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Springtime Adventure in Europe

Old Jan 9th, 2017, 09:43 PM
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Springtime Adventure in Europe

Our family is traveling to Edinburgh to visit friends in mid-March and then we have a week to explore a new spot in Europe. Where should we go?
We have three kids ages 7,12,14
We love the outdoors- biking, hiking, boating, etc.
We love learning about the culture of the places we visit rather than going from tourist site to tourist site
We love trying new foods (and wine)
We will fly in and out of London Heathrow

Places we have been: France (Paris and Provence), Italy (Rome, Venice, Amalfi, Tuscany, Puglia), England (London and Cotswolds), Scotland (basically everywhere!).

Some places we are considering: Spain, Portugal, Netherlands. OR possibly even a spring ski holiday in the mountains or a bike trip.

I know this is very vague but we are OPEN to your awesome ideas…as always.
Thank you!
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 07:55 AM
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Have you thought of Switzerland?
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 08:07 AM
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kids that age yes would love Switzerland - and the high Alps -especially if they've never seen snow.

Fly to Zurich -then take fab trains and aerial gondolas everywhere - I'd head to the Lucerne and Jungfrau (Interlaken) areas for two bases and do excursions.

Lots on trains -www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com.

Why not fly from Edinburgh direct to Zurich or London to connect?

fly into Edinburgh and fly to Zurich and then Zurich home - open jaw ticket.
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 11:20 AM
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That "hop" to Europe will cost you a bundle, in money and in lost time, even if you can book an "open-jaw" ticket, worse if you have to return to Edinburgh just to catch a flight home.

Switzerland is ruinously expensive. Austria not so much - there are direct flights with Jet2 from Edinburg to Salzburg, for the equivalent of about $114 roundtrip (f you need to get back to Edinburgh).

But instead of going to the continent, look at winter-sport resorts in Scotland, they do skiing, too:

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2...ve-ski-resorts
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 11:59 AM
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michelhuebeli We will be flying in and out of London. Flights to the continent tend to be fairly affordable so that isn't a major concern. We were in Scotland last summer for a wedding and traveled afterwards. We don't want to spend the extra week there this time. We did see the ski resorts as we drove north. Thanks for the input.

KTravel and PalenQ we definitely considered Switzerland. We live in Canada so our kids are in the snow a ton, but we are a huge ski family and it would be fun to explore another country on skis. Has anyone visited any Swiss ski resorts? I have to say my biggest concern is that Switzerland is very expensive.
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 12:18 PM
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Assuming we're talking about the end of March, it's not all that terrific in northern Europe at that time and in Holland the tulips will probably just be starting to bloom, if much at all.

My recommendation would be Andalusia in southern Spain. The weather should be pleasant enough, and the cities of Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, or the smaller cities and hilltop "white villages" are beautiful, historic and altogether marvelous. Or the coastline - Cadiz, Tarifa, etc. - is terrific too.

A few years ago in the late winter/early spring my wife and I also visited friends in Edinburgh then flew from London to Gibraltar (service is inexpensive, but airfare to other nearby places like Malaga is also very cheap.)

We happened to like Gibraltar although it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's also very convenient as a jumping-off point for touring southern Andalusia. We stayed in Tarifa, visited hill villages like Vejer de la Frontera - http://gardyloo.us/20120226_37s.JPG and the Roman ruins at Baelo Claudius on the beach - http://gardyloo.us/20120225_19s.JPG , watched the kite surfers at Tarifa - http://gardyloo.us/20120228_17s.JPG - and had a fine old time. We would have spent a day or two in Morocco (fast ferries from several points in Spain) but had to cut the visit short due to other issues.

It's affordable, easy to get around, and there's lots of variety in the whole region. Highly recommended.
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 12:29 PM
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Switzerland skiing don't have to be expensive -go to a place like Grindelwald and stay in a ski house like the Nature Friends House where you can get family rooms I believe at the fraction of a hotel and hit the slopes.

http://www.naturfreundehaeuser.ch/2/...lwald/welcome/

There will be folks of all ages staying there while skiing or hiking or climbing in the area.

I don't ski but Grindelwald is a skiiers place for sure and also IMO is in one of the prettiest parts of the Swiss Alps and easy to get to by train via Interlaken -once there a myriad of tiny trains and htrilling aerial gondolas go off in all directions to ski areas:

https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...w=1536&bih=760
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 01:07 PM
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Gardyloo that is EXACLTY what was on my mind today. Andalusia is supposed to be stunning and the weather should be bit nicer down south. Seville is a smaller city which is always better with the kids. Might be a bit naive asking this but is safety an issue at all in southern Spain?
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Old Jan 10th, 2017, 01:11 PM
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PalenQ thanks for the link. The mountains are incredible!!!! I need to think this through. Right now I have Andalusia and Switzerland on my mind! Couldn't be more opposite. I am leaning more towards Spain for something totally new and exciting for all of us.
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 12:29 PM
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Your kids are the perfect age to enjoy Fallas in Valencia which takes place 3rd week of March or so in Valencia - check dates. It was 3/15 - 3/19 in 2016. Brightly colored street art - sculptures, montages, etc. - think 3D Pixar with a political edge and daily fireworks - tonnes of them. Plenty of wonderful street food vendors. This is fun for everyone - believeme. Train it from BCN.
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Old Jan 16th, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Thanks everyone for the ideas but we have had to put this whole family trip on hold. I will save all of these awesome suggestions. Now my daughter and I will be traveling on our own...so I'm putting up a new post in a few minutes, Edinburgh and Paris girls trip here we come!
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