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  1. #1
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Default Share your favorite European vacation

    Iíll take any and all details you want to share as I start to cobble together our plans.
    Favorite hotel or VRBO? Names, links...
    Favorite site?
    Great tour?
    Itineraries that really worked or might need some tweaks?
    What worked best with kids of different ages?
    What would your dream itinerary be?
    Favorite time of year to visit?

    Iím overwhelmed with choices.



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  2. #2
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I have no advice, but will be following. I visited England in 1995 with my high school choruses and have been itching to get back (and to the Continent!) ever since.
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    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  3. #3
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    DH and I did a Mediterranean cruise in 2002, which started and ended in Barcelona. We did a few extra days in Barcelona and it was our favorite city. We are both architecture-buffs and all the Gaudi works blew us away. Despite only being in a few other European cities, we would both return to Barcelona in a heartbeat

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  4. #4
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PunkyBoo View Post
    DH and I did a Mediterranean cruise in 2002, which started and ended in Barcelona. We did a few extra days in Barcelona and it was our favorite city. We are both architecture-buffs and all the Gaudi works blew us away. Despite only being in a few other European cities, we would both return to Barcelona in a heartbeat

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    Ds1 went to Europe with his high school. Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and one other place. He fell in love with Barcelona so I know that is on our must do list!

  5. #5
    smilequeen is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    We've only taken the kids 3 times. First was a Mediterranean cruise and that was the least favorite. Mostly because I hate big cruise ships. We also went with my ILs which was part of it too. There are spots I'd like to revisit...Barcelona and Cassis in France. We started in Rome and Rome is great, once. So touristy and I can only handle so much of the excessive crowds.

    Greece was amazing. A wonderful mix of relaxation and history. We did Santorini (other islands would be just as great), Crete (2 spots...Chania and Elounda), and Athens. We did a lot of boating and beach time. Walking around Chania (Venetian style city). Athens was a lot of touring. Food was amazing. This might be our favorite in Europe, but it's close with...

    Northern Europe...Sweden (Stockholm may be my favorite city we've visited so far), Norway (did the fjords), and Copenhagen. We used a travel agent to book tours for the ages of our kids at the time, which included a few Viking related tours.
    Mama to my boys (04,07,11)

  6. #6
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    essnce629 is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    We've done Greece and Rome. In Greece we really enjoyed the islands of Paros and Antiparos. We took a day trip to Antiparos to see the caves there. https://antiparos.com/explore/antiparos-cave/

    Santorini is a tourist trap and I'd never go there again! My BIL got married in Naxos so we spent over a week there. I much preferred the port side with restaurants and shops, although my BIL got married on the most remote side.

    In Rome we really liked the underground Priscilla Catacombs tour. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...ome_Lazio.html

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  7. #7
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Oh, I just thought of something else. Make sure you plan NOTHING on Sunday. We had a lot of things we wanted to do each day we were in Europe and were very disappointed that almost everything was closed on Sunday.

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  8. #8
    Liziz is online now Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by PunkyBoo View Post
    Oh, I just thought of something else. Make sure you plan NOTHING on Sunday. We had a lot of things we wanted to do each day we were in Europe and were very disappointed that almost everything was closed on Sunday.

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    We lived in Europe for several years, so we've traveled there quite a bit. It's definitely good advice to be careful on Sundays, but don't waste a day with nothing planned! There's plenty still open -- most restaurants, etc. will definitely be open, and many tourist sites are also open these days. Hours might be different, etc. but you can definitely still get in a full day. In fact, we were more likely to find things closed on Mondays or Tuesdays! Basically, just make sure you do your homework ahead of time so you can piece together your itinerary based on when things are open/closed.

    In terms of where to consider -- there are SO many great places, it really depends a lot of what your interests are! If you care to chime back in about things you particularly love, it may be easier to give specific recommendations. I also don't really think you can go wrong -- you'll enjoy almost anywhere as long as you take a bit of time to plan out what you're doing. Personally, I'd encourage you to look at Portugal -- we did a trip in Southern Portugal and I *loved* it there -- but it doesn't come up quite as frequently among Americans as a place to go.

    Whenever possible, I'd pick visiting Europe anytime except summer. Summer is HOT, most European places don't have air conditioning (I think a lot of hotels may at this point, though we almost always stayed in Air BnBs so I'm not sure) -- it can be really uncomfortable to be walking around in the heat and have no great way to get respite from it (even many restaurants don't have AC). Summer is also SO much more packed in terms of other tourists, so lines are longer, prices are higher, etc.
    Last edited by Liziz; 07-07-2021 at 04:29 PM.
    Lizi

  9. #9
    marinkitty is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    We have a house in Portugal and pre-pandemic spent most of the summer there each year, so I've been quite a few places with my kids in addition to spending a lot of time in Portugal itself. There are so many great places that I think you really need to focus on your interests and any particular passions your kids have that would make the trip extra special to them. Our most memorable trips have been ones that have been planned because of some connection or interest - and we've let that lead us rather than focusing on picking a city or area and just seeing everything in the guide books. We have had the luxury of being over there so different family members have been able to take the lead on different trips and I've also done some one on one travel or just me and the kids without DH which has made it feel very personalized. But that can still happen when the whole family is together and different family members can take ownership over different parts of the trip.

    I think the biggest mistake people from the US make when visiting Europe is biting off too much in one trip. IMO it's better to see less and truly experience an area, its culture, people, lifestyle etc. My kids' fondest memories of trips are most often the little moments rather than the big attractions. I also think it is very worth seeking out some off the beaten path spots - even within a very touristy city there are places that feel like you are discovering them for yourself.

    As a PP said, if you want to narrow it down a bit I'd be happy to offer up further thoughts.

  10. #10
    SnuggleBuggles is online now Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    I love hearing these.

    Alas, we will not be able to avail ourselves of some of the advice- summer is the only time the kids have 2 free weeks to travel (though I did consider Christmas but Covid stuff is still challenging now) and it will be a whirlwind. People make it a whirlwind because it just isn't affordable for the average family to fly over to Europe multiple times to do different itineraries. Need to make the most of it on that 1 airline ticket across the Atlantic!

    I would love any "off the beaten path" tips and advice too. Where did you love? I am not really partial to the "highlight" tours so I'm all ears!

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