3 weeks in Europe with Kids - Too much?

Old Aug 4th, 2022, 11:23 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
3 weeks in Europe with Kids - Too much?

Hello! I've been reading some of the feedback folks are getting on trips and they have been so helpful wanted to see if I could get some feedback. We are in the early planning stages of a 3 week trip from Seattle with our family of 5 - kids are 8, 10 and 12 for late March/early April. Here is what I am thinking --

London

Paris

Provance

Rome

Florence/Tuscany

Another option would be to skip Italy (although I love it!) and move over to spain/portugal. Once we arrive, where do we fly vs. taking the train? Areas to stay in (we have been before but not with kids!). Anything major we aren't thinking of that we should be early on? Is this trying to do too much? I'd appriciate any thoughts/insight!

THANK YOU!
sarahmann7214 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 12:57 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd be looking at doing roughly one week per destination. Maybe start by fleshing out the itineraries for each place--that might give you a better sense of how much time you need for each place and which you might save for a future trip. London and Paris are a snap by train, but that's a lot of flying on your vacation otherwise! I almost always plan one country tips (or only neighboring countries)--the big trek is fun in your 20s, but with three kids, who needs it!?
yorkshire is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 01:12 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Great insight thank you!
sarahmann7214 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 01:15 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,209
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I do love the idea of pairing cities with small towns and nature. London-Paris-Provence would be lovely (with lots of day trips, and you could also insert one more French city in there). But it's always great to let the train networks do half the work for you--good luck!
yorkshire is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 01:16 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you! Now we are thinking maybe Ireland and France -- Dublin/countryside and then Paris/Provance. So much to do!!
sarahmann7214 is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 02:09 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,486
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you click on my user name, you will see my trip report for London and Ireland with kids. We did one week in each place and had a lot of fun. I also have trip reports for taking teens to Italy. The London and Dublin trip was more fun for my kids--staying in one place and doing day trips from that location worked better for them.

I would also say--look at cutting your trip to 2 weeks. Over the years, I have found that is about the limit for my kids. Clearly, all families are different in their tolerance for being away from home/routines and maybe your kids love it!
StantonHyde is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 02:57 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,606
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
For me, it would be too early in the year for Ireland. At a minimum, I'd do the trip south-to-north.
Jean is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 03:50 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 69,908
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Not always of course, but March is usually still wintry in Ireland. My usual recommendation for a family's first trip would be London and Scotland -- but March is too early for Scotland too.


Actually at that time of year I'd do Italy . . . JUST Italy. London and Paris are my two favorite European cities -- I've been to Paris in March two different years. One visit was mostly dry with mild-ish/pleasant days, but the other trip it was downright awful with sideways rain and cold temps.
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 03:56 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 69,908
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
ps: . . . Though with city stays it is easy to 'mitigate' bad weather because of the museums etc. So if, London and/or Paris are on your wish list you could fit one of them in with the rest of the trip being in Italy. What I'd definitely not do with a family of five, is dash all over from city to city, country to country.
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 4th, 2022, 04:58 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 8,908
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree about thinking about the weather. I was in Paris once in early April and it was freezing. It really was too cold to do any strolling although, of course, indoors was fine. We took our kids to Europe when they were roughly the ages of yours and Italy was their favorite place. You really could do just an Italian trip and have a great time. We started in Rome and then went to Florence, Siena, and Venice. If you start in Rome, I would stay at least 4 - 5 nights, then head to Florence for 3 nights and end in Venice for 3 nights or so. You can also add in other locations, if you wish. Our first trip was three weeks but everyone was lagging a bit at the end as we had over-scheduled.
KTtravel is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 04:05 AM
  #11  
mms
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,725
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When our kids were those ages (8 and 10), we took them to Europe for 3 weeks in mid February into the first week of March. We went London, Scotland, Paris and Normandy. For us, that was the right amount of time in those locations and we had a wonderful vacation. We had snow one night in London, but then in Scotland had a lot. We too came from Seattle, so were used to it though and knew how to drive in it ,etc since we go the mountains a lot here. We went to Edinburgh and then the Grampians for a few days. If I were to redo that trip, there is nothing I would change, FWIW.
mms is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 07:44 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,535
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
Late March in Europe
London, possible but you need to have a plan B for everyday and come prepared for lousy weather. I'd certainly not come unless I had a plan and reason
Paris, yeah but no
Provaence, no, I've done early trips to southern France and it is possible but with kids???
Rome, possibly warm enough and certainly has some outdoor places to go and lots of indoor places to go too
Florence/Tuscany, just about right

Dublin, no
Southern Italy such as Sicily is the obvious place to enjoy low levels of tourism, some better weather and different things to do
Southern Spain, yep,
bilboburgler is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 08:59 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96,491
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Yes I think 6 places is too much for 3 weeks. Especially traveling as a family, I'd probably aim for 3 places as your base(s), and throw in some day trips if you feel that is not enough moving around.

And remember the time change and jet lag coming from Seattle (my home city too) can be significant for some people more than others. I build in a few extra days at the start of a Europe trip wherever I first land, just to get acclimated an on to local time.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 05:08 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Some stray comments:

Transportation with children is many, many times easier by car than by train or bus. Triple that with children as young as yours. So parking will be part of your travel considerations, esp for lodging. Also when/where you will pick up and drop off the vehicle.

If you are thinking of the train just think about coming and going from each train station, gathering up all the stuff, then you will need to separate into two taxis for every trip. With a car each child has their own space that stays partly set up.

Look for cabin, house, and apartment rentals. Use your vehicle to grocery shop.

Honestly going by car and renting lodging and making some meals will be at least half the cost of trains, hotels, and restaurants.

