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Itinerary help for July, with young kids

Hi All,
I am planning a 5 week trip for myself and my two children, ages 6 & 8; their Dad will join us for the last week or so. My kids take Spanish lessons, and the trip is built around attending a family language course for two weeks in Denia (TLC Denia), and then having a chance to use their skills. I have traveled in 6 or so European countries (southern Spain) previously, though not in a long time. We are coming from the US. I am trying to develop an itinerary that allows us to have rich experiences in a number of wonderful locales (but not all of them!), and I would love recommendations and opinions on what works. I've made an initial plan, next I will work on airfare so I know our start and end dates, and then I will work on booking lodging, a car where useful, and train tickets. The places I've chosen have plenty of opportunities of interest to kids, I think, but I'm open to suggestions. I also hope that Spain will be a recurring adventure for our family.

What do you think of this:
Arrive June 26 or 27 in Valencia or Alicante, depending on airfare
Denia 6/27 through 7/11, possible overnight in Ibiza or Mallorca on the free weekend
-Language class Mon-Fri begins 6/29, thru 7/10
Barcelona 7/12 through 7/16
Zaragoza 7/17 thru 7/18 (optional, could stay longer in Barcelona instead)
Could do any combo Pamplona, San Sebastian, Biarritz 7/19 thru 7/23
Bilbao 7/24 thru 7/26
Madrid 7/26 thru 7/30
Depart Madrid 7/30 (a Thursday)

This all supposes that Coronavirus doesn't stop us. I'm proceeding with the hope that it peaks and falls off by summer time. I have booked a few things tentatively that are 100% refundable, and I'm willing to have airfare credit for a future trip.

Thank you for your help!

Posted by
17176 posts

Just a few thoughts:

Zaragoza is very interesting but can be punishingly hot in the summer. You will already have spent 2 weeks in Denia. Barcelona's temperature will probably be considerably more moderate, but it might be humid. Will you be up for a couple more days of (likely) very high heat at that point in the trip? Maybe somewhere in the Pyrenees instead?

I'm not sure Pamplona is a lot cooler than Zaragoza in the summer, and I thought it was less appealing.

Of the three French Basque towns I visited last year (Bayonne, St-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz), I found Biarritz by far the least interesting. St.-Jean-de-Luz is a cute little place. Bayonne is larger and has an extensive historic district as well as a chocolate museum with an extremely generous tasting room. Biarritz, well, it has a casino.

Ibiza has a reputation as probably the biggest party island in Europe. I doubt that's what you're looking for. I think Mallorca has more conventional points of tourist interest, but it would take considerably longer to get there from Denia and a weekend wouldn't give you enough time for a really good look at Mallorca. Going to Valencia would take less travel time.

Posted by
83 posts

Agree with previous poster...Biarritz has the name as a tourist spot, but it´s largely due to the fact that the rich and famous spent some holiday time there, but nothing remarkable there. A nice market, a beach, a casino and the walk to the Virgin, and that´s it, shops and expensive boutiques. St Jean de Luz or Bayonne (this one, much more interesting) would be the places to visit. Pamplona does not have much to see, either.

Posted by
2 posts

You had me at chocolate museum! But seriously, thanks so much for this help, acraven, and Mikel. I had not come across Bayonne or St. Jean de Luz, and they sound like good prospects for us. Biarritz is not important to us; I think it was mainly there to have a moment in France. So it’s helpful to know it might just be a time and money waster. Same for Ibiza; I’ll look more closely at that.

I hadn’t considered the Pyrenees. I will look into that.

Thanks also for the weather graph, acraven. I keep hearing about the heat. We are coming from the Southwestern US, so 80’s don’t intimidate us much, even with humidity. To see 90s on the graph was surprising though. Too much of that will not be fun.

I’m also relieved no one said “that’s a crazy itinerary.” :)

Posted by
17176 posts

I think the basic concept of your itinerary is fine.

I just like to be sure people are aware of the temperature situation and have given it some serious thought. I live in a hot, humid place. But at home I spend most of my time in air-conditioned spaces during the hot months. That's even more true for the vast majority of Americans who own cars. Really, unless their hobbies are things like golf and gardening, or they work outdoors, how much time do they really spend outdoors on hot days?

Europe is not as heavily air-conditioned as the US. I've walked through museums (those without paintings and works on paper) with perspiration trickling down my back. If you see a small shop or eating establishment with its door propped open, that's your clue that it's not air conditioned. Sometimes it seems that the only place to cool off is your hotel room. Be sure your lodgings are convenient to the sights you expect to visit and that reviews don't indicate an air conditioning issue.