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European family holiday by public transport?

(14 Posts)
SaltNSauce Sat 04-Jun-11 10:27:17

3 children, 2 adults. Not too much heat, some cultural activities, possibly beach.
I go very blank even trying to think of something. It,s bad enough doing it in the uk but the thought of tickets and stations in a different language.
Any experience or recommendations?

Portofino Sat 04-Jun-11 10:34:34

Eurostar/train to the Belgian coast? website here Excellent beaches, a tram that connects all the towns, good food, loads to do and most people speak English!

SaltNSauce Sat 04-Jun-11 10:56:14

Oh wow that looks brilliant. Thank you. I will have a good search through it.

Portofino Sat 04-Jun-11 11:02:12

I'm in Belgium so if you need any help/advice - let me know!

BoffinMum Sat 04-Jun-11 11:02:13

We have done flights to Munich (train is possible, but expensive and a long journey with changes) and then train from Munich Hauptbahnhof to Bad Toelz, which is a spa town in Bavaria with a large pedestrian zone and a wonderful family spa/waterpark. Look at the Hotel Jodquellenhof, which also has apartments for rent, and which gives you free entry to the waterpark.

Alternatively try the Drei Koenigen apartments in Bruges, as they are very elegant and child friendly, and have a pool. That's possible on Eurostar, I think.

We've also flown to Rome, done sightseeing, and then travelled on the overnight train to Munich which was expensive, but I found it magical and woke up every hour or two to peek out of the window as the landscape changed. Travel first class though, otherwise it's a bit interrailey and tiring.

BoffinMum Sat 04-Jun-11 11:16:25

Also look at ferrries for a mini cruise with extension nights in somewhere like Bruges or Bilbao, perhaps?

SaltNSauce Sat 04-Jun-11 11:29:17

I love the thought of traveling through Europe by train and as you say waking up and seeing different landscape. However last year I tried to research us all going to a wedding in Italy and it became very expensive and seemed extremely complex. In the end dp and dd1 flew on their own.
Sea travel also has a romance about it which sea sickness on the way to Jersey dented slightly. Haven,t looked closely at Portofino,s link yet but am going to check possibility of getting there by ferry.

BoffinMum Sat 04-Jun-11 13:13:59

Seat 61 is the website you need

SaltNSauce Sat 04-Jun-11 14:51:28

I did see that last year and it's a great site but the process is still fairly tortuous.
I am out of practise at travelling and being in any way adventurous since I had the children. The youngest is imo just getting to the age[4] where it is possible to do this kind of trip.

BoffinMum Sat 04-Jun-11 16:07:04

TBH once you get going it's easier and infinitely less stressful than flying. Simple things, like being able to carry bottles of water and lots of kit if you want to, and minimal security, and being able to wander about on board the train. I would go everywhere by train if I could. Seize the day!

BoffinMum Sat 04-Jun-11 16:12:47

What about London to Paris by Eurostar, then a night or two seeing the capital, then a high speed train from Paris to Cologne and changing there for a local train to Koenigswinter for a holiday by the Rhine?

Great hotel with pool

orienteerer Sat 04-Jun-11 19:26:38

Try Seat

Lizcat Sun 05-Jun-11 09:44:50

We took DD age 7 to Amsterdam on the train earlier this year. It was similar time door to door when you account for waiting at the airport etc. We changed twice in London and in Brussels very very straightforward. We were sat at a table all the way so plenty of room for colouring etc. We could get up and walk around the train and lots to see out of the window.
We got into travelling by train after the ash coloud last year when one of our routes home was to train it from Istabul to London (4days) and I was surprised by how excited DD was by this.

BoffinMum Sun 05-Jun-11 21:15:40

I am pretty excited about the prospect of new train routes opening up over the next decade so we have high speed rail links from the Eurostar to southern France and Germany, even Italy without having to change. It really would be amazing.

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