Teens do dig Europe! — Photo courtesy of WalterPro4755
You might think that just taking your child to Europe would be an incredible experience in itself by exposing them to different cultures, new languages, a major time change and buildings far older than any in our nation. But, for most older children, if you've seen one historical monument, you've seen them all. Make your trip more memorable for your teen by including some outings or tours they might really appreciate.
In London, kids usually find the bright neon signs and lights of the Piccadilly Circus area very exciting. Shopping and major theatrical productions abound here. The Royal Maritime Museum, Sherlock Holmes Museum or Madame Tussaud's are always fun. Take a cruise on the river Thames, see the famous Big Ben clock tower or catch a ride on Europe's tallest ferris wheel, the London Eye, for spectacular views of the city. A teenager will be far from bored in these air conditioned capsules holding 25 people.
In Paris, check into the many bike tours offered, if your family is the athletic sort. And what better place for you to see the pro cyclists up close than the finish line for the Tour de France along the Champs Elysees? Upon visiting the Eiffel Tower, show your teen the half pipe grind park for skaters, just across the street. Just 30 km north of Paris is Parc Asterix, an amusement park quite different from Disneyland. And, some teens might find the underground tunnels of the Catacombs pretty creepy, but cool. Also fun are the Sunday morning flea markets.
Music festivals, known to Europeans as "open-airs" are constantly going on. The "discotecas" are not just for 21 and over, but allow for underage teens to enter and offer non-alcoholic drinks. Also, don't forget the many Hard Rock Cafes that can usually be found in all the major cities. Teenagers love to collect t-shirts and this would be a fun souvenir. If you trust them to be in the hotel room alone, take a moment for yourself to have a romantic sunset cruise on the Seine river.
If in Spain, Barcelona is a favorite among the younger crowd. "La Rambla" is a captivating, tree-lined pedestrian mall offering lots of shopping, street performers and kiosks with souvenirs. The local beaches are also a popular spot for kids.
Many places in Germany have "Fun Forests," a climbing and zip-lining park your kids will love. Another unforgettable stop would be at the many castles, such as Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. You can even stay at a castle hotel for a magical fairytale-like memory.
Ciao Bambino! offers kid-friendly tours throughout the major cities of Italy, making seeing the sights a lot more fun for your young adult. Rome is always a favorite, and the Coloseum is not to be missed, evoking many images of gladiators past.
In Ireland, teens are allowed into the pubs. So, sit back, have a pint and let the kids have a game of darts or pool with the locals while listening to traditional music. The town of Dingle is a favorite among families who visit from all over, offering a different atmosphere from the larger, more well-known cities.
Traveling to Switzerland? Treat your chocoholics to the many chocolate factories open to the public for their famous swiss delight or take a ride on a luge run. The high speed bullet train, connecting many Swiss and other European cities will be an experience your teen will most likely find quite riveting. How exciting if you have the chance to travel the famous Chunnel Tunnel, the longest undersea, connecting France to England.
Wherever your destination, include your teen in the planning and ask what their favorite thing to see or do might be. Their answer might surprise you. All kids are different, but more than likely, a museum-only kind of trip is going to get dull fast. Throw in some other teen-friendly fun for a fantastic vacation for all.