Mar 20, 2018

After Zurich, Munich, Stuttgart & Frankfurt, which European city should we visit next?

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Hands down, our trip to Switzerland and Germany during last December ranks as our most memorable family vacation ever. While I put it down to the extreme number of experiences we shared together as a family, the monkies will beg to differ - SNOW was the clear winner!

But snow or not, I think I speak for them when I say there are more family-friendly cities in Europe to visit then I thought. We visited Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Munich in Germany and Zurich in Switzerland and the sheer number of kid-friendly attractions in each city meant that we had to pick carefully.

Frankfurt, Germany

The busy city of Frankfurt may be the business hub of Germany and the largest financial center in Europe, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do for kids here. We visited the Senckenberg Natural History Museum, a must-go if you are visiting Frankfurt with kids. One of the most modern museums of natural history in Europe, and the second largest of its kind in Germany, it is home to Europe's biggest exhibition of dinosaurs.

But the most memorable part of our Frankfurt leg was our day trip to Rüdesheim, a romantic little village easily accessible from Frankfurt via a 1-hour train ride and the gateway to the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage site. With its cobblestone pavement, the half-timbered houses, and dazzling scenic views, walking through the town felt like stepping into a fairy tale. We paid a visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet too, which is home to one of the most extensive collections of self-playing instruments in the world!

Munich, Germany

For a city that is long associated with beer, it is a surprise that Munich has plenty of kid-friendly attractions to offer. We started at Marienplatz, the main square in Munich. Full of vibrant energy, with shops, restaurants and old architecture all around, the monkies loved watching the motorized figurines dance, joust, and twirl around the inside of the Glockenspiel, a giant Cuckoo Clock. The Nymphenburg Palace, an opulent and sprawling complex of many buildings, pavilions, museums and an extensive outdoor garden is also worth a visit too, especially for Ale who was able to dream up her own German fairy tales.

The boys are not exactly huge car fans but they still thoroughly enjoyed BMW World, home to plenty of technologically advanced exhibits that are highly interactive. And since we were in Munich, I was not going to pass up the chance of making a trip to the Allianz Arena - FC Bayern Munich's home stadium. We signed up for the Arena Tour which included a guided stadium tour and gave us access to areas like the changing rooms and players' tunnel.

Oh, and we spent an entire day the the amazing Deutsches Museum which has everything covering the areas of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and more  It's like one giant science centre!

Stuttgart, Germany

Located between Frankfurt and Munich, we made a brief 2-night stop at Stuttgart. Given a choice, I would have loved to spend more time to explore more of its kid-friendly attractions. We still managed two wonderfully kid-centric places though: the huge Mercedes-Benz Museum, the birthplace of the world's first automobile and Wilhelma Zoo, Europe's only large combined zoological and botanical garden.

Although we were no car geeks, we ended spending close to 3 hours at the Mercedes-Benz Museum which housed incredibly interesting information that is made easy to comprehend even for kids. We spent an even longer time at the zoo, simply because we loved how Wilhema Zoo allowed us to get really close to the animals (but still at a safe distance). And the various obstacle-course playgrounds - made entirely of wood - did a great job in slowing us down too.

Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, may be famous for being the banking centre of the world but there are plenty of fun things to do with kids too! We visited the FIFA World Football Museum and the monkies loved the interactive exhibits which covered all aspect of the world of football. Better yet, the big plus point for them was the HUGE play area, which allowed them to test their own ball skills in a playful manner.

Thronging the streets of Zurich Old Town, the city's historic heart famed for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture flanked by trendy shops, galleries, and restaurants, was a cool way to see the city too. And a ride in the UBS Polybahn (funicular) is a must  if you want to take in the great views of the city. With other kid-friendly attractions like the Zurich Zoo, Lake Zurich, Niederdorf and Zurich Toy Museum, I highly recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass - kids between the age of 6 and 16 travel for FREE when accompanied by at least one parent holding Pass! - which is the most convenient way to see Zurich.

I think the flexibility of flying into and out of Europe via two different cities - otherwise known as an open jaw itinerary - had a huge part to play in allowing us to maiximise our holiday in Europe. We flew into Zurich on Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) and returned home from Frankfurt on Lufthansa German Airlines. (You can read more about the benefits and potential cost savings of an open-jaw ticket in my previous post HERE)

Our flight experiences with both airlines were extremely pleasant - important especially we were travelling with 3 kids! SWISS was a comfortable option for heading to Europe as the Swiss is known for consistently offering impeccable service and our SWISS flight to Zurich was just that - a solid in-flight experience with comfortable seats, good food and friendly service from the flight attendants.

We returned home from Frankfurt on Lufthansa - Europe's largest airline by the way - on its swanky Premium Class Economy and were definitely much pampered! For one, the seats feel so much bigger and the cabin extra spacious. Coupled with the attentive service the monkies got and the slightly larger in-flight entertainment screen, I believed the wifey and I were left undisturbed throughout the flight. Pure bliss.

So it got me thinking... which family-friendly European city should we visit next???

I have heard so much good things about Copenhagen in Denmark. The Danes are consistently praised for their approach to parenting so it is no surprise that Copenhagen is a perfect European destination for families. Think fairy tale castles, beautiful landscapes, radiant buildings on top of dedicated pram sections on buses, imaginative playgrounds, and green open spaces!

Or maybe Amsterdam in The Netherlands? We visited the city in 2012 and I can say that there is far more to Amsterdam that just the red light district. In fact, there are loads of kid-friendly attractions within the city including VondelPark and Artis Zoo while opportunities for learning reside at the Anne Frank House,Van Gogh Museum and NEMO Science Museum.

I think the wifey might fancy Stockholm, Sweden which has a perfect mix of indoor and outdoor activities. And it is popular among families for good reason - with its vast green spaces for kids to run around and a casual stroll right by the royal palace to a wealth of museums as well as Skansen (an open-air museum that features a zoo and an aquarium).

Are you planning for your family's holiday too? BECAUSE THERE IS NO BETTER TIME TO PLAN THAT EUROPE HOLIDAY THAN NOW!

Lufthansa is currently having a massive promotion on airfares to the following European cities:

Amsterdam: from 888 SGD
Athens: from 888 SGD
Barcelona: from 888 SGD
Berlin: from 988 SGD
Brussels: from 988 SGD
Copenhagen: from 888 SGD
Dusseldorf: from 988 SGD
Frankfurt: from 988 SGD
Geneva: from 988 SGD
Hamburg: from 1088 SGD
Helsinki: from 888 SGD
Innsbruck: from 1188 SGD
Istanbul: from 888 SGD
Lisbon: from 888 SGD
London: from 988 SGD
Lugano: from 1088 SGD
Manchester: from 988 SGD
Milan: from 888 SGD
Moscow: from 888 SGD
Munich: from 988 SGD
Oslo: from 888 SGD
Paris: from 888 SGD
Rome: from 888 SGD
Salzburg: from 1188 SGD
Stockholm: from 888 SGD
Vienna: from 988 SGD
Zurich: from 988 SGD

All round-trip fares include taxes, fees and surcharges.

Booking period is from now until 15 April 2018.

Travel period is valid from 1 April to 31 December 2018 so what are you waiting for? It is time to map out all your travel plans - even that Winter holiday - for the year right now!

Visit Lufthansa or SWISS to book directly.

P.S. Lufthansa will also be having a booth (No. 5H21) at the upcoming NATAS Travel Fair from 23 to 25 March 2018. There will be quizzes and giveaways conducted at the booth... including GRAND PRIZE of a pair of Premium Economy class air tickets with with a 4-night hotel stay in Munich!

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