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Where in Europe with toddler and preschooler?

Where in Europe with toddler and preschooler?

Old Jan 8, 17, 8:27 am
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Where in Europe with toddler and preschooler?

This past fall we spent 9 nights in Paris with our kids and had a fabulous time. It was our 3rd trip to Paris (first with kids) so we didn't feel rushed or pressured to see and do everything and we found the French to be fairly welcoming to our two children. We were in an apartment for 7 nights of our trip and really liked having the kitchen, the extra space and a washer/dryer. Our 4 year old still talks about all the things we saw and did (climbing to the top of Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre were a hit with him).

We are starting to talk about doing another European vacation this Spring (thinking April, but will avoid Easter)...I would like to squeeze in one last longer, non-summer European trip before our oldest starts K in the fall. So, I am wondering where people have enjoyed vacationing in Europe with little kids? Or places you have found difficult with little kids would also be helpful.

We have ruled out:
London (it will make an easy one week trip during a school break)
South of France (we plan to do that as a summer trip in the future)

Budget is open, we can be away up to two weeks (including travel) and we wouldn't want to move more than 1-2 times.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 2:03 pm
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We did an 8-night trip to Scotland with our 10-month old (at the time) last July. We drove a lot, which worked well for us at the time, but may not if older kids don't do well with a lot of time in-and-out of a car. A lot of the places we visited were very easy-going and may be interesting for kids (e.g., castles, lochs, Inchmahome Priory, Highland Games and festivities, museums, farms, ancient stone sites). We spent 2-nights in Glasgow, 2-nights in Edinburgh, 3-nights outside Aviemore (Hilton Coylumbridge - very kid-friendly) in the Highlands, and a night in Aberdeen. You could do something very similar flying into Edinburgh and then moving only 1-time to stay in the Highlands.

This upcoming July, we have a 10-night trip to Italy planned with our then 22-month old. Depending on your interests, staying in Rome and moving only once or twice could work.

Before we had our son, we went to Ireland and will likely return when our son is older. So, that may be another option to consider.
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Old Jan 8, 17, 8:23 pm
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Originally Posted by FindAWay View Post
We did an 8-night trip to Scotland with our 10-month old (at the time) last July. We drove a lot, which worked well for us at the time, but may not if older kids don't do well with a lot of time in-and-out of a car. A lot of the places we visited were very easy-going and may be interesting for kids (e.g., castles, lochs, Inchmahome Priory, Highland Games and festivities, museums, farms, ancient stone sites). We spent 2-nights in Glasgow, 2-nights in Edinburgh, 3-nights outside Aviemore (Hilton Coylumbridge - very kid-friendly) in the Highlands, and a night in Aberdeen. You could do something very similar flying into Edinburgh and then moving only 1-time to stay in the Highlands.

This upcoming July, we have a 10-night trip to Italy planned with our then 22-month old. Depending on your interests, staying in Rome and moving only once or twice could work.

Before we had our son, we went to Ireland and will likely return when our son is older. So, that may be another option to consider.
Thanks...my youngest doesn't do great in the car, so I think we will avoid a driving heavy trip at this point...but Ireland and Scotland are both on our list and some place we hope to go in the future.

We are throwing around the idea of Italy...we have been before and didn't love Rome, but did love our other stops. Venice is super high on my list of places I want to visit, but I am kind of scared of going there with an active toddler with all the water!
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Old Jan 9, 17, 8:12 am
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You could also imagine Britanny / Normandy in France. Take an apartment either in St Malo or somewhere around Lorien, and then visit all that's around. The coast / nature is beautiful, lots to visit, very easy with children (did it with my (then) 4 months old).
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Old Jan 9, 17, 2:16 pm
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Spain/Portugal - plenty of inexpensive options, relatively cheap food, can rent a car to visit smaller cities..
North of Spain can be combined with Southern France if you drive (not that far) - there are some very interesting walled cities in the area that kids will like and in april the weather is gonna be reasonable but without throngs of tourists.
Lisbon was great with convenient suburban trains to Sintra and seaside towns, ferries, great food, nice walkable areas and cheap taxis. Some very nice resorts nearby too.
We did both as separate weeklong trips with kids of similar age - one in november and another in april - they had a blast.
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Old Jan 9, 17, 4:05 pm
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We loved Denmark and southern Sweden with a not-quite-3 yr old. We did Legoland (Billund) and then several days in Copenhagen with multiple trips to Tivoli. We even found a babysitter who would take him to Tivoli while we had a date night.

