Europe trip - WITH 3 kids. Help!

Jul 2nd, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Europe trip - WITH 3 kids. Help!


We are planning on going to Eastern Europe + Spain. We have a proposed date of leaving around July 30th 2014. Yes i know, very close! yikes!

I would be appreciative of any help I can get.

We are Aussies based in Dubai, so I am feeling like Istanbul or London would be the best starting point. However that being said, ANY information or itinerary options you might have would be great.

These are the places we must get to: Cordoba, granada, dubrovnik, prague.

A little scattered, I know, but my husband and I have different tastes!

We need to be back in Dubai by August 16th.

Thanks in advance,

maysaa_f is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 09:59 AM
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The usual questions before we can begin to help ... what's your budget, how do you plan on traveling between places (car, train, etc), what are your interests and those of your children and most importantly, what research have you done so far?
Debs is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:01 AM
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The usual questions before trying to answer yours ... what's your budget? How do you plan on traveling between your 'must get to' places? How old are your children? What are their interests? Your interests? What research have you done on these places?
Debs is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:02 AM
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Sorry for the double post! Didn't realize the 1st one had gone thru since it since 'timed out'. Technology!!
Debs is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:07 AM
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****These are the places we must get to: Cordoba, granada, dubrovnik, prague. ****
But why?
IMHO for 18 days, including travel to and from "home" is far too short. Especially including London in the package.
Please slowdown or just tick the boxes and travel--- it your choice.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Sorry - new to all of this!

Ok here are the facts:

Ages of kids are 9, 6 and 2. Have travelled extensively with them so *fingers crossed* they are OK ..

NO to driving. Hubby not interested, so train and plane it is.

We only have 18 days, so I need to come up with the best itinerary.

Hubby chose the Andalusia part of Spain because he loves history and architecture.
I would love to go to Croatia because it would seem the easiest method to see "eastern" Europe with 3 kids. Plus, nice beaches for the kids to see.

I have a lot more I wanted to do - so that is why i needed some guidelines from experienced travellers.

Budget is moderate.

Research i have done includes starting in London and train to Amsterdam (not even on my list but what else to do?!)

Or start in Istanbul and travel to Spain from there.


Should i start in Dubai (like i said i am based here) fly straight to Seville, day trip to cordoba, Granada and stay in Malaga (need to work this part out).

Then when i "accomplished" this mission of Spain, I can fly out to an Eastern European country.

As for kids interests - anything with water ...

Hope all of this helps... THANK you for your reply.

maysaa_f is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 11:46 AM
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> I have a lot more I wanted to do <

Like what? More traveling, museum visits, beach time? You already have a tight schedule with your chosen destinations. If something had to go, what would it be?

> I would love to go to Croatia because it would seem the easiest method to see "eastern" Europe <

What is it in Croatia that makes you think that's the easiest method to see in 'eastern' Europe? What are you looking to see? And why do you think Croatia is the place to be? Croatia is a stunningly beautiful country, from Dubrovnik in the south to Riejka/Opatia in the north, but each are as different as night and day.

Your plans are all over the place and with your limited time, especially with 5 people, something may have to be sacrificed.

Not trying to be negative, but you're planning on leaving in less than a month, not sure where to go, how to get there, what to do and no reservations.
Debs is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:02 PM
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Hi Debs,

Thanks for your honest reply. You are right.

I will do some more research in regards to either eastern Europe or Spain. It has to be on eor the other.

maysaa_f is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:29 PM
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A bit scattered is an understatement:

Andalusia takes 10 days at least.
Croatia takes 10 days and is a long long way from Spain.
Prague needs 5 days to see well.

I would not try to mix that geography. Consider Andalusia and Barcelona for your time---especially with kids.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:48 PM
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Prague isn't near the sea. It's a beautiful city, but it tends to be very, very crowded in summer, and also very hot.

Dubrovnik is very charming, but I don't think it's the best place for beaches, especially with kids, and it's also very crowded, and expensive. We didn't go to a beach there, but from what I've heard, the beaches there are pebbly rather than sandy, and most of them have a lot of steps to get down to them. There are not many sandy beaches in Croatia at all, and I don't think children have as much fun playing on a pebbly beach. I think there are some nice beaches near Split, but I've never been there.

