Need some ideas for a driving holiday around Europe(28 Posts)
My DH and I have decided to have an extended family holiday this year with our (will be then 10mo) baby before I go back to work and before he takes over as primary carer for a month. It will be for 3-4 weeks in August and we are thinking of driving across parts of Europe, getting the ferry to either Spain or France (or somewhere else convenient).
Bearing in mind we will have a 10mo, where would you go and what would you do? Looking for ideas for places to stay, things to do, local festivals etc Eg I know there's a medieval festival in Bayeaux but that's at the start of July.
I will have a think about this. What sort of budget are we talking? Camping or hotels? How long in each place?
Probably hotels/B&Bs rather than camping though happy to have a few nights under canvas (if we can fit the tent in the car!) We like moving around a lot so probably no more than 2 or 3 nights in each place.
Hmmm. With a 10 month old. You don't want too hot or French traffic jams. Europe goes on hols in August.
So you don't want to be travelling on the weekends. This is like my dream query
Don't go south in August.
I did a driving holiday with dh back in the days before kids, and we finished up by driving south through Spain. We were heading for Grenada, but by the time we got there we were so pissed off with the heat that we drove straight through, and up the mountains until we reached the snow line . It was over 40 degrees - and that was early July. August would be hotter.
Stay further north - Switzerland is beautiful, driving through the Alps is wonderful, as is Northern Italy, Lake Garda and the French Alps - we stayed in Annecy for a couple of nights.
If I were you I would ferry to Holland or somewhere, visit places like Bruges, head east rather than south, and possibly make it as far as somewhere like Geneva (or possibly Northern Italy), coming back through Germany.
Thanks everyone for the responses. I hadn't thought about the temperature but you're right, too hot would not be good.
I am liking the idea of driving across through France, Belgium, Switzerland and maybe the top of Italy. I haven't been to Switzerland before so are there any places you would recommend?
Unfortunately due to timings, the holiday has to be in August.
A few years ago we drove via Belgium, France and Switzerland to Italy and got as far as Rome. Camping all the way. We drove home via S of France. The whole thing took 3 weeks and the DDs loved it.
Warning - if you drive through Switzerland you need to have a special permit, which is a lot more expensive when bought from border control than if purchases in advanced!
In CH you only need a Vignette to go on the motorways. If you're travelling through you could pick a lake then mountain area to stop at. Opt for interesting driving over passes (rather than through endless tunnels) too. The Gotthard pass down into the Italian region is a good one, stop at Lake Lugano the other side not far from Milan. Definitely avoid the tunnels/passes on a Saturday mid July - August as queues are horrible. August 1st is Swiss National day so you'll find a lot of local fairs in even the smallest of villages with celebratory Brunch deals at mountain cafes as well as evening fireworks.
Coming from Calais, I would suggest:
Reims, Colmar/Riquewihr, Lake Lucerne or Interlaken/Wengen, San Gottardo pass, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Dolomites (Bolzano), Innsbruck, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Heidelberg and the Rhein Valley, Monschau/Aachen, Breda/Delft, Antwerp, Bruges, back to Calais.
Or as an alternative: Deauville, Honfleur, Saint Malo/Dinard/Mont st michel
La Rochelle, St Emilion, Sarlat/Lez Eyzies (Dordogne) Lyon, Chambery/Lake Annecy, Lake Lucerne, Colmar, Trier/Berkastel (Moselle valley) Belgian Ardennes (Durbuy/La Roche), Brussels/Bruges, Belgian Coast (De Haan)
The champagne region (Epernay/Reims) is definitely on the itinery. Thanks Portofino for the sugessted routes. Both have a mixture of places I haven't been to and places I'd love to revisit so definitely somethimg to think about. Are there any particular attractions at any of these places that you woud recommend?
I want to do that Porto - the first one.
How soon will my house be empty and my bank account full <ponders>
Just general gorgeousness really. If you know how much time you have and which way you want to go I can suggest places I have been, hotels, attractions etc. I don't have time to do that for the whole of Europe ;-)
Hi Portofino - I am liking your itinerary - the Reims, Colmar/Riquewihr, Lake Lucerne or Interlaken/Wengen, San Gottardo pass, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Dolomites (Bolzano), Innsbruck, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Heidelberg and the Rhein Valley, Monschau/Aachen, Breda/Delft, Antwerp, Bruges, back to Calais
So far we have arranged for this August - Calais - Ieper, Luxembourg City / Freiburg / Garmish / Scoul / Wengen over 19/20 days. Planning on a mix of hotels/camping with 5 kids - 6 - 15 years old. But looking for other places to tack on to the trip. Love the outdoors, love history!
Luxembourg City is 100% as is Scoul and Wengen for friend reasons but if you have any thoughts of places within the circle that we 'shouldn't' miss I am all ears
Reims could be a possibility on our way back - can you convince me?
Colmar/Riquewihr I know nothing about? However it is on our way from Luxembourg to Freiburg. Or should we go north to Heidelberg?
It looks like we can go the long way to Wengen from Scoul over San Gottardo Pass - it is worth it?
Won't have time this trip to explore the Italian Lakes
Colman/ Riquewahr are very very pretty, and you can take in a bit of the Route des Vins. Heidelberg is very nice too though. I haven't been to Reims personally but it seemed a good stop off point. We did the San Gottardo tunnel and drove over the Grimsel pass towards Interlaken. I have never been so scared in my entire life Stunning scenery but perilous drops. I blanked out the scenery (stunning) and spent the time praying. The san gottardo pass was recommended to me though. The Reichenbach Falls and the Arschlucht gorge are well worth a visit if you are that area. We went to Grindelwald, went up to the top of the mountain on the cable car and walked half way back down. There is a nice restaurant with a huge playground at the mid point. Very expensive though. Couldn't find Scoul on google maps though....
Dh and I discussed talking some parental leave next summer and doing something similar over 6 or 7 weeks. Better start saving up.
dh made it his mission to drive as many alpine passes as possible so definitely worth the St Gotthard pass in preference to tunnel although iirc it isn't as precipitous as some others ! Be wary if any of you suffer from car sickness but you can at least take a break at the top. For Wengen you have to park in Lauterbrunnen and you may want to reserve a space in the covered car park espeically if stopping there for a weekend or longer otherwise you end up in a field a good walk/bus out of town.
If you are going to Garmisch, Neuschwanstein castle nearby is not to be missed (castle in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and there is a mountain called the Wank, where you can go up in the Wankbahn and get lunch in the Wankhaus. this caused endless tittering when on my school German exchange. In fact it still makes me titter now though depending on your kids, you may or may not wish to avoid.....
taster of the Furka pass which I think was the one we did actually.
A few years ago we drove from London to Naples & beyond. Definitely recommend driving through the black Forrest. From Heidelberg, through Freiburg and cross at Basel into Switzerland. Geneva/Annecy area is definitely worth a visit but then I would cut across to Lugano, como, Garda ... for us northern lakes in Italy was the highlight of the trip.
Mondrian, I agree. It is a beautiful part of the world.
No, I have looked at the map agin. It was the Susten pass we did.
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