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Toddler-friendly holiday in Europe without car?

(29 Posts)
JacqueslePeacock Thu 10-Jan-13 18:56:31

Does anyone have any suggestions for somewhere we could go at Easter time with an 18mo? We don't drive so hiring a car isn't an option. All the great toddler-friendy places look to be in the middle of nowhere, so getting there would be really hard for us.

JacqueslePeacock Thu 17-Jan-13 11:50:32

Wow - so many good ideas here! Thank you everyone. I am storing up future holiday plans as well now, as there are so many places I would like to visit. If only we had more time/money.....

narmada Wed 16-Jan-13 22:43:54

It may not be your bag at all, but you could consider skiing at Easter. YOur LO would probably enjoy sledging, snow, etc. Lots of packages available with childcare if you need it and easily doable by train. Not a cheap hol though.

narmada Wed 16-Jan-13 22:41:43

Yes, you can hire bike trailers and/ or bike seats. That's what we did with our two children. Hmmm, is there enough to do there for a week/ ten days? Well, that is a good question - definitely in summer there would be plenty to do but I am wondering what you would actually do there in bad weather now I come to think of it. The towns are all very attractive with good shopping, and there are lots and lots of cycle routes to do. Beach walks, cycle rides, really nice food..... ooh, I think I could entertain myself, on reflection!

Trips to la rochelle are very doable - there is a fabulous aquarium and the town centre is worth a good look around.

City break sounds like a good plan. Stockholm would be good - you could do trips out to the archipelago on ferries; there are several nice attractions for families e.g. amusement parks and museums. Copenhagen likewise, with the fabulous Tivoli gardens and Lusiania Art museum - and all doable by public transport.

sleepyhead Wed 16-Jan-13 19:46:29

Barcelona would be great with a toddler I think. From Parc Guell (sp?) to Barcelonetta there's loads to do.

Train links to other places along the coast etc are also really good.

JacqueslePeacock Wed 16-Jan-13 19:37:40

Thanks for all the advice on trains! I love travelling by train and we have done quite few train trips to Central and Southern Europe and the Middle East, but I was a bit wary of doing it with a toddler - but your experiences sound very positive.

Thanks for the +1 for Ile de Re - it does sound nice. Is there enough to keep us occupied for a week to 10 days there? I'm not sure how much cycling we could do with an 18 mo (unless you can hire bike trailers?!).

narmada Tue 15-Jan-13 22:23:35

A +1 for ile de re. It is quick and easy to get to from London St P via train.- I think I worked it out at six hours to la rochelle and then from there there is a fast bus - a half hour or so . Everyone cycles everywhere, there are great cycle paths. Not sure how warm at Easter tho ....

janek Tue 15-Jan-13 12:57:58

a thread of mine from the olden days

janek Tue 15-Jan-13 12:53:31

They have restarted the overnight train to rome i believe, and surely rome is far enough south at easter. You get there about 10.15 (as opposed to 5.38 if you are going to milan, which we normally do!).

Btw the floor space is a compartment is about 1m by 1.20m. I know this as i measured it. So no room really for any kind of travel cot, but they can't fall off the floor and the train seems to lull them to sleep.

janek Tue 15-Jan-13 12:50:31

Yes, the first time we took dd1 on the overnight train she was 18m and dd2 was only 6 months. It was fine. You only have to pay for a ticket for them once they're four, but you need to have booked the whole compartment in order to have a child travelling for free iyswim.

So we booked a (first class) two-berth compartment and dd1 slept on the thermarest on the floor with her grobag. We used the cushions that make the armrest in compartment's day-mode to block her in a bit, and we explained where we were going to sleep and where she would sleep and it was fine.

The next time when we had dd2, dd1 still wasn't four, so she still slept on thermarest and dd2 shared the bottom bunk with me.

Since then, dd1 has had her own bunk so we book all the beds in a three-person compartment instead (essentially the same compartment as the two-person but with the beds at slightly different levels so there's room for three of them).

