Europe 2014: An Update

Europe 2014We are still very much in the process of researching possible itineraries and matching them with flights from various cities nearby. This is a long and daunting task, let me tell you! I’m not sure that we are any closer to making a final decision but that’s ok for now, because we are hoping flights will come down soon. That being said, we have spent some time looking through guidebooks and watching travel shows about possible locations and here’s what we are still considering:

1. Lisbon, Portugal; Andalucía, Spain 

This itinerary would have us flying in and out of Lisbon and probably Madrid. We did Madrid last time but that is the closest big city in Spain that would make sense to fly out of, unless we want to have 3 flights to get home. No, thank you! Right now, the plan would be to fly into Lisbon and spend a few days there. Then, we would somehow get to Seville (this is currently the issue – there is no easy way to do that without going through Madrid). We would spend a few days there with possibly a side trip to Cordoba. Then, we could head on down to Tarifa. We would use Tarifa as a hub to do some smaller day trips to Ronda (or some of the other white-hill towns), Gibraltar (which is actually a British territory and not part of Spain), and even a trip across the water to Tangier, Morocco. Once we were finished there, we could head to Granada to see the Alhambra, and then on up to Madrid to fly home.

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands; Belgium

We still have a lot to look at for this itinerary, but we could fly in and out of Amsterdam and Brussels. In Amsterdam, we could visit the Anne Frank museum, the Van Gogh museum, see the canals, and tons of other stuff. Once we were finished in that area, we would head over to Ghent and use that as a hub to take day trips to nearby Brussels, Bruges, and Antwerp before flying home from Brussels.

3. Bucharest, Romania; Sofia, Bulgaria; Athens, Greece

We still haven’t given up on this possibility, and honestly, these cities have the cheapest flights if we are willing to drive to Chicago. We would start in Bucharest and the Transylvania area and then head down to Sofia. We were originally thinking we would do an overnight train from Bucharest to Sofia, but we recently found a transfer service that would take us by car for fairly cheap. We would still have to figure out how to get from Sofia to Athens, though.

4. Edinburgh, Scotland, Wales, Northern England

We have a lot to research about this itinerary as well. These flights look to be the most expensive at this point. I would be a little disappointed if we went with this itinerary, just because they are all mostly English-speaking in these areas, and I really enjoy hearing the foreign languages (I know, I’m weird). But the pictures of Edinburgh Castle look amazing!

5. Scandinavia

We know the least about this itinerary, though the pictures we have seen are beautiful and breathtaking. Surprisingly, these flights are right behind the Eastern Europe itinerary.

So far, it sounds like most of these places, if not all, are very kid-friendly, so I don’t think we will have a problem anywhere we go. We just need to make a final decision.

Which itinerary would you choose and why?


  1. Gillie says:

    As I am married to a Scot and live in the North of England I am perhaps a bit biased 🙂 However if you do opt for that itinerary can I say – GO TO GLASGOW. Seriously. Edinburgh is nice, it’s pretty and to be honest it’s pretty dull. You can do most of it in a day if you stick to the tourist route. If you are prepared to go off piste then there are some lovely areas (Leith and Portobello for example). Glasgow is more lively, more friendly and just a lot more fun. Kelvingrove Museum, The Barras, plenty of Rennie Mackintosh, Pollok Park, the People’s Palace, The Hunterian, Glasgow School of Art even the Necropolis is well worth a visit. Further afield is Loch Lomond, the Trossachs and New Lanark. The shopping and eating is definitely better in Glasgow too!

    If you do decide on this option I’m happy to advise on Scotland and North of England. One of my friends just happens to be Welsh so I’m sure she can help out with the country that seems to ration its vowels 🙂

    • Rachel says:

      Awesome! Glasgow isn’t far from Edinburgh, so if we choose that itinerary, it might work to visit there as well. Thanks for all the suggestions. If we decide on that itinerary, I will definitely be taking you up on your offer for more information!

  2. Man, I have no idea! I have never been overseas, and I first would want to go see my sister in South Africa or good friends in Cambodia, or where my mother in law came from in Vietnam. But since those aren’t the choices, I would probably pick Amsterdam as I would want to see the Anne Frank Museum.

    • Rachel says:

      We are interested in Africa and we would like to go when the kids are older. A lot of the safaris look like you have to be a certain age to get in. We would eventually like to do a Far East itinerary (with Vietnam, Tokyo, etc.) but we’re just not ready to do that yet. Since we’ve been to Europe, we feel a little more comfortable there.

  3. I remember going through the same thought processes when I was planning our trip to Panama. Something about oversea trips, is you do not know all the details. We enjoyed our backpacking trip. We had one day planned. The rest was to fly by the seat of our pants! It was fun!

    • Rachel says:

      Sounds like a great trip! We hope to go to Costa Rica without the kids sometime. It would be nice to not have to plan, but we feel a little bit more compelled to plan since we will have the little ones with us…

  4. Carli says:

    My mom is planning a trip to Europe for this summer too! But I have no idea where she is going yet either! That is fun and exciting! I have never been. I have only been to Israel!

  5. Adelien says:

    I have never visited any of the countries in the itineraries, but if I had to go, I would prefer going accross the UK in number 4. I am always curious with UK as my lecturer was from UK. He always told stories about various things in UK. Can’t wait to see the report 😉

  6. I can’t wait to see photos from your travels!! I can’t even imagine traveling like that and how difficult it has to be to try to put it all together. Totally worth it in the end though I’m sure :).

  7. Holly H says:

    I would choose Spain and Portugal. I love Moorish Spain – it is somewhere I have always wanted to go. The architecture is amazing! Morocco is also on my list of must-visit places and it would be fairly easy to get there from Gibraltar.

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