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Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

Holiday Ideas & Foreign Travel
TAllen
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Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498660

Postby TAllen » May 5th, 2022, 2:36 pm

I have been dragging my heels booking a family holiday in Europe this Summer and fear we have missed the boat as most of Europe is making up on the last two years, with crazy prices to match. Sadly, our holiday dates in August are fixed and we desperately need to get the kids away over the school holidays.

The options proposed have been northern Italy (Verona, lakes and crowded venice day trip), Greece (Mamma Mia effect), Austria (via Munich) and Croatia. As our kids (15 and 12) prefer pools and beaches while we prefer scenery, road trips, history and authentic places (avoiding tourist hordes). So ideally we have a base that is not too crowded but some flexibility to do excursions (ideally with our own wheels).

We always avoid package holidays and prefer to do our own itinerary, but narrowing down on options is proving difficult as either flights, accommodation, hire cars (or all three) turn out to be prohibitively expensive - after hours of fruitless search.

I am genuinely at a loss on how to find a good destination that works. I would be grateful if anyone can recommend any destinations or even a way to narrow our options and avoid driving ourselves crazy.

moorfield
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498666

Postby moorfield » May 5th, 2022, 2:49 pm

TAllen wrote:I have been dragging my heels booking a family holiday in Europe this Summer and fear we have missed the boat as most of Europe is making up on the last two years, with crazy prices to match. Sadly, our holiday dates in August are fixed and we desperately need to get the kids away over the school holidays.

The options proposed have been northern Italy (Verona, lakes and crowded venice day trip), Greece (Mamma Mia effect), Austria (via Munich) and Croatia. As our kids (15 and 12) prefer pools and beaches while we prefer scenery, road trips, history and authentic places (avoiding tourist hordes). So ideally we have a base that is not too crowded but some flexibility to do excursions (ideally with our own wheels).

We always avoid package holidays and prefer to do our own itinerary, but narrowing down on options is proving difficult as either flights, accommodation, hire cars (or all three) turn out to be prohibitively expensive - after hours of fruitless search.

I am genuinely at a loss on how to find a good destination that works. I would be grateful if anyone can recommend any destinations or even a way to narrow our options and avoid driving ourselves crazy.



When our children were younger we stuck to (i) using our own car, and (ii) France via Eurotunnel, which worked really well for us. Have a look at Gites de France, although you may well struggle to find somewhere and get a tunnel crossing now. In August we are going back to the same place we rented in 2018 and 19 pre Covid, next to a lake, about six hours easy drive down the Autoroute des Anglais. Dull, perhaps, but we like it and it is somewhere we know we will instantly relax.

TAllen
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498676

Postby TAllen » May 5th, 2022, 3:12 pm

moorfield wrote:When our children were younger we stuck to (i) using our own car, and (ii) France via Eurotunnel, which worked really well for us. Have a look at Gites de France, although you may well struggle to find somewhere and get a tunnel crossing now. In August we are going back to the same place we rented in 2018 and 19 pre Covid, next to a lake, about six hours easy drive down the Autoroute des Anglais. Dull, perhaps, but we like it and it is somewhere we know we will instantly relax.


That would be perfect and we did something similar in pre-pandemic 2019. I suspect the channel crossings are prohibitive as are many of the hire car rates in the usual destinations (we're looking for about 10 days away).

This year I think we need to risk the airports and hop to a city with cheap flights then escape along a coastline to somewhere less travelled by tourists. The kids aren't ungrateful but would rather stay at home than do another UK cottage again this year... :roll:

RockRabbit
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498683

Postby RockRabbit » May 5th, 2022, 3:55 pm

While I can't provide an answer to your overall question, I would encourage you to consider Venice in August even for a short break if you are unable to find a destination which fulfills all your objectives. If you stay well away from San Marco, there are many areas of Venice which are not overwhelmed by tourists and have reasonably priced restaurants etc. With boat trips out to the Islands and the Lido you can easily enjoy a few days there. Added bonus is that flights to Venice are cheap in August (Easyjet) and you don't need a car. You can also take the train to Verona (and beyond), which is cheap.

The Lido has a beach but its a fair trek from Venice (boat and bus), and is pretty expensive and not very scenic. OK for a 1/2 day or so.

Downside is that it is hot, so essential to get accommodation with working aircon. AirBnB?

Dod101
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498685

Postby Dod101 » May 5th, 2022, 4:20 pm

RockRabbit wrote:While I can't provide an answer to your overall question, I would encourage you to consider Venice in August even for a short break if you are unable to find a destination which fulfills all your objectives. If you stay well away from San Marco, there are many areas of Venice which are not overwhelmed by tourists and have reasonably priced restaurants etc. With boat trips out to the Islands and the Lido you can easily enjoy a few days there. Added bonus is that flights to Venice are cheap in August (Easyjet) and you don't need a car. You can also take the train to Verona (and beyond), which is cheap.

