Staying for a month in Europe with kids! Help

Last year my husband and I traveled to Italy and Madrid for about 2 weeks. Well we loved it so much that we are planning to return this coming summer and staying for a month with our children in Europe. We are thinking Italy,we are looking to stay in a central location that will give us easy access by car to the major cities as well as the Amalie coast. We would like to rent an apartment that includes a car and has sleeping room for 2 adults and 2 teens. Can anyone recommend the best region or town to stay? Does anyone know or has anyone rented a place that included a car before? Help!!!!

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3293 posts

Although Italy may look small on an atlas, however it's not that small. As a result there is no central place that will allow you to visit all the major cities and the Amalfi coast. If you choose a place in Tuscany, you might be able to visit places in Tuscany, maybe Umbria, on day trips, but other than that you'll be too far from visiting places outside of that region. You would need to stay in at least 3 separate places (North, Central and Southern Italy) to do it all, and two weeks isn't enough time anyway. So tell us which places you want to visit and we'll be able to better help. I don't know of places who include a car with a rental apartment, I've never heard of it, but it doesn't mean such places don't exist. However it's not going to be easy, because property owners aren't probably in the car rental business and giving you their car may be too risky for them in case you have an accident (the car owner is just as liable as the driver in case of accident).

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2429 posts

Roberto, I think Frances plans on a month for this trip. Still, Roberto is right, you should either limit yourself to one region, or to one week to ten days in three or four regions (Tuscany/Umbria, Campania for the Amalfi Coast, and perhaps Rome and the area around Venice/the Lakes). I love Paestum, south of Salerno, and your family might, too: ruins, a good museum, a beach, and mozzarella farms you can visit. I suggest renting the car on your own, you will really limit yourself if you are looking for an apartment owner to also provide a car (insurance, taxes, huge costs).

Posted by Randy
Minneapolis, MN, USA
1505 posts

There is no reason not to simply rent your own car from a Hertz or other dealer. We did that last summer in Italy for three weeks and the cost for the car and the minimum required insurance was about $750. Italy has many apartment rentals to choose from in all different areas, so you have lots of potential there, but yes, you will have to be in more than one location to see more than a small portion of the "boot". I have a place with a pool to recommend if you desire the quintessential rural Tuscany experience. Just PM me a note. A week in Rome is always good, too, but there you don't want a car, so put that at the beginning or the end of the trip. Our general rule as a family is to spend no more than four hours in a car on a day trip (preferably a lot less). So with rural roads generally averaging about 35-40mph, that means you can only reach locations within about 75 miles of your home base (or maybe 100 if you can use a motorway). That doesn't include as much area as you might imagine.

Posted by Frances
Arlington, TX, USA
33 posts

Those are awesome tips thank so much. I did think that it may be necessary to stay in at least two places if not three, for the Campania area we may just do the scooter thing we loved it last time, but with teens it's a different story. WE also thought Tuscany and take a train to Rome for a couple of nights as we are more interested in staying out of the city. I mean Rome was nice last time, we spent four days there and on the last day I was ready to leave! Venice would be my favorite as was the Campania area...let's see what happens. I will look into car rental companies there... Anyone know of the cheapest airport to fly into, we may just stay there first, lol...

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

You really need to go to the library and read some travel books on Italy. Rick Steves' guides are probably the most popular right now. If you're going for a month, you've got time to go the agriturismo route. Google agriturismo to find plenty of websites. Villas.com, Hotels.com, Venere.com and AirBnB.com are great places to find rooms/apartments. TripAdvisor.com is a great place for info on rooms in every city. Virtually every farm in some regions have rooms available. Travel depends on how much interest you can keep in the youngsters. If they get bored easily, you'll need to do more travel. I prefer to stay in one place 4-5 days and move to another region/locale. Chances are you'll not find an accommodations with a car. Contact AutoEurope.com, which is a consolidator, and you'll usually get a Hertz auto. It doesn't always cost more to pickup a car in one city and drop it in another city in Italy. You will not need an auto while you're staying in a larger citylike Rome. Parking is very expensive, and roads were built for chariots. I would suggest a rental car for Tuscany and Northern Italy. The Amalfie Coast and suburban Rome have great buses and train systems. You might want to fly into Rome and take a train down to Naples and the Amalfie Coast. Then, take a train back up to the Rome area. You can catch a train up to Tuscany-Florence about every hour on the hour. Finish your trip staying outside Venice and rambling thru the Dolomite Mountains. We stayed at www.OliveTreeHill.com @ Zagarolo, 20 miles south of Rome. They have a cabin for 4 people. They rate very highly and are the most reasonably priced B&B around Rome. Ivano will also cook for you. He's the best tour guide around, and has a midnight to 6:00 a.m. tour of Rome.

Posted by Cathy
Baltimore
49 posts

If you're up for a home exchange instead of an apartment rental, those often include use of the family's car. You might be able to arrange that for one of your stops.