Best sustainable destinations for families
If you are eager to pass on real values to your children, such as respect for the environment, watch them marvel at a fountain or majestic trees as they forget their phone screen. This classification of the best sustainable destinations for families is made for you.
The best sustainable tourism destinations awarded by the European Commission, offer unforgettable experiences for young and old. Treat yourself to fairytale holidays in Latvia, a safe hiking with children in Soomaa, a time travel in Romania.
EDEN, the acronym for "European Destinations of Excellence" is the largest European network of destinations rewarded by the European Commission for the quality of their tourist offers and their respect for the environment. EDEN is the promise of real experiences, real discoveries, real encounters.
See bears in the wild at Wild Taiga
So, you want to treat your children to the unforgettable experience of a lifetime? Go watch bears in the wild! Come and see and photograph the most famous forest dweller in Wild Taiga: the majestic Wild Brown Bear. This activity takes place only in summer for groups of one to twenty people.
How to get there: Wild Taiga is just a one- hour flight from Helsinki. Book your flights to Helsinki as well as a domestic flight to Kajaani with Finnair.
Where to stay: “Hotel Kalevala”. This hotel offers 4 saunas, 2 hot tubs and various massage facilities.
Visit the village of Popeye
Mellieha - Malta
Surrounded by green plush valleys and the crystal-clear blue seas of the Mediterranean, Mellieħa is quickly establishing itself as a destination for all seasons. Whether out for a walk along the rural country trails, visiting the historic Marian Sanctuary or one of the many local forts dotting the coastline, a quick dip in the blue waters of Mellieħa Bay or the other 12 surrounding bays, or during one of the very popular activities organised by the Mellieħa Local Council, this locality has a lot to offer.
Popeye Village, also known as Sweethaven Village, is a group of rustic and ramshackle wooden buildings located at Anchor Bay in the north-west corner of the Mediterranean island of Malta, two miles from the village of Mellieħa. It was built as a film set for the production of the 1980 live-action musical feature film Popeye, produced by Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Productions and starring Robin Williams. Today it is open to the public as an open-air museum and family entertainment complex.
Where to stay: the “Mellieha Holiday Centre” is located in picturesque Mellieha.
Turn back the clock in Alba Iulia
One of the most beautiful destinations in Romania awaits you for a family vacation.
Close your eyes for a few moments and imagine that you’ve just turned back the clock... 2000 years. Imagine that the Dacians around you, the bravest and most righteous of the Thracians, as Herodotus calls them, are fighting the Roman legions, the gladiators enter the arena but may not come out alive,.. Sounds familiar, right? From history books. Now open your eyes and feel all this right next to you, in front of you, all around you, into a Hollywood-like scene of Rome or Spartacus. This is happening in Alba Iulia, the Other Capital of Romania, the ancient capital of Dacia roman province. That is how we learn history here, not just in books but living it… live.
During the tourist season, every Friday afternoon, roman soldiers, gladiators and dancing nymphs are ready to take you on an incredible trip, two thousand years back in time.
How to get there: book your flights to Sibiu (1 hour by car).
Where to stay: the “Hotel Medieval” is set in a historical palace inside the Alba Iulia Fortress
Find your way through a maze of plants
The Labyrinth of Durbuy is a theme park of 11 hectares of maze fields and 10 km of alleys, with 7 actors each day, 7 shows and activities for children, and 70,000 visitors throughout the summertime. It is located 1 hour away from Brussels and 30 minutes from Namur and Liège. It’s a magical adventure!
How to get there: book your flights to Brussels-Charleroi (1h) or Brussels-Zaventem (1h20).
Where to stay: the "Chalet 139 Hakuna Matata" features a children’s playground.
Surf on Inchidoney Beach
Clonakilty - Ireland
You want to celebrate a birthday with colleagues, friends or family? Come and learn how to surf in a sustainable destination awarded the "EDEN" label by the European Commission.
No need to bring your equipment with you: the Inchidoney surf school will provide you with wetsuits, surfboards, boots and gloves.
Treat your family to an unforgettable surfing experience in one of the most beautiful sustainable tourism destinations in Ireland.
How to get there: book your flights to Cork (50 min by car).
Where to stay: “Clonakilty Accommodation An Ullord Getways” offers BBQ facilities and a garden.
Lakes of Eau d'heure
The site of the Lakes of Eau d'heure is located in the South-Western part of Belgium, close to the French border. It consists of five water planes separated by dams and containing almost stagnating water, which leads to a particularly fragile ecological balance.
