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Kid friendly Italy/Greece 10-12 day Vacation HELP

Kid friendly Italy/Greece 10-12 day Vacation HELP

Jan 7th, 2014, 05:46 AM
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Kid friendly Italy/Greece 10-12 day Vacation HELP

We are starting our planning of a family vacation (from Spain) to Italy (Pisa, Rome, Venice) and then Greece (Athens, island hops) with 4.5 and 1.5 year old children! We want this to be accommodating to younger children, relaxing but touristy, fun, budget friendly and take about 10-12 days in May 2014. We are open to where to start/end our trip as we haven't booked flights yet. We prefer our hotels to be centrally located but apartments are great too. Any ideas, recommendations would be much appreciated!
JENANDSCOTT is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 05:57 AM
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Going to 5 different places in 10 or even 12 days is NOT going to be relaxing at all - esp for 2 small kids. If it were me I would stop in 1 or at most 2 places - so you aren;t hauling the poor kids around like excess baggage every other day.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 06:01 AM
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We just returned from a 9 day trip where we visited Zurich/Lucerne, Salzburg and Vienna via a eurrail pass. We're hoping to do something similar through Italy/Greece, but maybe a cruise would be better/more relaxing!?!
JENANDSCOTT is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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The cities that you visited are not far from each other and within easy reach.

Visiting the Greek islands is time consuming, especially if you want to visit more than 1 during he short time of 10 -12 days, including Italy.

Were it me i'd concentrate on only one country.
clausar is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 07:21 AM
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a family vacation (from Spain) to Italy (Pisa, Rome, Venice) and then Greece (Athens, island hops) with 4.5 and 1.5 year old children!

Do-able if you have about six weeks.

We want this to be accommodating to younger children, relaxing but touristy, fun, budget friendly and take about 10-12 days in May 2014.

So much for the six weeks.

There is no way on G-d's green Earth that you can have a trip that goes from Spain thru Italy to Greece in 10-12 days that will be (1) accommodating to younger children, (2) relaxing, (3) fun (with same hobbits), and (4) budget-friendly (assuming this means a < 150E/night lodging budget). You simply cannot hop around that much with hobbits, and that great of a distance, and have them quiescent.
BigRuss is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 07:37 AM
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Jen, your Switzerland to Austria (3 small cities+ 1 large, well-connected by FAST rail) not at all comparable to Italy, and Certainly not to Greece (where mainland travel is only by bus, and island travel well, duh, by sea). Pick ONE of these countries.

Others may know what to advise for an italy stay; I'd say that If you choose Greece -- fly to ATH airport, then connect immediately to a domestic flight to an island for 3+ days, then ferry to a NEARBY island for 4+ days more, then last 3 days in Athens. A must for Athens -- a hotel VERY central, steps from Acropolis, so u can go back fast when/if there's a kid melt-down. Also take a folding "cane" stroller, & be prepared to carry the 18 month old a lot, as well. NOTE: if you want beach time, water only is warm enough for swims after May 15 -- the later the better. A possible sequence for this would be Santorini-Naxos (good child-friendly beach next to port town is Ag. Giorgios) and Athens/plaka district.

Re CRUISE -- only if you want mainly a shipboard experience... because 75% of your time will be spent at sea, with SHORT stops at ports (if you are lucky, 8 hours, more often 4 -5 hours). Any time in port will be shortened by having to wait in line for the launches to transfer you to pier, in stops like Santorini ... and also, on most Cruise ships (which carry 2,000+ passengers), you'll surge ashore in the midst of a huuge crowd of people, following a leader with a flag or umbrella, no serene moments, no recourse for meltdowns.
travelerjan is offline  
Jan 7th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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I've only once taken a cruise, and probably wouldn't again, although it was pretty enjoyable. We mostly ditched the shore tours offered by the cruise line and went about on our own. It might be one way to see a bit of Greece and a bit of Italy in a short time. Livorno is the main port for Pisa, Civitavecchia for Rome, and Venice itself for Venice. However, a single cruise day in Rome is nowhere near enough time to enjoy this large and varied city.

When I travel with small children, I try to stay in one place the whole time, and make sure it's a place where children can relax and have fun. Parks, zoos, beaches, and playgrounds are high on my list of must-sees with children. In Rome, I would feature fountains very high on my itinerary. I've taken my granddaughter to Rome on many occasions, and we still haven't visited the Colosseum or the Vatican Museums. We've visited some smaller, less crowded museums; Rome has more than a dozen excellent museums, most of which are hardly ever visited by tourists. I took her to the Palatine Hill instead of the Colosseum, because it's green and beautiful and she could run around and also look at ancient buildings. She loves Rome and wants to live there one day, and I'm pretty sure it's partly because I've tried to visit it with a child's eyes.
bvlenci is online now  
Jan 16th, 2014, 06:53 AM
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I travelled Rome and the Vatican with kids - the best way is with a tour guide (and lots of gelato stops!) who can keep them entertained and adapt the itenerary to keep the kids interested. I travelled with artviva.com and can do nothing but rave about them!

