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Best city to end the late November trip in (w/7 year old kid)

Best city to end the late November trip in (w/7 year old kid)

Old Jul 10th, 2016, 11:29 AM
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Best city to end the late November trip in (w/7 year old kid)

Greetings wise Fodorites,

I hope to get some help narrowing down my largish field of options. I am traveling to Zurich and London for conference and work mid November this year, and plan to bring my husband and daughter (7 yrs) along. We have done something along these lines last year when I traveled to my company's London and Paris' offices. This year I have an opportunity to extend the trip to catch the Thanksgiving week and spend last 4 days in a 3rd city (or stay in London for a full week+). FWIW, my husband and I have been to Zurich before once, to London 3 times but there is much there we have yet to scratch the surface on.

I am a little bit constrained by the choices of departure cities (list below) because I plan to use FF miles for my husband's and child's tickets. I verified that at the moment I can get tix for all of the itineraries I have considered (which did not help narrow the field) and the flights are of reasonable duration and departure time.

So without any further ado, would you add any of the cities below, given end of November time frame to a trip (and the need to keep 7 year old entertained) or spend 7-8 days in London instead after Zurich (some work, some personal)?


Husband and I have been to Paris (10+ times but ALWAYS happy to return), Venice, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Dublin, Edinburgh and Prague.

I am leaning towards either Barcelona or Rome (warmest of the bunch), Paris (most familiar and easy to orient) or London (less expensive now, have friends to spend time with, no language barrier). Barcelona is my favorite presently, hubby is waffing a bit, but he probably would chose Paris or London due to high comfort level, I think.

I know London will have plenty to do weather notwithstanding for our daughter. There are cities with Christmas markets end of November. If it weren't for late fall, I would press Barcelona as *the* choice, but a little worried about having enough for the kid to do. A few things like kid-centric tours or amusement parks are not on in November. So I am still scattered about - do we go some place we have never been (Germany, and it has the advantage of direct flights home), to some place we are well or slightly familiar with or just stay put in London for the most part? We likely cannot fly home from London due to fuel surcharges on BA flights but we can spend the last night in Paris (have Eurostar vouchers to burn too).

Could you give me some ideas to cut this list to at least more manageable size?

Our interests are architecture, scenic views, food, wine, history, literature. All of which easily fly out of the window when we need to keep the interests of a young kid in mind
kasperdoggie is offline  
Old Jul 10th, 2016, 12:35 PM
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Since you've never been to Germany, go.

Make Munich your base, and you will enjoy architecture (Rathaus, Glockenspiel, Marienplatz, Peterskierche, Nymphenburg Palace, Olympic Platz). The 7 year old might like the Englisher Garten. Be an American and eat at the Hofbrauhaus. (There are many better places to eat, obviously). Stroll along the fussganger zone - foot traffic only. Spend time at the Deutsches Museum. If the Christmas Markets are open, go. Go at night when its all lit up and so pretty. Drink a Gluhwein.

Scenic views might be the alps if the weather is clear. Its only an hour to Garmisch! Day trip it there, then take the train or cable car up to the Zugspitz, all the views you can handle from there. Alternative, Oberammergau, nice hiking, views, small town famous for the Passion Play every 10 years.

Day trip to Neuschwanstein castle, a 90 minute drive, walk around, its lovely, the views are lovely, and the 7 year old will probably like the castle and the horse drawn carriage ride to the top. You will learn all about King Ludwig and his excesses.

Neuschwanstein is the more "famous" castle, but I actually liked Schloss Linderhof better. Its so pretty. Much smaller and less crowded than Neuschwanstein (7 year old in mind). 30 min from Garmisch or 75 min from Munich. (Visited there in the winter by cross country skiing about 5 miles from wherever we had parked.)

Day trip to Augsburg, an hour from Munich. Its a 2000 year old city. Walk around the old town with its architectural variety, 2 lovely cathedrals, and the Fuggerei. Small Roman museum. I couldn't get enough of Augsburg, lot of architectural variety in a very walkable city. History, wherever you step.

Bavarian food is fresh, tasty, and delicious. People think of German food as "heavy" but the salads are divine. Pastries have a fraction of the sugar as they do here, so one can actually taste the flavor without an immediate sugar high. Sample some schnitzels, try some spaetzli noodles. I had some great meals in an around Munich. when you get tired of German, eat Italian or Turkish. Oh so good.

Just one problem with the above. Wine. This part of Germany is beer. Bavaria is all about beer. Sorry. There won't be wineries, but all good restaurants will have a fantastic variety of good German wines (ah, the memories...)

