Guest Post: Two family trips of a lifetime across Europe

December 16, 2013 Off By Laura TMOT
A holiday of a lifetime doesn’t necessarily have to consist of a US road trip or exotic locations at the other side of the world. Europe is blessed with some stunning scenery, rich with culture and also very affordable – great news if you have a growing family.
We’ve come up with a couple of recommended trips and some great tips to help your trip run smoothly and keep the kids entertained. You don’t want to end up like the Griswold family a la National Lampoon’s European Vacation now do you?

France

France is a tourist magnet for globetrotters the world over. People can’t get enough of the Gaelic charms this unique and fiercely independent country has to offer. We suggest a trip from Geneva to Monte Carlo, allowing you to soak up a variety of different experiences along the 800km stretch.

Mike Callaghan a spokesperson and manager for Argus Car Hire shared some interesting tips:
“The AutoRoute, the French equivalent of a motorway or freeway, is mainly linked by a toll road. You will be provided with an entrance ticket, which, if you lose, you will be charged for by the distance you have travelled between tolls along with an additional fee”.

“Coins and credit cards can be used to pay the toll fees, though only credit cards with the correct transponders may be used (these can be purchases from Sanef in the UK)”.

“Unless the road is marked otherwise, drivers give way to any vehicle coming from the right. This differs from the roundabout rules; drivers on the outside of the roundabout must yield to those on the inside”.

Along the way, you’ll experience the natural beauty of the French Alps, where a hike at La Tournette will take your breath away. Lake Annecy is another hot spot, and the Sunday Market is great for a spot of lunch.

Keep the little ones entertained for a few hours at the Univers du Cinema d’Animation. To keep them happy in the car, try downloading the free Globejotter games and activities booklet.

Head South and you can visit the Chateau de Chambery, the Fontaines des Elephants monument and the excellent Musee des Charmettes, featuring stunning gardens and a chance to soak up a taste of French history. Then, you can check out two national parks. Parc du Chartreuse offers a range of activities including horse riding, fishing and canyoning, while Parc du Vercours is a hiker’s paradise.

The most scenic part of the route is Comb Laval, where Cliffside roads tunnel through beautiful limestone cliffs. The landscape changes drastically as you drive through the picturesque Provence countryside, before arriving in millionaire’s playground, St Tropez, where you can play celebrity eye spy with the kids.

The last and arguably most impressive stop, Monte Carlo, has plenty to see and do, a handful of excellent restaurants and is of course home to the Grand Prix.

Germany

Our favourite German adventure consists of a five day drive between Munich and Berlin, allowing you to stop in Frankfurt and Stuttgart – where else can you visit five such unique and interesting cities in so little time? Try stop off at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, with over 160 vehicles, 1,500 exhibits and over nine floors, it’s incredibly comprehensive and a car lover’s dream.
Head through the wine region towards Frankfurt and stop off for a tipple or two in one of its many vineyards. Another highlight is the Rococo-style Sanssouci Palace, which was built around 1745 and features gazebos, terraced gardens and stunning temples.

You’re spoilt for choice when in Berlin. Fascinating war history, excellent restaurants and a vibrant nightlife make it an attractive destination for many. Just make sure you belt up and drive with caution in Germany, as the autobahn has no speed restrictions.
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