A few weeks ago we talked about lots of US based Spring Break ideas. In two separate posts, we covered both short (2-3) day trips and longer (one week) trips. Here we offer you a little non-US, spring break inspiration – all pretty easy to get to.
Iceland: We spent one week in Iceland last July during a stopover with Iceland Air . We initially thought of it as a place to pass through, just to say we had been. Well, the country just about stole our hearts, and now all we can talk about is our return trip! Although Iceland in summer is pretty incredible, it has lots to offer in March and April as well. The long dark days are quickly coming to an end by now, with days and nights pretty much evenly split. In addition, there is still plenty of opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Temps may only be in the low 30’s, but even in summer, Iceland doesn’t get that warm, so why not go when its still cold? See Where to eat in Reykjavik and Exploring the Land of Fire and Ice for more.
Don’t Miss: The black sand beaches of Vik (about 2.5 hrs from Reykjavik) and of course, The Blue Lagoon – be sure to book in advance.
Montreal: Last Spring Break we ventured up to Montreal for a little European feel in North America. While the average temperature is only in the 30’s in March and April, we loved exploring this Quebec city and found there was so much to do even in the cold. A truly bilingual city, the dual French – English mix was a great opportunity for us to practice our French skills . Top spots to hit in Montreal in the cold include the Musée des Beaux Arts, the Montreal Biodome and the Notre Dame Basilica. Best outdoor explorations include Old Montreal and the Parc du Mont Royal and the Jean Talon Market. Look out for some terrific street art and architecture in the Plateau area and don’t miss the Illuminated Crowd sculpture downtown near the main entrance to McGill University. We loved the food scene and, of course, went right to La Banquise for their famous poutine. We also did a little research on immigration to this Canadian city while we were there. Read about it here.
Don’t miss: L’Gros Luxe Restaurant in the heart of the Plateau.
Copenhagen: On our tour through Scandinavia last summer, we were so pleasantly surprised by the bright little city of Copenhagen. We loved it as a slightly safer and more family friendly version of Amsterdam that was a breeze to bike around in. In Amsterdam, during the busy season, we were in constant fear of being run down by a bike, car, bus or scooter. While we loved the city, the streets felt treacherous. Copenhagen, on the other hand, is the kinder, gentler version. It is such an easy city to be in with kids, and a great place to give teens a little freedom. Wander the Stroget, climb the Round Tower, and of course, the highlight, Tivoli Gardens! It’s easy to see why Tivoli Gardens is one of the most visited theme parks in Europe, as it caters to all ages. Keep in mind the gardens don’t reopen for the Spring until the first week in April.
Don’t miss: the chance to have a bubble bath fight at the Stork fountain at the top of the Stroget. The fountain is frequently filled with soap bubbles and it’s a great place for the kids to get into some “clean” mischief.
Budapest: We all dream of a few days in the romantic city of Paris and the lucky ones have already had the pleasure of exploring this amazing city. Want more of that? Try Budapest! Budapest is a beautiful European city separated into two parts by the Danube River, and is a perfect stop for a few days during Spring Break. The city has all the amenities, sites and tastes you find in Paris, but with a much lower price tag. Two summers ago (2015), we had a complete dinner for 4 with a bottle of wine for about $30! Best bets – on the Buda side of town you have Castle Hill where you can spend an entire day exploring the history of this city and its charming streets. Look for the Castle, the Fishermans Bastion and the National Gallery. The Pest side of the city teems with the life of a European capital. Explore the Grand Boulevards, stroll the Danube, see the Jewish quarter, shop, and eat. My favorite all time building in Europe is the Parliament building of Budapest. For more of our European favorites, read this post.
Don’t miss: The Hungarian Baths. We went to several different baths during our visit, and our favorite were the Szechenyi Baths.
Spannocchia – I am the exact opposite of a creature of habit. In fact, I am happiest when I never go to the same place twice. There is one magical place on earth, however, that I will happily return to – La Tenuta de Spannocchia in Tuscany, Italy. In 2008, we discovered a rustic Tuscan farm just 20 minutes drive from Siena that was the beginning of a life of summer travel for my kids. On our first 3 day visit there, we discovered a working organic farm that produces its own meat, eggs, grains, vegetables, honey, wine and olive oil. We stayed in our own little farmhouse on the property and were welcomed to learn about and get involved in the day to day activities there. My young city kids were in absolute heaven! We loved it so much we returned 2 years later and spent 3 weeks there gloriously living the slow Tuscan life. Some days we would take a trip to a nearby town to sightsee. The central location of the farm is a great home base and is convenient to Siena, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, Florence, Chianti, the Tuscan coastline, and so many hidden treasures in small towns nearby. On non travel days we would wander around the farm, sometimes witnessing the birth of the newborn Cinta Senese pigs, taking a dip in the pool, or hiking one of the nearby trails. The kids spent hours exploring the giant property and being entertained by the baby donkeys as they learned how to walk or fend for themselves. I spent my non travel days relaxing by the pool with a good book, taking an occasional cooking class, or art class offered on the site, hiking and picking my own vegetables from the organic garden to cook dinner in our Tuscan kitchen. Read more here.
Don’t miss: Wednesday night is pizza night at the farm. The entire staff joins in a family meal, along with the guests, of many different kinds of wood oven pizzas.