do there so you will probably need the best part of a day. Like most things in Copenhagen it’s not cheap so you want to feel like you make the most of your ticket! There are lots of rides to suit visitors of any age. There are also beautiful gardens (the clue is in the name!) as well as parades and regular shows. Particularly over the summer there are regular concerts on at the weekend which are included in your entrance ticket. On Saturday nights there’s a firework display throughout the summer, although at 23:45 it is a bit late for the smallest travellers!

Candy floss bigger than your head!

There were plenty of rides that the toddler was able to go on, but what he enjoyed most was the amazing playground in the Rasmus Klump area (to be honest children of all ages will love this). Even better it is free with the entrance ticket. There are lots of family friendly facilities in this area and a little theatre which has toddler friendly shows on throughout the day. The shows were all in Danish but our kids didn’t seem to mind this!

  • Top tip: Work out at the beginning of your visit how many rides you think you might go on to try and get the best ride ticket options for you. The ride tickets are additional to the entrance fee and there are various options. You can buy unlimited ride wrist bands and also individual ride tickets. In the end we opted for one co-rider ticket for the 6 year old and then just bought individual ride tickets for everyone else. The co-rider wrist band worked well for us- it is for children aged 1-7 and means that they can take one accompanying adult on each ride. This meant that either Husband or I could go on the rides with her without needing a wrist band each.

Nyhavn

Nyhavn- New Harbour

This is the picture I had in mind when I visualised Copenhagen. It is basically one street around a canal, but it was one of the prettiest streets you will see anywhere, and is a must-see for anyone visiting Copenhagen with children. Full of colourful buildings, small cafes/ bars and boats. One end of Nyhavn leads towards the main square (Kongens Nytorv- King’s Square). When we were there most of the square was being dug up for new metro lines but even then there was still plenty of life, and space for the kids to run around and let off some steam.

Nyhavn is also a jumping on point for many of the boat tours.

Canal Tour

M enjoying our canal tour.

There are loads of options for canal tours from Nyhavn, and also from other points around the city. Some of them are hop-on and hop-off and some you just stay on. We opted for one that we stayed on. It was an hour in length, which was the perfect amount of time to see Copenhagen from the water without the children getting fed up. We all loved this trip as there was plenty to see along the way and a commentary to let you know where we were and what we were looking at. It’s a really good way to get your bearings and might show you other places that you then want to go back and see properly. Our boat had seats both inside and outside. We went straight to the outside seats- much better for seeing what was around us. Half way through the tour though everyone rushed in as the heavens opened! Luckily it was only a shower so we were soon back outside in the sunshine.

There are a few different companies offering canal tours. We just turned up on the day and got straight on but you can book tickets online or from the kiosk in advance if you don’t want to risk a big queue or lots of hanging around.

Amalienborg Slot/ Marmorkirken

Close to Nyhavn is the Royal quarter which includes the current Queen’s home, Amalienborg slot. Like most children, our girls are intrigued by anything that involves queens, palaces and castles so we went to have a look. We managed to time it right and got there for the changing of the guard, which was fab.

Changing of the guard at Amalienborg Slot.

There were no real barriers, so we were really up close to the soldiers and the kids loved marching around the palace square re-enacting the whole scene afterwards. We didn’t go into the palace (parts of it are open to visitors though), but seeing it from the outside was impressive.

Top Tip: Changing of the guards at Amalienborg Slot is at 12:00 every day.

Just down the road from Amalienborg is Marmorkirken (Marble Church) which has a dome said to be inspired by St Peter’s in Rome. It certainly was very impressive.

The dome in Marmorkirken, inspired by St Peter’s in Rome.

Top Tip: We didn’t do it but you can pay to go up the dome of Marmorkirken for views of the city.

Christiansborg Slot Tower

We did want to go somewhere with a view of the city though so we went for the free option! The island of Slotsholmen is where all the main Government buildings are. Christiansborg Slot is a palace and is also used as a government building for the Houses of Parliament and the Prime Ministers office among other things. The city’s tallest tower is also here and free to go up! We tried to get there not long after it opened to avoid huge queues (which worked) and then got the lift to the top. There were lots of cordons set up so it obviously does get very busy so probably best to get there for when it opens to avoid a big queue.

Views from the top of the tallest tower in Copenhagen.

The views were definitely worth it and the children loved seeing the city from above. There is a restaurant up the tower too, if your budget can stretch to it!

Top Tips: Pushchairs aren’t allowed up the tower, so if you have a young child you may want to bring a baby carrier. We did have our pushchair with us which we were able to leave at the bottom of the lift and the toddler was able to walk/ be carried while we went up.

Check the website for up to date opening times so you can time your visit to avoid queues. https://taarnet.dk/taarnet/?lang=en

Rosenborg Slot / Kongens Have (King’s Gardens)

Rosenborg Slot and the King’s Gardens are next door to each other in the Nørreport area of the city. We walked there from Nyhavn, which was just about ok for M’s little legs (the toddler was in the pushchair). If you are travelling from further afield in the city or just don’t fancy the walk, there are plenty of buses that go straight past.

We had a picnic for lunch in the King’s Gardens, which is apparently the oldest park in the city. There are free puppet shows here too in July/ August, but we were a bit early in the season for that. It is a beautiful park and we enjoyed wandering around then picnicking. We also found a small but lovely playground which the children really enjoyed.

