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10 Day Europe Itinerary

hi All,

We are planning a 10 day tour through Paris and Central Europe in May 2018. Need advise on the below itinerary..

Day 1: Land in Paris AM. Evening Paris siteseeing.
Day 2: Paris Siteseeing
Day 3: AM train to Munich, Overnight in Munich
Day 4: Train to Salzburg around noon. Discoverer Salzburg old town.
Day 5: Day Trip from Salzburg - St Gilgen, St Wolfgang. Evening in Salzburg old town.
Day 6: Day Trip from Salzburg - Berchtesgaden region. Evening in Salzburg old town.
Day 7: AM train to Prague with a 3 hr stopover in Vienna. Reach Prague by early evening. Evening siteseeing in Prague.
Day 8: Prague siteseeing
Day 9: Prague siteseeing
Day 10: Flight to Paris. Evening site seeing in Paris.
Day 11: Flight home.

  1. Is the above itinerary do-able with 2 small kids (8 and 5)? Please give general advise on the itinerary....any destinations to include / leave out. 2 Please suggest other day trips if you think they might be better than what I've put here.
  2. How much should I budget for food and local transport per day (we are vegetarians and hotels we choose will probably have an included breakfast)?

Any other suggestions more than welcome.

Thanks,
Manish

Posted by
663 posts

Hi Manish,

I hate to throw cold water on your plans, but I wouldn't even want to do that itinerary without kids, much less with kids. For instance, I don't really see any point in going to Munich if you're only going to spend the night there.

With only ten days of vacation, focus on ONE country to make it an enjoyable trip for all. If you try to see all of Europe within ten days, with two small children in tow to make matters worse, you'll end up being completely stressed out and not having seen anything at all except for roads and stations.

Also, I don't really see the point in wasting a whole day of such a short vacation just to return to Paris. Why don't you make that open jaw if you don't want to make your vacation some kind of round trip?

Anna

Posted by
11613 posts

Finding vegetarian sale won't be much of a problem, many menus have a symbol for vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. As for breakfast, there is usually a buffet so you can avoid whatever you don't want.

Just remember that a group moves at the pace of its slowest member. This pace may be too fast for one or both of your kids.

If you want to cover this much ground, fly into one city and out of another.

Posted by
6543 posts

Not only are you trying to cover too many miles, but these cities don't compliment each other too well.
We started taking our daughter with us at age 11. Before then, we couldn't take her away from my "parents time" with her.
I like Munich-Salzburg-Vienna as an easy trip that cities compliment each other. Or, Prague-Vienna. Or Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna. The train connections are straight forward and easy.
With budget European airlines, it is easy and inexpensive to catch one of many gateway airline cities (like Paris) to fly non-stop back home from. But 10 days would need to be expanded for that.

Posted by
6543 posts

Not only are you trying to cover too many miles, but these cities don't compliment each other too well.
We started taking our daughter with us at age 11. Before then, we couldn't take her away from my "parents time" with her.
I like Munich-Salzburg-Vienna as an easy trip that cities compliment each other. Or, Prague-Vienna. Or Budapest-Bratislava-Vienna. The train connections are straight forward and easy.
With budget European airlines, it is easy and inexpensive to catch one of many gateway airline cities (like Paris) to fly non-stop back home from. But 10 days would need to be expanded for that.

Posted by
3791 posts

I would drop Munich - the train takes about 6 hrs - you leave in the am - even if you can get up and go by 9am (with two small kids) you aren't arriving until midafternoon, then by the time you get to wherever you are staying, I'd predict you would just crash and not even see any of the city. Maybe you have an hour the next morning to venture out. I would probably just make a day of it on the train and go right to Salzburg...you could break it up with a stop in Munich - drop your bags at the luggage storage and go walk around for a few hours before heading on to Salzburg, but to spend the night and have to go thru all the unpacking/packing and getting to/from your accoms/train station for what may amount to a few hours sightseeing...with two small kids...nope.

Posted by
3791 posts

BTW - we did the one night in Munich thing ourselves. We stayed in Augsburg and had such a great time with our couchsurfing host, instead of leaving for Munich at noon, we didn't leave until close to supper. By the time we arrived in Munich and found our way to our hotel, the evening was a wash. We had the next morning and part of the afternoon before catching a 4pm train to Salzburg - a few months later my husband was looking at our vacation photos - he didn't even recognize Munich - he had totally forgot we were there because we had such a short time frame.

Posted by
4 posts

hi All,

Thanks for your inputs. All valid points and really appreciate your putting them up. I do understand that it appears like we might be biting into much more than we can swallow. Let me explain..

