Europe with the folks (travel advice needed)

So my parents want to come visit me in Europe. I’m looking forward to it and I have to say that I can’t decide what to do. They want to rent a car and drive around. We did this once when I lived in Germany. We took a car from Frankfurt and drove around for about nine days. We had a blast too. It was generally a great trip and my parents loved it. We drove down through Freiburg, Straussburg, the Cote de Azure, Northern Italy, Austria, and finally back to Trier (near luxembourg)

They want to do it again this May/June, and I’d be thrilled. Here are some of our ideas.
Scandinavian road trip. Start off in DK, and go around Sweden and Norway. Problem, the distance could be long and not really as much interesting stuff per mile as in other areas. Also the food isn’t very special (judging from Danish food).

Second idea Italy-Greece. I think it would be very nice, plus I really would like to see greece, and I’ve heard that the island-hopping scene is great. Italian food…well we all know about that. Food is a big deal to my folks as well. Secondly there’s the language barrier. I don’t speak Italian, and I realize that in Southern Italy (on the way to Greece) it’s possibly a little dangerous (not really, but a bit more hectic) Plus we don’t want to drive as much this time around. We spent too many nights looking for a place to stay and it wasn’t so fun when my folks were getting a bit irritable. They are kind of old so they don’t like to screw around with that stuff very much.

Third option: British Isles tour. This sounds kind of fun, but really, I have no interest… Language isn’t a problem, of course. The food…well…I know it’s gotten better of course. I imagine my dad would love a Sunday roast though. I dunno, I hear that some areas of the British isles can be quite idyllic. We could also tie in a ferry trip from Denmark too. I’d really need some suggestions on this one too. I definitely think we’ll skip London though, as my parents tend to like to visit smaller towns.

Last time we played it by ear, but we ran into a few troubles by not being as prepared as possible

Oh, and they’d like to fly from somewhere in Mississippi. I have heard of a carrier that operates out of New york in a type of single-class cabin. Anyone know about this?

They have been to Spain before, so that’s out, They don’t want to do France or Germany again either. Greece would be great considering the time of year and I think it could be a very relaxing thing down in southern Italy and Greece. I’d really like that as long as I could know that there would be little trouble in getting around. I figure I might do a lot more planning this time, like booking hotels, etc beforehand.

I think the second idea might probably be the best. As you say, there aren’t much interesting stuff per mile in Scandinavia, unless you’re really into local history, and in May-June, you really risk it being rainy a lot of the time. It’s not very warm either, around 15-20 C in general, I believe. Late June, early August, are generally the driest part of the summer and the all-around “safest” time to go on holiday in Scandinavia. And the food aren’t often that special. Maybe it’s all just because I live here and it’s all so non-exotic to me :slight_smile: but I’d certainly go for Greece and Italy in May. Your parents might enjoy a day or two in Copenhagen though, foreigners usually seem quite charmed by the city, but then I don’t know where you live and if this would be practical in the over-all scheme.


You needn’t worry about food in Britain. London’s now the food capital of Europe, if not the world.

May’s a bit early; late June’s a pretty good bet.

Well i’m not going to London. That’s the point. I realize that London is great for food, but what about the small villages in the lake district? This is what I mean…

Pubs, from what I’ve seen.

Italy/Greece sounds great to me. I’m not sure where you get the notion that Southern Italy can be more hectic (more hectic than what?) or how that relates to language. If they manage to be more hectic than Northern Italy and that cesspit of world driving they call a capital, it’s sure taking some effort. You can move around Italy and Greece in English pretty well, of course not everybody speaks it or much less like a native but many people have at least some level. Carry around a notebook: sometimes people find it a lot easier to draw a little map than to give directions.

No, don’t come to Scandinavia, we only eat herring and potatoes up here :rolleyes:
But seriously, if you like nature and being outdoors I would heartily recomend a Scandinavian vacation. It is very easy to go wild-camping, hiking, fishing and just experiencing mountains, fjords, forrests or coastal areas.

I do not understand what you mean by “not really interesting stuff per mile”, the nature up here is really diverse. There are not any autobahns up here, so you do not have to endure mile after mile with concrete and dust.

Sorry I came off as being prejudiced, but I didn’t mean that way. I live here, and I’ve been to Sweden, and I did think it was beautiful, and I’d easily go myself with a different group, but this is my parents I’m talking about here. They do like that sort of stuff as well, but they also like to chill out a lot too. It’s also about the weather and going to the beach. And I know this is possible in Sweden and Norway too…

No worries! :slight_smile:

If you should be in the central Norwegian area sometime, give a shout.

“Well, I enjoyed cooking for you. And just to make everything completely square, I want you to have these complimentary after-dinner chocolates.”

(which TV chef said that?)

Maybe you could do an Italy/Greece loop? We took a similar trip one June.
We flew into Milan and out of Rome.
We took the overnight ferry from Venice to Corfu, then flew to Crete and worked our way back to Athens, island to island. Santorini was breathtaking.
Then we flew from Athens to Rome for the final days of our trip. The only lodging we booked ahead of time was at the beginning and the ending of the trip. We also booked cabins on the ferry in advance.

Here’s an article about various single-class cross-atlantic offerings.

Personally, I hate long drives. One option would be to choose a small portion of a country and spend all your time there. For example, I went to Salzburg (Austria) and spent all 5 days in Salzburg. I found plenty of things to do to occupy my time. Of course this was doing the Mozart festival. Last time I went back home to visit my family I spent a week visiting the “small cantons” in Northeast Switzerland and I had a blast. Each city was different and I saw things that many tourists don’t see - like the beautikful reformed church in Glarus ( building exterior - interior photo ) or the monastery in St. Gallen (which has a beautiful libary - photo).