Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Barcelona or Austria, Prague, Budapest or somewhere else? (

kidfriendly May 30th, 2010 03:45 PM

Barcelona or Austria, Prague, Budapest or somewhere else?
Trying to brainstorm re: Europe trip for active family of 5.

We are passing up various regions that would be weather appropriate in August due to either potential dust cloud interference or because the destination(s) are too special/sentimental and warrant more research time, which this planner won't have between now and when we need to buy tickets.

Rome (1st choice) sounds too hot, so we will probably postpone and try during a Spring Break one year.

Barcelona is still in the running (hot but not quite as hot as Rome), but it honestly doesn't look like there is enough for our family to do for 10-11 days. We would rather have too much to do rather than not enough. Am I wrong here? We do not want to re-visit Madrid/Seville/Toledo.

Any insight on Vienna, Budapest and Prague? Or maybe 2 of those 3 cities? We (the parents) don't have any personal ties or histories with those areas, so there is not as much pressure from an expectations standpoint.

Admittedly, our first trip to Europe as a family (London/Paris) last summer was pretty much perfect, so the stakes are high. Maybe we stay home and save money? :)

simplicitas May 30th, 2010 04:14 PM

My family of 5 had a wonderful time last summer in the Salzburg/St. Gilgen area of Austria and eastern Bavarian region of Germany. It is very family friendly (alpine slides, boat rides, hiking...)and not too hot. You can fly into Zurich, Munich, or Vienna.
We have taken the kiddos to Prague. It was a great city (the streetcars and the marionettes were great fun for the kiddos), but we enjoyed the countryside of Czech Republic a little bit more.

danon May 30th, 2010 04:17 PM

"Any insight on Vienna, Budapest and Prague? Or maybe 2 of those 3 cities?"
Also can be very hot and crowded. Vienna offers most in terms of museums and side trips.

kidfriendly May 30th, 2010 04:33 PM

Simplicitas - if you have a chance, could you elaborate on your Salzburg/St. Gilgen/East Bavaria and Czech Rep countryside trip? I realize these are 2 different trips. Both sound very interesting. I prefer to go to Germany another time when I am more prepared, but Austria and part of Bavaria sound doable. I know nothing about the Czech Rep, but perhaps some mix of Prague and countryside would be nice if there is enough to do (we also enjoy the outdoors - hiking, lakes, mountains, etc.) Thanks in advance!

nytraveler May 30th, 2010 05:12 PM

Vienna, Budapest and Prague are on the central european plain and will be hot and crowded in August - but not as bad as Rome. You would definitely need to have accommodations with AC. In only 10 or 11 days I would do only 2 cities with kids - there will be plenty to see and do and there are great day trips from any of them.

simplicitas May 30th, 2010 05:37 PM

We flew into Zurich (Munich is actually closer, but we had free frequent flyer flights to Zurich)and rented a car at the airport. We drove to Neuschwanstein castle near Fussen, Germany. We also visited Regensburg, Germany near Munich. Then, we drove to Salzburg/ St. Gilgen, Austria. (only a couple hours) Salzburg is a great city with attractions for kids and parents (Mozart's childhood home, Mirabel Gardens, funicular ride up to fortress). St. Gilgen one of the lakeside towns within an hour or so outside of Salzburg. We had a really great time with the kids on the alpine slide and the lake.
In Czech Republic's southern Bohemian region, there is a city called Cesky Krumlov that my whole family still raves about. It is hard to describe, but it is essentially a super-unique medieval-era town. You could very easily have a kid-friendly holiday out of Prague and Cesky Krumlov in 10 days, flying in and out of Prague.

danon May 30th, 2010 06:16 PM

Prague is rather small , 2-3 days is sufficient ( I have not been to CK, but I understand it is a small town)
If you are concerned with having enough to do, I would go to Austria ( cities, Alps, lakes, good roads and train system...)

jgg May 30th, 2010 06:24 PM

We did a 14 day trip with our two kids two summers ago that incl. Munich, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Salzburg and Fussen. For 10-11 days you could skip Munich. Here is a link to my trip report - we started out in Munich, so you may want to skip over that part -

kidfriendly May 30th, 2010 06:58 PM

Thank you for your responses. Cesky Krumlov looks fascinating, but I think we will save it until next time. A great tip to combine with Prague. Based on my research and your responses from the past few hours, we are leaning towards the Salzburg and the lakes area. Trying to figure out whether to do a bit of Bavaria or a bit of Vienna as well. Need to figure out which is more feasible/less stressful.

Speaking of stress, my husband is paranoid about driving in foreign countries. How hard are these areas (esp the lake area outside of Salzburg) to get to by train/cab/bus? I don't exactly want to schlep all of our luggage on the train/cab/bus each time we relocate, but need to weigh this against the rental car/driving issue and the fact that we have 5 travelers (found most Euro cars seat 4) and I don't drive stick shift. Any car rental recommendations?

Any other tips appreciated re: lodging, must-sees and dos, recommended travel books for this region, etc.

BigRuss May 30th, 2010 08:32 PM

Anyone who thinks 2-3 days in Prague is sufficient has no knowledge of or interest in Central Europe. It'll scrape the surface of the city, nation and region.

Use AutoEurope broker to set up your car.

isabel May 31st, 2010 02:27 AM

They all could be hot - I was in Vienna in July a few years ago and it was in the 90s. Less things have AC in those northern countries than you might find in Barcelona/Rome. But of course you can find hotels with AC you just have to pay more. But my point is don't let weather completely dictate where you go.

I spent 5 days in Prague, 7 in Budapest, 4 in Vienna, and total of 8 in Barcelona (two trips) and didn't feel I had enough time in any of those places so I think you will find plenty to do. However, Salzburg I was bored in after two days so not sure why you picked that one. If you don't want to drive at all you could easily do a Vienna Budapest combo, with day trips by public transportation. You'd get two different cities and several small towns.

My other suggestion was going to be Barcelona with a few day side trip up the coast into France. I just did that in March and had a great trip. I stopped in Besalu (small medieval village in spain), Cadaques and Collioure (sea side towns), Ceret (small city in the mountains) and Carcasonne France. All will be more crowded in August but then so will everywhere else. Driving was very easy. The cheapest cars are four seater stick shifts but you can certainly get five seaters with auto transmission. Just get the smallest (of that type) that you can because parking spaces, small cities, etc driving a large car is a pain.

Here are my trip reports (with links to lots of photos) for the areas you are considering:

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:24 AM.