Walking over the moat to Rosenborg Slot and B enjoying the playground in King’s gardens.

After our picnic and a play in the park we moved on to next-door Rosenborg Slot. This was the summer home for the Danish royals but has been a museum for some time now. We all enjoyed wandering around the castle but the highlight for the girls was going into the treasury in the basement where the Danish Crown Jewels are kept.

C admiring the Danish Crown Jewels.

Top tip: You can book your tickets for Rosenborg online in advance (we just did it the morning we were going) meaning that you then don’t have to queue and can just show the ticket on your phone.

Copenhagen with children- practicalities

Staying in an airbnb apartment was great for this trip as it meant that we could have breakfast there and we even cooked our own dinner there one night. With children this was great for saving money and also meant that they weren’t having to sit still in restaurants all the time (The toddler was at a particularly tricky age for this!). The airbnb we stayed in also had a travel cot, high chair and loads of toys for the children- some days it was a struggle to get them to leave the apartment! This meant we didn’t have to pack as much and any time that we were in the apartment they were happily entertained.

Getting around

Copenhagen is very flat which is a massive advantage when trying to get little legs to do some walking. It was also very pushchair friendly which always makes things easier! If your children are slightly older it would be great to hire a bike to get around. There are plenty of bike hire places all over, some of which also hire trailers for young children to sit in. The bike lanes are very busy though so children would need to be pretty confident riders. When not walking we got around on the bus and the underground which were both very easy to navigate.

Overall we certainly weren’t disappointed with Copenhagen. We had 4 days there and kept busy without rushing around too much. There are plenty of other sights and activities that we didn’t get around to- so always chance for a return visit…Copenhagen is a fab destination for a city break with toddlers or children of any age.

Get all the latest Mini Travel Tribe News
Subscribe to our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Family day out at Thorp Perrow

We are always looking for new ideas for family days out in Yorkshire. Brimham rocks is a family friendly North Yorkshire trip out that we love but Thorp Perrow Arboretum was recently recommended to me by a friend. So on a gorgeous spring day we packed a picnic and headed up the A1.  We were definitely not disappointed, I absolutely loved this place and I am sure we will be back at some point now that we have discovered it.

Thorp Perrow is an arboretum in North Yorkshire, close to Bedale on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales but only about 10 minutes drives from the Al. It obviously has lots of trees, but also a birds of prey and mammal centre as well as children’s playground and tea room.

We arrived around lunch time so had our picnic in a lovely picnic area, just inside the main entrance. There are plenty of picnic benches there, including some very cute kiddie-sized ones but we used our picnic blanket. After the picnic we followed the Easter Egg trail ( we bought maps for £1 each as we went in, which included a chocolate). It was a lovely trail which all 3 children really enjoyed, just about the right length to maintain interest and not too far in between clues for little toddler legs!

We then dashed over to the birds of prey centre to catch the flying display. The birds of prey centre had lots of birds, which seemed well kept and they flew 3 different birds in the display. The toddler was a little unsure when a huge owl landed just above his head, and the handler did say to try and keep small children close to you! We all loved the display, the highlights for me were the being so close to the owl and watching the falcon doing amazing dives from high up to get a lure that was being swung around by the handler- he was too fast for me to photograph!

Following the birds of prey we nipped next door to the ‘mammal centre’. Not loads of animals- some meerkats, goats and wallabies. My friend that had been a couple of weeks earlier had raved about the wallaby walk saying that they were really tame and came right up to you. I think it was a bit hot for the wallabies when we were there as they were all just laid in the shade not moving!

There was a tea van just outside the birds of prey/ mammal centre and more picnic benches so we had a cup of tea there while the children ate their chocolate rewards from the egg hunt and played on the grass and in the trees.

We then managed to wander around a decent part of the arboretum area before being nagged to death to go to the playground. I felt the whole place was quite magical, lovely paths through the trees, with plenty of spring blossom and flowers around.

We had to go to the playground obviously too which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. It isn’t a huge playground but it wasn’t busy and there was plenty for toddlers as well as older children. I loved that it was all wooden, natural materials that seemed to fit well with the environment.

Practicalities/ Top Tips:

  • You can but tickets in advance online but there was hardly a queue when we got there on a sunny bank holiday weekend. We just bought tickets on arrival.
  • When we were there it was pretty much the end of the Daffodils but they were everywhere and I can imagine it would have looked stunning a couple of weeks earlier- if you’re thinking of going in spring, maybe try and time it to get them in full bloom.
  • When you arrive check the timings of the flying displays- this was one of our favourite parts of the visit so you don’t want to miss it! You can also check the timings on the Thorp Perrow website before you leave home.
  • The tea van next to the birds of prey centre is cash only.
  • There are toilets by the entrance and also by the birds of prey centre. There are baby change facilities at each of these places too.
  • The paths were fine with a pushchair when we were there. Lots of the paths were on grass so it might depend a little bit on the conditions.
  • The Thorp Perrow website has all the information that you need about ticket prices, opening times and special events that they have on throughout the year.

Overall the whole Mini Travel Tribe would highly recommend Thorp Perrow. For a family day out with a toddler or children or any age it is a fab place.

Get all the latest Mini Travel Tribe News
Subscribe to our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address