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With a 2 year old?

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Connecticut
Level Contributor
127 posts
9 reviews
With a 2 year old?

My wife and I are considering travelling to Europe next summer with our 2 year old. We have been to Europe several times but never with a child. We would like to find a city/ country that has enough to do, which is clean, safe, where we can get around without a car and people preferably speak english in case my son should get sick. We are considering Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen and maybe a city in Germany like Munich, or possibly Barcelona eventhough we have been to Spain and they don't speak english. In any case which two places would work best for a 2 week vacation?

Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Munich, Amsterdam
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6,417 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: With a 2 year old?

To spend two weeks with a two years old, you might be better of at the beach or in the nature instead of in a big city.

Connecticut
Level Contributor
127 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: With a 2 year old?

One or two days in the hot sun is ok, but more than that on the beach is too much. I agree that a smaller city or nature type destination maybe would be better. If that is the case is there anywhere near the Alps or in Switzerland that would fit the bill?

Winter Haven...
Level Contributor
5,184 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: With a 2 year old?

Amsterdam and possibly Munich. Key to your criteria is "without a car". Amsterdam for sure. Not much to do for a week in Stockholm and Copenhagen except Stockholm (Stockholm does have the fjords) and Copenhagen. Salzburg and Innsbruck are relatively easy train trips for a two year old out of Munich and are doable. To maybe a lesser extent are the Salzkammergut and the beautiful ski villages like Kitzbuehel. Germans have come a long way in recent years with their English and this region will be very pleasant weatherwise in summer.

Don't know if I would recommend Barcelona with a two year old. Let me lay an area on you to think about - anywhere from Bordeaux in the south of France across the border to Bilboa in Spain. You could choose either of these towns as a base as well as Biarritz or San Sebastian. You will find the Atlantic coast more balmy than the Med. Don't know if you are a foodie, but San Sebastian has more Michelin "stars" per square meter than any other town in Europe. In addition to the ocean you have the Pyrénées and the Basque region which are relatively easy to access by public transportation with a little research.

Connecticut
Level Contributor
127 posts
9 reviews
4. Re: With a 2 year old?

I don't have to do without a car just thoughtit would be easier to stay in one place and not have to fuss with the whole car thing. We love to walk everywhere or in Amsterdam I guess it would be to bike, I jsut wasn't sure if there is any place for my son to run around. San Sabastian does interest me,the only thing is we like to pick a new country everytime we go to Europe and we have already been to Spain and France.

Winter Haven...
Level Contributor
5,184 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: With a 2 year old?

Plenty of places to run around in Amsterdam. Tuscany (Florence)? The Algarve region of Portugal? Berlin? Geneva with Inverness, Interlaken, and Grindelwald? Can't go wrong with any of those choices.

If you want to get more in depth information about any of those areas, just ask.

Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
11,458 posts
71 reviews
6. Re: With a 2 year old?

Amsterdam has plenty of playgrounds and even a city beach with safe swimming water (checked by institutions) and lifeguards in summer (Blijburg). There is also a shallow pond for kids in Westerpark, and one in Vondelpark. And various pools.

Zandvoort real beach is a 30 minute train ride. Don't worry about too many hot days in the Netherlands, rather the opposite! ;-)

Kids also tend to love simple tram rides, or the free ferry behind Central Station.

More ideas for families here: iamsterdam.com/en-GB/…families-and-children

Other than cities families tend to enjoy bungalow parks such as Duinrell, Landall parks, Roompot parks Centerparc parks. You'd need a car though.

For example the Roompot park in Arcen is in the hilly province of Limburg (although it's more hilly further south) and near the German border. It has a pool and playground and a lake and tiny beach; and you can visit all kinds of places nearby like Thorn, or the fantastic and super cheap mega playland / kids adventure park (I don't know the correct English terms) for kids up to 12 (so no rowdy teenage groups) in Germany called Irrland, very close by. Irrland has free bbq's and you're allowed to bring your own food into the park. They have special trolleys to transport your stuff and kid through that mega park. Almost all ramps, slides, carts, etc are non-electric but really fun for the kids, and plenty of picknick tables for the adults to sit and watch their child play from nearby (in case they don't want to join them every single minute).

Other Dutch holiday destinations are the Wadden islands or Zeeland for a mix of beach, dunes, forests, towns. But many other options too.

Good luck deciding.

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

Edited: 7:41 pm, October 14, 2013
Amsterdam, The...
Destination Expert
for Amsterdam
Level Contributor
27,918 posts
74 reviews
7. Re: With a 2 year old?

You are over-thinking this and placing too much emphasis on what your child would like IMO. OK I realise that this might be your first trip overseas with a small child and you need to have somewhere to keep your son occupied but this is also your vacation. Your son will be happy to just be with his parents and won't give a damn or understand where he is. I doubt he will even remember it when he's older.

Have you considered a beach resort in Portugal? Fantastic underrated country and Lisbon is a really great city to visit. It is also still one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe.

If you do a small bit of research most tourist places in Europe will have at least some English speaking doctors. as British tourists make up a sizeable portion of visitors especially in Spain and Portugal.

PS. I also loved San Sebastian.

Edited: 2:22 am, October 15, 2013
Winter Haven...
Level Contributor
5,184 posts
2 reviews
8. Re: With a 2 year old?

Seeing Ron's response, DON"T forget Scotland. Edinburgh is fantastic in summer with LOTS to do in the environs! (He might not like this as he is from Stirling.)

Edited: 8:55 am, October 15, 2013
Amsterdam, The...
Level Contributor
11,458 posts
71 reviews
9. Re: With a 2 year old?

My sister (as a child) once ended up in an Italian hospital with an open head wound. My mom speaks fluent French and had some latin in school, but she was not able to communicate whatsoever with the Italian doctors. The difference between French and Italian was too big and none of the Italian doctors spoke a word of English.

So I can understand the concern!

Ruhr Area, Germany
Level Contributor
13,046 posts
99 reviews
10. Re: With a 2 year old?

IMO Amsterdam and the Netherlands might be a good option for holidays with a 2 year old.

As Ronaldo has mentioned, such a small kid doesn´t need a lot of interesting sightseeing places, it wants a place (or more) to play! Perhaps, if you will be lucky, you can take it to any museum or sites, or do some walks with it, preferable in the nature, not in a buisy city and most kids whome I know are very happy with a beach, a pool or a playground.

And you can find all those things in the Netherlands. Beside this, it isn´t too hot, like perhaps in the Mediterranean countries (in summer), it is clean, safe, English is widely spoken and there is a lot to do and to see.

When my daughter was 2 we took her to Majorca and the only things she can remember are the mouse in our flat and a special sort of ice cream , nothing more.

And the only thing she liked (and her elder brother as well) have been the beach and the walks along the promenade in the evening when both could ride on a carousel.

My friends often went to the Center Parcs in the Netherlands , very convenient for families

http://www.centerparcs.com/EN/US/home