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April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
105 posts
147 reviews
April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

My 8 year old and I love to travel. She wants to go to Eruope but we can't decide where in Europe to go.. We love everything about travelling such as culture, beaches, museums, food, people.. We are off April 15 through the 27th...

Takng a suggestions into consideration..

Thanks in advance..

Edwardsville, IL
Level Contributor
6 posts
43 reviews
1. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

I would recommend Bath, England. It's very managable with a 10 year old-once you get there, you don't need a car. Fly into Heathrow, get a car service (Rick Steves recommends one in his England book) and enjoy a beautiful, step back in time. We took our kids when they were 8 and 10, and they still talk about it. I'm not sure about weather in April, but it's always mild in England. You can take trains or buses from Bath to some other sights, too.

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,074 posts
16 reviews
2. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

I think the UK is a very easy place to go in Europe. If you haven't been there, though, I would probably start in London and then do day trips to other places you are interested in. I have been with my daughter 3 times since she was 10 (now she's 13), and it is her favorite place to go. She also really enjoyed the castles in Wales. Cardiff can be done as a day trip from London, and there are castles closer to London, but the only one we've been to is Windsor.

Paris is also easy, even if you don't speak French, and it seems a little more foreign than London since they aren't speaking English. There are a lot of day trips from Paris too.

We are going to Rome this coming April. It seems to be warmer than London or Paris, and we are looking forward to seeing the ancient Rome sights. (Daughter is very interested in history.) We are planning a day trip to Pompeii. I can't really compare it, though, since we have not been there yet.

I think London is best for museums. A lot of them are free, and all the signs are in English. However, my daughter also liked the museums in Paris, and under 18s are free most places. In Rome, it appears that you mostly have to be an EU citizen to get in free, even under 18, so I guess I'll be paying for her there.

Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
105 posts
147 reviews
3. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Guys thanks so much for your info.. Wales sounds very interesting...hmm, I'm still thinking but so far we are thinking about Paris as it might be a little warmer... Anymore suggestions are welcome...

Illinois
Level Contributor
19,074 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

We really liked Wales. It's easy to do from London. We spent one night in Cardiff and saw Cardiff Castle and Caerphilly Castle. There's another one in the area, but I can't think of the name right now. Search for a website on cadw which is the group that runs the castles. There's also some sort of outdoor museum of Welsh culture that's supposed to be good, but we didn't have time to go.

IME the weather in Paris is about the same as in London. Still fun to visit, though.

Here's our trip report from the trip where we went to Wales, if you're interested.

http://tinyurl.com/295dbz2

Venice
Level Contributor
101 posts
54 reviews
5. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Hi why not Italy? you may think to go from Rome to Florence and then to Venice. All location are reachable by train and there are lots of B&B or self catering apartments. Italy offers good weather , food & wine, and culture. You can also check the self catering apts on the web site villarenters.com or iha.com. I am sure you will find your best itinerary.

Macon, GA
Level Contributor
8 posts
34 reviews
6. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Wow, what a great time to go! The weather should be lovely. My husband and I have taken our children all over Europe for Spring Break, summer trips, and Christmas...all of the places mentioned by others are wonderful, i.e., Wales, London, and Paris, though I often think those two cities are the best to start with-- but consider that you could do both London and Paris by taking the high speed train through the Chunnel. We have found this to be fun (except the queue on the French side) and cost effective. All that having been said, all three of my kids rank our spring break trip to Italy (Rome, Florence, and Venice) as their favorite (they were 8, 11, and 12). The Italians were so warm and welcoming, and they always took a special interest, kindliness, and joy at interacting with our kids. And what child wouldn't love the Roman ruins, or the sheer romance and atmosphere of Venice? Think of the gondolas, and carnivale mask shops (there are workshops that have classes for kids-- Ca' Macana). There are wonderful child oriented books and activities at all the museums. It was sunny and shirt sleeves weather when we were there in early April. The food was terrific, and there was never a restaurant where each child found something they enjoyed. Very memorable.

Lima, New York
Level Contributor
253 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Familytravel....hubby and I are considering a European spring break trip as well. Last summer we spent a month touring Ireland with our 10 year old son. Our son ended up being an amazing traveler and we want to keep going with this European theme! Did you find that spring break was enough time to see Rome, Florence and Venice? We would have 10 days with 2 travel days..coinciding with the school break since we are teachers. So that would leave us 8 days of sightseeing. I have also read several stories of theft and crime against tourists in Rome recently. Did you feel as if Rome was safe to take kids too? We are also considering Austria, Germany, Wales and a repeat trip to Ireland as well. What are your further thoughts about spring break travel in Europe.

