Germany

Ultimate guide to things to do in Germany with kids

Artistic scenery, historical attractions and a wealth of outdoor activities and amusements – Germany is an absolute gem for family travel, this cannot be understated. Germany is home to some of the most child-centric cities in Europe – explore Stuttgart and Nuremburg for assurance of days filled with kid’s attractions. The Black Forest region is an unparalleled favourite travel destination for families across Europe, featuring unique outdoor activities and Eastern Europe’s biggest theme park. You will find Germany is a particularly family-friendly country, sometimes surprisingly so, with an abundance of choice and opportunities for kids!

The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most well known landmarks in Germany. The Gate has been the setting of many important events in Berlin's History. Credit: Dollar Photo Club: Sergey Novikov

The kids will love

Stuttgart

This innovative city is a must-see destination for families travelling Germany – it is home to Wilhelma, the only zoological-botanical garden in Europe with over 70 acres of plants, animals and historic buildings, the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Porsche Museum – kids learn about the history of the automobile (invented in Stuttgart) through interactive exhibits such as ‘Porche 4 Kids’, catch a scenic train through Hohenpark Killesberg and explore the children’s theatre, petting zoo, playgrounds and children’s carnival rides, spend a day at Frizeit Park Rutesheim – an amusement park featuring ziplining, 110 high ropes courses, mini golf, as well as Tripsdrill theme park and wildlife park.

Children window shopping on traditional Christmas market in Germany. Picture: FamVeld /Shutterstock

Nuremburg

Nuremburg is known for being the best German city for kids! The city has particularly hands-on attractions, among the best are – Children & Young People’s Museum, Playground of the Senses, Deutsche Bahn Railway Museum, School Museum, Toy Museum and Playmobil Fun Park.

The Black Forest

The Black Forest region is perfect for families, with farm-stays options and a range of outdoor activities – swimming and thermal baths, kayaking, cycling, tobogganing, forest expeditions, castle tours, creative entertainment and arts courses for children. It is also home to Europa-Park – Germany’s biggest theme park, and hosts family-friendly events such as holiday clubs for young children and discos, beach volley ball and mountain biking tours for older kids.

Scenic aerial panorama of the Old Town architecture of Munich, Bavaria, Germany. Credit: Shutterstock: Oleksiy Mark

Hamburg

Visit Hamburg Zoo, one of the best in Eastern Europe, celebrate Hamburg Dom carnival in summer, spend time at the riverbank beach and watch boats arrive from all over Europe, attend Lubeck’s puppet theatre, Miniatur Wunderland, children’s programs at Maritime Museum, and venture into Waldspielplatz Neindorfer Gehege,  a deer sanctuary and playground for kids.

Best time to travel

The shoulder seasons, April to May and September to October, are ideal times to travel. There are smaller crowds, lower prices at attractions and good deals on accommodation. Both seasons are beautiful with sunny and pleasant weather, ideal for outdoor activities. Oktoberfest, held in Munich, runs for 16 days beginning mid to late September and has many great activities for children!

Late June to August are the high season for travel in Germany. There are a variety of festivals throughout the country, many family-friendly, including Kieler Woche in June, an open-air music, cultural and children’s festival (and largest sailing event in the world), and Lange nacht der museen (Long night of the museums) in August, during which over 70 of Berlin’s museums hold diverse and interesting tours, workshops, music and cultural experiences. During this period, do expect crowds at most attractions, busy roads when travelling via car and peak prices for accommodation.

The low season for most German cities is winter, November to March. There are good deals to be made for accommodation during this period, and smaller crowds at attractions. Do keep in mind that some sights have shorter hours or may be closed during these months. January and February are high season for ski resorts.

Things to do in Germany with...

Berlin

Getting around Germany

Train is a scenic and efficient way to get around Germany. Deutsche Bahn is Germany’s major train company, with fast speed trains that travel to most destinations across the country. Children under 15 always travel for free when accompanied by an adult. Information is available at www.bahn.com/en/view/index.shtml

Car rentals are another option for families. Rental prices vary quite a lot. Mid-range vehicles are available from between approximately $60 to $100 per day, not including insurance. Pre-booking rentals before travel often works out much cheaper than walk-in rentals. It is highly recommended to purchase insurance to the vehicle itself (such as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)), as well as mandatory third-party insurance. Children under 12 must ride in the backseat and be fitted with a car seat or booster seat. These are often provided for free by car rental companies when reserved well in advance or can be hired for approximately $10 per day.

Bike is a convenient and fun way to get around German cities. Most major cities have good systems of designated bike lanes and are largely cyclist-friendly. Rentals are available in most cities from between $10 – $30 per day. 

Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) is one of Berlin's most iconic landmarks. Credit: Shutterstock: Ihor Pasternak

More about Germany for families

Accommodation 

  • Most hotels have family room options with double beds and options of roll-away, fold-out beds or adjoining rooms for a small extra cost. Many offer ‘kids stay for free’ promotions. Always ask when booking.
  • Farm-stays and camping are a fun and social experience for families. Affordable and self-catering, Urlaub auf dem Bauernhof (farm-stays) are particularly popular among German and other European travellers and a good option for kids to make friends while travelling.
  • Family-friendly hostels are another affordable option. Most offer family-sized rooms as well as activities for kids and recommendations for sites to visit. Always check before booking whether hostels are family-friendly as some specifically cater to young adults and would not be suitable for children.

What to pack

  • A baby carrier for young children – there are cobbled streets and stairs throughout most cities, that are unsuitable for strollers as well as many museums don’t allow them. A portable changing mat – changing facilities are uncommon in most cities.
  • Outdoor clothing and hiking equipment for the Black Forest, and a good pair of walking shoes for visiting the many attractions in all major cities.
What’s on?

The best annual events for families in Adelaide

Feb/March – Adelaide Fringe

You’ll find family and kid friendly shows at Adelaide’s wild and wonderful Fringe festival.

March - Adelaide Festival

Australia’s premier Arts festival showcases theatre, world-class musicians, dance, writers and visual art.

March – Adelaide 500

This motorsport spectacular is packed with action and entertainment for families. The 2021 Superloop Adelaide 500 will occur on revised dates in 2021.

March – South Australia History Festival

Enjoy hundreds of events such as talks to workshops exploring the local history.

March – WOMADelaide

Enjoy family friendly performances and workshops by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.

May – DreamBig Children’s Festival

This arts festival for schools and families is the largest of its kind in the world.

September – Royal Adelaide Show

Experience animals, rides, food and entertainment as the country comes to the city.

October – OzAsia Festival

Australia’s biggest Asian arts festival.

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