There are limited to nonexistent single hotel rooms for 5 in Europe. If you go the hotel route you will need to get 2 rooms (once in Frankfurt I had to get 3 rooms for 5).
tom_mn is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 06:56 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 11,133
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Your kids are a perfect age for a trip of this sort. Let them do a lot of the research and planning.

Your itinerary will determine your modes of transportation.
If you were doing a lot of moving around with luggage, staying outside of large cities, or day trips in places like Provence, then a car would be best.
If you have city bases for a few days at a time with local sightseeing and only a day trip or two, then the car is not best. Four or five nights in major cities makes a car useless. Why have a car in London, Paris or Rome? You are going only on local transportation or walking. You would certainly not drive from sight to sight in any of those cities.
Long distances may be best done on fast trains too. Depends on what is available.

With all of the museums, etc., London, Paris and Rome could work even with chill and rain, but I would give strong consideration to Spain, especially with a stay in Seville which should have absolutely great weather then.
It is not often that people have enough time to comfortably visit Spain. Three weeks would give plenty of time to really see a lot without rushing and see both Barcelona and Madrid. It would work well to fly into Barcelona, take a fast train to Madrid and depart from Madrid, Seville or another Southern city. Reverse could also work, depends on what flights are best for you,
Barcelona, 4 or 5 nights (3 or 4 days)
TGV train to Madrid
Madrid, 4 or 5 nights with day trips to Segovia and Toledo (Kids I took to Spain loved the castle in Segovia).
Rent the car in Madrid or take the train to Seville (or Granada) and rent the car there, depending on your itinerary for that part of Spain, and your departure city. There is an amazing number of things to see, from palaces to cathedrals, to horses, archeological sites, great food, mosques, the Alhambra and so much more.


Sassafrass is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 06:59 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 96,491
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I agree so so soooo much to get the kids involved. Even let them plan entire days. Or take turns with different ideas. That works nicely even for adults. Trade off interests but get everyone involved (not being dragged along to things they really aren't interested in... even if it's educational -lol). Like buying a picnic in a shop, figuring out a park, etc. Simple things like that can be really good more than hitting the usual "must dos".
suze is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 07:48 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
More (after watching stupid Marvel movie, why canít Cumberbatch do a better American accent?):

Under 12 is too young for the big art museums. Big cities have a lot to offer but be choosy about museums. Provence can work for children, Pont du Gare, either of the large Roman amphitheaters, Les Bains dP, Rousillon and the ochre formations, all good. I would be tempted to agree that Spain is a good add on since easier driving than Italy.

Disagreeing somewhat with above. Itís so much easier to travel by car with children that the transportation method should determine the itinerary. You are going to have to do the legwork on where to rent cars on the edges of big cities, itís not something you can look up. Iíve used Luton airport for London, and Gare de Lyon has easy freeway access in Paris.

I also disagree on having the children help plan, they donít have the knowledge to provide good input. Speaking from experience.
tom_mn is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 09:13 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 11,133
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow! Some interesting differences of opinion. Sarahmann, you, of course, know your children, as none of us do. Also, you know best your children’s attention spans and what they will enjoy. Kids can be so different at different ages. Interests and experiences and preparation can also vary greatly.

I do think they often surprise us when given the opportunity. I was taking my kids to big museums when they both rode in a carriage and could only look, not yet comment. I read children’s stories to them about artists and musicians as well as looking at paintings that depicted historical events they knew about. At five and seven, they liked finding paintings that had people they thought looked like them and making up stories about the paintings. My older DD thought she looked like Vermeer’s Lacemaker and my youngest thought she looked like Frans Hals’ Gypsy. Really, you do not know until they see the real things how they will react. My younger DD cried when she saw Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters. It was a humbling experience for me. I was often stunned by my elementary students’ discussions and interpretations of paintings, very often with more meaningful insight than my own.
I am not talking an entire day, but a couple of hours in an art museum or history museum can go by very quickly. The choices are mind boggling in Paris and London. The V&A in London is a fantastic museum for all ages.

Tom_mn, my experience has been so different. 10 year old kids play classical music, paint and sculpt, write stories, act, etc. Give them the information they need to contribute or participate some in the planning: Maps, videos, music, literature, different kinds of architecture, stories about kings and queens and government in all countries. That being said, no, kids can’t run away with decisions because in the end, they do not have the maturity to understand all of the issues that go into the process, and it is not just about them, but about the whole family - another good learning experience.
Must agree with you about Provence being very interesting place for kids, if the weather is good. It will, unfortunately, be too cold for water activities, but great for other things.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Aug 5th, 2022 at 09:26 PM. Reason: Spelling, added note
Sassafrass is online now  
Old Aug 5th, 2022, 10:17 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 69,908
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I've only been on three trips with any under 12's - two to England and/or Scotland and one to London/Paris . . . and by far the favorite place for any of the kids was London (well actually Scotland was #1 by a fair bit but March is not a great time to visit there). London things they enjoyed most included the horses (they saw horses in Hyde Park and at Horse Guards), the tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Natural History Museum, going to a matinee of Matilda and a fancy afternoon tea at the Mad Hatters. The girls also seemed to enjoy Paris more than the boys did.
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 6th, 2022, 04:50 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,593
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, Pont du Gard and Les Baux de Provence, late at night French spelling not great.

Les Baux dP has a lot of exhibitors good for engaging children. Thereís that cave with the art projections nearby, CarriŤres des LumiŤres, it didnít appeal to me but with Van Gogh projection events all over the US recently I must be in the minority.

The Dordogne is great for children but unsure of March weather. We did visit Provence once last week of March and the weather was perfect, although Easter week is busy.

If time of year is flexible completely agree about Scotland as a top destination for the whole family.

When engaging children in planning, itís the time/distance concepts that are tricky with them.
tom_mn is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information