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*** Help sought ASAP with review of our 12 day itinerary in Europe :-)

[part 1]


We're planning our first (and perhaps only) family trip to Europe. Our 3 kids are all under 15...given the cost of airfare for FIVE, etc. this could be the only time we'll bring the kids with us, so we'd like to show them bits and pieces of a lot of things (they say they are up for it). [I've been to most all of these places several yrs ago, some more recently. This will be the first trip to central Europe for my kids.]

IF we ever brought the kids back we'd go to England or Czech Republic and not back to these places for less hurried stays.

We'd really appreciate feedback on this itinerary we've worked out (derived from reading mostly Rick's books, and from our past travels there). We arrive in Amsterdam and depart from Paris & we're renting a car.

[4 days leading up to this spent in Rekjavik...been here a few times before as well]
1-2: Amsterdam (canal tour, museum, Anne Frank house, tulips, walking...)
3: Mosel (Burg Eltz, short boat trip) (4hrs from AMS)
4: Rothenburg (3 hrs from Mosel)
5: Dachau (kid requested - 2 hrs from Rothenburg)/ Salzburg (2 hrs from Dachau)
[Skip Munich]
6: Salzburg (two night in Salzburg 5/6)
7: Fussen (3 hrs drive) / Appenzell, Switzerland (OR???) (2 hr drive)
8: Bern (2.5 hr drive) / sleep in Beaune France for the night(3hr drive)
9: Amilly (to see the castle being built, 2 hr drive) / Paris (1.5 hr drive)
yes, perhaps it may seem sacrilegious to zip past Burgundy!
10-12: Paris (return rental car on the 9th) - stay in Apartment 3 nights(9-12)
See Louvre, Eiffel, Versailles, maybe catacombs, Notre Dame, would think kids would like to see Chartres but perhaps too far away.

Posted by
5 posts

[part 2]

This may be a lot, but it does provide a nice sampling plate of Europe for the kids, where as staying in one or two places provides depth and much less of a broad view of Europe. This would also give them exposure on how to travel around, what cities they may want to come back and see when they get older, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you!

Posted by
473 posts

That's way too much travelling. Keep in mind that it takes time to find your hotel, check in, unpack, repack, check out, etc. If you are starting in Amsterdam and ending in Paris, I would suggest seeing Amsterdam and Haarlem, Brussels and Brugge, then Paris. Going all the way to Bavaria and back will chew up way too much time for a 12-day trip.

Posted by
638 posts

IMHO-I think you're doing a lot of driving. Have you considered the cost of gas? In Europe it's probably at least $5-6/gallon. I can check exactly when I pass the gas station on my way home, I live near Pisa. Plus, what the map sites say the trip takes and what it will really take are 2 different times, you need to be prepared for traffic jams everywhere! Also, I've been to Bern and quite frankly, it's not worth the time. There are a couple museums, VERY expensive shopping and food, and the bears-which are in a small outdoor pit and just not that fascinating. I would suggest doing Amsterdam and definitely Brugges, and maybe northwest Germany and then Paris and environs. If you're going to hit the Mosel, do more than the castle and a boat trip, hit a couple of the towns.

Posted by
21717 posts

I agree with most of the others -- too many bits and pieces -- and all they are going to remember is bits and pieces. I would pick three places and see them very well -- that they will remember and it would probably be cheaper.

Posted by
3 posts

I think you should pack all kids in a car...

only allow whatever diversions they will have with them on trip.

Drive 4 hours away from your house...

spend the night....

get everyone up in timely fashion, on the road by 8 or 9 and drive back home.

ask them if they can handle it for 2 weeks.

Sorry, by no means do I think you are a UA and your family needs poopin scoopin...

I just forgot to sign out of this name and use my usual screen name!

Posted by
2779 posts

Too little time for Mosel river and Rhine river valley, too little time for Rothenburg. Dachau is not a sight. Guantanamo is the same thing and people don't visit it either.

Posted by
990 posts

The truth is, travel itself is exhausting and not terribly interesting to adults, let alone kids. I'd cut the amount of traveling and concentrate on the places where there's the maximum amount of fun. For example, in Paris you have the Cite des Sciences hands-on museum at the Parc de la Villette, the fun fair rides at the Tuileries Gardens or the amusement park at the Bois de Boulogne, the Eiffel Tower, crepes on the street, madeleines and macaroons washed down with tea or impossbily rich hot chocolate at a tea room, the Batobus river excursions, riding the Metro anywhere, the hokey "Paris Story" multimedia show. Rent a rowboat or two at the Bois de Vincennes, get lost in the maze at the Jardin des Enfants aux Halles, meet animals up close at the Parc Zoologique and the terrific aquarium there. That beats the heck out of Bern, at least for kids!!

Posted by
5 posts


Thanks much for all the advice. How about this modification:

  • 2 days Amsterdam
  • 2 days Mosel
  • 2 days Rothenburg
  • 2 days North central Switz (WHICH LOCATION?)
  • 3 days Paris

I was looking at perhaps staying in Appenzell... but I don't know where, or what there is to see? If anyone has an alternative town to recommend to visit on our way to Paris, please do!

I would also be interested in knowing why several people have recommended going to Brugges, and how it differentiates itself from the other places we are going.



Posted by
102 posts

I love Bruges,

it's magical..pull up and type in Bruges in the search engine..

culinary wise...heaven...waffles, beer, chocolate, frites...the clock tower is fantastic, take the canal ride, check out the beguinages..they are becoming UNESCO sites in Belgium.

I think the kids and you too would love the town...

also, it's VERY walkable..

if you go a little TIN TIN research as he is being made into a movie

Posted by
14 posts

I agree with some of the other posters. Too much driving. Bruges is for sure worth a stop. Also, Normandy and Mt. St. Michel would be worth doing -a relatively short drive outside of Paris, but worth 2 nights.