5 best places to travel adventurously with toddlers

Always on the move and fascinated by the world around them, toddlers make the ideal travel companion. Here are five destinations they’ll love to explore beside you...

6 mins

1: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Family checking out windmills in Holland (Dreamstime)
Family checking out windmills in Holland (Dreamstime)

Amsterdam is a city packed with child-friendly experiences and, thanks to its tram system, bike hire and network of streets and canals, it is wonderfully easy to explore too. 

In the east of the city, drop by the striking NEMO Science Museum for hours filled with play and learning, before stepping onto the deck of the replica of The Amsterdam, a 17th Century trade ship with the Dutch East India Company at the National Maritime Museum. 

The delightful ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is a great space to run, play and wonder at the 750-different species of animals and the gardens filled with hundreds of trees and flowering plants. 

15 minutes from the centre of Amsterdam by train is the Zaanse Schans, a collection of eight heritage windmills which will be mesmerising for toddlers. Wander and explore alongside the canals here, the clog factories and the Windmill museum. Finish busy days with frites and pancakes, perfect toddler (and grown up) food.

2: Penang, Malaysia

Interactive Street Art in Georgetown (GlobalMouseTravels.com)
Interactive Street Art in Georgetown (GlobalMouseTravels.com)

The outdoor street art trail in Georgetown is perfect for families with younger children. As you explore the alleyways and buildings of Penang’s capital, the interactive street art displays are great for engaging children, as well giving you the chance to get a really good feel for the island. 

You’ll get a warm welcome on Penang and many restaurants will willingly adapt their food and flavours for toddlers. 

The food markets frequented by the locals are another great insight into local life and your children with love the incredible variety of colours and aromas from the fruit stalls (but avoid the stinky durian unless you’re feeling brave). Keep an eye out for the Putu Mayam, or string hoppers, on sale from the street vendors around the markets. These delicious rice noodles are sweet and flavoured with coconut. 

Also, head out to the beaches of Batu Ferringhi where a number of the resorts here have fun water parks to cool down in.

3: Moscow, Russia

Hanging out in Gorky Park (Dreamstime)
Hanging out in Gorky Park (Dreamstime)

Starting in the iconic Gorky Park, you will find a world of play and candy floss bigger than the toddlers themselves. With massive bean bags scattered around the park, amusement rides and places to run or see wild birds on the lake, there is plenty to do here with younger children. 

Red Square is also the perfect place to take a stroll and for toddlers to run free. From here, make your way towards the spectacular St Basil’s Cathedral with its bright colourful domes. 

The Moscow Fairytale Theatre for Children has mesmerising puppet-shows, and the Kolomenskoe Park celebrates some of Russia’s rich heritage with a wooden funfair, traditional games and the chance to take a meandering relaxing trip along the Moskva river.

4: Iceland

Fun near an Icelandic waterfall (GlobalMouseTravels.com)
Fun near an Icelandic waterfall (GlobalMouseTravels.com)

Children of all ages will adore Iceland and its incredible range of natural spectacles. Toddlers will love the thermal pools, and even the big hitters like the Blue Lagoon have arm bands freely available to let younger visitors enjoy the waters. 

Don’t miss the less well known outdoor geothermal pools such as Vesturbæjarlaug in the centre of Reykjavik, popular with locals and perfect for families with children.

Inland, the exploding sky-high waters of the geysir at Haukadalur valley in Southwestern Iceland will delight younger visitors and all across Iceland you can spot signs (and the tiny homes) of the huldufólk, Elf folk believed by the people of the island to populate its shores.

5: Cuba

Meet the locals in Havana (GlobalMouseTravels.com)
Meet the locals in Havana (GlobalMouseTravels.com)

Varadero is home to seemingly endless beautiful and quiet beaches, warm se­­a waters filled with tiny fish swimming right up to the shore line. It is the perfect retreat for a few days with toddlers who will make themselves right at home. 

Don’t forget to step up the excitement levels on Havana’s bustling streets experiencing live music and a taste of good ice cream at Coppelia, the historic state run parlour that serves over 30,000 customers every day. 

The chocolate museum in Havana is a great stop off for cold chocolate milk and biscuits before taking a horse and cart ride through the cobbled streets. 

Private homestays, or Casa Particulars are available right across the country. Seek one out that is owned by a family with similarly aged children and you’ll get to meet and share meals with Cubans and their youngsters for a real insight into this beautiful country.

Nichola West is Editor of UK family travel blog, Globalmouse Travels

Main image: Toddler waving Russian flag in Red Square (Dreamstime)

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