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Traveling Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Greece with Kids

I am planning a trip to Europe with my kids ( 9 and 14) and would like to know what would be the best way to move around with the minimum hassles and high safety?
We will travel for an entire month and starting in Germany, then to France, Spain, Italy and Greece.
Is this a plan that would even work? I am also considering to cut it down to concentrate in three countries, but would like to know which would be best to travel with kids, were they can enjoy the outdoors, camping, beach, hiking and getting inmersed in the culture.
Would renting a car, Eurorail, bus or flight be the best option for this trip?
I welcome your suggestions on a trip route and places to visit.
Thank you,

Posted by
21078 posts

That is a huge amount of territory to cover in a month. I'm tempted to say that it's impossible. Certainly you would incur huge transportation costs for little time actually seeing things (aside from through a car/bus/train window).

Have you checked the distances involved, and the driving/train/bus times? You can input origin and destination cities at Rome2Rio and get an idea of transportation possibilities.

Posted by
1056 posts

I think you would have difficulty if you had two months to do this trip. If I were traveling with kids, I would definitely scale back on the number of countries. The only way you could do it, would be to fly on a number of legs of your trip and you would be spending most of your vacation getting to and from the airport or at the airport.

Posted by
2133 posts

This really isn't something that's workable at this point. You've got 8 countries in 4 weeks, so that's about 3.5 days per COUNTRY, including all travel time involved, and your distances span thousands of miles.

You do have a nice stretch of time to work with and you could certainly do a driving trip. I prefer trains/planes for transit but you certainly could rent a car...no idea how much it would price out to. Having a car in some of the big cities can be really stressful so make sure you're comfortable driving.

I would suggest you make a short list of maybe 3 countries to focus on...or maybe come up with some highlight cities to work around and go from there. When I'm planning a trip, I stare at maps endlessly and check all sorts of city connections and travel distances. As you do this, a trip itinerary will start to form for you - and it will be awesome...I've never had an entire month before!

Posted by
1345 posts

Unless your desire is to compare the delights of Europe's motorway services and budget airlines, this has the making of lots of expense for little experience, especially for the children. Perhaps paring it back to two countries and one or two regions in each. And immersing in those regions.

Even then it is going to take full days to move between the regions.

Posted by
5697 posts

Did you ever go on a road trip as a child? "Are we there yet ??"
Sit down with pad and pencil and list what it is you want to see or do or experience in each location of each country you want to visit -- not just names of places, but why. Then prioritize what is most important to you and your family.
How long will each item take ? How long to travel to the next place? Add in a half-day of lost time every time you change locations (in addition to transit time)
Maybe you should get a copy of the old movies about the Griswolds and their family travel adventures. ;-)

To plan this trip - first ask yourself what you Really, Really want to experience with your kids. Art museums? castles? Foodie places? Hiking in mountains with great views? bocce Ball tournaments? Euro Disney? You get the idea. Then, pick 1-2 countries where you can best find the activities that are most important to your family.

Posted by
285 posts

That's way too much territory in one month, even for one (or two) seasoned adult travelers. Your list needs to be cut at least by half. Concentrate what you most want to see (art, architecture, hiking, scenery, etc) and fit those categories into a reasonable mix of 3 (or 4 at the very most) countries.

Posted by
13557 posts

Step one, get a very, very fast car.

Step two, ear plugs for the "are we there yet" chorus.

Posted by
3191 posts

Why not let each person choose a country? If this is your first trip to Europe, you probably don't want to visit Greece and Turkey when you haven't seen the others and they are the farthest away. If you don't have airline reservations yet, be sure to fly open jaw, not both in and out from Germany.

Posted by
13557 posts

I think I would start with "what would the kids and I both enjoy", then go looking for places that fit the bill. There is a train and a cave in Bulgaria that the kids might like, but that a long trip for a train and a cave. And going back to Germany through Bulgaria means traversing a lot more than just Bulgaria. You will be going by land in the same general direction as the current migration which might present some border crossing delays, or not. Still if I were going to do this thing I would head in the opposite direction because there is no telling what may happen in time and why be inconvenienced by it. As for renting the car, better to buy one. Would probably be more likely to be possible.

Posted by
13557 posts

Just for grins I put it in Google Maps. 11,000 km in 113 hours "without traffic". Figure 6 hours of driving a day and you could make it in about 19 days (with no traffic delays). Actually better than I thought. Go for it!! (but you will still have to buy a car because I don't think anyone will rent you one given some of the borders you will be crossing)

Posted by
3696 posts

I love whirlwind road trips, but this sounds like a joke to me.

If it is a real question then come back with some realistic expectations and you will get lots of good advice.
I have driven all over Europe with teens so would be happy to share my experiences.

Posted by
16883 posts

A car lease from France for a month or more would take care of the border crossing issue around the Balkans, but no, a rental company would not do it.

Posted by
2 posts

I thank you for your comments and suggestions. Through them, I have realized that it would be wiser to just visit only a few countries and spend quality time on each. My son who is 14 is particularly enthusiastic to visit Germany and France. I would like to visit Spain, Italy and Greece. Would a month be enough time to visit these five countries? I welcome any suggestion of specific places to visit and stay during this trip.
Thanks again
Q

Posted by
14917 posts

Obviously, and confusingly, you have edited your original post from 8 countries to 5 countries, making it very difficult to understand the many replies you got. edit - I suggest you read the rest of my post, then work out a tentative itinerary and start a new thread, please.

But FIVE countries in FOUR weeks (you use 2 days getting to/from Europe) is still too much and your countries too spread out. You have to work out (at this rather late date for good prices) what your arrival and departure airports are. Your basic choices are fly round-trip to one city and make some kind of loop through Europe, or fly open-jaw (multi-destination option), into the nearest, then a fairly straight line to the farthest, or vice versa. If you keep it, you will have to fly to/from Greece to/from anyplace else on your itinerary. There's no viable land route (haven't checked the ferries - probably wouldn't fit into your Italian cities).

The more you move around, the more difficult the logistics will be. The more you move around, the more expensive it will be. The more you move around, the more time you waste packing/unpacking, going to/from train stations or airports, and you will only move as fast as the slowest person at any given time. You'll need time to get oriented to a new city, it's language, signage, public transportation, and more. You will need time for shopping for supplies (in a foreign language), doing laundry, and simply relaxing.

How many cities are you considering. Think in terms of cities, not countries. If France means Paris, 3-4 full days is good. But if Italy means Venice, and Florence, Rome, you need at least 8 full days and the equivalent of 2 more full days traveling between them.