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Last minute change of plans - where to go in August?

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Jul 9th, 2014, 07:48 AM
  #1
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Last minute change of plans - where to go in August?

We have decided to change our itinerary due to the tension in Israel
since will be traveling with four young children and were not part of a tour.
We have our time in Turkey and Greece planned but now have extra nine days at the beginning of our trip. I have been discouraged from visiting Italy this time of year. Any suggestions as to where to go?
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Jul 9th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Northern Spain is lovely at that time of year - I toured parts of Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria.

You could also consider Ireland - Connaught or West Cork/Kerry.

Re Italy - the Dolomites are cool in August and quite wonderful.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 07:57 AM
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Ohrid looks amazing and so does Skopje in Macedonia. Also Tara National park in Serbia is gorgeous. The Rhodope mountains in southern Bulgaria should not be missed. Also visit the Rila Monastery and hit Sofia and Plovdiv.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 08:41 AM
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I'm not sure why you were discouraged from visiting Italy at this time of year. If you wanted to visit Rome, Florence and Venice, and wanted to hit the big "must-sees" of all three cities, you'd encounter heat and crowds, but there's a lot more to Italy than that. Even in those three cities, you can spend time very pleasantly if you focus on the hidden gems.

Not all of Italy is very hot in August, and you don't have to go to the Dolomites to find cool air. There's a mountain range right down the center of the peninsula, and the higher you go, the cooler it is. We spend part of every August in the foothills of the Apennines of southern Le Marche, and we often need wool blankets there. Many Romans spend August there; another favorite summer spot for Romans is the mountains of Abruzzo.

What sort of things interest you and your family? It would be easier to give advice if we knew something of your interests.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 02:05 PM
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I would like to fly into Venice and out of Rome. And maybe stay most of the time in Tuscany/Umbria area. But this is so last minute, I don't know if this is even a possibility. We plan on leaving on at the end of this month and we are a large family of six.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Contact Karin at www.chianti-and-more.com if you want to rent a villa in Tuscany. Personally, I would go to the Dolomites, beautiful area.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Not including flight days I would have 8 days in Italy.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 02:31 PM
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If you can get air tickets, it would be quite simple to do the Italian itinerary you have described, but it would be best if you are willing to rent a car for at least some of the time in Tuscany.

There is always a lot of empty accommodation in Italy, and Italians themselves -- who travel with large families many times -- quite often leave planning to the last minute.

Personally, I wouldn't rent a villa unless you enjoy shopping, cooking and dishwashing. There are lots of accommodations in towns with restaurants, or on farms with restaurants. Apartments are great with kids because you can make your own breakfasts and simple meals. But villas are often isolated, and it means driving all the time.

Something you can do to reassure yourself that you can still find accommodations at this late date for your chosen Italian cities is to go to booking.com and venere.com and plug in your real travel dates to search for accommodations, including apartments.
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Jul 10th, 2014, 05:26 PM
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OK, I've booked tickets arriving in Venice at 11am on Tuesday and leaving Rome at 2:10pm the Thursday of the following week. I'm traveling with four young children (13,11,8,6). We enjoy active pursuits and history. After our stay in Italy we will continuing on to Turkey with a short side trip to Greece. I'm worried about the crowds in August but we are still interested in seeing some of the main sites in Italy.
Any neighborhood recommendations in Venice and Rome would be appreciated.

Between Venice and Rome should we go to the Cinque Terre or should we spend time in Tuscany? Cinque Terre looks beautiful and we enjoy hiking but maybe since we are spending time on Santorini, we should give up another coastal area in lieu of Tuscany. I don't know how hard it would be to visit Tuscany without a car (it may be hard to find a car to accomodate our family of 6). Any advice?
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Jul 11th, 2014, 01:31 AM
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Everything would be simpler if you limited your destinations to Venice and Rome, and planned on making one day trip from each city rather than go someplace else.

But if that not your family style, give some consideration to a few days in Peschiera del Garda on Lago di Garda, which you can reach by train from Venice and where there is a lot of family-sized accommodations. Needless to say, you will need to move quickly on booking accommodations.

If that doesn't appeal to you, then you could consider the Italian Riviera. Normally I would agree with you that if you are going to Santorini as part of this trip, then going all the way to the Mediterranean coast from Venice is not worth the effort. However, since you are traveling without a car in August, then it might be the most enjoyable place to be. That said, I would not go to le Cinque Terre but instead find some other town along the train line which is pretty but far less crowded, and visit le Cinque Terre if you feel like it, Sestri Levante and Rapallo often have more availability in hotels and family sized rooms. Nervi might work for you.

In Venice and Rome, neighborhood will matter less than air conditioning and proximity to the sites or transportation to the sites. Look for a last minute apartment deal. I use the Rome Loft agency and booking.com. You might also try airbnb. The area around the Vatican often has large apartments with air conditioning.

Without a car it is hard to visit the hilltown areas of "Tuscany" that have made it a popular tourist destination, but you can go to the small art cities, which have train stations. They are often very crowded with tourists and quite hot in summer since they are in the interior. But you might find it charming to stay in the less famous small towns of Pistoia or Montecatini and use the train to visit Florence, Lucca and Pisa. Staying in Pisa itself can be very affordable, and from Pisa it is easier to take a jaunt to the seaside from Pisa (likewise Lucca, but it is more expensive).
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Jul 11th, 2014, 03:27 AM
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I think your kids( like thousands of Italian ones I saw last August) would love the Etruscan seaside, a short jaunt from Pisa. Stay there a few days, lets kids run free on the beach. It was wonderful and very family friendly. Many towns along the coast north of Rome serviced by good trains.http://www.discovertuscany.com/the-etruscan-coast/
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Jul 11th, 2014, 09:02 AM
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There are rental cars in Italy that are suitable for six people, as long as they don't have tons of luggage. There are also larger vans for eight people that would have room for a mountain of luggage as well, but they're more expensive.

If you're worried about crowds, you should stay away from Venice and the Cinque Terre; and if you go to Rome, you should avoid the big "must-sees" and focus on parks and hidden gems. For example, instead of the Colosseum (other than admiring it from the outside), go to the Baths of Caracalla, which are not as famous, but just as imposing. Instead of the Vatican Museums, go to the Barberini Gallery. These are just examples of places that are much less crowded than the biggies, but would have lines around the block in any other city. You may find others that would be more interesting to your family.

Rome can be very hot in the summer, so I would suggest spending plenty of time in shadier places that have lots of things that are fun for kids. The Villa Borghese Park is probably the best spot for kids in Rome, with bicycle carts to rent, a lake with boats, a puppet theatre, some carnival-type rides, and lots of grass to run on.

The Cinque Terre is absolutely teeming with tourists during a good part of the year. I wouldn't go there except to hike, and you can hardly do that with four small children.

If you go to Venice, stay away from the overly beaten tourist trail and explore some of the smaller canals.

Umbria or Le Marche would be much less crowded than Tuscany and are equally beautiful. I live in Le Marche, so I may be prejudiced, but I actually think it has more beautiful scenery than Tuscany does, and I would venture to say that the food is better.
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