In August, almost any nice beach in Europe will be either extremely crowded or very difficult to get to. This is true anywhere in Europe. If you're from Australia, I think you'll find European beaches a big disappointment.

I would suggest combining the Andalusian part of your trip with one other destination. If beaches are important, someplace in Spain, Italy, or Greece might be better. In Spain, perhaps in the Canary Islands; in Italy, Sardegna has some lovely beaches; in Greece, you'd better ask someone else. However, none of these destinations is a hop-skip-and-jump from Andalusia. You'll lose a full day to traveling, even if you fly from city to city, because these are islands.

If being in Eastern Europe is more important than a beach, then I would suggest maybe a less popular destination than Prague. It may already be difficult to find lodging in Prague for August. Maybe Budapest, Warsaw, Krakow... Again, I'm no expert, and the only one of these cities I've seen is Prague. It was very crowded in October, by the way.

Trieste is an interesting city, in Italy, but very near the border with Slovenia, and with many aspects of Slovenian history and culture. There are some decent beaches near Trieste, but also mostly pebbly, and you can take day trips to Slovenia by bus. (There are also tours from Trieste to some caves in Slovenia, whose name I forget.)

There are also some nice castles near Trieste, reachable by bus. We visited Miramare and Duino castles when we were in Trieste. For that matter, we actually stayed in the town of Duino, which has a fair-sized Slovenian-speaking population. The restaurants had good Slovenian food. We had a car, but I seem to remember that there was frequent bus service along the coast between Trieste and Duino.

Trieste has an airport, but probably it would be best to fly to Venice and take the train to Trieste.
bvlenci is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 01:33 PM
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Here are two alternatives in Turkey :

1. rent car in istanbul
drive to gallipoli, anzac memorial visit stay night at Eceabat
visit Troy, continue towards Kucukkuyu, past Ayvacik on Assos road, to stay at Ida Costa Hotel. (We were there and loved it. Quiet, large grounds, tastefully furnished, away from any crowds. within reach of antique Assos and Pergamon.

drive back to fly to Andalusia. We drove between Madrid-Cordoba-Sevilla-Malaga and Granada. it was not difficult except in Cordoba. Malaga was a disappointment. Everywhere will be extremely crowded, and sightseeing will be tough.

You will need to be extra careful against pickpockets and thieves in Spain, especially when you will be busy checking on the younger kids.

2. Fly to istanbul, take flight to Antalya to stay at Club Med Palmiye which has terrific mini and kids clubs. Our kids almost grew up there and learned everything from archery to trapeze to sailing. You will be away from the regular crowds. Palmiye has huge grounds and does not stifle at all. I will recommend the slightly more expensive hotel rather than the bungalows because the whole building is airconditioned, although it is further from the mini club.

The area has a large number of antique sites like Aspendos (with evening performances in the antique theatre), Perge, Side, Phaselis, Olympus, Chimera, Termessos, and the club offers a short free picnic cruise if I remember correctly.

Spend at least two days in istanbul for your Eastern European(?) introduction with friendlier people.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2014, 01:54 PM
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I've been to many of the places you talk about, and I am a grandmother to grandkids just about the ages you are talking about so I have some insight as to what might keep them amused. As I see it, there are a couple issues here.

1. You will be travelling in absolutely peak season. It will be crowded, and many good places are probably already booked, especially since we all know that nice places that are modestly priced always go rapidly.

2. Andalucía will be HOT. In fact, many of the places you are talking about may be very hot in August. One August we left Krakow for the mountains because we couldn't stand the heat in the city.

3. Le's get real. Kids may be interested for a couple hours, maybe, in seeing a historic site. After that they will want some action, some place to run around, something different. Honestly, the last thing in the world they and/or you want to do is drag around in a crowded, hot city trying to see the typical tourist sites.