We've been to continental Europe a couple of times before but it'll be a first one for our kids and we want to give them a good taste of whats there. That is the reason we want to do a kind of scratch-the-surface tour and not go too deep into any one city / country. Depending on what they like, we can have a much more in-depth exploration the next time around we are here. Given this we think 3 nights each in Paris, Salzburg and Prague is pretty decent.

I am also in two minds whether or not to include Munich....the only reason we're doing that is to break the journey between Paris and Salzburg which will be 8+ hrs otherwise. BTW, that suggestion to go straight to Salzburg with a 3-4 hrs break in Munich (without a need to check in/out) seems a good one.

Any suggestions on family friendly (breakfast inclusive, good sized rooms, near the city center) hotels within 150E a night?

Thanks again,
Manish

Posted by
766 posts

I have kids about the same age as yours and I have to say I would just show them what I think they would like. A later trip could be a little more varied so they can form opinions at that time of what they prefer for a subsequent trip. If you are flying in and out of Paris and only have 10 days I would stick with Paris and maybe a couple of day trips outside of the city. Normandy, the Loire, Versailles. Then you don't have to move your home base and have flexibility in sightseeing if your kids have a meltdown.

Posted by
663 posts

I see what you mean, but I still think you are being way too ambitious. Your kids will mainly get a good taste of long hours on roads or in train seats, which would be boring for adults even -- how much more so for children. Ten days is hardly enough for even scratching the surface of one country, in my opinion, and there is no way of getting a taste for all of Europe within such a short time.

I think jlkelman's suggestion is a great one. Day trips from Paris, to the Loire etc., castles for the kids, … sounds like a vacation you'd like to remember.

If you really insist on all those long train rides, why don't you try and find out if they have sleepers on your itinerary. Might be fun for your kids to actually spend a night on the train, and you wouldn't have to keep them busy and content for six or eight hours. And you wouldn't be wasting your valuable vacation days.

Posted by
253 posts

When we first took our kids they were 11 and 13. We did a 2 week trip that was less rushed than your itinerary but still saw a lot. Their main comment was they wish we could have stayed longer in each place. At that age the actual cities wont mean that much, the new experiences and places will. Which if they haven't been to Europe everything will be new. This will be a tight trip anyway with little room for any flexibility, if someone has a bad night's sleep or is having a bad day, I could see it turning less than fun quickly.

Posted by
2449 posts

I have to agree with the majority - you're trying to do too much in too little time, and especially with children that young. Three days each in three cities is doable, but I think only if you reassess your transportation options.

First of all - don't return to Paris to fly home. Fly into Paris and out of Prague (a multicity ticket). That frees up a travel day right there. Add that to your Paris stay.

Fly to Munich from Paris. It's 1.5 hrs instead of almost 6.5. Yes, I know there's airport transfers to consider, but the travel time will be a lot easier on the kids, and you could easily get to Salzburg that day, eliminating the overnight in Munich.

What is the purpose of a 3 hour layover in Vienna? Is it a necessary stop for your next train? Because 3 hours isn't enough time to do anything other than tire the kids out even more than they already will be.

Posted by
20599 posts

My first response this is perfect for an open jaw ticket. Into Paris, home from Prague. You could add the travel day back to Paris to your initial Paris stay. But will throw a lot of cold water on the schedule - the five year old will not hold up well and it will be a struggle with 8 year old. The 5 year old will not have much interest in any of it - speak from experience. This is not a kids friendly schedule. Might even be tough on adults. I might consider dropping Prague entirely and focusing more on Germany and in particular the smaller areas/towns. Some of the old castles might hold the kids interests. With a vegetarian requirement you might want to do more picnic and grocery store shopping.

Posted by
9411 posts

Your budget of Euro 150 per night is not reasonable in Paris. Paris is really an outlier in this itinerary and it is a very expensive itinerary if only in terms of travel. If you cut France entirely and only go to Munich, Salzberg, and Prague, you can probably save enough money on transportation to help out your lodging budget. Fly into Munich and out of Prague. It is still 3 cities and 3 countries, but less arduous and less expensive.

Posted by
13933 posts

You want to give your young children a taste of several cities so that you'll know what to focus on a future trip? Even for adults that doesn't make sense. How can you get a sense of a place in a day or two, especially when you'll spend so much of the time getting to/from train stations and packing/unpacking bags, etc. What impresses a child of 5 or 8 isn't likely to impress that same child when they're 10 or 12. Changing locations every night or two means sticking to a pretty strict timetable, not the easiest or most enjoyable way for young children to spend 10 days.