Running around the park time will certainly have to factor in and the Palatine Hill and/or Borghese Gallery certainly deserve visits.

Pisa you only need 1/2 a day to see the tower and that's it. I'd say time is better spent in Florence. The Boboli Gardens is great there - big fields of grass, fun statues and fountains too!

Being on a cruise with two small tots would be my idea of a nightmare and would mean you hardly see anything of Italy. A friend of mine just travelled with a 2 yo and teenager thinking it'd be easier... nope. She just spent a lot of money not to see much at all!
giadaaustraliana is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 10:48 AM
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There is no way to see Italy and Greece in 12 days, it's impossible. Choose one country. I think Greece may be more fun for kids, kids love the beach and they don't really care about culture stuff (museums. architecture, history) that you usually find in the cities. Greek islands are ideal for kids, there is great food, sun, beaches and sceneries. For some reason, I think its a bad idea to go to Venice with the kids, you can easily get lost and your children will get annoyed start crying and piss you off, it may have an acqua alta, one of your kids may start running and get lost in the labyrinth of Venice, or in the crowds of tourists, the transportation is difficult with all the bridges and small old roads, with a baby in your hands or stroller. If you choose Italy, better concentrate in Rome and Pisa. But I recommend Greek islands, the kids will surely enjoy it.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 11:44 AM
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That was the best anti promotion of Venice i have seen !!!!

I think the kids will not enjoy the beach that much during May
clausar is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 11:57 AM
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Budget friendly and fun, suitable for young kids. Consider one of the campsites in Italy, or Greece, with pre-erected tents. Some also have static caravans and chalets.
They provide swimming pools suitable for little kids, playgrounds, friends, and yet are close enough to the main tourist sights for you. Rent a car. Stay in one, or at most two places, play with your kids and enjoy a precious time together. They won't remember any historical sites but they will remember having a great time with you.

My son stayed in one in Italy a couple of years ago, right on the beach, but they still went to Pisa, Florence and the like, as well as spending time at the site having fun with their sons.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 03:28 PM
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@clausar Believe me, I love Venice, and I am actually going in February so, I am not quite Antivenetian. What I say is that Venice is a difficult destination for Parents with kids of that age, thats all... Kids always love the beach, and Greece is warm during May, the temperature is ideal. And yes I know that since I live there.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 06:12 PM
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With children that young, I would seriously consider renting a villa in Tuscany and touring the immediate area ( look around Radda or Greve), OR going to Athens and ONE island max, so that you have a shot at actually enjoying this vacation.

It may be that your little ones are better travelers than mine- now grown- ever were, but from what I remember, traveling place to place with kids that age is sheer torture and exhaustion.

Much more relaxing to stay put in a beautiful location with minimal touring and minimal chances for complete meltdowns.

Good luck, whatever you decide!
WWK is offline  
Jan 17th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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@ PetrosB3

It is a coincidence that i happen to live in Athens too
clausar is offline  
Jan 18th, 2014, 01:22 AM
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it's not an island, but with a small child a place in Greece we really loved was Tolo, a seaside town on the mainland within easy enough reach of athens and beside the very popular venetian town of nafplio.

The place we stayed was really kid friendly and very reasonable - http://www.heliotopos-tolo.com/en/ - it was really basic but well located and with a small pool - from my brief look at the website I would say the website makes it look a good bit swankier than it really is, but I would highly recommend.

I know you asked for islands rather than mainland, but if you are travelling to Italy also, getting to the islands could be a lot of travel altoghether so I wanted to mention the Greek mainland as a possibility. Tolo really felt for us just like an island, straight out of Shirley Valentine! We combined Tolo with a few days in Porto Heli, a short enough drive away, and from there you can visit the island of Spetses by boat (about half an hour boat trip as far as I remember).

Venice is beautiful but really tricky with a stroller as you have to navigate a bridge every 2 minutes, and lots of open canals to worry about. Florence might be a better alternative for kids.

Pisa left me a bit cold, I personally wouldn't stay there. It's a good base to arrive and look at the leaning tower, have lunch, but I would head on then maybe to Lucca or viareggio for the sea, or further up to the beautiful tuscan hilltowns.
littlejane is offline  
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