Young family exploring Mykonos (Dreamstime)
List Words : Family Travel | 12 February

Mi casa, su casa: The world’s 5 most family-friendly countries

A recent survey of expats asked them to rank the world’s most family-friendly countries on inclusivity, attitudes to children, safety and family-friendly activities. The results may surprise you ...

1: Uganda

Happy kid in Kampala (Dreamstime)

Happy kid in Kampala (Dreamstime)

Uganda was the surprise packet of the survey. Of all the countries surveyed, it was judged as having the most welcoming attitude towards children. Every respondent rated the country highly for its warmth and inclusivity. Kids of all ages are welcomed with open arms.

There’s certainly plenty to entertain and engage them – especially if they love wildlife. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to one one the largest groups of mountain gorillas. Kibale National Park has a large troop of chimpanzees. Leopards can be spotted in Queen Elizabeth National Park and Lake Victoria and Murchison Falls are great for camping trips.

2: Taiwan

Sky lantern festival (Dreamstime)

Sky lantern festival (Dreamstime)

Taiwan scored highly in child safety and had the highest score in East Asia for its attitude towards  families with children. But for kids – especially teenagers – Taiwan is best known as the home of Bubble Tea, a tea-based drink, mixed with juice or milk, and filled with chewy tapioca balls.

There’s more to Taiwan that quirky cafes, though. It’s night markets are colourful and lively and taking a dip in a natural hot spring is a national institution. It’s spectacular mountain ranges are peppered with family friend trails and bike tracks.

Taiwan seems to know what makes kids tick – don’t be surprised if yours regard a visit to the Modern Toilet restaurant in Taipei as the indisputable highlight of the trip.

3: Costa Rica

A hanging bridge in Monteverde (Dreamstime)

A hanging bridge in Monteverde (Dreamstime)

Costa Rica was rated highly for its warm weather and the way the locals make families feel at home. Ticos are proud of their country and its biodiversity and want you and your family to love it as much as they do.

In many ways, exploring the rainforests, volcanoes and rivers of this beautiful country is like visiting a giant, natural theme park. Misty cloud forests can be explored via suspended walkways and bridges. Rainforest rapids are negotiated by rafts. And thermal springs are at once wet, wild and warm. Add in the chance to see turtles in Tortuguero and hummingbirds in Monteverde and you’ve got the perfect family-friendly destination.

4: Thailand

Family enjoying a boat trip in Thailand (Dreamstime)

Family enjoying a boat trip in Thailand (Dreamstime)

No other culture will fawn over your kids like the family-friendly Thais. From tuk-tuk drivers to orange-robed monks, your little ones are a magic pass into Thai society at its most authentic level.

Thailand also scores highly for family-friendly attractions like temples, beaches and wildlife. There’s a well-developed infrastructure that makes travelling with kids a breeze. The Thais even celebrate a National Children’s Day. Observed on the second Saturday in January, children enjoy free activities and public transport throughout the country.

5: Greece

Mother and daughter in Mykonos (Dreamstime)

Mother and daughter in Mykonos (Dreamstime)

Family is the corner stone of life in Greece so it’s not surprising that families are welcomed with open arms. Meals out quickly turn into communal affairs. Long tables with benches are the norm and within minutes your kids will be running freely with new found friends, allowing you to kick back and enjoy a chilled retsina or two.

It certainly makes a change from other parts of Europe where children are seen as a troublesome inconvenience. In Greece they are celebrated and included in all kinds of activities, helping to steer a boat, land a fish from a pier or break a loaf of bread. Family, as the Greeks say, is nature’s greatest masterpiece.