Top Climbing Places for Families in Europe
As the amount of climbers continues to grow worldwide, the amount of climber families is also growing. There is no need for parents to neglect their love of climbing outside just because they begin to have children.
Yes, bringing kids on a climbing trip definitely adds some additional difficulties into the mix when previous problems focused on climbing conditions and where to go
and when; however, if you want a family, and want to keep climbing, you have to make due.
Traveling with your family, no matter the type of trip, is more difficult than traveling solo or with another adult. Add the typical inconveniences of family travel to the usual difficulties of a lack of parking, fatiguing or lengthy approaches, or a lack of comfortable accommodation and you might consider canceling the trip all together.
Don’t cancel. Instead, check out this list of some of the best places around the world that are family-friendly and offer fantastic climbing!
Fontainebleau is a beautiful and historic town located within the forest of Fontainebleau. Throughout the forest thousands of high quality boulders lie on flat, sandy approaches, which vary in length.
The landings are great, there is a lot of room to set up blankets, chairs, play pens, toys, anything that would provide the family with the comforts necessary for a full day outside.
There are multiple small towns in which to get delicious treats such as pastries and baguette sandwiches and gites (where you stay) can be found throughout the various towns in the forest.
On rest days, take the 40 min train trip to Paris and explore the city, or even walk around the palace and town of Fontainebleau itself.
Why suitable for families: Mostly sandy landings, short approaches, many places to sit and watch, great city to explore with many food options plus many other towns, plenty of accommodation options throughout the area, climbing gym for rainy days, pad rentals through the gym.
Type of climbing: Sandstone, Sloping Holds, Technical Bouldering, Plenty of slabs
Where to stay: There are many options for gites in all the small towns throughout the Fontainebleau forest.
Where to eat: La Chocolaterie, Marché de Fontainebleau (open air food market on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday morning), and tons of other restaurants of all different ethnicities throughout the city. You can also find plenty of spots for traditional French food, pizza and Mediterranean kebab pitas in the neighbouring towns
What else to do nearby: Visit the palace in Fontainebleau and explore the cities, Paris is 40 minutes by train, other beautiful villages to explore in the area, many places to go for walks
Pad rentals&climbing gear: Pad rentals and a climbing gym for rainy days
When to go: Fall and Spring. It does rain a lot so this is something to keep in mind
Airport: Paris. Car needed
Arco and the whole Sarca valley area are a dreamland for anyone into sport climbing or multi pitch. The area has an amazing combination of a beautiful scenery with lakes and olive fields, massive amount of rock, friendly atmosphere and good food. It's no surprise that the area has became one of the most popular climbing destinations in Europe.
More than 3000 routes on dozens of crags make sure you’ll find something for everyone!
Why suitable for families: Many crags have easy approaches and safe landings. There’s also multiple crags with plenty of very easy (grades 3-5) routes which are also very well bolted. This means it’s a great place for kids to climb too! In addition, the area is nice to visit even for non-climbers and there’s a lot of possibilities for outdoor activities.
Type of climbing: Limestone sport climbing. Vertical and slightly overhanging walls are most common but there’s also very overhanging ones.
Where to stay: Plenty of different options to stay at in Arco, Rovereto and Trento.
Where to eat: The same towns as mentioned above are all full of great restaurants (and pizzerias of course)!
What else to do nearby: Besides mountains, Arco is located just next to the Garda lake which means that there’s not only the possibility for mountain sports but water sports too!
Climbing gear: There’s many climbing shops in Arco center and many of them offer climbing gear with very attractive prices.
When to go: Autumn and spring are the best seasons, but winter and summer can work too but then the amount of possible crags to climb at is more limited.
Airport: Closest airports are Munich, Venice, Milan and Bologna. Car is recommended to move around easily.
Albarracín is a World Heritage Site worth seeing in its own right, but it is also home to one of the largest concentration of high quality boulders in the world.
A beautiful Spanish fortress wall surrounds this sleepy town, forests cover the hillsides and farms spread out in all directions. Whether you are looking for technical or thuggy, there is something for everyone.
Why suitable for families: Easy and flat walks, safe landings, short drive, variety of climbing, temperate climate.
Type of climbing: Sandstone bouldering, roofs, vertical, crimps, pinches, slopers
Where to stay: There are some apartments to rent in the town of Albarracin. In addition there is places Sandstone Guesthouse and Don Pepo Guesthouse where many climbers stay. There's also a campsite in the village, and some parking places where it's possible to stay with a van.
Where to eat: There are many options in town but they have weird hours and usually they open only after 7/7.30pm. There are more options in Teruel as well as a big grocery store. There's also two smaller grocery stores in the Albarracín and a GREAT bakery in town on the way to the boulders which sells out quickly.
