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France or Germany/Austria/Prague/Dolomites with kids

France or Germany/Austria/Prague/Dolomites with kids

Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 05:39 PM
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France or Germany/Austria/Prague/Dolomites with kids

Hello Fodorites,

We are a family of five with 3 boys ages 15, 13 & 10. We plan to take a trip to Europe this June for 3 to 4 weeks. That trip will definitely include 4 nights in Normandy and 3 nights in Paris. The remainder of the trip is up in the air and I would like to ask for any advice or input regarding the suggestions below.

A bit of background, we took a similar trip of just Italy in 2011 with the kids for 3 weeks. That trip was absolutely wonderful, even with the youngest being only 7 at the time. We did lots of walking with no complaints. We covered Rome, Venice, Dolomites, Cinque Terre, a bit of Tuscany-Volterra, San Gimignano and Sienna. We took a train from Rome to Venice and had a car for the rest of the trip. We were able to balance sight seeing with lots of outdoor activities and wonderful food. We also made a visits to several ancestral villages of mine.

Okay on to the future trip. For the second segment of the trip I am entertaining these 2 options or any suggested itineraries from others. Looking for what kids would enjoy. Like to keep the driving stretches under 5 hours, ideally 3-4 hours every 3-5 days.

Option 1: Stay within France, going south to Provence. Stay in a rental for a week there with lots of possible day trips. This could be combined with either Burgundy or Dordogne to fill out 14+ more days. I would probably do this portion first and Normandy/Paris last to avoid some of the D-Day Anniversary crowds.

Option 2: Fly into Munich, home from Paris. From Munich do a circle including Prague, Ceske Krumlov, Salzburg or Innsbruck area, return to the Dolomites/Northern Italy & Tyrol region-4-5 nights, Fussen-castles and back to Munich. Fly from Munich to Paris. Again 14+ days. My husband and I have done this trek before, he loved Prague. I think Budapest would be an outlier.

When I asked the kids, they all asked if we could just go back to Rome! We rented an apartment there and they loved the sites, the food and gelato.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 06:06 PM
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I like option 2. But you will not find any bargain airfares from Munich to Paris. Politics has gotten in the way of flights between those cities.
You could take a train down to Innsbruck and pickup a car there. Then go thru the Dolomites, etc. and return the car to Salzburg where you'd catch a train.
Look into taking the Grossglockner High Alpine Highway from north of Lintz, Austria over the second highest peak in Western Europe to Zell-am-See. It's the most beautiful place I've ever seen.
If your husband liked Prague, he might really like Budapest. You can catch a budget air carrier from either city to Paris.
Your itinerary has a bunch of cities. Most families would make one less stop and travel just a little slower.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 06:18 PM
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Your boys are smart - when in doubt go to Rome!! But I agree that having them see more is important and I'm sure they will fall in love with a new place. We have been traveling the past 9 years with our two kids who are now 18 (son) and 21 (daughter). We did Munich, Prague, Cesky Krumlov, Salzburg, Fussen trip when they were 12 and 15 (daughter turned 16 on the trip). We have not been to Dordogne or Burgundy but hubby and I were in Provence in 2012. I think I would definitely pick the Munich-Prague-Cesky-Salzburg-Fussen loop with the boys!!

I think they will definitely enjoy the castles, the Berchtesgaden salt mines and sommerrodelbahns (summer toboggan runs) near Salzburg. We all loved Cesky Krumlov - we didn't have time but if you do I would rent tubes and float down the river. You will need to determine if all your kids are old enough (thinking of the 10 yo) but I think they could learn and benefit from either Dachau outside of Munich or Terezin outside of Prague (we did both). The BMW Welt in Munich was also a big hit.

I have to say I really thought I would be disappointed in the food from this region, but honestly we loved it!! The boys will love the bretzen (though I agree can't replace gelato!)

Here is a link to my trip report that also includes pictures:
http://www.fromhometoroam.com/catego...ublic-austria/
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Old Feb 3rd, 2014, 06:52 PM
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Bamaman- I found one way tickets from Munich to Paris for $ 68 each, not bad.

Thanks for the replies, keep them coming! Any hotel or apartment/villa rental information would be welcomed, keeping in mind there are 5 of us.

Yes I am worried that the picky 10 year old will be hard to feed in France, Germany ,etc. In that way Italy was easy with kids.
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 04:08 AM
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I'd highly recommend basing for a week in the Salzkammergut outside of Salzburg. This is an absolutely wonderful area for outdoor activities and your boys would love this. There is so much to see and do... plus it's just beautiful. We have always stayed in the village of St. Gilgen, nestled on a lake between two mountains. It's only about 30 minutes to Salzburg and you could also day-trip to Berchtesgaden in Germany. This is one of the best rentals we've ever had in Europe, right in the village: http://wolfgangsee.wo.funpic.de/apartment/index_eng.htm

There are also good rental options in Garmisch or Oberammergau, which are both good bases to enjoy the Bavarian Alps. Garmisch is a bigger place than Oberammergau. We rented a bike for our daughter in Garmisch and she had a fantastic time. You could day trip to Innsbruck from this area. Again, so much more to see and do.

I think you could make a great trip with the Salzkammergut, Garmisch or Oberammergau, and Munich. Get rentals in the Salzkammergut and Garmisch/Oberammergau and settle in to enjoy a longer stay. This is an excellent resource for rentals in Garmisch: http://www.fewo-kuen.de/html/Start.E.html I can recommend a rental in Oberammergau as well if you're interested.

Kathy
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Old Feb 4th, 2014, 06:39 AM
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Of the two, I would go with Option 2 (our family is heading on a version of Option 1 in June so I can not comment on that itinerary yet). We spent a few days in Bavaria and in the Salzburg area as part of a larger holiday when the children were 8 and 13, and they recall it fondly. We mostly enjoyed the "usual" tourist activities: Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, summer toboggan runs, Konigsee, salt mines, a day trip to St.Gilgen, and so forth. In Salzburg we did our own Sound of Music tour and walked through the city, and then also spent an afternoon at Schloss Hellbrunn.

Our son was a Boy Scout Camp Counselor in Garmisch last summer and loved it; he spent all of his free time exploring the area and is looking forward to returning this summer. We also visited Prague last year when the children were 11 and 16, and they loved it even on a cold and wet January week, everything from the sightseeing to the shopping and eating. Cesky Krumlov might be a harder sell for children, but even a day spent in the city would be worthwhile. Happy Planning!
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