In your shoes, I'd pick two locations and rent a house or apartment or gite or whatever so that you'll have space to spread out and have kitchen facilities (any maybe laundry). I'd focus on finding an area where you could maybe do some boat or ferry rides with the kids. And, I'd look for a place that is kid-friendly as far as having lots of parks, gardens, a zoo etc. One fun castle for the kids with something like a falconry display would also add to the mix.

How about considering something along a river in Germany where your family could rent bikes and watch the boats and the water birds and throw rocks in the water? Brittany is absolutely one of my favorite places and might match up with a lot of what you are looking for, and it is not going to be so hot there. You want Eastern Europe. How about Lithuania or Latvia (both have many interesting historic places), and they have Baltic Sea beaches.

And, I'd try to convince your husband to consider car rental for when you are at each destination because it will make your life soooooo much easier to just be able to jump in the car rather than gathering all five of you up and trying to get to the bus stop in a strange place.

I'd start my research by looking for kid-friendly destinations.
julies is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:17 AM
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I am blown away by all your helpfulness so thank you.

Spain is definitely off the list. the heat mixed with crowds will send me crazy.

So how does this itinerary sound? I have 2 options.

31/7 Dubai to Amsterdam

Arrive AMS 1pm

1/8 - 10/8 AMSTERDAM (i found a ton of things to do! kid friendly) (

.Germany interests me but so does Slovenia.

We have to be back in Dubai (catch a one way ticket back) by the 16/8 - any suggestions?

** At this point I should add some info - i have travelled with my family to France (Paris, Lille, Nice, Monaco,) Italy (from north to South) and Austria (Sarlzburg and Vienna). These travels were in the last 1-4 years.


DXB - IST 30/7

Spend 3 days there - purely to indulge in food and see Blue Mosque and Topkapi.

3/7 Fly to Bodrum or Antalya

But that leaves me with 13 days of purely beach side activities, and if i want that I would just stay in Dubai!!!!

Possibly catch a ferry to Greek Island of Rhodes ..

What do you all think?

** Another piece of info. For some reason, and i don't know what it is, Istanbul does not appeal to me. It actually makes me feel uneasy thinking about it. Maybe it is because i have heard how busy it can get - which is totally irrational because everywhere gets busy in Summer. I just don't know why.

maysaa_f is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:29 AM
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Just to be clear Croatia is no way Eastern Europe. The continent stops at the Urals which is waaaay over to the East. So you are actually visiting Central Europe.

You've dropped Spain.

You are coming in the busy season.

You don't want a beach holiday 'cause you could stay where you are for one of those.

I'd seriously look at staying in what our American friends call the north of Europe (forgeting that again the continent goes to the north of Norway) and focus on Netherlands and Germany. Both these countryies are great to visit in August because EVERYONE HAS LEFT to go to the Med.

With the kids you need to find a Appartment or Hotel with a pool and a nice river where you can go bike riding or visit pretty towns and chill out with perhaps an odd museum thrown in.

The obvious areas that leap to mind are Konstanz and the lake, Strasbourg and the Rhine, Trier and the Mosel, Wurtzburg and the .... Berlin and the lakes, Hamburg and the Elbe, Bruges and the... Rheims and the .... etc etc

If you want to tour then do two of these sort of places
bilboburgler is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 06:02 AM
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OK! Germany it is!

Where do you all suggest I go to, bearing in mind that is where we will fly home from. And isn't Germany similar to Austria?

Please don't give up on me
maysaa_f is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 07:30 AM
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Well I always see Oz as like New Zealand.......

Austria/Germany has some similarities and parts of Germany (Bavaria) think of themselves as more than German.

Trier (capital of Roman empire for a bit) is pretty neat and you have lots to visit nearby.
bilboburgler is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2014, 08:56 AM
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Re: you NZ is similar to OZ - that hurts. But i understand your point

I have had a look at family friendly places in Germany and needless to say the list is endless!!!!!

There is Lego land and Tropical Island that both interest me/kids. Then there is all the castles and fairytale- like places.

And I have only 6 days in Germany.

Anyone on here that has any experience with this?
maysaa_f is offline  
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