Extended Trip with Toddler and Infant

Old Jul 12th, 2023, 08:37 AM
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Extended Trip with Toddler and Infant

For my 40th birthday next June, my husband and I would like to spend a month in a small European town with access to a waterfront, day trips and nice restaurants and hopefully some activities (like a playground?) for our active, water-loving toddler. In our pre-kids previous travels, we have loved:
  • Carvoeiro, Portugal
  • Sintra, Portugal
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Castellina in Chianti, Italy
  • Beaune, France
  • Colmar, France
  • Railay, Thailand
As you can see, we've typically enjoyed our times in smaller areas, where we can interact with locals, as opposed to the larger more touristy cities. While we've traveled and flown domestically in recent years, this will be our first international trip since having kids.

Im tempted to go back to Carvoeiro since it was lovely, walkable, with great food and close to other towns, but ideally wed explore somewhere new. Ive done some research, and it sounds like perhaps Tourrettes-sur-Loup in the French Riviera may be a great place to base ourselves? Or perhaps Naxos or Paros in Greece or Cascais in Portugal?

With a baby coming this spring (and no guarantees this one will sleep as well as my first), I want to make sure there are markets, easy access to delicious food and beautiful views for the days we're too tired to leave our rental. I may be looking for a unicorn, but I doubt it given the wonderful experiences weve had so far. Are there any towns in Spain we should consider? Others in France, Portugal or elsewhere? If you know of any specific villas/apartments, I'd love to know that as well!

Many thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences!
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 09:09 AM
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Let me pull Gramat and Arcachon out of my hat (both in France). Gramat is not at all on the water, but it is a nice small town with a good market, some shops and a few major attractions within a very reasonable distance (Rocamadour and the Gouffre de Padirac). It also has a wildlife reserve and a big municipal swimming pool. It is absolute rural France in all its glory.

Arcachon is on the Atlantic coast and is a bit more touristy but much less than a lot of the other towns. It is close to Bordeaux when you want to see big city lights. And it is in spitting distance of the Dune du Pilat, the biggest sand dune in Europe. On the down side, it was very close to last year's huge forest fires, so some of the countryside is disfigured (for the next 20 years). This reduces the number of tourists, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

If you check out Arcachon, you might also want to take a look at Mimizan, another small coastal resort. My friends sigh and shake their heads when I mention Mimizan but I liked it very much as a nice beach place off the tourist track.
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 09:22 AM
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I'd pull Colmar and Porto out of that list but I might add La Rochelle to it
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Old Jul 12th, 2023, 10:56 PM
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I agree with the above remarks and will add my own observation. Have you ever considered the region Le Marche on Italy's East (Adriatic) coast? It is often referred to at the area of 'mare e monti', meaning that you can enjoy the pleasures of coastal life while being close to the mountains at the same time. This region is far less touristic than other area's in Italy; mainly Italian families use it as their holiday destination. In June it would be less busy I reckon. My son and his family (four boys) have spent their holiday there and are happily returning this year.

It would be easily accessible via Bologna or Florence. Ancona could be your starting point to look for a house to stay for an extended period. What I really like about Italy is how child friendly and accommodating Italians are in general. Have fun planning!
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Old Jul 17th, 2023, 03:47 PM
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Thank you all for the additional suggestions! La Rochelle and Le Marche in particular look like great options!

I just added Albania to my search as well. Its so hard to do such a broad search since its more about the town than the country!

Thanks again!!
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Old Sep 13th, 2023, 05:41 PM
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Hi everyone! Thanks again for your help. Ive done more research, and I think perhaps Cassis in France may be a great base for us. We will likely only go for 2-3 weeks and not a full month at this stage. In Cassis, it sounds like traveling to nearby towns and wineries wouldnt be too difficult and there is enough to do/see/eat in Cassis for an enjoyable and relaxing stay. Thoughts??
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