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Looking for Europe destination suggestions

Looking for Europe destination suggestions

Old Apr 23, 13, 2:47 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: (not Montana. Nor is my name really Helena, nor am I female)
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Looking for Europe destination suggestions

I'll be in Germany on business and am looking to bring the family along during fall break (early October, one week) prior to my business dates. We're a family of 4, including a daughter who's 11 and a son who's 8. I've traveled fairly extensively in Europe and am pretty good with German, can get around with French, and have at times known some Italian and Spanish. The family is also relatively well-traveled in Europe. We've had the kids in The Netherlands, London, Bavaria, Switzerland, Paris, Venice, and Rome. I'm looking for a new place they'll find memorable and fun, and is not ruled out due to early-October weather.

My daughter has been reading the Percy Jackson book series and loves Greek mythology, so she's lobbying for Greece. I'm not sure how good an experience Greece provides for kids in the 8-11 range, and have some concerns about being able to rely on the transportation network there when we need it, considering the economic and social climate there (or at least my perception of it).

This trip was originally to be a 20th wedding anniversary trip before we decided to bring the kids along, so I had been looking at Croatia. I think Croatia would be nice for the anniversary trip but I'm not sure how appealing it would be to kids. It does look like the beaches might still be viable there in early October, and the kids might enjoy the Plitvice lakes. I'll be flying on Skyteam, preferably with Delta SkyBonus points rather than Skymiles, so I'm not as thrilled about the flight accessibility as I might be with some place served by Delta. It also looks like a good bit of driving would be involved. Neither is necessarily a big deal, but a consideration.

My wife and I once tremendously enjoyed a trip to the Dordogne region in France, and think the kids would enjoy that experience, in particular if we could do a canoe trip down the Dordogne river. It looks like early October might be just within the bounds of a reasonable bet for that, since we wouldn't be swimming, but I'm not certain. Ideally we'd like to also take them by the Guedelon castle site in France, but in a cursory look I'm not sure that's really all that efficient an objective to include with the Dordogne. It might make more sense to fly into Tours and try to include Carcassonne. Or maybe fly into Bordeaux, do the Dordogne river trip, see castles and Lascaux, head to Carcassonne, and then go to Barcelona for a few days. That's a good bit of driving again, though.

I'd like to take them to Ireland, but I think early October weather is probably too iffy there.

The kids are good travelers, with a decent amount of patience for adult interests like art museums from time to time, but we definitely need to target some activities that will light up on their radar screens too. Starwood hotel options are a plus, but by no means critical. Since we'll want separate bedrooms, an itinerary that hops from one place to another is not ideal since it means we'd have to book 2 hotel rooms per night, as opposed to renting a cottage or apartment for a minimum of 3 nights at a time, which suits our needs and budget much better.

So, with all that as prelude, do you have any ideas for a great idea I'm missing?
Helena Handbaskets is offline  
Old Apr 24, 13, 10:11 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: BWI (plus WAS, BOS & NYC)
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I'm going to talk up the Azores, the islands off the coast of Portugal.

To be completely transparent, I'm doing some work with SATA (the Azorean airline), so I'm a little biased, but it's really a great destination, and not one that people normally think of.

Plus, average temps in October are high 60s, thanks to the Gulf Stream. :-)

The capital "city" Ponta Delgada is on the main island, where you'd fly into. It's fairly small, and has some small/medium sized museums, which are easy to do with kids.

You can stay in the city, or rent a place in the countryside fairly cheaply. Get a rental car, and use it for little day trips. Because the island is fairly small, it's easy to get around, and get back home... you're not spending all your time driving, and there's no need to hop from hotel to hotel.

There are beaches, and a lot of nature things to do. Lots of small hikes that are very kid friendly. Do a Google Image search of the "Lagoa das Sete Cidades" ... it's beautiful.

You're fairly limited in terms of airlines. SATA, the Azorean airline, and TAM, the Portuguese carrier, are the main options.

SATA flies in from Düsseldorf and Munich, and does Germany's "Fly & Rail" program to get you from whatever city you're in. From the Azores, they fly to Boston in the US year-round, and to Oakland during the summer and into the early fall...

Good luck, and let us know where you end up going! :-)
jetlagg3d is offline  
Old Apr 25, 13, 11:42 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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How about Iceland - If you like to swim in huge heated pools (with slides, etc) you are good to go. It's very child friendly and compact - not to expensive if you don't drink heavily. The weather will be cool but the pools are all super heated (and mostly outdoors).

Otherwise go to Greece - The Delphi -Peloponnesos route is fun and of season is the best time to go.

Last edited by erik123; Apr 25, 13 at 11:47 am
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Old May 3, 13, 2:33 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Languedoc, near Carcassone

We just returned from 2 weeks in Languedoc, staying at a house near the town of Narbonne. There are plenty of rental villas/cottages in the area; and we found enough to keep a 4 and 6 YO happy (YMMV with slightly older kids.) We flew in/out of Barcelona (coming from US), which was <3H drive, but closer airport options are Toulouse, Perpignan and Carcassone. The area is known for wine, so if that's your thing you can't drive 500m (so it seemed) without running into a vineyard or winery. Places we visited:
- Carcassone, a 45-minute drive - probably my kids' favorite of the trip
- Narbonne beaches (plenty of them - nice if the weather cooperates)
- Narbonne town (fine if you're nearby, probably not worth a special trip)
- Walking and biking (rental) along the Canal du Midi - There are multiple companies that do canal boat rentals too, incl. houseboats.
- Abbaye de Frontfroide, for history, food and wine
- Avignon and Pont du Gard (a couple more hours drive - worth an overnight stay). Near Uzes there is a Haribo (i.e. Gummy Bears) "museum" that DH and I hated, but the kids loved (our concession after too many dark churches).
- Gorges du Tarn: spectacular area for sightseeing, hiking and canoeing/kayaking (a couple hours north, definitely needs an overnight stay.)

There are many Cathar castles and also Roman ruins in the area, in case your kids would enjoy that. And the food/wine are hard to beat.....

Hope that helps!

p.s. I haven't been there yet, but if I were your daughter I'd personally be voting for Crete!
sucheng is offline  

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