Best country in Europe with kids??

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Apr 13th, 2005, 09:23 AM
  #1
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Best country in Europe with kids??

I am looking for a fun vacation that both kids and adults will enjoy. There will be 6 adults and 2 children ages 5 and 8. We are planning a trip in 2006 and are not set on the time of year yet because I know that may effect some suggestions. I have been thinking about Spain? I would love any suggestions and we are pretty open on where to go.

Thank you!!!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 09:30 AM
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rex
 
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<<I have been thinking about Spain?>>

So, why would anyone want to suggest to you otherwise?

Best wishes,

Rex
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Apr 13th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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i saw your heading and i thought of spain before even reading your post. go for it.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 09:47 AM
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We have kids that will be 4 and 6 next summer and we're hoping to take them to Belgium and the Netherlands. Here's the thread I started asking if that would be a good plan for us, and the overwhelming response was YES.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34549202
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Apr 13th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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The only real issue that jumps to my mind is a food one - if they are reasonably tolerant eaters, then go where you want to go - your enthusiasm will rub off on them.

Our teenagers each traveled with school groups to Europe when they were about 13. Italy was perfect for our son, because he is an especially picky eater - with bread, pizza and pasta, we knew he would not starve. Our daughter did a trip to Scandinavia - and she happily tried all sorts of unusualy fishy things.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:16 PM
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My suggestion: rather than YOU doing "all the planning" might it not be better if you asked the children about the places THEY might be interested in??? Their answers might surprise you (and hopefully fill you with a little pride in their intelligence level as well).
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Apr 13th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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We took our 6 and 8 year old to Europe for 2 weeks last summer. We went to the Alps- Germany, Switzerland and France. We had a wonderful time. We enjoyed exploring and staying in smaller towns, hiking, visiting castles, riding trains and gondola/cable cars, visiting a couple of theme parks, etc.

My kids can't wait to go back to Europe. Next summer, we are going to Greece and Italy.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 02:29 PM
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Turkey is a children friendly country as well
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Apr 13th, 2005, 02:37 PM
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rex
 
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<<rather than YOU doing "all the planning" might it not be better if you asked the children about the places THEY might be interested in?>>

I am a big believer in this for teens - - but at these ages, the parents should make the basic "big picture" decisions, and then read WITH the kids of things to do in various locations.

<<Turkey is a children friendly country as well>>

I just don't know what would NOT be considered a children friendly country!

Iraq? Myanmar? Neverland? (well, maybe a little bit TOO friendly!)
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Apr 13th, 2005, 04:02 PM
  #10
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Thank you everyone.

Rex, I was looking for suggestions on places I had not even thought about such as Belgium and the netherlands. Thank you Jocelyn, I am going to start looking into those places!!

And intrepid1, while I love my nephews very much, on this vacation my husband get to pick anywhere we want to go and I love this part!! When it is their parents turn to pick the spot, I'll pass on your suggestion.

Food is an important thing to consider, I appreciate that point.

Thank you everyone for the suggestions!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 05:35 PM
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Switzerland's hard to beat!
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Apr 13th, 2005, 05:37 PM
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x travelbug x,
In 2003 we traveled to France and England. Our boys were 4 and 7 at the time. They loved it. We split the trip up between City and country. Paris, Loire Valley, back to Paris for Disney, we then took the Eurostar to London. We stayed in London for a couple days and then flew to Manchester to visit friends in that area. My kids were excited aabout Paris and London. They loved the castles in Loire.

This summer we are going to Italy. The boys will be 6y and 9y. We are planning Venice, Bolzano(to see the ice mummy museum) 9y old wants to see. We will then spend a week in Tuscany, and a couple days in London before going home.

I think you can go where ever you would like, kids are very adaptive. We try to find books, etc, to get them excited about the trips.

As for food, I have picky eaters, and they do fine wher ever we go. When our oldest was 1yr. he had grilled cheese in Portugal and at 2yr. he even had a grilled cheese in Greece. We usually make a trip to a grocery store where ever we are. They love finding different food.

I'm sure the kids would love Spain or any other place you choose.

