Q: We’d love to take the kids to Europe, but the most popular routes like London and Rome have astronomical prices for airfares and hotels. Are there any less expensive routes or destinations?
A: You can go to Europe with your family and not break the bank! I just attended a Visit Europe Media Exchange (VEMEX) in New York and had the opportunity to meet with a number of fascinating and fabulous destinations throughout Europe. Many of these often fly under the tourist radar even though they offer great value for the money and lots to do for families.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- Denmark — Head to this friendly corner of Scandinavia for family attractions that range from castles in Copenhagen to the original LEGOLAND (Did you know Lego is from Denmark? Now you do!) in Billund and Viking museums and folklore around every corner. The tourism board told me about extremely reasonable airfares are available on Norwegian Airlines. (How cheap you ask? Well, you can fly your family from JFK to Copenhagen for February break for $350 per person roundtrip!). Adding to the family friendly quotient: the Danes are known as the Happiest People on Earth.
- Northern England — Sure, London gets all the glory, but it also has expensive hotels and crowded attractions. Think “north” for good deals by flying into Manchester (there are currently 8 nonstop flights a day from the US, and those will nearly double in 2016). Then head to Yorkshire with your crew to immerse yourself in the new chocolate museum and to visit the National Railway Museum. For train buffs, and starting in March, you’ll even be able to ride the famous Flying Scotsman steam train. The north is dotted with castles and outdoor attractions in the Lake District, including Williamson Park which has moving outdoor plays in the summer for free — in 2016 it will be The Hobbit. Let’s see London’s West End top that!
- Emilia/Romagna — We told you about how to get great airfares by flying to Milan (and what to do in the city), from there, hop on a train for a quick ride to Bologna, the center of a delicious region known as Emilia/Romagna. Located south/west of Milan and stretching across Italy to the Adriatic Coast, this is where Italians head for amazing meals of local Parma hams and cheese and to vacation on 70-miles of sunny beaches (all for way less than Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast). For families there are pink flamingos on the Po River, Italy’s largest amusement park district, castles and fortresses in Rimini, and inexpensive B&Bs and small hotels throughout the region. For car buffs, don’t miss the Ferrari AND Lamborghini museums.
Have a family travel question?
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