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3 weeks in Europe with kids
Suggestions and tips please!

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#1 my2prettyangels

Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:15 PM

Hi original.gif

We are considering a 3 week trip to Europe in April/May 2014. DH and I have had a couple of lengthy trips there prior to kids but that was some time ago. So I'm looking for some ideas regarding the best places to go with kids. The girls will be 9.

London is definitely on the list as we have family there. Won't be able to stay with them though so accommodation ideas appreciated original.gif

Paris - definitely as we want to see the usual places, plus Disneyland.

Aside from that we are thinking Venice, Lucerne, Innsbruck, Salzburg. I know it's too much to do in 3 weeks. What would you take out and what would you do instead?

Or, just set us an itinerary as we have been to all of these places so something new would be nice too!

Thanks original.gif

Edited by my2prettyangels, 27 January 2013 - 01:40 PM.

#2 Apageintime

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

I'd consider a week in Barcelona.

It's easy to get around, has a great beach and  vibe and I thought the food was great for kids. You can also get really cheap 2 apartment rentals through habitat (i stayed in a brilliant 2 bed one in eixample, pm me if you'd like the link).

The gaudi stuff would be ok for them too, eg the Casa batllo was designed to look like a fairytake castle with a dragon on time.

They might also enjoy the cable car rides.

#3 Isolabella

Posted 27 January 2013 - 04:12 PM

We did 2wks in Paris & Disneyland alone the other year and 6wks in LONDON (OK DH was working there).

Three weeks I would just stick to London and Paris. Maybe one other city, but there is no need to rush around everywhere.

We spent 4days/3night at Disney Paris alone,

If you want to see mountains go to Switzerland. Interlarken and surrounds is lovely. Take the train from London to Paris and Paris to Switzerland. It is much easier.

Edited by lsolaBella, 27 January 2013 - 04:14 PM.

#4 my2prettyangels

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:18 PM

DH and I have been to Barcelona, enjoyed it but no desire to go back. It probably would be a good place to take kids though. Maybe next time! original.gif

lsolaBella ~ Yes that is more realistic and agree that Interlaken is gorgeous. Would definitely like to take the girls somewhere in Switzerland or Italy in addition to Paris/London. Ideally we will win lotto and go for longer. We may end up going for 4 weeks which would give us a bit more time.

Did you stay at one of the hotels in Disneyland? DH and I have been there before but stayed in Paris. Might be nice to stay there for the girls though? original.gif

#5 Isolabella

Posted 27 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

We stayed Novotel at Les Halles for our Paris section (easy walk to Louvre, Notee Dame etc and above major railways for getting everywhere else). Les Halles is also where I stayed back in 1992 and we railed out to Disney then.

We did Disney hotel the Grand Floridian right over the gates for our stay. DD turned 2 on the trip so being able to get back to hotel quickly was good for us. We booked directly with Disney and saved lots of money compared to the quote flight centre gave us.

Fly into London, train to Paris. train to Interlarken. train to Milan and fly out of Milan. That is a suggestion.

We flew into Paris (2,4,6yos + 79yo MIL). MIL and the boys did day trip to London via Chunnel (DD threw up on herself and me on way to railway station so we just returned to hotel). Train to Zurich from Paris then to smaller Swiss town (where my brother lives) then three trains up to the snow near St Moritz. trains back to Zurich and fly out. We did that with luggage and ski gear for the five of us (MIL departed at first stop in Zurich).

A multidirectional four wheel case and the kids can push their own.

Edited by lsolaBella, 27 January 2013 - 06:48 PM.

#6 Ice Queen

Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:36 PM

We went to Europe a few years ago with DD.

In London we stayed in the Harrington Apartments in Sth Kensington.  Decent, modern apartments with kitchen in a GREAT location.  Across the road almost from STh Ken tube so close to the museums and walk to Hyde Park and Knightsbridge.  Easy tube ride form heathrow too.

In France we stayed in a few Citadines apartments.  They were okay but fairly cheap.  Bit grotty but very functional and central.  In Paris we stayed in Les Halles area.  I didnt really like this area that much.  I much prefer the madelaine area near Gallerie Lafyette department store where I have stayed previously.

I love Italy and find it very family friendly.

#7 ~benita~

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

We are going for four weeks in Sept/Oct this year.  We are doing Edinburgh, drive through Scotland and England back to London.  Stay in London.  Eurostar to Disneyland.  Then country France, Paris, home.  I would rather have time to stop and find things the kids like to do rather than a 50 stop trip with main highlights.

#8 Kreme

Posted 27 January 2013 - 10:26 PM

We spent 7 weeks in Europe with a 5 yr old and 3 yr old. First week and last 2 weeks were in England visiting the IL's and going to a family wedding.
We rented a cottage in a beautiful little village in the midlands and just toured around the local area. We also went to Wales for a few days - gorgeous scenery and plenty of castles to explore!
We spent a week staying in an apartment on Lake Como in Italy. Gorgeous!! You can catch a ferry to a different town/village on the lake each day. Switzerland is just a short drive away for a day trip. We flew into Milan and hired a car for the 1.5 hr drive to Lake Como.
We also went to Disneyland, which was the highlight for the kids. We went for a budget option in the Hotel Cheyenne. It was absolutely fine considering you spend all your time at the parks anyway (and I am fussy about hotels). We also booked direct through Disney and found it much cheaper than via travel agents.
From there we travelled by train to Amsterdam to visit friends, but found it a great city for kids. Museums, parks, bike rides, pancakes!
Happy planning  original.gif

#9 my2prettyangels

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:24 AM

Thank you everyone! Some great info there original.gif It's good to have some hotel/apartment suggestions too. So different doing a trip like this with kids! We were hoping so do a loop and fly in and out of the same place but I think it's going to be way too rushed.

