I am taking the kids to Europe this October. There will be two adults and a 3yr and 1yr old.
I haven't been to Europe for about 10yrs (and besides it was alone)......my question is.....
What is the best/ cheapest way to navigate Europe? Are there places that are economically better to visit?
We are spending approx 4 wks there and don't care where we go.
Is it better to get rail passes, hire camper, car, or just fly???
Any help/ advice would be greatly appreciated.
avoid Scandinavia if you want to stay cheap, and prefer Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Hungaria, Tzchech Republic.
October is low season for southern Europe, but the wheather is still warm.
My suggestion is to do a tour in Spain/Portugal (Lisbon, Algarve, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo, Madrid, Barcelona) for ten days on a rented car, then from Barcelona to Genua with the ferry (a cabin for 4 is 250 euro one way), then with another rented car or using the train (surely cheaper but maybe not relaxing with 2 kids) 10 days in Italy (Genua, Cinqueterre, Pisa, Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari), from there in Greece, another week... But remember that usually the fare will be expensive flying from Australia to two different destinations, and the same for the car.
Another option is to fly on Milan, rent a car and from there do a circuit so:
Turin (it's my city, and it's worth the travel! October is time of vintage on the hills...)
southern France (vintage time): Avignon, Provence, Nice
Italy (Genua, Cinqueterre, Milan, Venice)
Slovenia & Croatia (Istria region, Dalmatia Island, Split)
take the ferry from Split (Croatia) to Ancona (Italy) and go on to southern Italy through the east coast (Gargano Peninsula, Bari, Lecce, Salento peninsula) and back on the west coast (Amalfi, Naples, Rome, Siena, Florence, Bologna) until Milan.
Ask me, I'll be happy to help you with some idea.
The cheapest place to rent cars are in order: Spain, Portugal and Czech Republic. Ive been to europe many times and I find that Eastern Europe is cheaper by 20%+. The last trip I did, I rented a car in Prague and drove to Budapest with a stop in Vienna. Budapest was fantastic (so many castles) and Prague is very romantic. Vienna is expensive though. In Prague, I stayed at Quality Hotel for 28 dollars a night (next to tram). You could easily go to vienna and bratislava on the way from Prague. You can save money in Hungary and Czech Republic and use the saving in Austria.
Thanks very much for the help.
It looks like Czech and Spain are the cheaper ways to go. I haven't been to either (choosing to do other countries last time) but I will do more research on these.
Thanks for the advice...its a great starting point!
Travelling with 2 kids and 2 adults in October in the Czech Republic I would ent a campervan, not a car.
You'll definitely have to go the camping route, either with tents and rented car or with a campervan. Hostel, hotel or private pensions will be too expensive.
I leave it up to you to compare the costs between the two options (not to mention the inconvenience of dragging camping gear all the way from Oz and back), but note the temperatures at night during October can be quite fresh. This won't be a problem in Southern Spain or Portugal, but when you travel in late Oct/early Nov a little bit more north it is worth a thought. And yes, that includes Northern Italy and Slovenia, especially if you are up in the mountains.
BTW, I find travelling by train much easier with older kids (6 years +) than travelling by car. Sitting still for long time can be a challenge, but in the train they got room to run around, jump up and down the seats (with shoes removed), chase the conductor down the hallway, ... and you can face them and play with them instead of needing to drive. Problem I see is the higher cost of getting around (4 tickets) and managing the luggage if your kids are not old enough to take care of their own stuff.