The Lido has a beach but its a fair trek from Venice (boat and bus), and is pretty expensive and not very scenic. OK for a 1/2 day or so.

Downside is that it is hot, so essential to get accommodation with working aircon. AirBnB?


On the subject of Venice, we always stayed in Cannaregio and got a ferry from the airport to somewhere on the north side and then walked to our hotel. There were two ferries one that went to San Marco and the other the north side of Venice, I forget the name of the pier. Not sure I would want to go even there in August though with two children.

Dod

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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498692

Postby RockRabbit » May 5th, 2022, 4:58 pm

Dod101 wrote:On the subject of Venice, we always stayed in Cannaregio and got a ferry from the airport to somewhere on the north side and then walked to our hotel. There were two ferries one that went to San Marco and the other the north side of Venice, I forget the name of the pier. Not sure I would want to go even there in August though with two children.
Dod

Yes, I think that is the best area to stay.

As for the children/August, I guess some will love it and some will hate it!

Hallucigenia
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#498719

Postby Hallucigenia » May 5th, 2022, 6:25 pm

TAllen wrote:This year I think we need to risk the airports and hop to a city with cheap flights then escape along a coastline to somewhere less travelled by tourists.


I must admit, wild horses wouldn't take me back to Venice in high season again.... I'd be looking at the other side of northern Italy. My personal pick would be the Monferrato hills - best known for Barolo and Barbaresco wine, Pretty as a picture - with a capital P, you can sell Alba to the kids as the home of Nutella :lol:, you're about an hour from Turin with eg its motor museum, and it's a bit of a flog but it's 90 minutes or so to both the coast and the Alps. I don't know that coast around Genoa very well but it might be worth getting a bit closer to down there? And I guess if you flew into Turin or Milan then they should have lots of facilities like car hire that aren't under *too* much pressure?

In a similar vein, maybe Andalusia? As you go in from the coast and away from the Granada-Cordoba corridor it gets a lot less touristy, particularly once you get up into Extremadura (but that's maybe a bit far?) but you have Granada and Cordoba as the big attractions, all the delights of the sea not too far away, and should be lots of plane seats???

For something a bit different - the Basque country? Great food, lots of history, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, surfing, not that far from the Pyrenees.

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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#499918

Postby TAllen » May 11th, 2022, 5:54 pm

Hallucigenia wrote:
TAllen wrote:This year I think we need to risk the airports and hop to a city with cheap flights then escape along a coastline to somewhere less travelled by tourists.


I must admit, wild horses wouldn't take me back to Venice in high season again.... I'd be looking at the other side of northern Italy. My personal pick would be the Monferrato hills - best known for Barolo and Barbaresco wine, Pretty as a picture - with a capital P, you can sell Alba to the kids as the home of Nutella :lol:, you're about an hour from Turin with eg its motor museum, and it's a bit of a flog but it's 90 minutes or so to both the coast and the Alps. I don't know that coast around Genoa very well but it might be worth getting a bit closer to down there? And I guess if you flew into Turin or Milan then they should have lots of facilities like car hire that aren't under *too* much pressure?

In a similar vein, maybe Andalusia? As you go in from the coast and away from the Granada-Cordoba corridor it gets a lot less touristy, particularly once you get up into Extremadura (but that's maybe a bit far?) but you have Granada and Cordoba as the big attractions, all the delights of the sea not too far away, and should be lots of plane seats???

For something a bit different - the Basque country? Great food, lots of history, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, surfing, not that far from the Pyrenees.


Belated thanks for all the suggestions. I must admit to being in two minds about Venice. When I first visited in the 90s, I had it to myself. After a more recent experience with an overwhelmingly packed Florence, I might leave it.

Northern Italy and the Basque country a good idea. A long time ago I had wonderful visits to Pal and Begur, plus the Dali museum in an old theatre in Figueres was unmissable. Not wishing to ruin it for others, but putting himself centre-stage was a final act of genius.

BullDog
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Re: Holiday in Europe this Summer - Ideas Required!

#499925

Postby BullDog » May 11th, 2022, 6:30 pm

Portugal might fit the bill, north of Lisbon. Not at all subject to the same tourist overload as further south.

North of Porto and/or inland there's still the possibility of not hearing another person speaking English. Has a good combination of history, beaches, great food, reasonable accommodation and nice local people. Portuguese drivers can be bad a bad tempered lot, but not a problem once out of town.

Personal favourite area, a bit further North around Viana de Castelo, Braga, Guimares, Ponte de Lima. Beach resorts North of Porto include Povoa de Varzim, Esposende.

Hope that helps.


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