Europe In Summer

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by nuss, Apr 4, 2022.

  1. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Hi All- Finally, we have booked our long-awaited (canceled due to pandemic) trip. We have booked our flights first week of July to the first week of August. After several back and forth discussions with kids and husband, we decided on cities that everyone is excited about. We will have a total of 35 days (excluding travel days).

    Our big picture plan is:
    1. Week 1: Fly in Helsinki- spend a week exploring the archipelago (three main islands) and 2 days in Tallin (visit family) (my wishlist).
    Week 2: Helsinki-Rome- Fly. Kid 1 wants to visit the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis, Stabiae, and Boscoreale (destroyed by eruptions of Mount Vesuvius). We are planning 2 days in the Pompeii area and 4 days in Rome.

    Week 3: This is where I need help. Kid 1 wants to see some of the Holocaust sites. My original plan was to visit Prague and Vienna during this week but DH thinks it will be too much and we should instead spend more time in France or Italy.

    Week 4: Fly to Paris: Kid 1 and DH want to visit Normandy and D-day beaches (2 days) and 4 days in Paris. Fly back to the US.

    Kid 2 doesn't have any opinions yet. she wants to go to Paris, that's pretty much it!

    If you have an extra week, would you spend it in Italy (may be Amalfi coast?) or in France (spend more time in Paris or take kids to Amsterdam for 2-3 days)? Any favorite things/ attractions you would suggest to check out in any of the Helsinki/Rome/Paris/Tallin?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn’t spend more time in Paris but I would definitely go around the south of France. In a week you should be able to do some portions of south of France. It’s beautiful. I’m not sure how the temps are going to be in summer. You should be able to pick one region - Rivera or Bordeaux and look up cities to visit and things to do. I personally loved one of those Van Gogh tours and visiting all of his famous painting sites. My DD was fairly young too and loved it. For your DD, definitely take her to the Chateau at Versailles. It was my DD’s favorite.

    If you are spending more time in Italy, it’ll be awesome too. Four days is not enough in Rome(well someone said a lifetime isn’t enough). Don’t miss visiting the Borghese(get tickets ahead). Don’t miss Florence if you get a chance to stay in Italy for the extra week. Uffizi alone is worth the trip. Venice is bleh but everyone loves it so give it a chance. Amalfi, I don’t know about it. Heard it’s great for older kids because of all the treks involved so I didn’t go with mine. The only thing I don’t like about Italy is the Italian railway that is as notorious as Indian railways when it comes to trains running late!
     
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  3. MalStrom

    MalStrom IL Hall of Fame

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    Is Greece on your list? I would take the extra time to decamp to Santorini.
     
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  4. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Thanks, Laks! Yes, the Chateau at Versailles is already on a day trip list. I do not like Bordeaux (I know I might be in minority) maybe because I travel there often for work and am not an overly wine enthusiast. Same with Venice. I have family in Verona so been to Venice and didn't enjoy it much. My daughter is a budding artist- the Van Gogh tour sounds great! I am sure she would love it.

    We can definitely spend more time in Rome. 4-days is my minimal time in a city. I will look into Uffizi. Thank again for the wonderful tips!
     
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  5. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Not on this trip! We will be going to Crete next summer for a conference and planning to spend a few weeks in Greece and Turkey at that time.
     
  6. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Forgot to add, yes Amsterdam is a train ride away but there is so much to do in France/Italy that I’d stick around if I were you.
     
  7. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Thanks, Laks! Yes, that's what we think as well. Keep it simple and enjoy the places without the hassle of moving too much! Having a kid who is very excited about eccentric places such as the Catacombs, Natural History anything, and history- I don't see them wanting to leave any of the cities :).

    We have taken that Amsterdam-Paris train before kids and the thought of going to Amsterdam with kids kinda took me down memory lane :). You know, reminiscing life before kids when just two of us, newly married, traveled across Europe. We started in Amsterdam and made our way from Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, and finally to Norway.
     
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  8. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Just wondering... would it be wise to travel to Freiburg, Germany from Paris? I see that it is about a 3.5-4h distance by train (similar to Amsterdam) but I am not aware of the European train system well. @Laks09 mentioned that the Italian rail system is not predictable. One of our best buddies from graduate school lives there and has invited us. I am not sure if it will be worth going for just 2-3 days.
     
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  9. Laks09

    Laks09 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    TGV from Paris to anywhere is the most reliable Eurail experience I’ve had. I’m not sure if things have changed since Covid but they are reliable and the landscapes make it an awesome journey! We never fly within EU if time permits. We are a family of train lovers. I wanted to suggest you do the TGV train from Paris to Avignon and visit the Rhône valley cities in the south of France but since you didn’t want the vineyards, I didn’t mention it.
    Take the TGV to Freiburg, it’s going to be a good ride.
     
  10. nuss

    nuss Finest Post Winner

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    Thanks, @Laks09. We haven't done much train travel with the kids. We have only used trains within 2 h distance- mostly in the UK. I will definitely look into the train to Freiburg. We need to start taking more trains than flying within Europe.

    Funny that you suggested Rhône valley. I have family in Grenoble and have been thinking to visit them with my sisters. I was in Lyon with my friend when my daughter was very little. I wanted to explore more but it was a bit hard with the baby in tow. So, definitely want to go back.

    After living in the Napa area for many years, vineyards are not a huge attraction anymore :) (still beautiful though).
     
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