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littleerinl Sep 14th, 2019 11:17 AM

1 Week Spring Break with teens to Europe..Italy, Portugal or Ireland?
Want to take the kids to Europe for Spring Break. We only have 8 nights so can only visit one country. Prefer to be close to water although I know it won't be "beach weather". Would you recommend Portugal, Italy or Ireland? Or any other suggestions? If any of you have done it with older kids I would love a sample itinerary! We usually do cruises or all-inclusives to caribbean so I'm a bit intimidated by planning a European vacation. Quite honestly I don't even know where to begin, so any help is much appreciated!

kja Sep 14th, 2019 12:20 PM

Not only "just" one country, but just one small part of one country!

Where to start? Go to your local bookstore or library, preferably with your teens, and browse through the guidebooks. The better ones will have a section on "when to go" that you can use to quickly rule out places that don't suit, and then you can get an idea of what appeals. I would urge you to pick AT MOST two cities, or maybe just one city with day trips.

littleerinl Sep 15th, 2019 07:30 AM

Thank you. Yes, I was thinking Lisbon with day trips or Venice and Rome. Won't have time to do too much.

bilboburgler Sep 15th, 2019 08:08 AM

I think you mean late March (spring break means different things in different countries), I'd not go to Ireland.

Well Portugal might still have Atlantic storms and if going lust Lisbon and few nearby cities would be enough for me

Italy (probably need to be more specific for such a country), I might look at Rome, Venice and Florence which is the usual three, but also look at Sicily.

HappyTrvlr Sep 16th, 2019 07:11 AM

When is your spring break? They range over several months.

denisea Sep 22nd, 2019 12:32 PM

I love Portugal but will say we were in Lisbon the first week of April a few years ago and it poured most of the time...quite chilly. Of the three countries you mentioned, I would suggest Italy and would probably say focus on Rome. You can do great day trips outside Rome without having to go too far. If you have only a week, stay in Rome and make some day trips rather than trying to get to multiple cities and changing hotels. You won't even scratch the surface of all there is to do and see in Rome in one week.

Suggestions for things to do outside Rome (but not too far) are Tivoli (go to Villa d'Este and Hadrian's Villa), Orvieto, Ostia Antica. All are easy to reach via train.

Rome is certainly jam packed with history and beautiful things to see. I'd check out a new gelato spot everyday with teens! Not sure exactly how old the teens are. If you have girls, Rome is great for shopping.

You all might enjoy a food/culinary tour - we did one with Elizabeth Minchili a few years ago that we still talk about. I believe her daughter now also conducts tours and Katie Parla would be another option for a food tour. Elizabeth does have a gelato stroll! We did a tour in and around Campo dei Fiori that was amazing and helped us learn where to go for Roman pizza and how to order it among other things.

Katie only takes 6 in a group and there are multiple areas to choose from:

We also did a few things with Walks of Italy . They do small group tours and take care of the tickets etc...and we enjoyed our Coliseum tour and the Vatican museum/Sistine chapel tours with them. They will give you a meeting spot and time to meet your guide and they take it from there. If you are nervous about planning, doing a few tours with them might help. I am not usually a tour person (and don't want to be in a huge group on a tour bus) but with small groups, it works for me. You can certainly do these things for less money by buying tickets ahead online - it just depends on your preference. I will admit that sometimes spending more for the convenience it worth it to me. At the Coliseum, we were able to access the underground area and the top tier on the tour and I don't believe you can access those areas with a traditional ticket to the Coliseum.

We also loved Borghese Gallery - you will need to buy a timed ticket for this and they usually sell out -it's worth it as the sculptures are so detailed.

The Pantheon is also a must, as is Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona and on and on....

If you are looking for more of a coastal area, maybe fly into Naples and spend time in Sorrento, Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

Christina Sep 22nd, 2019 02:40 PM

I would think Italy at that time of year. Why do you want to be close to water if you know that no one is going to be going swimming? Does that mean it must have a beach and you have to be able to view it from the city? Because even though Dublin is on a bay, it made no difference in my visit there given its location.

I think to make it easy for you, just pick the country first. Then the city. I don't know much about traveling in Portugal (except it won't be easy to go to any other country from there seems an odd choice for a first visit to Europe unless you have family reasons), not sure tyhe plan for the 8 days there. In Italy, you could visit two cities in that time frame, getting between them by train easily. Not so easy in Dublin or Ireland. I'd knock of Ireland to make it easy, then you won't have to have all these other issues of should I rent a car, etc.

You could do southern Spain easily, also, in 8 days. You could visit Madrid and Seville in 8 days. Fly into one and out of the other, take AVE between them. That would be pretty easy to plan, just book two hotels, the AVE between cities, and the open jaw flight, and that's all your'd really have to book. Same for Italy, you could do Florence and Rome, for example, or Venice plus another city, whatever you want. Obviously there are many itineraries you could choose.

bibliotecaria71 Sep 24th, 2019 03:45 PM

We were in the south of Spain last April and we had a bit of a mixed bag with the weather, but it was so much nicer than our New England weather! The high-speed train service to Seville, Cordoba, and Malaga makes it an easy trip from Madrid.

Good luck with your trip planning!

suze Sep 24th, 2019 04:50 PM

Ask the kids/teenagers where they want to go. Get them involved in planning the trip right from the start. That way you have "buy in" instead of you planning something than telling them what you're doing. Especially since this is new to everyone (and very different than a tropical all inclusive resort trip) get people involved!

