Scandinavia or where for main summer holiday?(19 Posts)
We are finally in the position after several tough years to have a foreign holiday this year. But I have quite a specific wish list.
1) We have 2 DCs, 6 and 2, and I have very sensitive skin, made worse by skin melanoma as a teenager. So we really go out of our way to avoid very hot weather - anything over about 30degrees C is pretty much out.
But 2) Due to work circumstances (I'm a teacher, OH is public sector with set holidays) we can only go away the last two weeks of August.
3) We don't like spending hours on beaches - we live opposite a good one, and for the above reason, wouldn't spend hundreds on a holiday to go to another one. We prefer waterparks, wandering round old towns, restaurants, theme parks, zoos etc - have done Centerparcs in the past.
4) Just to be awkward, we are trying to go somewhere new that we've never been to so are ruling out France, Spain, Italy, Croatia and Tunisia.
So, based on all that, I have been trying to think of somewhere to go. I thought of Greece but a Greek friend laughed and said "You, in Greece, in August. You will die!" I since found out how hot it gets there!
So I'm thinking further North - Denmark, maybe? Or Sweden? Anyone able to advise on such places for a 10-12 day family holiday? Is it worth the visit, tips for places to visit etc?
We wouldn't rule out longer haul but my research shows that basically the whole world is stupidly hot in August so where to go?? Also, we have a strict date window, due to work / school commitments so we don't want to go so far it takes 2 weeks to get over the jet lag.
Any tips gratefully received - I appreciate this is a first world problem but still need some help!
We did 10 days in Denmark this year. DC's 11, 9 and 4.
We had a fab time. Rented a house 45mins from Coppenhagen for a week on a lake with private jetty, row boats, kayak and it was safe to swim in. Also had swings, slide and sandpit. We rented a car for about £20/ day.
We then had three days in a lodge near legoland with fancy swim pools, beach, trampolines etc.
We aren't sun lovers and I can't do sitting still. We had a bloomin heat wave. It reached near 30 on one day. August is just off season so prices drop quite quickly and places are much quieter.
We really enjoyed days out. Copenhagen zoo was good - you can rent little tow trucks to pull the DC and your picnic around in. The blue planet aquarium was fab - fantastic outdoor water play, crabbing lines, sandpit, artificial beach/ lake for exploration, big shark pool inside and puffins (i was pleased to see these). We visited various castles and historic places using a Copenhagen card (DC under 11 are free) it was about £60 each adult for five days from memory, but included entry to lots of places and public transport around copenhagen. Also a boat tour that took us to see the little mermaid. One thing that the Copenhagen card didn't cover was the viking boat museum and we really enjoyed that.
We found, as with all tourist type stuff, some eating out prices eye watering. But as with every country if you investigate you can cater far more cheaply. Sweets and carbonated drinks, branded yogurts like petit filou were very pricy but fruit, veg, pasta, rice, plain yogurt etc were UK comparable.
Previously in summer we've visited Iceland and that too was fab and a bit cooler. Lots of free stuff for children, geyser and gulfoss both free to visit, fantastic thermal swimming pools really child and adult friendly country. Expensive to drink but we aren't that fussed, cheapish supermarkets for food shops, reasonable nice holiday rentals many with thermal spas, watch out for expensive car hire though - cost almost as much as the accomodation.
We are restricted to school holidays and fly Easyjet booking flights as soon as they're out. Summer 2016 are just out. We've booked Prague flights at £23 each, less for the DC as they don't pay UK tax.
The Alps? Walking, mountain trains, cable cars, glaciers, marmots, activity play areas, lakes. You can get budget flights and book self catering through tourist office.
Netherlands - the kids go back to school in August so it is substantially cheaper to rent a house there for last 2 weeks in August. Check out roompot. - Dutch company.
Germany and Austria can get really hot in the summer - 36+.
Stockholm is absolutely lovely - particularly as it is on an archipelago which opens up lots more possibilities than normal cities to go to some of the different islands for day trips which is just lovely (if the weather is nice - may well be rainy and chilly). Lots if things to do in the city too, and there are visitors passes that you can buy which covers the cost of entry fees/travel/some boat trips etc. Like a pp said about Copenhagen though, it is very expensive - I wouldn't advise unless you are pretty wealthy as it will feel horrible having to spend so much on really basic things, or to not be able to do much at all because cost is an issue. Think £50 for dinner for two in a nice but nothing special pasta restaurant .
