For those of us with school-age kids, July and August are prime months for holidays. These are also the months Europe is in bloom: flower boxes bright with color, ice-cream shops open day and night, cafe's spilling out onto sidewalks and into squares, colorful festivals in towns and villages...
Below are some ideas for summer travel in Europe, for families.
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
London; Paris and more France (including, yes, Euro Disney); Greece; Venice; Visiting Hill Towns in Tuscany and Umbria....
Europe has more historic castles than North America has Burger Kings; and --what with the high cost of keeping up a hundred-room mansion these days --many of these castles offer accommodation for visitors.
Picture yourself cycling through quaint countryside, eating at be-flowered restaurants without any guilt because you're getting so much exercise; meanwhile your luggage is being whisked by van to the delightful inn where you'll rest that night...
Long to see Europe with your kids, but scared by the logistics? Well, the logistics could hardly get easier than on a Europe trip by cruise, where your hotel room travels with you, and the same bed, and all your stuff, awaits every night.
Photo © Teresa Plowright
Once a year, on the first Sunday in August in the lovely town of Ascoli Piceno, some 1500 citizens parade in 15-century garb through the town; then the whole town cheers the riders in a medieval-style joust, followed by celebrations into the night and fireworks.
It's definitely a vacation your neighbors haven't done yet. And what a wonderful way to see the famed Irish countryside: in your own comfy gypsy-style caravan, drawn by a patient hors
Rented cottage are a great fit for family travelers: with the convenience of having your own kitchen, multiple bedrooms, play-space outside, and a home base for exploring the surrounding area.
Photo © Teresa Plowright.
Adventures by Disney offers several trips in Europe to great destinations, with all details handled, excellent sightseeing, and special activities just right for kids. Read about Viva Italia! family adventure in Italy including Rome, medieval hill-town Orvieto; Tuscan countryside, Florence, and Venice. Bellissima!
Barge rentals range from the do-it-your self approach (called "self-catering" in Europe), to pampered trips with fine wines and gourmet meals. Often, bicycles are included in the holiday, so you can explore the countryside near the canals or rivers you're drifting down.
Waterslides at Ruisseau parc, Biarritz, France.
For North Americans who want to do a Europe trip but are daunted by budget and logistics: take a holiday the way Europeans do, and stay in bungalows or canvas tents with real beds; enjoy waterparks with giant waterslides, free kids programs, watersports, special recreation such as caving and canyoning, daily activities, restaurants, even spas on-site. Eurocamp has 182 parcs in France, Italy, Spain, and other countries.
Another great way to do a Europe trip, by vacationing as Europeans do. Center Parcs has family-friendly and affordable resorts in northern Europe: huge recreational grounds, large cottages, many fun activities, and a giant dome that houses a tropical pool area (slides, waves, etc.) restaurants, and shops. Read a review of the property nearest Paris.