Travelatte

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Apr 13th, 2005, 06:16 PM
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As a mom, my suggestion is that after you have shortlisted a few countries, to start thinking of practical issues like travel times, some kid friendly places like Theme parks etc.,food, language etc.
For example, we have done several holidays with my daughter (now 5) and our last one was to Scotland which is beautiful but in hindsight not the best choice. The first problem was that almost always, the distance between 2 nice places to visit was a few hours compared to Italy where you have clusters of small villages between a few minutes to a couple of hours away. Also, she is not much for sandwiches and soup compared to say, Pizzas etc. in Italy. Well, the quality (of lack of)of the coffee and food in general was the huge issue for both my husband and I. I haven't been to Spain but do conisder the distances between places there when you choose a base. Good choices for us have been Italy and Germany/Austria.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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We took my then 9 year old to Ireland and all had a good time. The trip is a little shorter than elsewhere in Europe. English, being the native language, helped make it a good "starter" trip for her.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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x travelbug - we took our kids, 2 aged 9 & one 15 to Austria & London last summer. This summer we are planning a trip to Amsterdam, Brugge & Paris. The parents (mostly Dad) are picking where to go. My advice would be pick where the adults want to go, but gear activities to the kids. For example, don't spend hours in an art museum, find parks, places to run & play, etc. My boys loved the medievel exhibits, armory museum, etc. I too, have picky eaters. There is always wonderful pastry & surprisingly mine liked weiner schneitzel or at least the chicken cooked schneitzel (somewhat like fried chicken).In Austria there were many Italian restaurants & fast food in London. I'm not too familier with food in Spain, but remember, again, great pastry & omelets.
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Apr 13th, 2005, 08:03 PM
  #16
 
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We took our two kids, then age 11 and 6 to England, France and Italy a few years ago. The trip was magical with them and the things I found useful to make it magical are:

1. Buy them books set in the areas you are going or about traveling Europe. We mixed it up with both non-fiction and fiction. We got each kid a travel journal and they became very excited about the trip.

2. Rent movies set in the place you are going. Yes, we even got them watching Rick Steves on a regular basis. Our kids loved classics like roman holiday by the time the trip came.

3. Rent audio guides for every place you went. some places even had them set for the kids
level. As a last resort kids could even push the buttons to entertain them.

4. Give them some down time or let them choose some activities. E.g. in Paris my husband and I said they had to tour museums with us in the morning, but we traded off adults and let them choose afternoon activies.Things like the luxemborg gardens, a paris carnival etc. were some of their choices, plus the non-parenting adult got some time off to stay at the museumm longer. We also gave them every 5th day off-we would hang at the pool or go the beach.

4. Have a game plan as to what to do. Our friend with 5 kids went to Italy at the same time but had nothing planned. Her kids were bored and did not see half the things my kids saw. My kids liked knowing what they were going to do each day.

5. Visit toy stores in the different places you go and let them buy things. Our kids were really good knowing that a toy store was coming up. We gave them a $25 euro allowance for the trip and they loved being able to buy stuff of thier choice. They even used the money to buy friends presents. My daughter bought snow globes from all the places she saw. Tacky of course, but of her choice and she is very proud of her collection.

Hope this helps, itsv
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Apr 14th, 2005, 01:42 AM
  #17
 
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I went to Stockholm last year with my then 3 year old daughter. it was a huge succes, in fact we are returning again this year. Stockholm has to be the most child friendly city in Europe. it has everything - water, nature, great things to see and do with small children (junibacken, the vasa museum, skansen) and lots of child friendly places to eat. we stayed at hotel j just outside the city. see www.hotelj.se
it was so wonderful, both for her - watching the boats, throwing stones in the water, and for the adults who enjoyed late summer nights at the balcony.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 02:02 AM
  #18
 
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I would certainly say Spain for activities and costwise
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Apr 14th, 2005, 04:57 AM
  #19
 
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The best thing we did for our kids last summer in Rome was to get the Italy Discovery Journal. It was fantastic and my kids loved it. A friend had suggest it and we got it through www.kidseurope.com. I don't know if ones have been written for other countries, but the small investment was one of the best we've made for our kids.
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Apr 14th, 2005, 08:15 AM
  #20
 
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I've heard that Minorca is great for families.
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