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Here's our wish list....which European country would you choose?

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Oct 2nd, 2012, 12:59 PM
  #21
 
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Despite the high departure taxes,London is perfect for your family. Its got the history;shopping;food and fun along with a great base for day trips to everything from Stonehenge to Warwick Castle.You could either rent a car and do the countryside or do train/bus tours directly from London. You can find hotels that are reasonable in the city without worrying about Marriott points and a hotel that is out in the middle of nowhere.
My kids went to London at your child's age and loved it and this was before Harry Potter.There is so much in this city for all ages to enjoy and the public transport is amazing.
Paris would be another great choice as there is so much to see and do there for all ages.Their metro system is easy to use and gets you everywhere.Again you could do day trips out of Paris or even include a trip up to Mont St.Michel which is magical!
I love Rome and as a history major,can say it is one of my favorite cities in the world. Everyone loves this city and this would be a great city to take a child to at this age.Easy to walk,use public transport and the food is out of this world.

Personally,Prague wouldn't hold a child's interest like London or Paris.Budapest is a beautiful city but again I don't think that there is enough for your child's interest unless your child loves Cold War statue parks,prisons,etc.Copenhagen and Stockholm are ridiculously expensive to stay and eat in along with Switzerland. I say this as a mom whose son studied abroad in Prague and as one who works as an international flight attendant.I am a great believer when introducing kids to Europe and the world, is to take them to the great cities that have it all before going to small cities that might not hold their interests for long.

If you end up going to London,Paris or Rome there is a wonderful children series called "Kidding Around (insert the city) which is a guidebook geared to that age group so that they can feel like they know what they are seeing and doing without the an adult read or droning on. My kids loved them!
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 01:11 PM
  #22
 
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Start in London, take the chunnel to Paris, fly home from Paris.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 01:14 PM
  #23
 
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I am not sure why you ruled out London. We stayed in London three years ago at Marriott's London County Hall and loved it. We used our miles and received five days for the cost (in Marriott points) of four. The property is next door to the aquarium and directly in front of the London Eye. There is so much history in or near London that I would have it at the top of my list.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 01:30 PM
  #24
 
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Just a suggestion that if you know it's likely to be in the May/June period, and for around just a week, saying so sometime before the 20th post would help.

Since you've ruled out London due to the Airline Passenger Duty cost and Marriott scarcity, with just a week I'd shoot for Amsterdam. Schiphol is a huge Delta/KLM/SkyTeam hub, so your prospects of getting mileage tickets would be as good as any other destination, and maybe better. The city is easy to get around, and even if you had to stay at the airport (there's a Courtyard there) you could still be in the middle of things in no time. And if you wanted to spend a day or two in the country, driving around rural Holland is just about as easy as it gets, and everywhere is day-trip close; or the train station at Schiphol has frequent service to Delft, another great and historic city. Everybody speaks English, the country will be lush and full of flowers in May/June, and it's about the "softest" landing you can make on the continent in terms of disruption.

My second suggestion would still require you pay UK APD on leaving, but Edinburgh is a fabulous city for a family with your interests. Small and manageable, but full of interesting sights and places, walks, experiences. I believe there are 3 or 4 Marriott properties around Edinburgh.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 01:46 PM
  #25
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Sorry for the oversight, gardyloo. I did not think the duration of the trip would sway the responses enough to be of concern. Thanks for the tips.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 02:02 PM
  #26
 
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I second Edinburgh- fabulous place for small and grown kids!
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 03:05 PM
  #27
 
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My top 3 choices of your list: Paris, Paris, Paris.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 03:49 PM
  #28
 
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Belgium! Visit the medieval cities of Bruges and Ghent, and in Brussels visit the museum at Porte de Hal (itself one of the ancient remnants of the city gates), to see suits of armour. Also visit the medieval castle just outside Brussels, Kasteel Gaasbeek:

http://www.kasteelvangaasbeek.be/kasteel.asp

and the 15th century castle at Beersel:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beersel_Castle

Both just south of Brussels.

