What was your best European trip?

Old Jan 8th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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What was your best European trip?

In 2009, I turn 50 and my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We have decided to take the kids on a very special vacation (at least 2 weeks immediately after school gets out for the summer - second week of June 2009) with us to celebrate these milestones. Our daughter will be 14 and our son will be 13 at the time of the trip. We are a very well traveled family, and the kids have been to Milan and Berlin and most states in the US. My husband and I honeymooned in Paris, and we have been to Germany, London and Italy.

What has been your most memorable European vacation and why to help me generate some ideas on where to go?
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 05:45 PM
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Sounds like it's time to take a 'tour' of Switzerland, hiking, snowcaps, glaciers, mountain lakes, cogwheel trains, cowbells, cheese and chocolate, and so on!


Michelin Green Guide to Switzerland (2007)
Eyewitness Guide: Switzerland (2005)

http://www.sbb.ch/en/ (Swiss Rail)
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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Congratulations on the milestones!

Obviously, the choices are nearly limitless. I wish every U.S. school kid could visit Normandy and the D-Day beaches. (This would be in combination with your romantic return to Paris.) A visit to the places of your families' origins could be meaningful for all of you.

But Switzerland would be FUN!
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Old Jan 8th, 2008, 10:23 PM
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Provence and Languedoc. My kids enjoyed Carcassonne, Montpellier, Avignon, Luberon hilltop villages as well as Cote d'Azur. They switched from learning German to French ever since. Of course, we can't complain much about french food either...

We have also combined Barcelona with Languedoc which is also a nice family destination. Our kids appreciated the major Picasso museum, the unfinished La Familia Sagrada cathedral, Gaudi architecture & Park as well as the Flamenco.

Switzerland however is always a great family vacationland, somehow we've been going back there just about every other year.
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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And this is why I love fodor's talk forum! I have really never considered Switzerland, but I now am going to do research. We went to Quebec City and Montreal for Thanksgiving 2007, and my kids loved Quebec City. It happened to snow the second day that we were there, and it snowed all day long. It was magical. They enjoyed the museums and learning the history of the area, they enjoyed the people, they enjoyed trying new foods, and they enjoyed playing in the snow all day. Most of all, I think they enjoyed the intimacy and the scale of the city. We like to slow travel.

Of course, all of your suggestions are great! Provence and Languedoc sound great, too! My daughter wants to go to Paris. I, of course, think that is great, but I would like to try somewhere new!

We are of an Irish, Scottish, English and German origin. My husband and I have been to Scotland, just Edinburgh and Perth area, and I have always wanted to go back to spend more time in the highlands. I loved it there, but I seem to love everywhere I go...such a travel junkie!

I had been saying for my 50th (I am 50% Irish) that I wanted to go to Ireland, but for some reason that I don't know, it's not there for me anymore. I had been to Germany while in high school with my family and my husband and I took a wonderful trip through Germany years ago, and we took the kids to Berlin(fabulous!) a couple of years ago so I think Germany has been done for now.

Well, off to research. I will let you know what we decide. I will do a trip report, too! I have gotten so much information from this wonderful forum, and I have never "braved" a trip report before. Thank you for your suggestions.....keep them coming!
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 05:35 AM
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Dear mosey,

We celebrated our 20th and my husbands 50th this year too... congrats!!

What do your children like to do?

How do they feel about scenery and hiking?

Do they prefer cities or nature?

I have found my kids do better in cities and aren't as keen on "scenery" and driving or hiking. Yours may be different.

Switzerland is beautiful, but skiing and such will be over in June. Then it's time for hiking... I love to hike but wouldn't go with my family. (That's just us.)

I liked the suggestion of Paris and Normandy... I think we'll be going to Normandy this summer. I know you've been to Paris already, but once is not enough.

Also, Rome is fun for teens if they like history, pasta, etc.

My kids have liked Paris, Rome, Greece (beaches and history!), Venice and Salzburg. They were less keen on Vienna. We did too much driving in Ireland, but they did like it there - everyone is so nice...Probably not in their top 5 though...

They both are dying to go to Barcelona or any part of Spain...

If they're good maybe I'll give in


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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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I'd go to Switzerland and France. You could possibly fly into Zurich and out of Paris and work your way inbetween by train or car to a few destinations (not too many though).
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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My kids will hike, bike, go to museums, and shop, but all in increments. Variety is the spice of life with them, and at least I understand that so that it becomes a good vacation for all of us. I think that's why I decided Ireland wouldn't be a good fit. Too much driving, especially for our active son! I'll save that trip for either when they are older or for my husband and me.

My husband is an architect and huge history buff so the Normandy and Paris trip sounds interesting. Well, I will do some research today, and continue to ponder. How exciting!!!

I want to take this trip in the second week of June to avoid the huge tourist crowd. Prior to kids, my husband and I always traveled in the fall. So, wherever we go, the weather needs to be decent in June which I assume that's the case with most places in Europe.

Thank you all for your great ideas!
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Old Jan 9th, 2008, 07:42 AM
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Here's one we particularly enjoyed last year with 13 year-old daughter (Languedoc, Dordogne, Provence, Nice. I think our daughter would tell you it's one of her favorite trips. Great weather and not much in the way of crowds in early-mid June.

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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Thank you Travelnut, Jean, DAX, gruezi, speckles, and ms_go! I enjoyed your pictures and trip report, ms_go.

