While we have been very lucky with places we have been, there have been only a couple that we have found to be nearly mission impossible to visit with children. Some have been hard due to a sheer number of other visitors, some from the steps or walking and some from the weather.
I am sure that some people will agree with me and there will be some places that you may have breezed through and you will be thinking I am mad! It also may have depended on our kids on the day of the visit. There can just be so many things that affect how a trip goes when you are travelling with kids.
So, here are our top spots that we found hard to visit with kids but still think you should have a go!.
The Louvre, Paris
There are many amazing things to do in Paris. We first took a baby Willow there in 2006 and getting around with a pram was really difficult. People would actually bump into the pram as they were walking so we ended up putting her into the baby carrier as I was more worried someone would end up hurting themselves, not really her. The lifts that were in operation for prams and wheelchair access were not really reliable with some of them out of order or just full every time they got to the level we wanted to go on.
They would also be hard to locate if one was out of order and then you would have to go searching in different parts for where you originally wanted to go. Having the baby carrier saved us in the end as we got to where we were going quickly and with little fuss but it was a real work-out on the legs with some of those stairs! The Louvre needs to be part of any Paris itinerary.
Tip for Families: If you have a baby carrier I think it would be a great idea to take it. As I said the pram was very hard to get around but I was really worried someone would hurt themselves on it rather than hurting Willow.
Fast forward to 2013 when we took both the girls there. Marley was 5 and Willow was 8 and all they wanted to see was the Mona Lisa. The day was raining and the line was long. They did really well in the line and that was not a problem as soon as we got close to the doors a guard came and got us to skip the line. It was from there it went downhill quickly. It was one of the busiest days in The Louvre and the crowds were crazy.
Both the girls were scared as people were shoving them and we got out of sight quickly a few times. We decided to go straight to the Mona Lisa and then we could relax and see some other paintings from there. Once inside it did calm down a little bit and the girls calmed down too. Again we found the lifts to be hard to get into and some were extremely dirty, so we only tried to use them when the girls were very tired. We did make use of the chairs that were dotted around the galleries a lot. It was a great experience in the end but we were worried at the start.
Tip for Families: If the lifts are not working the steps can be hard on the little ones so use the chairs as much as you can for them to rest on. Also if you are near a toilet go while you can. I found them hard to find in a rush!
Getting to the Louvre
Metro: Palais-Royal–Musée du Louvre station (line 1).
Bus: Bus lines 21, 24, 27, 39, 48, 68, 69, 72, 81, 95 stop in front of the Pyramid. The Paris Open Tour bus which is the ever-popular hop on hop off tours also drops off and pickups out front.
Car: If you want to drive your car an underground parking garage is available. You can gain access via Avenue du Général Lemonnier. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Batobus: get off at the Louvre stop, Quai François Mitterrand.
Book your timed entrance tickets to the Louvre here today. Don’t wait in line book your time of entry and walk straight in.
We recommend that you stay in the Montmartre district when in Paris. Let Booking.com Montmartre page get you started.
Westminster Abbey, London
This was one spot that has been on my bucket list for years and I was desperate to get in there and have a look. It was definitely all I had ever imagined and I loved walking around it looking at all the monuments to people intered there and thinking of all the history that has been made there as well….but so did the other 1000 or so people. It was very busy and some of the places can get quite squishy with all the people in there. Both the girls got lost at one stage but I have to admit the guides and helpers that work in there were on to that so quickly. I was so grateful for their help. It was also great that there was a kids activity that did keep the girls happy for a little while.
Tips for Families: In some of the sections the area you walk through can be quite small so I would leave the pram at home if you can.
Mark and I took it in turns to go through some of the smaller sections so the girls could sit and rest, doing their worksheet while they waited. The guides would tell us if it was a section where the girls may struggle through.
There is only one small toilet so if you even think you need to go get in the line.
Getting to Westminster Abbey
London Underground: The two nearest stations providing easy access to Westminster are St James’s Park (District and Circle Lines) and Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines).
National Rail Services: The two nearest above ground rail lines are London Victoria (0.8 miles) and London Waterloo (0.8 miles).
Find the best journey for you via the Transport for London website.
Book your Westminster Abbey entry tickets and audio guide tour right here. Don’t wait in long lines to visit this amazing site.
Find all the best London hotels in the one place. Booking.com will have you a room in a matter of minutes
The Colosseum, Rome
This was difficult for us in the fact that the girls had a lot of questions that were hard to answer. We don’t believe that we should hide what happened in the past to them but we do try to make it as age appropriate as we can. We did a Third Ring Tour that we booked when we were still in Australia as we thought that would be the best tour for us and it also was the tour with the most amount of access to the Colosseum. The tour was fantastic and the guide was brilliant with the girls. As we wore headsets to listen to our guide they got all the details and it was up to us to explain what had happened. (The other people on the tour shouldn’t have had it dulled down for the girls) The guide was really great in answering our questions and the girl’s ones too.