We are trying to time DH's 40th in with London. It is on Easter Sunday so it's probably best for us to be in London during that time so we can spend time with family as so many things are closed (was in Italy for easter many years ago!) His birthday falls in the middle of our ideal dates which is a pain but we will have to figure something out.

Another question - did your children cope ok with jetlag?

Thank you original.gif

#10 Isolabella

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:34 AM

My kids deal reasonably well.

My then 6yo had no problems. Either way. We arrived in London at 6am, had a shower at our accommodation and went out into the sunshine and did sightseeing. Went home for a 1hr nap for us all around 1pm and then we all went to bed 7.30pm that night. DS awoke 5-6am but that is normal. Upon returning home we arrived 11pm at night. Home just after midnight. DS1 was up at 7am the next morning and went to school that day as normal. Continued without missing a beat.

For us the big thing is generally not going to bed that first day until 6pm at the earliest. Our 6am arrival in London had meant that we had been awake since before 4am local time, so the 1hr nap early afternoon did us all good.

Usually within 3days we are no longer crashing by 7pm.

London Sth Ken, high st Ken or Glouscter Rd station areas are great. We spent 6wks there and generally being on my own with a 21mo, just turned 4yo and not quite 6yo I could get out and about lots. We walked around to Buckingham palace, Hyde park, green park, all the way up to Piccadilly. Then up regent st to Oxford st and down to marble arch. Yes that was me with three kids on my own. Only 21mo was in pram.

Edited by lsolaBella, 28 January 2013 - 11:38 AM.

#11 Ice Queen

Posted 28 January 2013 - 11:39 AM

They get over jetlag better than us adults do!!!  Amazing.  DD took 3 days exactly.  Just dont sit down at 5pm.....the WORST time, you fall asleep and ruin that nights sleep.

London is a great choice for Easter.  London never closes!  In fact public holidays are known as the big shopping days in the UK so plenty will be open on those days.

#12 my2prettyangels

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:03 AM

For us the big thing is generally not going to bed that first day until 6pm at the earliest.
This is the tricky part, but essential! original.gif

They get over jetlag better than us adults do!
That is good to know!

Thanks again for your replies original.gif

#13 wickle pickle

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

Try www.airbnb.com for all sorts of apartments etc all over Europe. Trip Advisor also has holiday apartments now. We always stay in apartments if possible as you have more space and can save heaps of money by cooking occasionally.

Have a great time! I'm jealous although we were there in June/july (feels like ages ago!!). I tried to keep it simple but it didn't quite work out that way!

We did 2 nights in London (mostly just cos I couldn't face anymore travel at that point!), then 2 nights in Oxford visiting friends, then drove up to Edinburgh with a night at a motorway inn on the way up, 2 nights in Edinburgh with a friend, then flew to Germany, had a week in Düsseldorf (our old home town), then flew to Gdansk in Poland, had 4 nights there, then flew to Wroclaw in Poland and drove to a wonderful B&B in the countryside, had 4 nights there, then flew to Sofia in Bulgaria and had 4 nights there, then drove to the Black Sea in Bulgaria and had 6 nights at the beach in a resort, then flew back to Düsseldorf and had 6 more nights there!! I wanted to do so many things so it just grew and grew.

I think it was about 5.5 weeks altogether and it was great!! My kids were 3 and almost 5, so it was a big test to see how they handled it and if the travel would really be worth while, and I have to say, it was great! Totally worth it!

#14 Logical nonsense

Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:41 AM

Agree in 3 weeks I would only do London, Paris & Brussels/ Brugge.

I spend a whole week in just London & the same in Paris, there is so much to see & do.
You also need to think about when you are going is it going to be holiday season in Europe/that country.

The good thing about Paris, Brussels & Brugge is the Euro-star is going there & the price is OK.

Switzerland is very expencive & so is Austria, I was chocked when me & my DP backed-packed there. It was cheaper to take the train to Munich from Salzburg than take it to Innsbruck. ohmy.gif

Brussels is lovely & its charming, we rented bikes & took them on a day long trip, there are biking lanes all over the country it was really fun & interesting to see the country side.

#15 Mynewname

Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

I've just come back from 4 weeks there, we stayed mostly with family but had 4 days in London and then 4 days in Disney. The time in London was way too short. There is so much to do and so cheap. All the museums are free and the tube is so cheap and very easy to get around, not for prams though.
We also booked disney directly and stayed at the resort. It was still fairly expensive but worth it. My girls (1 + 4) had a ball, their cousin was 7 also loved it. We caught the eurostar there directly. It was great and so easy, much better than flying in my opinion. Before children we caught the train from Switzerland into Paris and that was really cheap and easy so worth considering if time permits. Have a great trip. I'm very jealous!

#16 my2prettyangels

Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

I wanted to do so many things so it just grew and grew.
Yes, this will be our problem. Our previous 2 trips there (without kids) were 3 months long so we had plenty of time. I wish I had endless time and money and could do 3 months again... don't we all!  wink.gif

wickle pickle ~ thanks for the apartment suggestion, I will look in to that. I'm sure it would be much better than hotels.

Verdandih ~ Salzburg is one of my favourite places in the world original.gif The problem is I want to show the girls everything I have seen and more. I agree that Brussels is lovely but it's probably not high on the list even though the location is perfect. The girls are really keen on Italy as that is there DH's family were from (shame we don't know any relatives there!)

jodownunder ~ Which hotel did you stay in at Disney? Was it nice/clean? I've just read some worrying reviews about the cheaper ones which is probably what we would do. Not sure if it might be better for us just to train in from Paris. We will allow a good week in London as there is definitely heaps to see/do plus we have family there.

It would be handy if I could win lotto before we go!

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