We camped in south denmark this summer. It was warm but not too hot, lots of green space, good cycling network and fantastic municipal parks. We mostly cooked for ourselves and it was pretty affordable.
We go to Denmark all the time as DH and my kids are Danish. August drops in price but if you want something more affordable I would look at Bornholm for a week followed by the second week split between Copenhagen and Billund (legoland). The prices drop like a lead ballon in August in Bornholm as the kids are back in school. The very end of August in Denmark is much cheaper.
We are not poor and find Denmark expensive. 4 adults and 2 kids at Rasmus Klump was £80. My SIL and her BF drink a lot and we ended up with a £250 bill for a terrible meal. The food was barely edible. For a 2 week trip we easily spend £3-4k excluding flights.
Excellent, thank you all for your suggestions. It looks feasible, and fun and maybe if we camped it would offset the price of things. I know Scandanavia is expensive, I have Norwegian relatives who can't believe they can buy a can of Coke for less than £2 when they come over here!
I'll do some research.
I like the Alps idea but maybe not with a 2-year-old, in a few years, maybe!
Norway !! Spent the most amazing holidays there as a child . My mam was a nanny in the 1960s in Stavanger and then Oslo. Fab place .
The other place a lot of people I know is Dunreil in the Netherlands - like center parcs. It looks great.
Sweden north of Gothenburg up to Norwegian border is beautiful. Denmark is fairly flat but quite a few things to do. We enjoyed the Hans Christian Anderson house. The little that we saw of Norway looked stunning. Sweden seemed the cheapest of the three countries.
Camping in Sweden was good, they even had fully equipped kitchens with ovens, microwaves and even dishwashers, you can even eat in their self catering dining rooms. Dh complained that it wasn't like real camping, but then he wasn't the one crouching over a bluely on a windy day so he was quickly overruled and chose to eat with the rest of us rather than cook his own meal just to prove a point!
We love Sweden - so many beautiful lakes and woods, and the Swedish archipelago is one of the most lovely places I have ever been to. It has the wonderful feeling of space and calm.
Yes, it is expensive but we do house swaps, which include swapping cars so no accommodation or car hire costs, and we don't really eat out - except at IKEA which did all you can eat breakfasts (yes, meatballs but lots of other stuff as well!) for about £2 a head. And although food is expensive, lots of activities were not too bad - canoeing, mini golf were pretty cheap.
We always ised to go to centerparcs in Netherlands last week of August. A lot cheaper than uk. Duinrell is very good value as well.
Have you considered a UK departing cruise holiday? They work out very good value ways of visiting the expensive, though lovely, Scandinavian countries. All your meals are included and it's nice to wake up in different places. There are usually kids clubs plus pool.
It also saves having to fly with toddlers. There are several cruise lines which cover Norway and Scandinavia plus the Baltic.
Sadly the boat to Esberg has been stopped so you have to go to Holland or France and drive around. We are hoping the new company are going to start the route for this summers tourist season as we bought a car in Denmark so we could use the ferry to make a trip to the UK when visiting family.
What about the Baltic States? They have mild summers and beautiful old towns. Tallinn is lovely and I haven't been to Riga or Vilnius but have heard nice things about both. Estonia was very cheap by European standards and I would imagine Latvia and Lithuania are also similarly cheap.
How about Germany?
Southern Germany is hotter than the UK but not like Spain or Italy and it cools down a lt in the evenings.
Bavaria is beautiful or you could go more into the Alps.
Great food, beautiful scenery and lovely old towns to potter around. There are also the lakes and lots of outdoor stuff for DC
Never been to Scandinavia (although would really love to) but we spent two fantastic weeks in Austria and Slovenia this September. Slovenia in particular was new to us and we were really impressed - it's small (size of Wales) but incredibly varied, sort of like Europe in miniature. Scenery in the Julian Alps is stunning - very Lord of the Rings - plus there are caves, waterfalls, castles, wineries, beaches if you want them (at Piran), cosmopolitan cities (Llubljana is lovely) - you name it. Weather was warm but not hot, flight only took an hour and 45 mins and we found things fairly cheap - much more so than Scandinavia I imagine! Would definitely recommend it.
I would recommend Duinrell. Just back and rebooked for October next year. Theme park and water park on site, loads of fun there. Can hire bikes and cycle to beach and other towns. A bonus is the the site is a five minute walk from the lovely Dutch town of Wassenaar with lovely shops, restaurants and an amazing ice cream parlour called Lucianos. Also just outside the site is a pancake house which was lovely.
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