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Posts tagged ‘europe with kids’

UltimateMama and her family took a quick trip to Lisbon, Portugal and discovered the beauty of the city.  The amazing food (and wine for the grown ups) was an incredible treat!  UltimateMama’s kids still rave about the Pasteis de Belem–a MUST!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few tips on Lisbon:

-Stay at the Sofitel Lisbon Liberdade in Lisbon, Portugal.  The rooms are pristine and the buffet breakfast (included in our room rate) was out of this world!

-Visit the Tower of Belem which is on the Tagus River

-Walk by the Padrão dos Descobrimentos which is also right on the Tagus River

-If you are visiting in the summer of 2018 don’t miss the M.C. Escher exhibit at the Museu de Arte Popular Lisboa

-Head to Pasteis de Belem and experience the sweet delights (one can buy a few and eat them while walking around the city)

-Tour the stunning Jeronimos Monastery

-Eat lunch at one of the shops in the Mercado da Ribeira Time Out (which has great canned fish you can buy to take home too)

-Explore the Bairro Alto area

-Have dinner at Petiscos no Bairro

 
 
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After enjoying several days in Athens, UltimateMama and her family flew directly to Santorini to experience a beautiful Greek island and it did not disappoint.  A few tips for touring Santorini with kids:

– Figure out your transportation in advance. As of June 2018, UltimateMama heard there were less than 40 taxicabs on Santorini which means you will need to lock in a driver (we met a kind one at the airport–luckily) or rent a car (which UltimateMama did not do as Santorini doesn’t have many street signs or street lamps).

-Stay at the Santorini Palace Hotel in Firostefani if you have a family as it offers a great location only few meters away from the cliff of the Caldera and the panoramic view of the volcano.  The pool was excellent, as was the location (a short 10 minute walk to the capital of Santorini, the village of Fira).  Not to mention a full buffet breakfast was included with our booking which made mornings easy for all.

-Walk up the hill and grab a family photograph opportunity with one of Santorini’s most photographed chuches, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Pamper your family members with some Garra Rufa fish spa therapy at Kissing Fish in Fira.

-Grab some gelato at Crema Latte Gelato in Fira.

-Spend the day at Perivolas Beach, a black sand beach with many amenities. UltimateMama and her family loved eating sushi under beach umbrellas at Sakura.

-Visit the prehistoric town and see the excavations at Akrotiri.  UltimateMama had a guided tour that was extremely informative as we learned about the elaborate drainage system, beautiful artwork, and intricate jewelry of a settlement covered by a volcanic eruption (Thera).

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Explore a traditional village in Santorini.  UltimateMama had a guided tour of Megalochori which had beautiful bell towers and mansions.

-Watch the sunset at Oia, one of the most beautiful places in Santorini.

 

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UltimateMama and her kids thought Greece was the perfect blend of education and relaxation.  Although it was extremely hot in early June at 95 degree F, Athens was an absolute delight of a city.  A few tips to enjoy Athens with kids:

-Stay at the Hotel Grande Bretagne as it is central to everything.  The rooftop pool is perfect for a late afternoon dip and the spa/indoor pool is truly a pleasure.  In the evening hours one has a wonderful view of the Acropolis lit up from the hotel’s lovely restaurant.  The Syntagma Square was ideal for touring, eating, and catching the underground subway.

-Stroll the National Gardens, right in Syntagma Square!

-Have a quick lunch at Kosmikon in the Plaka area (and grab some inexpensive souvenirs afterwards).

-Watch the changing of the guards across the street at the Parliament Building (in Syntagma Square). Just make sure you ask your hotel for the exact times.

-For dinner visit Erato restaurant café in the Plaka area and then browse the silver jewelry in the Monastiraki flea market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Visit the Acropolis Museum BEFORE touring the Acropolis.  Grab a kids guide scavenger hunt to keep your children engaged!