The location has been attracting more and more visitors in the past years due to the extraordinary combination of man-made water lakes, nature, sea and the proximity of the Ardennes all in one single location.
This is a perfect family destination, offering a variety of activities such as swimming, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, rowing, rafting and deep-sea diving.
A favourite aquatic activity to be explored is the tour with the Red Crocodile, an amphibious bus offering a route half on road, half on water.
How to get there: book your flights to Brussels-Charleroi (40 min by car).
Where to stay: the "Best Western Plus Golden Lakes Hotel".
Climb the masts of the “Arsenal des mers”
Rochefort Océan - France
Louis XIV chose Rochefort to set up an arsenal, a vast industrial, economic, strategic and military area in the 17th century. Over 550 ships were built here over three centuries. Explore the Arsenal de Rochefort and set sail on a unique adventure with a trip to the Royal Rope Factory, Naval Museum and the frigate Hermione!
Head to the Arsenal des Mers in Rochefort to experience your own naval adventure! Step into the shoes of an engineer, sailor, topman, captain or inventor on your extraordinary expedition! A single ticket gets you into the Royal Rope Factory, frigate Hermione and Accro-mâts.
How to get there: book your flights to Rochefort or Bordeaux (1h40 by car).
Where to stay: "L’Esprit du 8" for their comfortable beds and the outdoor pool.
Nicolae Popa Ethnographic Museum
Neamt - Romania
On a green slope, behind a traditional fence, the gate opens onto a large yard, with an open-air alley. On either side of the alley, among fruit trees, one can see many fairy-tale characters -carved in wood or stone- that enliven the entire atmosphere, and at the end of the alley a traditional house with wooden porch stands firmly on the ground. It is the house of the famous artisan Nicolae Popa from Târpeşti, transformed into a true ethnographic museum, one of the most beautiful and attractive of its kind, from Moldavia.
Nicolae Popa, the creator and legend behind the museum, was widely known as an original craftsman, artist, exceptional collector, and writer. He learned to make head masks as a child, since mask games in Neamţ County are the most complex and most spectacular of New Year's traditions, and later perfected its skill of stone (sandstone) and wood carving, developing his own style of depicting facial features: well-shaped eyes, thick lips, big teeth, big nose and ears, long hair and beards, bushy moustaches.
The museum's collections, including traditional masks and costumes, wood and stone sculptures, but also numismatics, religious objects, icons, naive painting, represent altogether the living archive of the local spirituality, extremely well preserved in the villages from Neamţ county. Tourists, regardless of their cultural background, are fascinated by the beauty of the traditional clothing and the authenticity of Romanian dances and traditions.
How to get there: book your flights to Bacau (1h15 by car) Suceava (1h30) or Iași (2h by car).
Where to stay: The “Central Plaza Hotel” is located in Neamt’ city centre.
Visit the Giant’s House
Ath - Belgium
At the Giant’s House it is the festive season all year round. This Museum occupies a Louis XV style mansion and takes you on a captivating journey through the world of giants.
This visit will stimulate all your senses. You see how a giant is made, then further on you see how it is carried; the passing of the festival from one generation to another is recalled by several of the people involved. Giants also exist beyond our frontiers, in fact they can be found all over Europe. Several well illustrated documentaries will tell you about them. The Giants’ House regularly holds temporary exhibitions on various themes.
How to get there: book your flights to Charleroi (50 min by car) or Brussels (1h).
Where to stay: the "Hotel du Parc Ath" is perfect for its location and the buffet breakfast.
Discover the fascinating history of volcanoes
Faial - Azores - Portugal
Let’s face it, a museum can be terribly boring! To be honest we were reluctant to go, but in the end, we really loved the place: the museum is very modern with 3D animations and projections. Built in the lair of one of the most recent volcanoes in Europe, it is essential to understand the history of the Azores.
At the westernmost point of the island, the Capelinhos Volcano majestically rises up to the sky, as the witness to the last volcanic eruption that took place in the Azores and that added new land to the existing one. Entering this area is like landing on the moon, with the grey volcanic ash and lapilli tossed out between 1957 and 1958 starting to be invaded by green vegetation, which is determined to colonize this new territory. In the abrupt cliffs of Capelinhos and Costado da Nau, one can see the inside of these volcanoes in a sequence of contrasting rocks, layers and contours and in a game of surprising colours and textures.
How to get there: book your flights to Faial (direct flights or from the main island of Sao Miguel), accommodation and your best tours and activities in the Azores, such as as a whale watching expedition.
Where to stay: the “Quinta das Buganvilias” has a luxuriant garden, delicious breakfast with local produce and the owners are very welcoming and passionate.
