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Best place for family trip....

Hi !
Like almost every summer we will do a family trip in july-August. We have 50 days of vacation and budget ( more or less 300 euro by day) for travel 25-30 days.

I wont tell which places we have gone before just to keep options coming.

A bit of informations about our kids:
1) They are 7 & and 11 years old (a girl and a boy)
2) They love: Playground, swiming (pool or beaches), small theme park (they dont go in mega roller coaster), interactive and science museums
3) Food: they are very open minded but dont like seafood or sushi but they eat cooked fish.

About us:
We love history and are foodies (we love local and international food, craft beer and wine).
We can tolerate some heat without too much problem (the same goes for the kids). but more than 90's everyday and every time of the day is quickly dragging for us and the kids.

So one question:

With that time frame and specific time of the year where would you go ? I know it's fairly large question but I want to get all the options !

Posted by
13275 posts

These are places I've used in recent years to escape the heat in mid-summer, and I think your budget would be OK:

  • Northern Spain near the coast from Galicia to the Pyrenees.
  • Barcelona and the coast of Catalunya (can be humid, so no guarantees of comfort)
  • Normandy and Brittany
  • The United Kingdom (heat waves can happen, but I'd bet against them).
  • The Dolomites in Italy, at altitude. Other high-mountain regions would also work.

Other possibilities for mild summer weather are Scandinavia (but cost could be an issue) and these areas that I think are nearly always OK but might occasionally get hit with a heat wave: northern Poland, northern Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

I don't have children, so I'm not the one to say which areas would be most appealing to them.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for those answers !

1) Going camping in a resort is not very attractive for us, we have plenty of them here, i'm not going in Europe to do something we can do here for less money !

2) Thanks acraven, of all those places (some we have already done) which are those you have more enjoy ?

Posted by
6026 posts

How about flying into London and doing the sights there?
Then take the Eurostar down to Paris.
Paris can be very memorable for youngsters. Fly home from there.

Posted by
2937 posts

I lived overseas for 9 years and had kids with us during that time. We took the kids everywhere, including museums.

Yes, my seven year old, after going through Rome and Florence and all their museums, when entering the Lourve in Paris, looked down the hall and saw the Greek and Roman section with its statues, said "oh no, more naked statues."

Kids do get a bit bored going to museums, but all four of mine are now in their 40s and they still love travel and museums. They do learn things in museums and it is a good thing. Still, it is good to find things that the kids enjoy.

Here is a list of things that my kids enjoyed;
Gondola ride in Venice,
Going up to the top of the tower in Venice and the dome of the Doumo in Florence.
The Roman Coliseum fascinated them.
They were amazed at the Sistine Chapel and didn't want to leave.
Going up to the Eagle's Nest in Berchtesgaden, Germany and the Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg, Austria.
Going up the Eiffel Tower.
Taking a day cruise on the Rhine River.

There is more, but you get the idea. You many enjoy camping, but not sure that I would recommend that. It is expensive to go to Europe and you can camp anytime in North America. Of course, it depends on what you really enjoy.

Another point, when we first traveled in Europe, my Daughter was 11 and she enjoyed most everything we did like an adult. Now, she has a Master's Degree in History.

Posted by
13275 posts

Papineau, I really enjoyed all of those places! Obviously, there's quite a difference between going to a limited area like the Dolomites (outdoor activity plus the museums in Bolzano) and a larger area with many cities and smaller towns. I'd want to pair the Dolomites with at least one other destination, whereas I think each of the other areas I listed could be a stand-alone vacation.

Food shouldn't be an issue in any of those places, though someone who eats neither ham nor seafood might find far northwest Spain (Galicia) a bit limiting.

You'd need to dig into the sightseeing options to see what would most appeal to children. The weather on the northern coasts of Spain and France is probably not reliable enough to count on daily swims, which I know is a popular option for folks traveling with children. Even during mid-summer it's often overcast or raining as well as cool. There were very, very few people in the water around San Sebastian during my mid-June 2016 visit, and they were mostly wearing wetsuits.

Posted by
374 posts

Mine at that age enjoyed:

renting a rowboat on Loch Awe, near Inverary, Scotland
a Thames cruise from the Tower of London to Westminster
renting a paddle boat in Amsterdam
Edinburgh Castle with audioguides
a 2-on-2 pickup game of football (Soccer) in the Englischer Garten in Munich
Legoland in Windsor England
a day trip to Ashdown Forest (England) and the Poohsticks bridge

Posted by
11241 posts

In July/August I'd recommend:

Scandinavia/Baltic seaports. This is the best time to be there.

North coast of Spain. Much of Spain can be really hot but the north coast San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander are ideal that time of year.

I really enjoyed Brittany because it's Celtic, focused on the sea and has prehistoric megoliths, dolmans and passage tombs. July/August would be a good time to be there. They have community festivals called pardons all over the peninsula through the summer.

I just went camping in SW France in June. You may enjoy camping in one of the many campgrounds along the Atlantic near Bordeaux. I was in a tent but they have cabins for rent and most campgrounds have a restaurant/bar, swimming pool and other activities. The place on the Atlantic where I stayed had sand volleyball courts, basketball, tennis, multiple pools, laundry, bar/restaurant and I'm sure more. They're considered an affordable family vacation so your kids would find lots of other kids to play with. I paid considerably less to camp than I pay in a national/state park at home. July/August is busy (like the north coast of Spain) so you would want to reserve something early.