-If you need a great kebab place try Thanasis in the Monastiraki which is near the Plaka area

-Near the Acropolis at an outdoor booth window purchase a 5 day special ticket for 30 Euro for adults (as of June 2018) which includes admission to must visit locations such as: Acropolis of Athens, Ancient Agora of Athens, Archaeological Museum of Kerameikos, Archaeological Site of Lykeion, Hadrian’s Library, Kerameikos, Museum of the Ancient Agora, North slope of Acropolis, Olympieio, Roman Agora of Athens, South Slope of Acropolis

-Arrange a guided tour of the Acropolis through Context Travel, including the Parthenon, Acropolis, and the Agora.  UltimateMama’s kids enjoyed the “Acropolis for Families: Drama and Sacrifice in Ancient Athens” 3 hour long tour. The tour begins with a visit to the theater of Dionysus on the south slope of the Acropolis and goes from there!

-Have dinner in Kolonaki at OIKEIO which was a superb, traditional Greek food experience with home style cooking at the address: Ploutarchou 15

-Visit and tour the stadium of the first modern Olympic games, the Panathenaic Stadium and be amazed at all the beautiful marble that was used in its creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Walk around the War Museum in Athens and see the collection.

-UltimateMama was rushed for time so briefly visited the Byzantine and Christian Museum

-A favorite dinner spot was in Kolonaki at Barbounaki which was a traditional fish tavern. Definitely a must do!

-Take the cable car to Mount Lycabettus which is the highest hill in Athens (the gift shop at the bottom was a nice surprise as was the restaurant at the top which we didn’t try but were tempted).

-Walk around the Temple of Olympian Zeus in central Athens, a spectacular temple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Head to an Italian dinner in Kolonaki at Malconi’s which has a chic and trendy vibe.

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UltimateMama decided London was a great first stop in Europe for her family and it proved to be a brilliant move! Although they were a little too young for the Harry Potter – Warner Bros. excursion the first time they travelled across the pond, we still found plenty to kid friendly things to do.  And, “Katie in London” by James Mayhew was a favorite pre-trip book.  We have the a special edition as we were in London during the Queen’s Jubilee.

In both London and Paris, we bought our family tickets for the Big Bus Tours to allow us to hop on/hop off and see all the main attractions in a civilized manner.  You may be able to find discount codes or coupons online or on maps/brochures at tourist booths.  You won’t want to miss seeing top attractions in London such as the River Thames, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, or the London Eye.  Kids really enjoy watching the changing of the guard inside the gates at Buckingham Palace (check the time).  Pick up some lunch and eat in Hyde Park.  Go to Diana Memorial Playground and watch your kids let off steam by climbing the famous Pirate Ship.  Make sure you don’t forget letting them sit on the lions at Trafalgar Square.

Coming from a New Yorker, this says a lot, don’t miss the pizza — yes, the pizza — after you enjoy a morning shopping at Harrods.  And, of course let your children hug the big bears!

Purchase advance tickets to one of London’s numerous plays, such as the kid friendly “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Cap off a day and indulge in pub fair at Walkers of Whitehall, near Big Ben.

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UltimateMama loves Italy so taking her two kids to Rome was a wonderful treat for all!  Whether you stay in a hotel or rent a flat UltimateMama would suggest picking a centralized location near the metro line which will make it easy for your family to get around to the tourist attractions.  Perusing websites such as www.vrbo.com or www.homeaway.com is a good way to start your search for lodging, especially if your family is too large to share one hotel room and you want to avoid the high cost of booking a suite or two adjoining rooms.

A nice way to see Rome and learn its rich history in the process is by booking a private tour guide for your family.  Most tour guides will tell you to buy tickets in advance.  Most major tourist attractions that require tickets have websites so you can purchase the tickets months before your trip.  There are myriad tour guide options out there but we had a delightful experience with Vera Rome Tours.  Whether you want to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, or numerous Piazzas (Venezia, Navona, del Campidoglio, for instance) tour guides are a great way to organize your itinerary and get kids excited to gain knowledge.  Don’t forget to hit the Vatican Museum including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica!

UltimateMama bought several books on Rome before the trip to get her girls excited for their adventure.  Miroslav Sasek’s book, “This is Rome” was a favorite!

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