Around Malmo was also interesting for us.

But the all-time favorite "place to stay with a kid" for us remains Duinrell, near Den Haag in The Netherlands. 2 bedroom bungalow with kitchen and living room, on-site playgrounds and waterpark, and loads of things to see and do within a short drive.
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Old Jan 9, 17, 4:09 pm
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I wouldn't be concerned about Venice with a toddler Our kids were very young when they first went and loved it. They were intrigued by the life on the water; such as firetruck boats, police boats, laundry boats, etc. Locals were so friendly. Venetians are very welcoming to children. Also, our kids loved all of the food. I see toddlers in VCE all the time in their strollers. No cars is such a pleasure .

Last edited by obscure2k; Jan 9, 17 at 4:15 pm
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Old Jan 10, 17, 1:30 pm
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Thanks for all the ideas! I have some research to do (which is half the fun for me).
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Old Jan 10, 17, 1:31 pm
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
I wouldn't be concerned about Venice with a toddler Our kids were very young when they first went and loved it. They were intrigued by the life on the water; such as firetruck boats, police boats, laundry boats, etc. Locals were so friendly. Venetians are very welcoming to children. Also, our kids loved all of the food. I see toddlers in VCE all the time in their strollers. No cars is such a pleasure .
Thanks for this input...it actually didn't occur to me to be concerned until I read a blog post from somebody who visited with a toddler and talked about how awful it was with all the water.
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Old Jan 11, 17, 6:57 am
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I too, took little ones to Venise and it was a success. They loved it.

And I'm from California, in other words, paranoid about drowning!

I'd worry more about crowds in high season, and perhaps heat in summer first.

Having said that, Florence was a disaster! No, it wasn't completely because my husband had to work so we set him up with what he needed while we put on a movie for the kids.

Then I went to hit the museums.

Florence is a lovely city but the cool stuff to see is more adult-oriented. It's not kid-friendly like Paris and Barcelona.
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Old Jan 11, 17, 11:17 am
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there are quite a few threads on where to go. My suggestion is to search those and narrow it down a bit so you get more specific feedback.

With small kids, the UK, Scandinavia, the Netherlands/Belgium, and Spain are always high on the list and I consider them very kid friendly.
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Old Jan 11, 17, 1:12 pm
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Originally Posted by TravelingPeanut622 View Post
Thanks for this input...it actually didn't occur to me to be concerned until I read a blog post from somebody who visited with a toddler and talked about how awful it was with all the water.
To go slightly off topic for a moment...

Kids as young as 9 months can start swim lessons. My kid was one of those toddlers who had a magnetic attraction to water: see water, jump in water! Because of that we started him in swim lessons at about 18 months and that was some of the best money we ever spent. He saved himself after a fall into a hotel pool (9 feet of water) before any of the adults could even react, and while I always watched him closely around water, I never had to be fearful of it once he learned to swim. That made taking him at 2 to the Netherlands and Copenhagen much less stressful, too.

Swimming is also a sport the family can enjoy together when traveling - nothing like a nice dip in the hotel pool after sightseeing on a hot day.
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Old Jan 11, 17, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
To go slightly off topic for a moment...

Kids as young as 9 months can start swim lessons. My kid was one of those toddlers who had a magnetic attraction to water: see water, jump in water! Because of that we started him in swim lessons at about 18 months and that was some of the best money we ever spent. He saved himself after a fall into a hotel pool (9 feet of water) before any of the adults could even react, and while I always watched him closely around water, I never had to be fearful of it once he learned to swim. That made taking him at 2 to the Netherlands and Copenhagen much less stressful, too.

Swimming is also a sport the family can enjoy together when traveling - nothing like a nice dip in the hotel pool after sightseeing on a hot day.
Completely agree on the swim lessons...both my kids are in swim (youngest with me at this point)...we live near water and vacation near water all the time...so knowing how to swim is a real priority for us. Not sure why Venice was suddenly sending off all of these red flags in my head...
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