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Spain & Germany in April or June? Itinerary suggestions?

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Jan 22nd, 2013, 05:18 PM
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Spain & Germany in April or June? Itinerary suggestions?

Hello, I'm hoping some can help with a suggested itinerary. We are taking our two sons, ages 11 & 8 to Europe this spring. Both my husband and I have been a few times, and this is their first trip, so we told them they can pick what countries they want to see. They've both agreed on Spain & Germany.

The trip will only be two weeks. We are a bit torn between April or June. They have a break in mid-April and we don't mind pulling them from school for another full week. I'm leaning toward that time-frame because I think it will be less crowded, and it's better for me work-wise. But I expect the weather will be more variable. We are from the Northeast though, so we are used to cooler weather. The second option is to leave right after school gets out (about June 11) for two weeks. I was just in Spain last June (both Barcelona & Seville) and it was hot, but not unbearable, and not terribly crowded.

My thinking is we'll do two places as our "base", probably flying in between. Flying from Boston into one city, there for a week with day trips out. And given the distance from Spain to Germany I figure it's better to fly and make a second base in Germany. I don't mind the idea of maybe 3 nights in each location, but I have no interest (or endurance) for a big drive trip with a night here, a night there. Though I would consider a single night somewhere in between if driving made more sense between two spots. I'm also more interested in renting small apartments. But I'm open to other thoughts. I just don't want to feel exhausted when we get back.

My preference would be to go to Seville as a base. But my boys are HUGE Barca fans, so I have a feeling there's no way we can go to Spain and not go to Barcelona. I'm OK with making that as our base, but I don't really want a full week in the city.

Then there's the Germany piece. I'm pretty certain my husband will want to take them to Munich. We do have good friends who live in Zurich who have invited us to either stay with them, and/or they will meet us somewhere in Germany for a long weekend. My older son really wants to see mountains and a ski area (he keeps talking about going skiing -- but we keep telling him not this trip). My husband and I have done a circle trip from Munich before into the Tirol, then into Switzerland and back to Germany. I'd be willing to do that, but only if it's limited driving and a very small circle. Again, I'd prefer to make more of a base.

I'm hoping someone here has suggestions of good places to base ourselves or some short itineraries. Our boys are very active, love skiing & soccer most of all. They'll tolerate a bit of "site-seeing" and museum stuff, but not for long.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 05:22 PM
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Sorry, above when I said 3 days in each place, I meant 3 days in the city, 3 days in another spot in that country, then fly a day in between and do another 3/3 combo of city and smaller town perhaps.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 06:47 PM
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It would help if you could give us a better idea of what your (and the kids') interests are on this trip. Why did they choose Spain and Germany. What are your primary goals: Hiking, museums, doing "fun" things, outdoor things, etc.? For example, if seeing mountains and a ski are important, then maybe you should consider Switzerland or Austria instead of Germany. Also, Spain and Germany have two different types of climate - makes more sense to visit Spain in April and Germany in June, but Germany can be cold in April and Spain can be (as you have found out) hot in June. Then there are the distances. Personally, I would suggest either something like Spain/Portugal/French Riviera or some combination of Switzerland/Austria/Germany.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 07:06 PM
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>>They've both agreed on Spain & Germany.

You have raised these boys to have sound judgement!

>> But my boys are HUGE Barca fans

Oh my, I spoke too soon.....


Well Munich is probably the best city base in Germany given your boys interests. They may think it a bit shoddy but the do have a pretty good football team there, too. GO BAYERN! You could spend 4-5 days there and 2-3 in the Alps, maybe Garmisch for hiking, rodelbahn, Zugspitze cable car.

From Munich you could fly to Barcelona for 3-4 days, there is the coast and beaches for the boys and Monserrat and some mountain activity nearby too. The either fly (intra Spain airfares can be very reasonable if booked early) or take the train to Seville. for 3-4 days.

An AVE train gets you back to Madrid for 1 night at an airport hotel for the flight home.

I believe that both Munich and Madrid are well served from Boston.
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 05:54 AM
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Thank you Tom & Aramis for your replies...

Tom, both the boys have taken Spanish since kindergarten, their Spanish teacher is from Spain, and one of my older son's closest friends (and soccer teammate) is from Barcelona (living in the States now). So I think that's there reason behind Spain. I'd actually prefer if we were going outside of Catalonia, but again, I don't want to bite off a huge multiple destination jaunt. And they know that my husband and I have been a couple of times and enjoyed it, so that adds into the appeal. As for Germany I think it's a heritage thing...as their great-grandfather is from there, their grandfather lived there for a number of years as an adult and likes to teach the boys German phrases.

As for "goals" I guess it's a mix. We do all like to hike, walk, just be out and about. It's mostly about just being someplace different. I'd like to leave many of our days just free for exploring and let the kids kind of guide the days, rather than dragging them to things we'd like to do. I love museums, but the kids notsomuch. So we'll limit that a bit. I can see them enjoying a castle visit, but not multiple ones. We do like to ski, but we live in a ski area, and the point of this isn't really a ski trip. I could see potentially scoping out a nice town for a future ski vacation. My husband and I have skied in St. Anton and Zermatt before. My older son wishes we could visit Chamonix (and so do I), but I don't think we can squeeze it into this visit. We aren't looking for a warm weather vacation, Germany's climate is similar to our home, so I'm not worried about a bit of rain/chill. I do agree with you, that the two suggested separate vacations would be better (and probably less tiring).

Aramis, LOL. But at least they are fans of the right kind of football, right? Thanks for your suggestions about Garmisch. I'll check it out. I had thought of flying from Barcelona to Seville (I did the reverse last summer), but I'm thinking that sadly we may have to omit Seville from this trip.

Thanks again for your advice and appreciate other ideas as well. I'm going to start really digging in on my research, so I'm sure I'll have questions soon!
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Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:01 AM
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IMHO Spain is too hot in June. I would do April to get moderate weather there and jut take a jacket for Germany.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 04:32 AM
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Just wanted to thank those who gave advice. We've decided because of limited time we are going to go to Spain at another time when we can visit more than just Barcelona. So now we are flying into Zurich so we can see our friends, will have about 11/12 nights free (with no itinerary as of yet), then take the train to Paris for the last 3/4 nights before we fly home.

Off to do some research here for ideas of a stop or two during those 11/12 nights. But if any of you have suggestions, would love to hear them!
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 11:33 AM
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If you are thinking about stopping somewhere between Zurich and Paris you might consider either Colmar or Strasbourg in Alsace in France. You can get from Zurich to Strasbourg in under 3 hours. You could stay there for 2 or 3 nights, rent a car and visit the Route du Vin in Alsace and also Colmar, and then take the TGV to Paris in less than 2.5 hours.
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Feb 22nd, 2013, 02:18 PM
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Thanks Tom,

I visited Strasbourg many, many years ago and really enjoyed it. Good suggestion.
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