Mezzanine
Mezzanine Dork
6/19/19 6:50 p.m.

I have a cousin getting married in a little town 40 minutes south of Lisbon Portugal on July 4th, 2020. I'm planning to load my wife and 9 year old daughter into the family truckster and go. I need your advice on where we should go.

Trip Scope:

  1. Total trip length: ~14-16 days
  2. Plan to NOT try and see everything.
  3. Stay in two different places.
  4. One of those places will be near Lisbon, Portugal for the wedding
  5. The other place is to be determined.
  6. Trip departs from Seattle, and returns to Seattle.
  7. Budget is somewhat flexible; we're saving up so I don't have to stress about getting a rental car or eating out. But I'm not rich, so go ahead and save your caviar recommendations for other GRMers.

Our interests:

We're looking for something leisurely. We like to walk around and see things, and we'd like to stay in one or two places and enjoy them (as opposed to trying to see ALL THE THINGS at the big tourist trap destinations). My daughter will be 9 when we go, and has the attention span of a 9 year old, so we do want to find things that will be interesting to her. She likes a plan and doesn't care for surprises too much. Things that sound appealing to us: Iceland and hitting some of the geothermal springs. Eastern Europe and seeing old cities and eating good, simple foods. A museum or two is great for me, but less for little Ms. Mezzanine. We've got beaches in Portugal, and that will be a big draw for her; water is always a win there. We love local markets, thrift stores, low-end shopping, and cheap fun. Parks, nature, animals.  

Your help:

I want suggestions on where to go and what to see. I'm thinking of flying straight to Budapest and seeing if Hungary Bill wants to come visit us for a few days. Maybe stay there for 7-ish days, then fly to Lisbon and home from there. But maybe you think we should go somewhere else? Bonus points for picking a place where the flights into/out of Europe commonly have layovers. I don't want to take ten flights with a kid if I can avoid it. Also, since we'll be in Portugal for one of the legs, I'd like the other leg to be culturally and geographically different.

 

 

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
6/19/19 11:16 p.m.

Write your cell number on her hand in indelible ink and touch it up whenever required. Nothing like loosing your nine year old at the Tower of London. Other than that, Legoland.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
6/20/19 2:46 a.m.

You’re far enough out you can shop around for flights some, just keep in mind that sites use cookies to track that, and will adjust the price up after your first visit.  So, run these checks incognito.  Also, check “multi-destination” flights, they’ll probably be as cheap as round trip out of Lisbon.

Big hubs we’ve seen are Munich, Frankfurt, Amersterdam.  Keep in mind, though, that if you fly on one of the cheap Euro-based airlines (easyJet, Ryan air, etc) that everything costs... sometimes even a carry-on back pack (but usually not a purse).

Look over the Schengen area, and keep in mind the Euro isn’t a one-for-one overlay... so you might end up changing money some.

Once you narrow down the places you’re going to visit, buy Rick Steves for those places.  He’ll steer you out of the tourist traps, and highlight things you can do on the cheap.  You can even watch some of his episodes on YouTube, or your local PBS.

I have some thoughts about Lisbon, but I need to do a couple things first.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
6/20/19 9:17 a.m.
Mezzanine said:A museum or two is great for me, but less for little Ms. Mezzanine. We've got beaches in Portugal, and that will be a big draw for her; water is always a win there. We love local markets, thrift stores, low-end shopping, and cheap fun. Parks, nature, animals.  

...

Also, since we'll be in Portugal for one of the legs, I'd like the other leg to be culturally and geographically different.

 

 

The problem I have with most of my favorite eastern european vacation spots is they're not worth more than about 2 or 3 full days and they're hard to get to (which is exactly why I love them) but dang if they dont check a LOT of your boxes. 

Check out:

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Ohrid, Macedonia

Bled, Slovenia

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Mostar, Bosnia 

My two favorites on that list are probably Mostar, Bosnia and Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria though.  But like I said, just to get to Bosnia... It'd be an 8-hour flight and 2 layovers crying

If you want to kick around one place, and relax a bit.  I might suggest Bratislava.  Lots to see with no pressure.   Just kick around the old town and dig what it has to offer.  I could easily spend a week there.
 



 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/20/19 9:59 a.m.

London is a pretty easy stopping point and is a great tourist stop for a youngster because there is just SO MUCH to see in a small area. The Metro gets you around easily, there are hop-on/hop-off bus tours of the city, and you can kill a day hitting the Tower of London. (tip the Beefeaters) 

Frankfurt is another centrally-located spot, you can easily take trains from there to lots of great spots. Southern Germany is great for hiking, biking trails, old cities, wine tours, shopping and just being a tourist. Hit Heidelberg and tour around the beautiful Neckar Rivier region.  Stuttgart is close by, with Porsche and Mercedes Museums that are amazing. 

Dubai is another big hub, and talk about a different world to expose your kid to! There are lots to do and see, but just touring around this city is pretty eye-opening. What 9 year old doesn't want to spend a day at the worlds largest mall?  

 

 

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill PowerDork
6/20/19 10:07 a.m.
pinchvalve said:

Dubai is another big hub, and talk about a different world to expose your kid to! There are lots to do and see, but just touring around this city is pretty eye-opening. What 9 year old doesn't want to spend a day at the worlds largest mall? 

That is a VERY good point.  There is a TON to do in Dubai and it's a big hub so you could do it on your way in OR on your way out.

Our Preferred Partners
W8mpUj6jZ50nAGFwlI6ZmzsJarQiJgqgGrqjU9ojHKREUsLM4C2oQnNhv6AjEyHA