Tips for Families: There are places to sit and we did that after our tour to have a talk with the girls about things that had gone on in the Colossuem. They found some of the details confronting and they just did not understand the things that have gone one there.
It gets very hot in there very quickly so please take some extra water to stay hydrated.
There were not many toilets and they were a bit messy. Lucky I had wipes and tissues with me as they both were needed.
Getting to the Colosseum
Rome Metro: The Colosseum is accessed by Line B which stops right out the front. The Colosseum is 2 stops from Rome,s main station termini
Book your skip the line entry tickets to the Colosseum. Believe us when we tell you the lines are MASSIVE to get tickets and entry into the most amazing ancient building in the world
When in Rome we stayed a few blocks from the amazing Colosseum. It was great to leave our apartment every day and see the ancient stadium. Let Booking.com’s Colosseum neighbourhood page have you staying here as well
⇒ You might like our article on flying Qatar Airways with children
Eiffel Tower, Paris
We have been up the Eiffel Tower three times now and they have all been very different experiences. First was by ourselves, second was with a baby Willow and the third was with both of the girls. The wait was the problem here for us and the lack of shade to keep them comfortable as we waited was the hardest thing for us.
Eiffel Tower with a baby: We were in Paris in summer with Willow when she was 10 months old. It was so hot and there was no way you can take a pram up to the top of the Eiffel Tower so she was in the baby carrier. I was so hot and on the second level, there was absolutely no shade. We were so lucky that we had extra water and a muslin wrap with us to keep us cool. We were also so lucky with the people in line with us. Although we did not understand each other they were amazing. They kept the shade for us to be in and they protected us from the pushing people. At one stage they even held Willow for us and played with her when she got cranky.
Tip for Families: Take extra water and a small bag with extra nappies for the baby. Something to keep you cool in the summer is a must because a lot of the time the line is not in the shade.
There was not a baby changing station when we were there but this could have been fixed by now. It made it hard but an attendant took me to a bench to change Willow.
Eiffel Tower with kids: This was top of the list for the girls to go to and watching their reactions when they first saw it was one of my best travel memories by far. What they were not expecting was the wait. We knew that it would be a long one to get right to the top and I was really sure neither of them would want to wait the hours it would take. But they wanted to try so up we went. At the second level, it was a three-hour wait to get right to the top. Willow was already getting upset at the height we were at and was not keen to go up at all.
Tips for familes: Have extra water with you. On the ground there are plenty of options to get something to eat or drink but at the second level the options are not as much.
We had the girls tablets charged just in case they wanted to go all the way to the top and they needed something to keep them occupied.
I had sunscreen on them from early on in the morning so I just needed to re-apply it later on before we went up.
Getting to the Eiffel Tower
Metro: Line 8,9 and 16 are best for accessing the Eiffel Tower
Bus: Bus lines 42 & 82. The Paris Open Tour bus which is the ever-popular hop on hop off tours also drops off and pickups out front.
Book your priority access Eiffel Tower tickets here. Save time at the Eiffel Tower and stay a step ahead of the crowds
La Rambla Market, Barcelona
WOW was the first thing I said when I walked into this market. It was one of the fascinating places I have ever been and there was something to look at everywhere. It was not only me that felt that way, it was all of us which is what caused the problems. It was so easy to wander off to look at something only to be lost in the crowd seconds later.
This was really scary for the girls the first time they did it until they realised that they could ask the market stallholders if they could see their parents! The stall holders are absolutely brilliant as they must deal with lost children on a regular basis. Both the girls wandered off to get juice and were quickly lost in the crowds…panic set in for me and I was starting to freak out when I heard ‘Mama, Mama’ and realised that could be about my child.
Tips for Families: If you can leave the stroller/pram at home as the aisles can be hard to navigate.
This is an awesome market to see and I really think you should visit. It is geared at tourists so beware of pick-pockets. There are plain clothed police wandering the market so if you do get into trouble help is not far away.
If you are worried about large crowds and narrow alleys then you may want to find a smaller more local market in you neighbourhood to visit.
