Family holiday southern Europe

Hi all, I am looking at taking the family on a holiday in South Europe pretty much. We are looking at either September or December (only due to gettting the holiday time - I know Sept would probably be better - weather wise). The itinerary I am considering is: Fly Paris stay 4 nights Fly Lisbon stay 3 nights Fly Madrid stay 2 nights (pick car - maybe short term lease) Drive to Valencia 2 nights Drive to Barcelona 3 nights Drive to Nice or Cannes 3 nights Maybe drive to Chamonix 1 night Maybe drive to Geneva 2 nights Drive to Milan 2 nights Drive to Venice 2 nights Drive to Florence 3 nights Drive to Rome 4 nights
Back home to Aus So we'd have a total of between 28 - 31 nights/days of travel. We are a family of 5 - 2 adults and 3 kids (aged 13, 10 & 3). We are used to driving(particularly distances), so that is not much of an issue. I know there are differences between Europe and Australia driving. But tips there are cool. Mostly I'm looking for advice on Hotels/Apartments/Bungalows or other accommodation (just nice places - doesn't need to be the taj mahal). If the places I am looking at are worth it or not or other suggestions there. And pretty much any other bits of information that would assist in us having a lovely time all up, things to watch out for. Advise for family stuff and anything else. The more info I have, the better I can get it organised for the family. Thanks

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

That's a lot of travel. I would urge you to really think about how much time you get in each place if you are only there for one or two nights. For example, if you fly to Lisbon from Paris, you will have to leave Paris 3-4 hours before your scheduled flight time. Add in the flight time and the time it will take to get your luggage, exit the Lisbon airport and find your way to your new hotel, andn you've lost a day. And don't forget that at some point you will likely have to do laundry, which could mean more lost time. Driving in Europe isn't difficult, but make sure you bring an International Drivers License. Keep in mind that fees can often be really high if you pick up a rental car in one country and it off in another. I also wouldn't recommend driving between Rome-Florence-Venice. When booked ahead of time, you can get some really good family rates. The trains are fast and easy to take. That said, finding hotel rooms for 5 can be tricky. Some search engines such as will help you find places for 5. I've also had luck with using TI websites for cities I am visiting. Another strategy can be to filter reviews in TripAdvisor to see what families . If you are staying several nights in one place you can also look into renting an apartment.

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

We drive most everywhere in Europe since we live here and I cringe at some of those distances. One of the pains I see is the jaunt to Chamonix. It's about 5 hours, then add a food/bathroom stop, then add some more time for just slow traffic in the mountains. I'm thinking 6 hrs minimum from Nice/Cannes, that's a lot for the kiddos, even with an in-car TV and playing license plate bingo (our two main activities when traveling). Google map the distances, then add another hour or two for traffic and stops, it's just a lot of car-time and not a lot of sight-seeing time. You'd have to chose which area to cut back on, but I think dropping a few places would be best for everyone. In Italy look at for hotels that are suited for families, usually with good pools and kid activities.