What else to do nearby: Walk around the beautiful historic town, go to the Museo de Albarracin, visit the castle via a private tour, tour the churches, rock art within the bouldering areas, the beach is not too far away, a dinosaur museum nearby, attend a cultural event https://fundacionsantamariadealbarracin.com
Pad rentals&climbing gear: Pad rentals and other supplies at the climbing store called Sofaboulder.
When to go: Late fall, winter, spring
Airport: Valencia, Madrid or Barcelona. Car needed.
Margalef is one of the famous rope climbing areas in the mountainous region of Catalonia. With breathtaking views, a variety of climbing styles and enough climbing that nothing feels overcrowded, it’s a great place for a climbing trip.
Not to mention its close proximity to many other crags of different styles, including Siurana, should you wish to sample something entirely different.
Why suitable for families: Minimal to no approach, tons of different grades
Type of climbing: Sport climbing. In general shorter pitches. Mixture of vertical and overhanging. Every grade.
Where to stay: You can stay at the Refugi at the base of the climbing area, in the town of Margalef, or nearby in Cornudella de Monsant (which is where most people stay for Siurana) because there are more food and accommodations options (Living Siurana).
Where to eat: The nearest real grocery stores are in the town of Reus. There are not many restaurants to choose from so its best to plan on cooking.
What else to do nearby: On the road between Margalef and Siurana there is a place with mini golf. There are many places to walk and hike and small Spanish villages to enjoy. Rest day trips to Tarragona (beach city), Reus (nice old city with lots of life), or Barcelona
Pad rentals&climbing gear: There is a great climbing store in Cornudella de Montsant, Goma2.
When to go: Fall, winter, spring
Airport: Barcelona. Car needed.
Kalymnos needs no introduction for rope climbing enthusiasts. Home to climbing festivals, excessive scooter travel and some of the most iconic and picturesque seaside cliffs in the world, it’s a dream destination for anyone who loves the ocean and climbing.
While a little warm, the deep water soloing and the other cliff’s close proximity to the ocean, give a consistent relief.
Why suitable for families: Tons of activities, variety of climbing and grades, great weather, lots of food and accommodation options
Type of climbing: Limestone sport climbing- overhangs, slightly overhanging or vertical, slabs. Mostly single pitch. Plenty of tufas!
Where to stay: Hotels or studio apartments, book well in advance.
Where to eat: Grocery stories, bakeries, mini markets and restaurants.
What else to do nearby: Castles, Museums, Beaches, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, hiking, Cycling, cave explorations, visit other islands
Pad rentals&climbing gear: Plenty of climbing stores.
When to go: Fall and Spring
Airport: Kalymnos, Kos or Rhodes (depending where you fly you might need to take a ferry). Car not needed
Leonidio is on its way to becoming the next Kalymnos with the recent climbing festival and hype Alex Megos spread with his climbing video. With its convenient location on mainland Greece, it’s even easier to get to the beautiful Mediterranean life that infuses both climbing and the ocean.
While still new and in need of some cleaning and time, this area is on its way to being one of the newest European rope climbing hot spots for climbers of all levels.
Why suitable for families: A beautiful village by the ocean that makes a great all around vacation. Not too far from a major airport, lots of food and accommodation options, great weather
Type of climbing: Limestone sport climbing but the climbs are newer and helmets are recommended.
Where to stay: Camping, hotels, guesthouses
Where to eat: Supermarkets, bakeries, pizza restaurants, taverns that even have vegetarian and vegan options
What else to do nearby: Mountain biking, diving, monasteries, visit Athens
Pad rentals&climbing gear: Climbing shops.
When to go: Fall, winter, Spring
Airport: Athens, 3.5 hour drive from airport. Car needed
Beautiful seaside climbing, forests and farms makes up the area known as Åland. Red granite boulders and bushes covered with blueberries and lingonberries sprinkle the area. There is a variety of grades for all levels and a unique landscape to explore and relax in.
Why suitable for families: Super easy approaches, lots of activities to do, wild berry picking in the climbing areas.
Type of climbing: Granite bouldering
Where to stay: Cottages, hotels, campsites, bed and breakfasts
Where to eat: Grocery stores so get ready to cook most of your meals. Restaurants in Marienhamn.
What else to do nearby: Cycling, sea kayaking, visit ruins, mini golf, sauna.
Pad rentals/shop: No
When to go: Spring and fall. Summer can work also.
Airport: Either fly to Helsinki and ferry to the island or fly to Mariehamn. A car will be needed.
Text and photos without photo credits by Alexandra Kahn
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