When travelling with an 'extra' child you need to bear in mind that you need extra bedding for them, unless you co-sleep. What we now do is give dd1 her sleeping bag and dd2 has her bedding, but on the thermarest.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 14-Jan-13 19:16:49

Have you tried it with a toddler? I'm a bit nervous about overnight train with 18 mo but maybe it would be fine. Probably not all the way to Stockholm though! We have about a week to 10 days if I can persuade DH to go for that long.

janek Mon 14-Jan-13 17:56:13

How long do you actually have? May i recommend a time-efficient overnight train, if i'm not teaching my grandmother to suck eggs?

JacqueslePeacock Mon 14-Jan-13 17:15:53

Oh, Stockholm sounds wonderful, and I think we could possibly get there without flying too - but it would need a longer trip to do so, and it's definitely too cold for me in March/April time. I will definitely some back to that suggestion in the future though.

Thanks for the Seat 61 recommendation! I love that website and have planned several train trips round Europe on there. I just wish we had the time to do a longer trip this time.

janek Mon 14-Jan-13 17:10:32

Have you looked at I think you'll have to go a long way to guarantee good weather at easter. Particularly as easter is at the end of march this year, ie early.

I know of what i speak. We have been to nw tuscany several times at easter (by train, i hasten to add!) and although it can be sunny and nice it can also chuck it down, and it's not 'boiling' like a 'proper' holiday. Are you stuck with school hols, or do you just fancy a bit of early sun- you may not manage to sunbathe at that time of year, but on the upside the dcs won't burn!

scissy Mon 14-Jan-13 16:53:31

I was going to suggest Stockholm until I saw your "no flying" and wanting it to be relatively warm rules smile - it's supposedly one of the most toddler friendly places in the world (we went there last year and there were loads of young children about, plus public transport is excellent).

JacqueslePeacock Sat 12-Jan-13 20:01:43

Oh damn, I was getting excited about Denmark but 6 degrees is not my idea of warm! Maybe at a different time of year. Ile de Re could be good - I keep seeing it mentioned so I will check it out. Would we get bored though? Is there enough there to occupy us for a week or 10 days?

clabsyqueen Fri 11-Jan-13 20:24:55

Ile de re. Car free island near Bordeaux. Eurostar from london. Not been but planning to as comes highly recommended by friends with toddlers.

kayb0 Fri 11-Jan-13 19:58:29

Have a look on Groupon, I know you hear loads of horror stories about them but we had a fab break to Barcelona last year on a Groupon deal that was a total bargain. - And Barcelona is absolutely gorgeous and had everything, sun, sand, culture, city, art, history, cuisine; you'll love it!

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 19:55:43

Looks pretty cold to me (sorry). But then again, the Royal Parade might be fun.

What about a Channel Island, or the Scillies?

JacqueslePeacock Fri 11-Jan-13 17:53:01

Denmark would be good! I'd love to go there and we could sail there. Would the weather be nice at Easter time?

lljkk Fri 11-Jan-13 14:02:01

Camping in Normandy? Lots do.
holland is good to get around without a car. parts of Denmark, too

JacqueslePeacock Fri 11-Jan-13 13:48:10

South of France sounds nice! I will definitely look at that. I have wanted to visit Barcelona for years, so would love to go there, but I can't imagine it would be great for an 18mo.

Thewhingingdefective Fri 11-Jan-13 13:37:55

Is flying really not an option? A cheap flight and city break might work- somewhere like Nice or Barcelona.

Thewhingingdefective Fri 11-Jan-13 13:35:17

Eurostar to Paris and then TGV to South of France?

JacqueslePeacock Fri 11-Jan-13 12:27:24

Thanks everyone. These all sound really nice. Ideally I was hoping to be able to get there without flying (train, ferry, bus etc) but I guess that ight just not be possible. We did take the train to northern Spain last year, which was lovely, but was a horrible pain in terms of taxis trying to get to the cottage we rented. We definitely need somewhere with good public transport.

Portofino Fri 11-Jan-13 09:11:18

Or Sardinia is lovely!

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