Macon, GA
Level Contributor
8 posts
34 reviews
8. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Hi, kbswaiz....in response to your questions about Italy on spring break...you can never really have enough time in Italy...you could get a taste of Italy by leaving Friday from the U.S. and arriving early in Rome on Saturday,spending 4 days there, travel to Florence early, spend two days, then travel early to Venice and spend 2 days. Fly out of Venice on Sunday. The trains were excellent and inexpensive in Italy. Travel between cities was not usually longer than 3 hours. We had gotten the Art Card Game from Amazon, and the kids loved playing it-- we had great fun on those train rides! (the Italians were so impressed with the kids and their knowledge after playing that game! It warms a mother's heart when her 7 year old son says, "Mom, my favorite is Raphael"). Point being, the kids enjoyed the train travel between cities.

We always felt safe throughout Italy, including Rome. I will say that we do always stay in nice accommodations (3 to 4 stars)-- so the neighborhoods are usually good, clean, and safe. In Rome we stayed across from the Pantheon at Albergo del Senato, in Florence at Il Perseo which was a block from the Duomo, and in Venice at Hotel American (not actually very American, but very Venetian-- it was on a small canal in a quiet neighborhood). Plus, we travel light and smart-- I never carry a handbag while traveling. We only take carry-on size rolling suitcases (22x14x9), so we are not distracted by ungainly luggage and extra bags waiting to be plucked from our grasps. We try to dress consistent with local standards so we do not stand out as pickpocket targets (neat, clean shoes, pressed clothing, even jeans, and no t-shirts with writing). So we have never felt unsafe in Europe (or Morocco).

Whether 8 days is enough to do Italy? It depends on what your goals are regarding spring break and showing your kids Europe. Our goals are, a) to whet their appetites for travel and to learn how to appreciate art, history, and culture, and, b) to enjoy their company, and see their joy at experiencing other cultures, great art and history, and meeting new people...so when we go, although we always hit the highlights, we do not expect to see every single thing that a place has to offer. We do a lot of research first, determining what we think are the most important sights, and what we know everyone will enjoy (fortunately, our kids do not have to have amusement/theme park visits and special fast food-- it sounds like your little guy doesn't need a lot of special exceptions either). We always alternate the tone of our activities, i.e., we might go see the Vatican one day (lots of art and shuffling around), but we would spend a longer time relaxing and strolling in the evening, and the next day we would go to Via Sacra and Palatine Hill where the kids can be outdoors and be more active.

Italy is overwhelming in how much there is to appreciate-- we saw the Vatican, St. Peter's, the Pantheon, the Via Sacra and Collosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazzas Navona and des Fiori, walked almost everywhere, and enjoyed a lot of interesting gelato (e.g., chocolate hot pepper),...Florence was astounding, but very packed with great art! We enjoyed the Duomo (the kids liked a chance to climb the bell tower), Baptistry, L'Accademia, and the Uffizi, and the Ponto Vecchio and market where you rub the brass boar's nose for good luck. We went near Easter, and we were astounded by marzipan creations and sweet shops. When we got to Venice, we had seen SO many madonnas, the kids were a bit art-fatigued, but as soon as we got out of the train station and got on a water taxi, everyone relaxed and fell in love with this fabulous city. We loved the Doge's Palace and St. Mark's (it is tiled with gold!) and the mask shops are so exciting for children (and add to Venice's air of mystery). However, Venice itself is just to be savored and enjoyed; while all of Italy is a strolling place, Venice is especially so. It is magical (have you read The Thief Lord? It is a childrens book). This magical atmosphere will not escape a child's notice. It is so unique and astounding. You could spend a week just walking around basking in Venice.

