Once considered the default accommodation option for backpackers and students, hostels have upped their game in the past few years. Facilities have improved, private rooms are now an option and the locations often rival some of the best city hotels. During a cost-of-living crisis, the price is more appealing too.

It’s no surprise, then, that families are capitalising on the comfort, convenience and reduced cost of hostels. Hybrid accommodation brand Generator, who have properties in several major European cities, report a 27% increase year-on-year for family bookings.

“Given the cost-of-living crisis matched with the ongoing appetite for family travel to top city-centre locations, families are one of our fastest growing segments, especially as more traditional hotels become increasingly unaffordable,” says CEO Alastair Thomann.

The addition of ‘gamified’ common areas with arcade games and cinema rooms is also appealing, he points out, along with the availability of bikes to explore the surrounding area.

“Families can book ensuite rooms with four, six or eight beds exclusively to themselves and end up paying 50% of what they would pay in a traditional three or four-star hotel,” he adds.

Any families eager to opt for a hostel holiday might want to start with family-friendly city Amsterdam, easily accessible from the UK via the Eurostar and Eurotunnel. Generator Amsterdam’s hotel manager, Wouter van Loon, shares his top suggestions for a low-cost, high-entertainment family holiday.


Ideal as a day out for all ages, the Wereldmuseum has a 160-year-old collection of ethnographic objects. It’s also home to the Wereldmuseum Junior, a permanent children’s exhibition area with plenty of fun, hands-on activities and educational topics. The current children’s exhibition, Sabi Surinam, looks at Surinam’s diversity with ancestral roots in four continents, engaging and uplifting children about colonial history.

How: Adults €15; children (ages six and up) €6; children under 5 free. Visit amsterdam.wereldmuseum.nl.

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Amsterdam has a selection of fantastic large public parks with free play areas and public events taking place year-round. Local favourites include Oosterpark, Amstelpark and Westerpark. For extra excitement, the fantastic Jeugdland adventure playground also has water play, slides, swings and a cabin village where kids can construct their own homes from a collection of recycled pallets. Jeugland also has paid workshops for families, including arts and crafts, baking and archery, to keep young ones occupied.

How: Visit jeugdlandamsterdam.nl.

The National Maritime Museum

Little ones can unleash their inner sailor at this seaworthy museum based in the docklands. The former naval warehouse holds one of the world’s most extensive maritime collections with plenty of nautical fun, including a daily blacksmith demonstration, sailing trips, and a host of seasonal exhibitions. Families can learn all about Dutch sailing heritage and experience it for themselves outside on the jetty, where a replica of the historical East India Company ship, the Amsterdam, offers families the chance to climb aboard and explore the life of an 18th-century seaman.

How: Adults €17.50; children (ages 4 and up) €8.50. Visit hetscheepvaartmuseum.com.

NEMO Science Museum

Kids can discover how the world around them works through hands-on, interactive exhibits. As part of a ‘Life in the Universe’ voyage of discovery through our solar system, participants don a lab coat and safety specs to take part in a science-themed experience. The outdoors Energetica exhibition explains how energy is harnessed from wind, water and sun.

How: €17.50; children under four go free. Visit nemosciencemuseum.nl/en/.

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Just over an hour away from Amsterdam is the largest nature theme park in the Netherlands and the third-largest theme park in Europe. There are six white-knuckle, world-class rollercoasters to try, ranging from wooden rollercoaster Joris en de Draak, to Baron 1898, which plunges riders down a mineshaft at a speed of 90 km/h. A swathe of gentle and scenic attractions, including Efteling’s beautiful gardens, can be seen via one of the many row boats or Efteling’s steam train.

How: Day entry starts from €38. Children under three go free. Visit efteling.com.