Sassafrass Sep 24th, 2019 05:16 PM

Just my personal opinion, but would take Ireland and Portugal off the table. With such a short trip for teens on Spring break, I would choose Italy or Spain.
Arrive: Madrid, train straight on to Seville.
Seville with day trip to Córdoba or stop in Córdoba on way back to Madrid.
Madrid with day trips to Toledo and Segovia.
Depart Madrid

Arrive Madrid: Madrid with day trips to Toledo and Segovia
fast train to Barcelona, Barcelona with no day trips
Depart Barcelona

Arrive Venice
Train to Florence
Train to Rome
Depart from Rome
Arrive Rome, go directly to Sorrento.
Day trips by Ferry down the AC to Positano and Amalfi or to Capri.
Train back to Rome. On the way, stash luggage in storage at Pompeii, tour Pompeii.
Depart Rome

Lulutravel Nov 10th, 2019 12:28 PM

It depends on teenagers age?
I agree with get the kids involved!
My kids when they were teens didn't want to do much walking and wait in long lines. I've traveled with them to Portugal in March and definitely not beach weather and most of Portugal with the exception of Algarve has very dangerous swimming waters. If you like cruising maybe consider a cruise out of Portugal, then you can visit Portugal and other cities and not have to bother with car rental, train or hotels fees.

girlonthego Nov 11th, 2019 11:15 PM

I would go to Rome and Florence. With 8 days you can do and see a lot and take the train between the two cities. Just check when Easter is because Rome gets busy at that time. (Its in April for 2020. If these are college kids, then it will be a March break, high school an April break.
I think Ireland will be too chilly. You will need a car and everything is spread out.
You can't do the beaches near Lisbon then either. The water is too cold to swim in the Atlantic, it is cold year round I think? We were there in early September and the water was freezing!

menachem Nov 11th, 2019 11:18 PM

Originally Posted by littleerinl (Post 16986012)
Want to take the kids to Europe for Spring Break. We only have 8 nights so can only visit one country. Prefer to be close to water although I know it won't be "beach weather". Would you recommend Portugal, Italy or Ireland? Or any other suggestions? If any of you have done it with older kids I would love a sample itinerary! We usually do cruises or all-inclusives to caribbean so I'm a bit intimidated by planning a European vacation. Quite honestly I don't even know where to begin, so any help is much appreciated!


geetika Nov 12th, 2019 03:45 AM

My sister and niece went to Madrid, Sevilla and Lisbon for spring break in early March last year, they had 12 days on the ground and flew open jaws. A little rain in Madrid but otherwise the weather was good, they just stayed in the cities and didn’t do any day trips.

Next year they’re going again to southern Spain, to cover Granada, Cordoba and Rhonda. They’ll probably fly in and out of Sevilla, maybe just spend the last night there.

How old are your kids, you want to get them involved in the trip and help figure out what they want to see. My niece is 22 and has been visiting Europe every year since she was 13, her interests are more adult in that she loves museums, old churches, history and architecture.

bvlenci Nov 12th, 2019 10:09 AM

I wouldn't plan on the Amalfi Coast at that time of year. Too much risk of blustery weather, and the ferries (to Capri) don't operate when the seats are high. Also, if your spring break is before Easter, not everything on the Amalfi Coast will be up and running.

One advantage of Rome is that there's lots to do even if it rains.

The Venice-Florence-Rome idea would work. You don't even need to spend a night in Florence unless there's something you really want to see. You can leave your bags at the station and take a quick walk into the center, see the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, and a few other things, then take a later train to Rome.

Sassafrass Nov 12th, 2019 03:09 PM

How old are the kids? What are some of their interests?
Like you, we have been taking vacations to the Caribbean with our Grandchild on her Spring break. We love getting away from the cold in our part of the US and she gets some real fun away from schoolwork.

Now, I want to take her to Europe. We love Italy and Spain, but will probably save both for warmer weather and a few more days. You have only 7 days in the ground. Have you considered London or London and Paris. There is so much in London for all ages, so even if it is cold and/or rainy, the whole family would enjoy it. Our GD is 10 and would not enjoy just doing inside and museum stuff in Italy.

OTOH, if your kids are older and into history or Art, Rome would be perfect. I took teen Art students on Spring break trips to Italy and they loved it. They were well prepped on what they would see. What you need to do is decide what you want to see and do in each place. Then decide how much time to spend. We went to Pompeii and Capri a couple of times during Spring Break. It was cold, snow on Mt Vesuvius one time, but fun with teens. Would not do it with younger kids.

It would be fast, but most teens like a fast pace.
Do multi-city, arrive Venice, depart Rome
Venice: 2 or 3 nts, 1 or 2 full days
morning train to Florence
Florence: 1 nt, 1/2 day, 3/4 of next day
train to Rome
Rome: Rest of time, perhaps day trip to Ostia Antica.
If they really want to see Pisa, they could take the train from Florence for part of a day.

HappyTrvlr Nov 13th, 2019 07:34 PM

We gave our kids a choice if Dosin Portugal or Italy. They chose Italy. All would work well. Lisbon with day trips or Lisbon and Porto.
Madrid and Barcelona.
Rome and Florence or Siena.
You haven’t told us your spring break dates. Ireland was cold and rainy when we visited in March. But maybe your spring break is in April like ours were?

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