You will want to return, but it makes for an awesome Spring Break! It might be even better to spend more time in the summer, but the down sides of that are expense and heat (and Europe is not as well air conditioned as the U.S.) BTW, I don't know what your thoughts are regarding where and what you would see in Germany or Austria or Wales, but I can comment on a little. We have taken our kids on a spring break to Amsterdam, Bruges, and the Rhine Valley-- it was an awesome trip, although my least favorite place was the Rhine Valley-- very touristy. We will be going to Berlin, Krakow (Auschwitz), Budapest, Vienna, and Prague on this year's break, so I don't know yet what that will be like, although my research suggests it's going to be amazing. While we haven't visited Austria before, we have visited the French and Swiss Alps-- so if you are thinking of skiing, I would say yes, what a great idea. The first time my kids skied was in Chamonix-- we flew into Geneva, rented a car and drove an hour to Chamonix. We stayed two days and enjoyed snow (we are from the South, so this was a novelty), and got private (very inexpensive) ski lessons from a great teacher named Jean-Christophe through Ecole du Ski! We then drove up to Paris (6 hours) and enjoyed that immensely. We also took our car up to Normandy and saw WWII sights. There are so many great, fun books for kids to prepare them for all of these European sights-- i.e., Horrible Histories, DK books on WW I and II, castles, countries, etc. Now, if you were to visit some of Austria's great cities, enjoying the elegant Habsburg sights, and then also enjoy skiing, you would find that a nice change of pace (and spring skiing is so nice)-- if you are from NY, your spring break may come a week or two after the ski season is over, however.

Sorry this is so long! There's really so much more to say on the topic...

Lima, New York
Level Contributor
253 posts
8 reviews
9. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Familytravelplanner.....Thank you so much for such a great reply! Ever since we got back from Ireland my son talks about Europe all the time. He really wants to go to Greece as he is completely into mythology. However with the current situation in Egypt right now I am not sure that is a good idea. So we are looking at Italy. I figure there is Roman mythology so it should be exciting for him. We are waiting for our school calendars to come out to decide what to do, and when to go. Ireland was amazing and we would be happy going back there as we completely skipped the South East corner. I completely agree with all of your comments about traveling with children. The how and the why....as hubby and I are both teachers we strongly believe that there is NO better way for kids to learn about history and the world they live in. It also develops an appreciation for diversity and an appreciation for culture, art, and music that kids don't get in school. My parents say that we should travel in the US (western National parks) however our son is so interested in European history and culture that it seems appropriate. I enjoyed spending an entire month in Ireland. We were not rushed and we saw and did nearly everything we had planned for. I guess that is why I am concerned about only 10 days over a school break for our next trip. Another BIG concern I have about the Rome-Venice-Florence trip is that we really did not enjoy our time in the big cities in Ireland. We only spent one day in Dublin and an afternoon in Galway and that was enough for us. Is that going to be an issue in Rome and Venice? We live in the country on a horse farm and our nearest grocery store is a 30 minute drive. We like the peaceful country village setting. Can we visit Rome and Venice and Florence easily if we stay in a country town? I also know that my son has put Pompeii on his must see list. Did you visit there?

As far as a visit to Germany or Austria goes...we would rather do that in early or late summer. Only because of the warmer weather. Thanks so much for all of your info and advice. It is so helpful to hear from parents that have been there done that! : )

Macon, GA
Level Contributor
8 posts
34 reviews
10. Re: April break for 10 days.. Where in Europe can we go??

Dear Kbswaiz,

What did y'all not enjoy about the cities in Ireland? That's one country we have not yet visited...I wanted to go to Dublin, but maybe we shouldn't?

My kids have been very into mythology as well (thank you Percy Jackson), but as you say, Greece and Egypt do not seem very safe right now.

I know that when we visited Rome, etc., it wasn't at all like being in New York City or like a big U.S. city. Rome, Venice, and Florence break down into neighborhoods. I don't know if they are good to visit while staying further outside the cities. Perhaps another person out there has more experience with traveling into the city. In Venice you really want to stay there-- it would not at all be the same to "commute" to it. You would want to stay in one of the quieter neighborhoods, like Dorsoduro. Pompeii is about 2.5-3 hours from Rome, but you would not want to rush...the nearest city is Naples, which many people say is not as nice, but I guess you really could stay in the countryside outside of Naples, or perhaps halfway in between...logistically, you may have concerns about travel, because you would not want to drive to Rome, but take a train. Driving in Rome is very dangerous. Florence you could definitely stay in the country and go into the city--it is small and very manageable. I am sure you have heard of people visiting the Tuscan countryside. My parents rented a villa in Tuscany, and another near Lake Cuomo and really enjoyed those stays. BTW, they also rented an apartment in Rome and thought that was really cool, too-- they got to shop at the local markets, got to know people in the neighborhood, etc. It sounds to me like y'all would probably most enjoy renting a little place in the countryside.