Itinerary for a family vacation in Europe
We (2 families with kids) want to plan for a Europe vacation from 16th April and go all the way to 2nd May. Can you plan out an itinerary - 3 days for Paris (including 1 travel day), 3 days for Switzerland (including 1 travel day), 4 days in London and 6 days in Rome/Venice?
Thank You for your question! It is great to hear of your Europe trip, and the time slot you've allotted for it is brilliant- it will definitely be warmer temperatures in Europe than it is right now, which is huge plus when it comes to touring such locations.
While June might have been the ideal month to visit Switzerland, April-May is also a decent time to check out this beautiful country. While summer has not completely set in, the sun does make peek-a-boo entrances, long enough to make your trip enjoyable.
Depending on when and where you go, the weather in Switzerland can vary greatly due to drastic altitude differences. High in the Swiss mountains, the weather tends to be much cooler than expected so bring a warm jacket, extra layers, and pants even in the summer if you plan on visiting any of the major mountains.
Since you are in Switzerland for just two to three days, I suggest you visit Interlaken and Lucerne. While at Interlaken, don't miss out on the top of Europe. Take the train from the Interlaken Ost station, and make your way to Jungfraujoch.
The journey starts at the Interlaken Ost station where you catch the BOB train up to Lauterbrunnen. Transfer there to the WAB train that climbs up to the junction at Kleine Scheidegg after passing through the car free mountain village of Wengen. From Kleine Scheidegg you take the last leg of your journey on the Jungfraubahn train through the great tunnel to the top. From the top (over 13,000 ft) you can see for miles in all directions. Views are great of the largest glacier in Europe, the ice palace carved out of the glacier, the resturants inside and the overall experience.
View From Jungfraujoch (Source: Edwin Lee)
You might also want to try your hand at para-gliding, a breathtaking experience you're guaranteed to take with you for life.
Paragliding in Interlaken (Source: Olivier Bruchez)
While at Lucerne, I suggest you walk around town, and soak in as much as possible. The lake is a beauty.......
On lake Luzern on a winter day.. (Source: Aanjhan Ranganathan)
......... you might even want to take kids to the Swiss Transport Museum.
Museum entry stickers on Volkswagen Beetle (Source: Andrew Bossi)
Luzern - Verkehrshaus - Steam Tractor 149 (Source: Andrew Bossi)
What a fantastic museum. There is so much to see and do. The railway exhibits were brilliant with a demonstration of how a steam train works and various engines from all eras. The automobiles were great with the automatic lift system bringing down exhibits from the shelves. It is great for the kids or for adults. There are lots of interactive exhibits. This is probably one of the best museums I have ever been to and I spent over 5 hours here.
If you have the time, I absolutely recommend that you make a trip to Mt. Titlis. You would have to make an hour's worth of a train ride from Lucerne to Engelberg; but this part of the Alps is not only breathtaking, but a whole lot of fun. Experience the rotating cable car, while you make your way to the top. Once you reach the top, you would able to experience the same sort of ice palace that you might have come across at Jungfraujoch, and plenty of snow sports.
View from Mount Titlis (Source: encontrado)
London will see warmer weather in April/May, slightly better than it is right now. However, temperatures remain below twenty degrees celsius, and the wind chill will make it seem colder- so it is always safe to have a warm jacket. Rain is a prominent feature in this city, so I suggest you always carry an umbrella while you're here.
London Weather (Source: TripAdvisor)
There are plenty of things to do in London, that I don't know where to begin. For a quick view of the city, I suggest you take the Big Bus tour. These buses usually take you around the popular spots of London, and also provide you with a little history on the way. Truly worth a ride at least once- plus, you can hop off at any destination that you might want to explore more, and hop on when you want to see the rest of the tour.For more, see here.
Madame Tussaud - London (Source: Cristian Bortes)
Speaking of museums, I also recommend the British Museum - a must even if you're not a museum fanatic- entry is absolutely free, unless you want to have a look at any of their special exhibits.
British Museum(Source: Nic McPhee)
If you're animal lovers, I suggest the London Zoo (also in the Baker Street Area). Otherwise, head over to Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square and experience the buzz. While at Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square, you might be able to buy relatively cheap tickets for one of the many plays that run across town. I watched the broadway musical, Lion King, at Lyceum Theatre- the experience, needless to say, was mind blowing! I highly recommend it, besides, it would be a treat for the kids too. :)
The Lion King Lyceum Theatre (Source: Andy Roberts)
Shopping at Oxford Street is also a treat, even if you're just looking. Try out some belgian waffles while you stroll down the street, and perhaps pick up a treat or two. Once you touch Marble Arch, at the end of Oxford Street, I suggest, you take a stroll through Hyde Park, and especially have a look at the Diana Memorial Fountain. There is also the Buckingham Palace, but I'm sure you knew that already :)
Paris will be great around the months of May, with warmer, rising temperatures, that will make for pleasant walks in and around.
Paris is at its best during the temperate spring months (March to May), with autumn coming in a close second.
For your two or three days in Paris, I recommend you stick to Old Paris. Stroll along the Seine and soak in the historical timeline that this city unfold in front you, right from New Paris, through the Champs de Elysee, up to the Obelisk. Needless to say, Eiffel Tower (all the better if you're able to see it at night) and Louvre are right on top of my list. Arc De Triomphe is also great for some fabulous views of the city. But, aside from this, I also suggest you visit the Notre Dame, and marvel at its pretty windows, and perhaps, even go up to the bell tower and check out the gargoyles.
Notre Dame de Paris (Source: David THIBAULT)
Paris, Place de La Concorde at night (Source: Paris, Place de La Concorde at night)
For a great three-day trip to Paris, I recommend you check this out.
Anytime between May to October is a good time to visit, temperatures will be suitable to sightseeing.
Good months to visit are May and October. In early May, the temperatures are warm but bearable, outdoor dining is a pleasure, and for those who enjoy the beach, Fregene and Ostia are short rides away on public transportation.
Take a walk through Ancient Rome, and check out the ruins.
A vast, almost unified archaeological park cuts through the center of Rome. For those who want specific guidance, we have a walking tour that will lead you through these haunting ruins. But it's fun to wander on your own and let yourself get lost on the very streets where Julius Caesar and Lucrezia Borgia once trod. A slice of history unfolds at every turn: an ancient fountain, a long-forgotten statue, a ruined temple dedicated to some long-faded cult. A narrow street suddenly opens to a view of a triumphal arch. The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are the highlights, but the glory of Rome is hardly confined to these dusty fields. If you wander long enough, you'll eventually emerge onto Piazza della Rotunda to stare in awe at one of Rome's most glorious sights, the Pantheon.
(Source: Frommer's Favorite Experiences in Rome)
Colosseum and Pantheon is also a must while you're at Rome, needless to say. The Vatican and the Sistine Chapel are also popular hotspots, and if this is your first time to Rome, its also a must. We've done a piece on Rome before, and I think you'd find most of what you're looking for, here.
Rome Colosseum (Source: Ton Nolles)
For some kid-friendly activities, I direct you here. Scroll down the 'Rome for Kids' section and voila! - A whole host of things your kids could do if they're tired of looking at ruins all day. :)