Lavandula
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 05:37 PM
  #29
 
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What Jim_Tardio said. Fly into London, take the Eurostar under the Channel to Paris and fly home from there. You won't have to pay the UK departure taxes that way. Hopefully you will have at least 9 days.

And look at day trips from London and Paris. It's nice to get out of the city for a day or so. Hampton Court Palace with its maze would make a good excursion from London for your family. And somebody suggested Chartres. Another possibility from Paris is the medieval town of Provins, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:11 PM
  #30
 
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If you want amazing, it's Paris. No question.
London is right up there, too! Lots for a family to do in a week in either city.

If you want medieval, Lucca could fill the bill. Daytrips can also be made from there to Florence, Pisa, and some charming little towns in and around Tuscany, via bus, train or car.

The only Marriott that I have used in Europe is the Amsterdam Marriott at Vondelpark. Quiet and comfortable, it's fairly close to the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseum. It's very accessible by tram to the Centraal Station and the center of town, via Leidsestraat. Not sure Amsterdam would absorb an entire week of an 8-yr-old's attention. However, as illnative pointed out, daytrips can be made easily to other Dutch as well as Flemish destinations. You'd have to do some research to ensure the right lineup for you.

Best of luck! Have a great time!
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:28 PM
  #31
 
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I'm a big fan of Lisbon, which is perfect for a week, but my favorite city is London, and if you have the points for the Marriott County Hall I would absolutely stay there. (Got to do it once and the view is wonderful.)

If the departure tax is that big deal, you can finish in Paris or Amsterdam or Brussels by taking the train. (Yes, Brussels has a Marriott.)
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:44 PM
  #32
 
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"We had considered Prague as well, but I had read warnings to the effect that it is more of a party city for twentysomethings...is there any truth in that?"


Every big city is a party town if you're looking for a party.
Prague is gorgeous. Only choose a city based on the positives.

All cities have their negatives, it's big enough to have it all.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 06:59 PM
  #33
 
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IMO Number one for your criteria would be London and #2 would be Edinburgh. (they'd be tied #1 for an 8 yo)

Even w/ the high airport taxes. In London 90% of the museums are free so the cost would more than recouped in entrance fees.

And w/ the 2for1 discounts at places like the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace you probably do London cheaper than some of the 'inexpensive' cities being discussed. And the County Hall Marriott is WONDERFUL w/ great views of the Thames/Eye/Big Ben

The problem w/ Edinburgh is the Marriott is not well located.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 07:23 PM
  #34
 
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I also thought Belgium is a good idea. I stayed at the Brussels Marriott last year. The city is a great base for visiting so many other places.

Not sure if points can be used toward other Marriott brands, and I KNOW that this is not the safest of cities, but the Renaissance in Naples is in a pretty good location and the city is also a great base for visiting many sites that offer what you're looking for.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 04:22 PM
  #35
 
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I've been to all the places on our list except Scotland and Berlin. What comes to my mind is Stockholm... I bet your son would love exploring the Vasa.... a ship that sunk in the harbor
350 years ago... brought up and restored and has it's own museum. (Plus... the other sights in the city.) You could split your time with Copenhagen. I bet your son would like Tivoli, too.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #36
 
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PS.. June is usually a good time to visit Scandinavia.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 06:10 AM
  #37
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Thanks, all! Great feedback.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 06:33 AM
  #38
 
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Austria! If you make your base Salzburg, theres tons of history and culture to be had, plus the natural beauty of the area is overwhelming!
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Oct 4th, 2012, 06:40 AM
  #39
 
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Also, for your son who is interested in medieval history, Salzburg has The Hohensalzburg Fortress, the biggest and also best preserved medieval castle in Europe Perched high above the city, its loaded with history and the views are amazing
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Oct 4th, 2012, 07:28 AM
  #40
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Thanks, ahiddenbird. We traveled to Salzburg when we were in Munich earlier this year, and Hohensalzburg Fortress was a highlight of the trip for all of us.
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