Your kids may be different, but it seems to me that what young children generally relate to are universal - animals, rides, activities. They don't much care if it's in front of a 15th c. cathedral or a 17th c. palace or a 21st c. museum. A pony ride is a pony ride, chasing pigeons is chasing pigeons, a street entertainer (magician, musician, mime) is a street entertainer and a ball game on the grass is . . . .. Go where the adults want to go and find things for the little ones to enjoy along the way. Limit the number of stops to reduce the amount of "wasted" time.

Posted by
2860 posts

Your plan looks to me like a recipe for a nightmare. I see 5 places on your itinerary where you plan to do evening sightseeing. With a 5 and an 8 year old? Really? If kids get over-tired and/or bored, they can spoil the whole trip.
Is the 3 hour stopover in Vienna your choice? I ask because if you think you’re going to see some of Vienna, it’s another example of trying to cram in too much.
The best advice I can offer is, rethink.

Posted by
663 posts

Hi Manish,

are you still with us, or have we scared you away with this massive protest against your plans? :-)

"Rethink" may actually be the word.

Let's start out with your kids. I assume that with most families, when they're happy, you're happy. Right?

Now your intention is to "give them a good taste" of Europe. O.k.. So how can that be done in a way that they will enjoy, and that you will enjoy?

Maybe you can start out with the types of activities your children enjoy in general, and then go from there. Now I don't mean take them to the same type of playground they have at home anyways, and buy them the same hot dogs they eat at home. And I certainly don't mean spend all your vacation at Euro Disney.

In Paris, for instance: I am sure they will enjoy getting up on the Eiffel Tower. And I am equally sure they will be bored to death in the Louvre. Maybe there is a boat trip you can take on the Seine and enjoy the town from there. Maybe they even have those small boats where the children get to pedal. I am sure that is going to make a greater impression on them than all the grandeur of the buildings you will be passing by. Go to a bakery together and have your children buy a baguette and a croissant. Have them learn three words of French and give them the chance to apply them.

Now if the grandeur of one city's buildings is lost on most children, why would you want to bore them with the grandeur of three or four cities' buildings? Plus all those even more boring and long tedious train rides in between? They will remember Europe as the most boring place on earth, and never want to return.

One of the greatest intercultural experiences children can have, IMO, is meeting local children. If you can find or arrange opportunities for your children to experience that, I am sure they will start loving Europe and traveling. However, this is not something that will be possible if you are only rushing through places.

Campgrounds for instance are great for that purpose. In our last vacation we watched two maybe six-year-old boys who obviously didn't understand a word of each other's language cautiously approaching each other, taking a long time, looking, staring, retreating to mommy, returning... and eventually playing soccer together. It was a delightful sight to see two children experiencing such a small-scale "international exchange"!

You want to give your children a taste of Europe, and you picked three places. I think basically that's not a bad idea. But for children, it doesn't matter if these places are samples of different countries. It matters if they enjoy the activities, and if in-between traveling doesn't get too strenuous. So why don't you rethink and pick three places that are within easy traveling distance from each other, taking the types of activities your children enjoy as a starting point?

If kids get over-tired and/or bored, they can spoil the whole trip.

Not to mention the trip being spoiled for them. ;-)

Posted by
4 posts

Wow ..just wow :)) Have been away for a couple of days and see whats happened.

First of all, genuine hearltfelt THANKS for writing in. This gives me a entirely new perspective on how I should go about this. As most of you mentioned, I'll have a re-think. I take the point that this is much too ambitious especially with small kids. Let me replan and come back with more pointed questions.

Thanks again,
Manish

Posted by
7124 posts

In an ideal world I would try for this ...

Day 1: Land in Paris
Day 2: Paris sightseeing
Day 3: Paris sightseeing
Day 4: Fly to Prague
Day 5: Prague sightseeing
Day 6: Prague sightseeing
Day 7: Train via change at Linz to Salzburg
Day 8: Day Trip to St Gilgen, St Wolfgang
Day 9: Day Trip to Berchtesgaden
Day 10: Train to Vienna or Munich
Day 11: Flight home from Vienna or Munich

Posted by
2361 posts

A couple of thoughts-they would probably enjoy looking at gargoyles on churches, so bring binoculars for each of them.
Stay longer in Paris. Drive to a Loire chateau one day. I haven't been to Amboise, but the Da Vinci contraptions might interest them. The thing about a chateau-one of you could be outside with the kids where they can run around and the other of you can tour the house. At Chenenceux there were a few animals-a donkey I think-for them to visit.