Where would you like to visit, what’s on your bucket list and what do you have the time and money for? All questions that pop up in our brain when we look at amazing travel photographs. If you are thinking of Europe a destination, EL staff and readers recount their recent European adventures with and without children to help you plan!
“We visited Lake Como in May 2018. We hired a car and drove from Munich where we were visiting family members. The scenic drive took us through Switzerland and Lichtenstein.
We stayed in Menaggio, in a short-stay apartment called Casa Daniele. It was near a small supermarket, restaurants and the ferry dock, and a short walk to the town square. Menaggio has a long lakeside promenade and flat roads, so getting around with a stroller is easy.
There are many villas and gardens in the towns around Lake Como; the two we liked the most were Bellagio’s Villa Melzi and Lenno’s Villa Balbianello. We viewed them as part of a boat tour. Ferries link the towns, and we enjoyed two days of ferry trips to see Bellagio, Varenna and Como itself.
Menaggio has many family-friendly activities, including a small lakefront mini-golf with a large pool, playground, bar and restaurant. Our young kids also enjoyed the colourful Trombetta Express train that travels along the road from Menaggio to Tremezzina with several stops on the way.
If you have kids prone to motion sickness, be warned that all the roads into and around Lake Como are curvy, steep and narrow. I also recommend getting a holiday apartment rather than a hotel, so you have the flexibility of doing simple cooking or preparing a picnic lunch. The little supermarket in Menaggio had delicious bread, cheeses and hams for a lovely DIY lunch. ”
– Karola Clark, Australian
“In the summer of 2017, Roy and I travelled in our new boat – a 15-metre replica Dutch barge called Karanja – from the Thames River across the English Channel to Calais. From there, we headed south on various French waterways to arrive at the eastern end of the famously beautiful Canal du Midi.
You don’t need to own your own boat, of course. It’s huge fun to hire a self-drive boat; they come in various designs, and can sleep anything from two to 12 or more passengers. Reputable companies like Le Boat (leboat.com) and Locaboat (locaboat.com) have numerous depots, will suggest itineraries and will offer brief training. No previous experience is required.
One of the best things about this kind of holiday is that you unpack once, and the boat becomes your floating home. Each night, you moor at a picturesque town along the way. It could be a great family holiday, too, as long as your youngsters can be trusted not to fall into a lock!
To get there, you could fly to Paris and catch the highspeed TGV train to somewhere like Toulouse, at the western end of the Canal du Midi, where it becomes the equally lovely and far quieter Canal de la Garonne. That’s where our Karanja spends the winters, in the beautiful and ancient town of Moissac.”
– Verne Maree, South African
“I went on a two-week long Europe trip in August 2017 with my sister and parents. We visited London, Austria (Innsbruck and Salzburg) and Germany (Munich). Of all the places, Innsbruck was my favourite!
From London, we took a two hour direct flight (Easyjet) to Innsbruck Airport. From there, it was a 10-minute bus ride to our Airbnb apartment in Fürstenweg, a short walk to the Old Town. We stayed in Innsbruck for two nights before making our way to Salzburg.
Innsbruck is a small town in Tyrol, Austria – best known as a base for alpine skiing. Most of the city’s attractions are accessible by foot. The sunny yet cool weather was perfect for exploring the mountains! From the Congress station, take the funicular, then transfer to the Nordkette cable car all the way up to the Hafelekar Peak. You’ll be treated to amazing panoramic views of the Alps, and literally feel like you’re on top of the world!
Afterwards, take a stroll in Maria-Theresien-Strasse, with some of the best pistachio gelatos I’ve ever had. There’s also a spacious outdoor plaza where street buskers perform and kids run around – it’s very lively all year round.
– Anthia Chng, Singaporean
“We were lucky enough to travel to Barcelona for our honeymoon. We wanted somewhere different but romantic. Food and culture were top of our list and Barcelona certainly delivered! We stayed just off Las Ramblas at Hotel Curious. It was basic and the rooms were small but we were near the La Boqueria Food Market, and great restaurants and bars, and close enough to walk to the beach and Port Vell.
Must-visits include Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s unfinished basilica, and also Casa Batlló – in fact, all of Gaudi’s buildings! Take a stroll down Port Olimpic beach and stop for a cold cerveza (beer) and pan of paella while people watching. Have a wander down Las Ramblas, see the people statues, crafts, architecture, animals and, of course, eat some street food.
We were also lucky enough to see Beyoncé in concert – she was incredible – and we loved walking through the old Olympic village. One night, we discovered a tiny Catalonian tapas bar down a small side street. There was no menu and no one spoke English but it was fabulous, welcoming and we had some of the best food of the entire trip!” – Kel & Michael Flanders, Australian
Puglia: A sublime Summer spot
Located in the heel of Italy, Puglia is becoming increasingly popular as a tourist destination thanks to its charming baroque towns, olive groves and orchards, blue seas and beaches, plentiful sunshine and excellent cuisine.
A firm favourite of travel operator Scott Dunn, Borgo Egnazia is one of the Mediterranean’s most luxurious hotels. Set within 20 hectares along the Puglian coast, it’s a treat for couples and families alike (there’s a kids’ club). Hire bikes and explore the surrounding olive groves, learn how to cook traditional Italian dishes, visit the famous white-washed trullo houses in Alberobello, relax at the spa, and enjoy sampling delicious local delicacies. It’s a tranquil place that makes the perfect spot for a summer holiday.
Find out more about Borgo Egnazia and other European accommodation at scottdunn.com.
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