Posted by
2809 posts

A road trip from Normandy, France through Brittany and down finishing in Basque country in Northern Spain would be really cool! Great for foodies, a real variety of cuisines and artisinal cheeses and such.

With a family of 4, a week renting a drive-it-yourself boat would be a lot of fun. I did the Canal du Midi in September, that part of France would probably be too hot and crowded in July-August, but you could do it in the UK, Germany, Netherlands...

Posted by
3624 posts

We have similarly aged kids who sound a lot like your kids. We have been all over Europe, but the trip we took this summer was a real hit and meets much of your criteria. We went to Denmark. Loved it. Rented a house for a week in Tisvilde (super cute beach village in northern Zeeland) which was a dream. Combined with a few days in Copenhagen, Hans Christian Andersen, Legoland, Vikings, Castles, ferry rides and cinnamon rolls this would be an ideal location. We also found that our costs were quite low with the house and car rental. We cooked all of our own meals.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for all those ideas, camping is something we dont want to do.

We have taken a look at Scandinavia but it seem to be really expensive. Of course we could cook our own meals but eating out is a big part of the fun we have while traveling.

Italy:done (without kids)
Eagle nest:done
Cruise on the Rhine:done
Munich: done

England could be an option, Normandy, Britanny and northern Spain too....tough choice here !

Posted by
128 posts

I’d mix in culture and down time. Think about the beach towns between the major cities you want to see and work those into your itinerary for 3 day/4 night stays. The riviera is obvious, but also consider Spain’s costa del sol and San Sebastián.

Posted by
13275 posts

The Picos de Europa area in northern Spain could fit in with a trip along the coast. The pretty old stone town of Potes seemed to have some sports outfitters. I was just on a one-day bus tour and didn't really pay attention, but there might be kayaking on the river. The scenery in that area is very dramatic, and there's at least one mountain lift in the Picos that runs in the summertime.

Posted by
5 posts

If you're definitely going in August, then I would pick somewhere that's not extremely hot. How about somewhere in the North like camping with family in Norway, Finland or Sweden?

Posted by
564 posts

Excuse me while I go be jealous of all your vacation time! :) That's awesome!

My kids' favorite place (thus far) is Switzerland (Berner Oberland - great playgrounds, hiking, scenery) and Rome (Colosseum, Trevi Fountain).

Posted by
2987 posts

Lol, despite the OP's repeated assertion that camping is not an option it continues to crop up! Do people actually read the thread?

To the OP, whilst I understand your reluctance for camping are you aware that camping in Europe is often very different to that experienced in North America? European campsites usually contain swimming pools, playgrounds, bars, entertainment etc and the accommodation is not confined to tents, there are all sorts of accommodation including some quite luxurious cabins.

Whilst good weather cannot be guaranteed in the UK, August is usually reliable, last summer was a particularly hot one. How about some time in London, the Science Museum is excellent and very geared towards children of all ages with lots of interactive activities. It's also next door to the equally good Natural History Museum. Both are free and of course there's the wealth of other attractions in London.

After some time in London you could head towards the South Coast. There's a fantastic small theme park, Paulton's Park, which is ideal for children aged the same as yours. My kids are a bit older now and they prefer the thrill of the big theme parks which is a shame as Paulton's Park was a guilty pleasure of mine. Paulton's Park is close to the New Forest which is an incredible national park, full of wild ponies, free ranging cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys and contains a plethora of wonderful villages including Brokenhurst, voted the most beautiful village in England. There are plenty of places to stay and some real foodie gems to encounter. I'm sure the kids would love the New Forest Water Park

Further west along the coast is Lulworth Cove This is an ideal place to visit in the summer and the sheltered, shallow cove provides excellent safe swimming. It's also a great place to explore with some incredible natural features.

You can then continue westwards along the Jurassic Coast and go hunting for fossils, they are literally just hanging out of the cliffs and along the beach, especially after a storm and in the highly unlikely event that you don't find any there are a multitude of shops in all the towns and villages along the coast that sell them.

From Dorset you could continue west into Devon and then Cornwall or alternatively, head north and perhaps hit Minehead, a traditional English seaside resort and from there on to Bath and perhaps The Cotswolds if you're interested in their popularity.

Of course there are other routes to take out of London that will encompass other fantastic areas of Britain but I'll leave it to others to make suggestions.

Posted by
818 posts

papineau, we (with kids) are going to n. spain this summer, sort of by default (something else led us there, so we figured we'd make a trip of it). While we haven't been there yet, we have been to several other european destinations and I have been surprised in my planning about how varied in activities n. spain seems to be in comparison o other places, and how much I have found for the varied interests of my 3 kids and us two adults. Beaches, rivers, amusement parks, caves, gondolas, museums, castles, medieval villages, hiking, outdoor art (Oma forest), etc. It reminds me a bit of the Dordogne, but with beaches, mountains, cathedrals, and museums. We'll see ;p