Jurmala Livu Akvaparks
Jūrmala is a green seaside resort rich in unique natural resources - pine forests, mineral waters and mud, healthy maritime climate, dunes and white sand beach!
"Līvu Akvaparks" is the biggest multifunctional water park in Northern Europe and operates all year round. The total area of the park is 17 000 sq. metres, including 6000 sq. metres of summer open-air area. Aquapark is a good relaxation place for people of different ages and is divided in 3 functional areas: active, family and spa.
How to get there: book your flights to Riga (30 min by car – 1h by public transport).
Where to stay: the “Hotel Jurmala Spa” is located only a short walk away from the beach.
Bird watching in a solar boat
Abenteuer Flusslandschaft - Germany
Give your children memories of a lifetime with a bird watching trip on a solar boat.
30 species of birds protected throughout Europe breed here regularly - among them the Eurasian bittern, the spotted crake and the Eurasian curlew.
On your birdwatching tours, set out into the Peene valley in your super-quiet solar catamarans and get right up close to its inhabitants which are so rare elsewhere. As well as ospreys and white-tailed eagles, you can also find the critically endangered lesser spotted eagle here. Whiskered terns and black-winged stilts are amongst the ornithological highlights. In addition, the Peene valley boasts huge populations of ducks, geese, whooper and mute swans, northern lapwings and European golden plovers.
How to get there: book your flights to Rostock (1h20) or Berlin-Tegel (2h20).
Where to stay: the “Gusthaus Stolpe” is a beautiful small country manor house.
A safe hike with children
Soomaa National Park - Estonia
Children love forests, whether to climb trees, discover wild fruits, berries or mushrooms. The Soomaa National park is the perfect place for a family day hiking in the forest. As the VisitEstonia site points out, the place is very safe: no predators, volcanoes, snakes or earthquakes.
In addition, the hiking trails are made for children: not too long and without risk of getting lost. Take a picnic and a bag with you to collect your leftovers. Toilets are available at the beginning and at the end of each trail.
How to get there: book your flights to Tallinn (1.5 hours by car).
Where to stay: the “Ponka Guesthouse” is a renovated farm house dating from the 1930s.
Park Gravenrode is a former coal mine industrial zone which was one of the most polluted areas in the Netherlands and one of the regions with the highest unemployment rate (more then 33%). In 1995, nature was absent in fairly unattractive surroundings but by 1998 the whole area underwent a total make over and was transformed into an amazing tourism zone. Forests were planted, rivers and lakes cleaned, monuments restored, factories removed, and in place came a tourist attraction zone that was mostly build on former slag heaps.
Snowworld for example is now the largest indoor village in the world, Mondo Verde Gardens feature gardens from all over the world and Continium, a new discovery centre; you will also find one of largest furniture retail park in Europe. GaiaZoo has been elected the best and most beautiful zoo in the Netherlands and has won various international prices.
If you are staying in winter, be sure to visit the Valkenburg Christmas market, ranked among the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe!
How to get there: book your flights to Maastricht (20 min by car).
Where to stay: the “Hotel Winselerhof” is a 16th century farm house.
Comic Book Museum
Moulins - France
Devoted to book illustration, the museum's mission is to build a collection of original works representative of the history of illustration for the young from the nineteenth century to the present.
A fun and interactive permanent exhibition invites visitors to discover the history of illustration, creative techniques, artists and images that marked several generations of children and parents and are now part of our collective memory.
How to get there: book your flights to Clermont-Ferrand (1hour by car).
Where to stay: the “Jardin Secret” provides a garden with a terrace.
A fairytale holiday in Tervete Nature Park
Nature Park in Tērvete has been repeatedly rated as the friendliest place for families with children in Latvia and has also won the highest praise in a social project vote as the best tourist destination. Tērvete Nature Park is the largest fairytale land in Northern Europe covering more than 1 200 hectares of forested hills full of stories and miracles.
Strolling along the scenic hiking trails, visitors will be taken to a number of different thematic sites inhabited by fairytale characters. Both the length of the walk and the time spent for active recreation may be planned to suit the preferences and physical fitness of all Park visitors.
How to get there: book your flights to Riga (1h).
Where to stay: "Putelkrogs" surrounded by nature.
Plan your trip to Europe
Hotels, Apartments, B&B...
Fresh deals every single day
Thousands reviews you can trust
Tours, Sightseeing & Activities
Discover Europe’s biggest collection of things to do and guided tours.
Whatever you want to do you’ll find it here.
Sustainable tourism in Europe
European Destinations of Excellence