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European vacation with 6 month old and 3.5 year old - suggestions please!

European vacation with 6 month old and 3.5 year old - suggestions please!

Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 26
European vacation with 6 month old and 3.5 year old - suggestions please!


We'd like to take a family vacation with our 6 month old and 3.5 year old to Europe. We typically go for 17 days in July/August or October and average 3 nights per stop.

What itineraries do you recommend? Holland, Belgium, Southern Spain, France, and Southern Italy are out due to prior travel.

Thank you in advance for sharing your ideas!
dc4united is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:01 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 8,827
Okay! A 6-month and 3.5-year old needing a vacation? Is this really pressing? I really don't think either one would remember much, or enjoy it that much, so my first advice is to pick somewhere closer to home, relax and enjoy the time with the children. There will be plenty of time to travel when they are a little older and can enjoy the experience.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 12:41 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,036
I'd rent an gite and travel around each day. Obvious places would be central Tuscany, Alsace or the Mosel. Given that you exclude Alsace France I'd look at the Mosel. This valley is a wine production area, has a train running through it and day cruises going up and down it. The main towns are very pretty and you have Trier, Luxembourg and Koblenz as cities close by. If you prefer a hotel appartment (to get easy rent child care) then that is available too. You will not need the bike elements of this link but it gives you links to most of the villages to see the place and make bookings.

bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 02:09 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,133
Wow, when my kids were that age I did not even want to take them on daytrips to the mountains 2 hours from my home. Are you the primary caretaker? (won't say mother, too sexist I suppose). Even if you are super efficient, light travelers, I would think you would just need too much stuff for transiting with the kids and luggage.

Before totally entering the "snarky posts" zone I will answer the question and shut-up. I would think either a cruise, Adriatic? Greece/Turkey or get an apartment and day trip - as Bilb mentions the Rhine / Mosel has alot of possibilities. Maybe Holland, Amsterdam would be a pleasant long stay and there is an island up north, Texel?, where alot of the Dutch vacation so that would be a neat way to mingle with the locals.
suec1 is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 616
I've got kids of pretty much the same ages as yours and we've already done a few trips with both (as well as me taking the older one to the Caribbean 'solo' as it were). A couple of the places we've been are on your 'no' list, so I'm going to go a bit left field and suggest Scandinavia and Copenhagen in particular.

When we were there, we found it really easy to get around, with lots of squares and pedestrianised areas where our older child could run around to his heart's content. It's mercifully flat, so walking with a pushchair is very easy and there are cafés everywhere in the centre, so stops for feeding/nappy changing were always easy.

There's lots to see and do (including the Tivoli Gardens amusement park pretty much in the centre of town if that's your sort of thing).

I'm not much of 'itinerary' traveller as I've always preferred to be based in a single place so can't really give you advice on that, however Copenhagen has good transport links and is only a train ride across the Oresund bridge from Malmo for example.

I can't say that I'd like to moving bases every three nights (as you mention) with my two kids, and would probably suggest a week in Copenhagen and a week in other location. However if that's your bag, you could do a self-made Scandinavian tour, starting in Copenhagen then taking the train on from there to Sweden and beyond.

I've found train travel easier than car and plane travel with my two as there's always a little space for them (and you) to stretch their legs, something interesting going on out of the window and the possibility of keeping them entertained quite easily.

I'd also recommend booking flats/apartments rather than hotels, purely for ease of bottle warming/impromptu feeds etc.

I'll never forget having to bathe my son in the ice bucket in our hotel in Paris when we took him aged about eight months as there was only a shower cubicle and sink the size of a postage stamp in the bathroom...
Jay_G is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 670
What are you looking for from this trip? Are there any specific types of experience you have in mind?

Tuscany and Copenhagen are good suggestions, I would also second the idea of cutting down on the moving around and instead choosing 2 or 3 bases and renting a car to see around. We've found renting apartments or houses to work well with a small child, and plenty of places will rent for 4 or 5 nights.

Do you enjoy food? If so, how about the foodie heaven San Sebastian and surrounds, or Eastern Spain (Cadaques, Girona, Barcelona) and, I know you said no to France, but if you have not been to the very south of France you could combine these with places in Southern France (Saint Jean De Luz / Biarritz for San Sebastian, Perpignan / Carcassonne for Cadaques), which have quite a different flavour to the more northern parts of France.

With small children I find smaller towns easier to manage than cities - we've really enjoyed Greece (Tolo on the mainland, and many of the islands) and Cyprus with our little girl, also Croatia (Dubrovnik combined with a couple of islands), but we love the heat, at that time of year it will be hot so will depend on what your little ones are able for.
littlejane is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 07:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
I can't pick a place for you - that's dependent upon your tastes.

But I will say that doing 3 night stops 5 times with small children is a complete mess. Pick no more than two places to stay and do day trips from them. You cannot travel with hobbits as you did when you were not a parent, and you cannot travel with TWO hobbits as easily as you may have with one. I know of what I write.
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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As someone who lugged two infants, then children, all over Europe annually until they were grown, I have no problem with your plan to take the kids on a European trip. That said, I agree wholeheartedly that you should settle into one or two places and not be uprooting them every few days - that will end up being a logistical nightmare for everyone involved.

Hard to recommend an itinerary without more information from you. You've eliminated a bunch of venues but not given us any insight into what remains appealing to you as far as locations go.
StCirq is online now  
Jan 4th, 2012, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,830
Scandinavia is really nice, but if you are on a budget you might find it too expensive. Norway, especially. I really liked the area around the southern coast of Sweden like Ystad. Lots of beach and coast spots there that would be nice. And Stockholm is a fascinating city, beautiful with its islands and waterways.

Northern Italy of course has lots of great places to visit, although i would think the heat and crowds would be pretty hard on little ones. Scandinavia would be less intense I think.

I too would move less often with little ones.
charnees is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
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I have 3 year old and a 5 year old. We've been traveling with them around Europe since we moved to Germany when they were 1 and 3. I'd say: 1) Pick where you want to go. Your kids are ages where they're happy to do whatever and easily enough entertained. 2) Get a sit and stand stroller. The Joovy Caboose saved my life. Holds 2 kids and it's small and maneuverable enough to take in stores and on narrow sidewalks. Not that easy on cobblestones, but what is?

We've never had any problems traveling with kids. Found them welcome everywhere. Mine love staying in hotels and are happy to go anywhere they can chase pigeons. In particular they loved London, esp the National Science Museum (which is also free) and Dublin.

If you are staying somewhere and plan to use the metro, make note of handicap-equipped stations. Much easier with a stroller since they'll have lifts instead of stairs.

Average of 3 nights per stop is totally fine. We do it all the time.
the_lorax is offline  
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