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Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

Hunter Valley...
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Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

Hi, I am looking for some advice on a possible itinerary for an 8-9 week trip to Europe. While I have done a lot of USA, I have minimal knowledge on Europe. We will be going in April -Jul 2015.

It will be my husband and myself as well as three children (11,9 & 7).

A rough guide of what we are considering is :

Italy

Spain

France

Germany

Belgium

Netherlands

England

We know the best advice is to go slow and to not try and fit too much in, so we are considering staying in each place for around a week.

We need advice on accomodation (we are happy to stay in family room hostels / camps), transport (considering rail as the best option??) and

general sight seeing ideas.

Any help you can give me to get this very daunting task started will be greatly appreciated!!!

Thanks..

Toowoomba, Australia
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1. Re: Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

Jen, I have no qualifications whatsoever to advise you on a trip such as this. My children only wish we could have done something like this when they were that age!! They had to wait until they could pay for it themselves. Having said that, I agree with you in that you need to slow down. Every time you move on will cost you, in time and money - for the latter multiplied by five.

If you have nine weeks, I would suggest you choose three countries . Perhaps UK , France and Italy [ or whichever ones you choose ]. Spend time in London , Paris and Rome. All have plenty to see - lots of iconic places you have seen photos of for years. Then consider hiring a car and spending time in the countryside. One option would be to choose two areas in each country and spend a week in each in a holiday rental . Depending on the place and time of year, some will accept shorter stays. We find this an affordable and enjoyable way to travel. It gives you more room than a hotel or B&B and facilities such as a washing machine and a kitchen which allows for meals at home.

You are spending a lot of money on this adventure and you want it to be memorable for all the right reasons. For us, that is more about having time to enjoy the places we are visiting and less about ticking the UK/France/Italy box on a list and rushing from one country to the next. You might be surprised about what children remember as significant from these trips. It could be something as simple as going down to buy the daily baguette.

Hopefully someone who has travelled like this with a family will have some advice for you. I am sure it has challenges that I cannot imagine.

Good luck!!

Limerick, Ireland
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2. Re: Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

We've done the travelling from Ireland to France for 3 - 3.5 weeks thing and travelling within France. Our gang are now almost grown up but we've done it since they were small.

The first thing I would say is get each of the children a portable DVD player. Don't get them to share. The extra €60 or so you'll pay is well worth it.

Secondly I would suggest you cut back. You need to factor in the travel between places into your time spent.

Also involve the gang in planning the trip. Ask each of them to pick out at least one thing they want to do when you are there. For our second daughter her wish was and remains always to "go shopping for shoes" and that's great because I don't disagree with that philosophy at all :o) And intersperse child activity days with adult activity days.

Also at that age, they may want to mix with other children their own age. And just hanging out. Particularly as they will be away from home for so long. We've done the campsite thing always - we take the biggest mobile home we can hire - and stay for a week or 10 days. Its amazing how quickly friendships strike up.

www.eurocamp.ie www.eurocamp.co.uk This will give you an idea of what camping holidays are like and they have a good range of countries and locations. Eurocamp are formerly Keycamp and I'm happy to recommend.

In terms of what our gang have liked over the years - here are some suggestions from the 17 year old who is at home from school with flu and gastroenteritis (she's in the onset mode, I'm in recovery!!) :

Legoland in Windsor (outside London) www.legoland.co.uk

Kew Gardens in London

Chatsworth in Derbyshire, UK

Ironbridge Gorge, UK (we're all big into sociology and social history in our house so this is a biggie!!)

Blenheim Palace UK.

Nausicaa Aquarium in Bologne (Northern France) www.nausicaa.fr

Zooparc de Beauval near St Aignan (Central France) www.zoobeauval.com

Andorra the country. All of it :o) (Its not much bigger than the zooparc above!!)

Ile de Re and the Ile de Normoutier and the Passage de Gois in the Vendee.

Sarlat la Caneda (Dordogne) The Jewellery Shop where they sold hair clips made out of Heinken bottle tops and Pasta and Popcorn and other sweets, down a side street in the older part of the city. Its a narrow street going down a hill.

Chateau Chennonceau - Loire Valley.

Mont St Michel - Brittany.

Champagne Tour in Mercier Champagne (Epernay) http://www.champagnemercier.fr/en

Hennessy Distillery (Cognac) www.hennessy.com

Yes, I'm aware that these are alcohol based but the first involves a train journey underground and the second a boat trip.

The Tour de France.

Kayaking on the River Dordogne.

Vimy Ridge - Northern France.

www.chateau-valencay.fr

www.vaux-le-vicomte.com/en

These two purely because we hired golf buggies and I had great fun driving them as fast as I could (Dad is sensible and wouldn't do that sort of thing lol!!)

Cite Europe outside Calais. Shopping heaven.

Things that she'd like to do:

Tour of the Haribo Sweet Factory in Uses.

If we think of any more places we'll post again!!

Edited: 04 March 2014, 14:11
Limerick, Ireland
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3. Re: Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

Also Millau Bridge is fab. http://www.leviaducdemillau.com/en_index.php

And she liked the town of Carcassonne.

And all of the big supermarkets :o)

England, United...
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4. Re: Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

First things first. I would look seriously at the layout of these places on a map and look at the best routes.

For example, it is very straightforward to take the Eurostar train from London to Paris (2 1/4 hr. journey)

and then to take the TGV (high speed train) from Paris to other cities within France.

I think you should seriously look at pruning your list of countries though. A week in each country is not enough time to scratch the surface. Having said that, if you just want a taste of Belgium and The Netherlands, these two countries are easy to navigate and you could combine a trip to the north of Belgium with the south of Holland where the distance between the borders is shorter.

www.viamichelin.com is a good site to start with as it will help you to plan the route and suggests some interesting things to see on the way.

Flying "open jaw" into one country and out of another will save you backtracking.

Once you have decided where you want to go, post accordingly on the separate forums for the country in question and you will receive a lot of helpful advice.

Don't forget that there is also a separate Train Travel forum that will help you with that mode of transport between countries.

From experience, though, you will be inundated with a plethora of suggestions. Variety is the spice of life and so make sure you factor in something that each member of your family will enjoy. You'll never please everyone at the same time but it is possible to please each person for at least some of the time!

Get your children to draw up a list of things they associate with a particular country and then get them to do some of the research.

What a wonderful adventure. Don't be daunted. Take it step by step and treat each country as if you were planning a separate holiday. Once you have the segments worked out, it will all come together.

5. Re: Itinerary ideas for 8 week trip around Europe with kids

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