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Itinerary ideas - Belgium, Netherlands and/or France with 4-year old

Itinerary ideas - Belgium, Netherlands and/or France with 4-year old

Old Mar 17th, 2010, 06:24 PM
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Itinerary ideas - Belgium, Netherlands and/or France with 4-year old

hi Fodorites -

We love to travel and have been to Europe before. This will be our first time taking our son who will be 4 when we travel. We're planning to go for about 10-12 days and we won't want to move base locations more than 3 times. We'd like to use train travel as our primary way to get around.

We've thought about flying into Paris and then out of another city (open jaw). I have dreams of visiting Paris for a couple of days and then heading to Begium and the Netherlands via train to see the flowers in bloom. However, I'm wondering who out there has experience traveling to these areas with a child? Any specific attractions for a 4-year old? As long as there are parks or other areas to let him run free for a while we should be fine. As far as what we're after...we just love seeing new cities/towns, meeting new people, eating, shopping, (the usual)!

Btw - I know some folks don't believe in traveling with kids this age. Yes, I know he may not remember it. Yes, I know it won't be as relaxing as it would be if we didn't take him. If you don't agree with kid-friendly travel, please do not reply.

thanks!
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 02:17 AM
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When are you planning on visiting? If you are here in teh spring you need to book soon - it is peak time n teh Netherlands.
Keukenhof is a place you will enjoy and your son can wander around safely (as long as he doesn't pick the flowers!). It is open until May 16th this year, though it may extend the opening by a few days if spring continues to be late.

There are plenty of parks for young children - in Amsterdam your son will enjoy the Vondelpark for instance.

There is a good zoo in Amsterdam (Artis) and a great one in Antwerp, both of which I am sure your son would enjoy. He may enjoy de Efteling too, which is a bit further away from Amsterdam, or Madurodam in Den Haag, which you will probably also enjoy.

You could rent bikes, with a child seat, or child trailer, and go out into the country with him too.
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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With our then 1 and 3 year old boys, we did Paris, Bruges, Brussels, and Amsterdam. We decided it was easier renting a car. Driving was simple as can be between cities, you just need to work out parking, which can be expensive (very in Amsterdam). Driving also gives you the added benefit of stopping in towns along the way, which we really enjoyed!

We did a "round trip" from Paris but flying into Amsterdam and out of Paris (or the other way around) would probably be easier.

Here's a link to my old trip report, to give you some ideas for traveling to the area with children:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...d-brussels.cfm


Hope this helps, have fun!

John
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 08:14 AM
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Thanks! We are planning to go Spring 2011. I'll check out your trip report John, thanks again!
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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If you are flying open jaw don't hire a car. International one ways are expensive.

Your 4 year old can travel cheaply on the trains in the Netherlands with a Railrunner ticket, currently €2.50 for a days travel within the Netherlands, though it may have gone up by next year. 3 year olds travel free but aren't entitled to a seat. 4-14 year olds accompanied by an adult pay just the €2,50. Up to 3 kids per adult too!
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Old Mar 18th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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that's great (train prices for kids), thanks!

I would really like to see the tulips and other spring flowers - what are the best areas for this and are there specific tours for this? Just wondering the best way to explore if we do not have a car. thanks!
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