Getting to La Rambla Barcelona
Metro: Drassanes Metro stop. (Green Line, L3), Metro stop Liceu. (Green Line, L3), Catalunya which is serviced by the Metro on both the (Green Line, L3) and (Red Line, L1). The Barcelona Hop on Hop Off bus also services La Rambla
Bus: Bus 59 picks up halfway down La Rambla near Dunkin Donuts
Stay just off La Rambla in the Bari Gothic / Barcelona Old Town area. It is Barcelona’s most amazing neighbourhood. Let Hotels.com find you the right place
Well, I am going to put this out there straight away and say I was totally let down by Pompeii. This may have been due to Marley having the worst day possible and of course, it was the day we decided to visit Pompeii. For us, this made it so much harder. The train ride up there was easy as the girls had fully charged Tablets with them. It was a horribly hot day with no shade at all around and this made it very hard on little legs. The heat that radiated off the roads and the buildings was a heat like no other. It made you feel the heat twice as much.
Tips for Famillies: Getting to the front of the line at the cafeteria was really difficult and it took a long time, luckily I had packed extra water (I froze two extra bottles so we had plenty) and plenty of snacks.
We used our time on the train to put sunscreen on the girls and I am so glad I did as when we got there it was go,go,go.
Getting to Pompeii
Pompeii is located midway between Naples and Sorrento. The regular Circumvesuviana trains run about twice an hour between the Naples and Sorrento stopping at Pompeii. You need to get to Naples central station to catch the Circumvesuviana trains.Trains from Rome run regularly to Naples.
Book your entry tickets for Pompeii here. Access the attraction via the dedicated skip-the-line desk at the entrance to fast trek your experience at this iconic UNESCO site
Old Fortress, Kotor, Montenegro
This one was worth every single piece of whining and moaning all the way to the top. It wasn’t the walk up that was actually hard, well it was really hard, to be honest, but it was the uneven steps and crumbling walls that made it harder. There was a small set of stairs and then there was a rocky path next to the stairs that you could take as well.
After your legs got sore you could have a change at least. In some sections, the wall was so crumbled that it was not great to support you if you needed it. It was also probably lucky that we were there in winter and we were the only ones climbing it in some sections. This also gave us the chance to just sit and rest wherever we wanted to.
Tip for Families: This is not great for little legs at all but the views are some of the best i have ever seen. Pack heaps of water and if you have a baby carrier you should take it.
Getting to Kotor Castle
Kotor Castle is located straight from the Kotor Old Town. Near the North Gate, you can start your climb up to the near 1500 steps. In summer there is a 3€ charge, In winter climbing to Kotor, Montenegro castle is free.
In our opinion, there is only 1 place to stay in Kotor. We stayed at Apartment Marko in the Kotor Old Town. Apartment Marko is located in the town walls. You can have breakfast on the Old Town Walls overlooking the harbour. Fully self-contained with cooking facilities, and washing machine. Apartment Marko is a two bedroom apartment close to everything Kotor has to offer. Check out Apartment Marko today
Moorish Castle Ruins, Sintra, Portugal
The train ride out to Sintra was an easy one even though it was a very early morning for the girls. This one was another one hard on little legs. The climb just seems to go on forever and ever. There are sections that are uneven and are hard to climb. The day we went it was cold so getting hot was not a problem and we had plenty of water with us just in case.
It was the wind that was the sticking point for us. It was absolutely crazy when you got up to the top and I was worried that we would blow away in some bits. The views were amazing even on a cloudy day and again we were lucky as we could stop when we needed to due to there not being many people there on that day.
Tips for Families: It would be absolutley scorching in the summer so take heaps of water.
I don’t remember a place to buy food or water right near it so please take some with you.
You need money for the toilets at the train station
Getting to Sintra Portugal
Train: The Lisbon Sintra train runs hourly from Rossio station in downtown Lisbon. The Rossio Lisbon station is a sight in itself. An amazing looking station opened in the 18th century and located just off Rossio square. Tickets can be purchased from the ticket booths or the automatic machines.
Car: It will take you around 30 minutes to drive to Sintra from Lisbon. You will need to take either the A16 or A37 motorway from Lisbon.
Buy Sintra Castle of the Moors fast trek entry tickets into this amazing UNESCO site. We have been to Sintra twice and this was a true highlight of our second visit
This accommodation in Lisbon is a personal favourite of ours.We stay at Lisbon Centre Historical Apartments, located just 100 meters from Rossio train station and 50 meters from Square Largo Do Carmo in downtown Lisbon. Close access to restaurants, supermarkets, museums and attractions. Look no further than these budget family friendly apartments. We have stayed here twice and would not hesitate to stay there again. For latest prices on Lisbon Centre Historic Apartments here
So these are our spots that we found hard with the girls but we would not have missed having an experience there with them. They make the travel moments even better when you can look back and say it was a hard day but we got through it in the end…together.
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Bec Wyld is a mother, wife and once reluctant traveller. Bec has been to over 30 countries across the globe. I have planned and stressed in all of these places. Becs writing can be found on Wyld Family Travel and as a guest poster and contributor on many other travel websites including Lonely Planet Kids [/author_info] [/author]