I think Switzerland may be the way to go for this specific trip. I don't know if it will be 2 weeks or 3 weeks, but what I like is:

1. The ability to travel by train. We took a train to Glacier National Park, and then onto Seattle and my kids still talk about it! The biggest plus is...if you have ever driven with an architect, it can be a nightmare! Turning his head and staring continuously at buildings, scenery versus looking at the road. Taking a train will eliminate many a marital dispute.

2. The ability to go from city to scenery; therefore, variety! We will have to go to Basel due to modern buildings and the Renzo Piano designed museum, and of course, on the way to Montreux, stop off to see the home of Le Corbusier. Thank you Travelnut for the websites. The myswitzerland.com helped "sell" the trip to my husband.

3. None of us have ever been there before, and we love the mountains and chocolate (not necessarily in that order)!

I am also adding to my list of places to go, Rome and the Amalfi Coast (a day trip to Pompeii), Paris and Normandy and Provence and the French countryside. Thank you all for such wonderful ideas.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 02:19 PM
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In 2006 we took our kids and grandkids to Italy. The parents were with us a few years before but the children hadn't been. The kids were 9,11,13. We bought a large map of Italy and asked them to choose places. When they picked a town or area they then had to get on the internet and find out something about the place. It was great... they learned by doing there own research and they felt involved.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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It would be a tough choice between Venice and Capri for me...Both have such dramatic personalities. And both were very "user-friendly".

We were fortunate to meet Italian friends while were lost in Italy a month after 911. Now we've visited with them twice and they've been to visit us here in the southeastern USA with a return trip in sight. It has been an awesome experience to connect with a real Italian family. They live in the beautiful region of Italy near Vicenza. We toured the southern hill region of Italy with them last summer and about 12 other villages near where they live.--They even treated us to a suprise opera performance in Veronna.

We have an upcoming trip to Crete and Santorini in May, so we'll see how those compare!

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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Random thoughts -

Iberian peninsula - Barcelona, then over to Andalusia, and if time permits, over into Portugal - the Alentejo in particular. Off the beaten path, reliably warm, and full of gorgeous countryside, villages, history and interesting culture.

Istanbul and Cappadocia. Exotic, affordable, and talk about a history lesson...

Prague and the Czech Republic.

Scandinavia - rent a car and drive up to the Arctic Circle for midnight sun?

Really off the wall (but not really) - how about a safari in South Africa? You might be surprised on the costs v. benefits.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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My best European trip was my first, just because I was so happy to be there.

But for suggestions: I think Switzerland is a great choice, and you can't go wrong with all the gorgeous Alpine scenery.

In terms of cities, I think Barcelona would be particuarly fun for young teens. It's just such a fun, cool, unique place with so many unusual sights and things to do.

If you want to mix-up the city sightseeing with scenery, what about Greece? Athens is full of ancient history, the cradle of Western civilization, birthplace of democracy and all that. Plus, you could combine it with an island or two for great scenery, beaches, and more active pursuits like hiking, watersports, horseback riding, etc.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 03:09 PM
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We had a wonderful trip to Italy with our teens a few years back - Rome, Siena, and Florence. And we just got back from a fabulous trip to Jordan - not a good candidate for a summer trip though. But we all agree our favorite was a multisport adventure trip for two weeks in June in Turkey. History, hiking, art and architecture, whitewater rafting, a very different culture from ours, kayaking and swimming, Ephesus and countless other ruins - it was all there.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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Have you considered Central/Eastern Europe? Budapest, Vienna and Prague make for a nice trio. Just throwing out other destinations that haven't been mentioned.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 04:05 PM
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Our family (mom, dad, and daughter) loves Italy and we go there every other year (or so) but one of our favorite trips was when our daughter was 13 we went to Prague, Paris, and Vienna (was suppose to be Budapest instead of Paris but my husband had business that turned up so we rearranged the trip). It was quite an awesome adventure. Prague is really a magical place - my daughter loved it (we also went to Terezin and that, too, was a very special experience). Vienna is really a lovely city, too and we would have liked to add Saltzberg (sound of music fans) but couldn't work it in.

We've been traveling with our daughter to Europe since she's been 10 and she loves it (now 17). We're going to Turkey in April (that would be a great place to go for two weeks- especially in June because there are great beaches there).

Another place our daughter loves is Paris - she is a huge French Revolution fan so she really loved seeing all of the sites and Paris is really gorgeous.

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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 04:23 PM
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My personal favorite trip to date was:

I flew into Switzerland solo (and stayed with a friend who lives there), then a dear friend from home flew over to join me. After a few days together in Vevey/Montreux, we took an overnight train to Venice for 5 days. From there an overnight train to Paris for 5 days. Flew home from Paris.

3 weeks total duration for the trip.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 05:06 PM
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I have traveled to several European countries over the last 25 years. I have enjoyed all the travels for many different reasons. My first repeat of a vacation is for Provence in September 2008. My husband and I are taking our daughter and son in law for their first European vacation. There are many historical sites and fun activites in Provence. Do a little research about the area, including the cote d' Azur . I think you would be there when the lavender is in bloom. Fantastic. Look at renting an apartment or house . Some are very affordable and many have pools. Good luck in your search and have a great vacation.
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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Oh, my! Thank you injfraz, Cal, Gardyloo, cheryllj, nametaken, rickandpat, lucy_d, risab, and suze! Okay, I am going to print off this post and have a family discussion! I was so sure about Switzerland, but......so many good ideas from everyone. I'll let you all know what we decide, but you all of given us so many years worth of trips after this one!

Thank you for your wonderful ideas!
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