To keep your well traveled 7 year old entertained, try ice skating at Olympic Platz. For something different, 7 year old might like to watch surfers surf the wave on the Eisbach in the Englischer Garten. 7 year old would like the cable car to the Zugspitz. Foodwise, what 7 year old doesn't like a plate of cheese noodles and sausage. For Italian, the pizza over there is personal size. Had the best meal of my life in some random small town southwest of Munich. If I could ever find it again...

Coffee - in America we have endless refills at a restaurant. Not so in Germany.

You obviously have many choices. I personally love Prague, it has almost all you want, but the language might be more of a barrier than being in Munich.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old Jul 10th, 2016, 01:16 PM
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Thank you, @like_2travel! This gave me a mental image of Germany that I was sorely lacking (and thus it had no pull until now). Absence of wine is not a problem in itself - our October vacation will be spent in Piedmont (adults only), so plenty of wine for me. Hubby prefers beer anyway. I am more of an ale/stout/porter kind of girl, and I am sure I will find beer to my liking in Germany

I *really really really* appreciate the specific child friendly suggestions - for prior trip, these made an enormous difference and the Germany ideas made this a lot more real and appealing than just sticking a pin into a map and saying that I can fly home from there directly. I suspect I will be back in Germany for work again soon (within a year, office in Frankfurt) and I will expand from the Munich itinerary then.

Any other ideas are still tremendously welcome - even if I don't get to utilize them this trip, 2017 will likely have even more work-travel in Europe, and I will use what I can't this year to plan those trips. I have a list of things we were not able to do in 2015 and build off return visits itineraries based on Fodorites suggestions and my research.

Thank you again.

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Old Jul 10th, 2016, 02:18 PM
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Has anybody mentioned Copenhagen? There are several Christmas markets around the city, including a big one in the wonderful Tivoli Gardens amusement park and another at the old harbor at Nyhavn. Everybody speaks English, the beer's good, and the city is very charming.

I also like Amsterdam; you could do canal tours, rent bikes like the locals, visit museums and the Ann Frank House, maybe rent a car for the day and visit the windmills at Zaanse Schans... Again, everybody speaks English, and it's exceptionally easy to get around.

I'd also think about a non-city area; for example you could head to the south of France and enjoy good weather and beautiful countryside. Get a car and visit some villages, go to the aquarium in Monaco, see the Pont du Garde or other Roman ruins...
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Old Jul 10th, 2016, 02:34 PM
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I'd pick either Venice or Amsterdam for the additional 3 days.
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Old Jul 10th, 2016, 03:53 PM
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Go to Germany. Direct flights from FRA? No problem filling a few days in that area. Book in Mainz, a wine town on the Rhine River just 25 minutes from FRA by direct train. Mainz has a large tangle of pedestrians-only streets filled with shops and cafes and a small but pleasant old town zone. And a festive Christmas market as well.


Day trips from Mainz:

Ruedesheim, an old-world wine town in the (UNESCO World Heritage) Middle Rhine Valley, where you'll find 40 castles dotting the hillsides along 40 miles of river. The scenery here is exceptional. The Christmas market is Ruedesheim is exceptional as well. If weather is reasonably good you can hike the Rhine Castle trail (Rheinburgenweg) on the left (west) side of the river. Ferries in Ruedesheim and north of there in St. Goarshausen will get you across the river to other old-world towns like Bacharach and Oberwesel.

Marksburg Castle (a true, intact medieval castle) in Braubach (north of R'heim on the Rhine) is open year-round for tours. (Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, btw, is a late 19th-century mock-up palatial residence, not a real castle at all!)

Frankfurt (great museum town)
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Old Jul 10th, 2016, 05:27 PM
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Thank you for additional suggestions! Copenhagen is out for this trip (limited to specific airline alliances and can't get airfare out of Copenhagen). I remember being in Tivoli gardens, pregnant and thinking that I need to return here with a future kid

For Venice, any specific ideas on things to do, other than roaming the city? Incidentally, we are listening to a kid's audiobook in my car right now, set in Venice and it might really bring it to light to be able to step foot and see the Grand Canal (to me, still one of the most mind blowing experiences, stepping off the train at St. Lucia station).

Would the cities on the water like Venice and Amsterdam be particularly unpleasant in late November due to wind and chilly wet air? We live in Boston (and I lived in Russia, from Moscow to near Siberia), so familiar with cold, although not a lover of it. But it's the wind from the water that makes Boston a pain in the winter. Wonder if it's slightly milder in some of the canal based cities or I should be prepared for the same kind of weather.
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Old Jul 21st, 2016, 09:52 AM
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Interested in this topic as well! Anyone else have some tips or ideas? My kid is the indoor in the warmth and taxi rather than walk kind of girl! I know I'm working on it, but with limitations on hiking I like what I'm learning here.

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