New travel destinations are always exciting for children, yet some of these Eastern European cities manage to capture young imaginations more than others.
With its old-world charm, Eastern Europe is fascinating for visitors of all ages, but children get easily bored if they are not entertained. Some destinations, however, have something special that makes young visitors enthusiastic about their travels. We are including lively places full of activities, but also places that offer fresh air to encourage kids to spend time close to nature.
Olomouc in the Czech Republic is a seductive, romantic destination, but it is also great to discover with children. Local authorities have developed a one-hour tour with puppets – Ola the cat and Zlobovous the tomcat – for preschool children to introduce them to some of the old city’s center most significant monuments: Town Hall and Town Hall Tower, Astronomical Clock, Petráš Palace, Arion Fountain, Holy Trinity Column, Caesar Fountain, Hercules Fountain, and the Moravian Theatre Olomouc. For children aged above eight and for teens, city authorities recommend the sightseeing tour “Olomouc in a Nutshell.”
Lviv in Ukraine is one of those cities you rarely hear about but well worth the trip. The historical heart of the city is well preserved despite Soviet and German occupations during World War II. Many buildings in this area were preserved in their original form. For young visitors, however, the most captivating landmark would be the First Ukrainian Theatre for Children and Youths, which was founded in Kharkiv in 1920 but moved to Lviv in 1944. They have a wide variety of performances for all ages, including plays in English for little theater fans. You can also visit the Sky Park with your little ones to keep them smiling. Last, but not least, they seem to have a thing for festivals – there’s always something going on, and you will never get bored in Lviv.
Slavonski Brod in Croatia is captivating year round, but April or May are the best months to visit it with children for the Fairy Tale World of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić festival. It is a traditional event held annually since 1970 and featuring a variety of activities including drama, art and computer workshops, theater performances, play-rooms, talk-rooms, literary meetings, exhibitions, music, and stage performances. In fact, the motto of the city is “Sail into a Fairytale.” Any other month of the year, children and adults alike will enjoy visiting Europe’s best-preserved fortresses, the Baroque-style Fortress of Brod; the Franciscan monastery; and Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić square and home.
Varna in Bulgaria is a seaside resort and nothing spells fun more than the warm sand under the toes. It’s an affordable destination at the Black Sea, but beyond attraction for beachgoers, it is a city rich in history. Among significant landmarks that you should not miss we count the Sea Garden with the historic Varna Aquarium and the Festa Dolphinarium, the Varna Archaeological Museum, the Roman Baths, and the fascinating Pobiti Kamani outside the city (a short 25 minutes drive).
Tartu in Estonia is the “city of good thoughts,” and a beautiful destination, rich in history and cultural attractions. In fact, this is the intellectual capital of Estonia. Children will enjoy the Tartu Toy Museum in the Old Town, which is a space of creativity and learning through play. The permanent exhibit displays toys that children in Estonia have played with throughout the ages. They also host visiting exhibitions, like Lego Mania, and others. The playroom welcomes young children with a variety of educational toys, board games, children’s books, puppet theater, costumes, and different crafts. Another interesting attraction for the little ones is the Ice Age Centre (Jääaja Keskus) an interactive museum unique in the Baltics.
Brest in Belarus is a great starting point for a day trip to the Belavezhskaya Pushcha National Park, on the border between Poland and Belarus, the largest remaining part of the primeval forest that once covered the European Plain. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to over 900 plants and 250 animals and birds, including the European bison (Bison bonasus). The park boasts a zoo and a Nature Museum, as well as the New Year’s museum with Ded Moroz (Father Christmas).