The diversity and breadth of what Europe has to offer in terms of it’s history, food, culture and experiences is stunning. Europe is the continent the 2 Idiots have explored the most and we are excited to share our experiences from here.
Here are the countries we have traveled with our child in Europe (Iceland live and others coming soon!):
Croatia, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia
Of all the places we visited on our 9-month journey around the world, both of us feel Santorini deserves to be on our top 10 list. You’ve seen the iconic pictures — awe-inspiring how they built the city into the mountain — and it’s everything you have ever imagined. Actually, even more so for Natasha – she ranked Santorini as her top experience during our world sabbatical.
The moment your ship arrives in Mykonos, you’ll notice white buildings everywhere with the blue roofs that provide the backdrop you were expecting about the Greek islands. It’s amazing to experience the island – even the streets are white to help keep the buildings cool and reflect the sun. Plus, there are no cars on the narrow streets, making it great for young kids, who can run around as you explore.
Entering the port of Katakolon, you’ll have the option to travel 4 hours to Athens or an hour to Olympia. Both options are exceptional, as they ooze history at every turn. When traveling with a younger child, however, we recommend the closer Olympia, which is home to the original Olympic Games. Ancient Olympia is an archeological site with more than 70 structures from ancient Greece, dating back to 4,000 years AD. It’s truly impressive, and there are tons of open spaces for your child to run and play safely.
Why The 2 Idiots Recommend exploring Livorno and Pisa
When we visited Pisa, it was through a Mediterranean cruise – the best of the three cruises we took when we went around the world with our son. Having wanted to see the Tower of Pisa since she was a child, Natasha was especially excited about the visit, but we discovered the port is actually in the city of Livorno and that you’ll need to travel inland to find Pisa. It’s a place everyone should see and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but we were surprised to discover Pisa isn’t much a city to visit; it’s truly just a square for tourists. However, we still enjoyed our day in Pisa, with some extra time to wander in Livorno, a very pretty town. Where Pisa is touristy, Livorno is not. Just as we like it!
While on a Mediterranean cruise, one of the port stops will be Marseille. We imagined a coastal French city to be romantically nautical, and it was exactly as we pictured: sailboats and ships, gorgeous waterfront views, and to-die-for seafood.
WHY THE 2 IDIOTS RECOMMEND DRIVING THROUGH SOUTHERN SPAIN?
Spain is our favorite country, and having fallen in love with Barcelona, we fell even more in love with Spain after driving along its southern coastline. Had we not tried a road trip, we would have missed small towns that are filled with Roman ruins and friendly people, amazing seafood and wine, and a beautiful countryside filled with sunshine — not to mention an area covered in such a large expanse of white greenhouses that it can be seen from space (more on that later)! We did a lot of research planning our trip, trying to pick stops that were unique and would offer a different perspective on Spain. Here’s where to go and what to see when traveling in Southern Spain.
After visiting one of our favorite cities, Barcelona, with extended family – and two more children – we hit the road to explore Southern Spain’s coastline, discovering the allure of the coastal city of Tarragona.
Upon first impressions, we were, well, not impressed. It seemed like a small, little town with not much but boy were we wrong. Not only did we see some incredible sights, we ended up having some of our best meals in this incredibly charming ancient Roman city. All you need is two days to see it, although we easily could have spent more time here.
Spain is our favorite country, and Barcelona is one of our favorite cities. It is one of the most underrated countries in Europe, and we love Barcelona even more than Paris. (Yes! We said it!) You’ll find the entire city, and country, for that matter, is very child-friendly – they will not shush your children for making noise in a restaurant! Instead, Barcelona is very laid back, vibrant and fun, and the people are very warm and welcoming. Here’s what to see when traveling to Barcelona with kids.
Let us begin by saying that Natasha will be the first one to tell you that she is not into nature—she is a city girl through and through. But even in light of that admission, she will also be quick to inform you that Iceland is the single most beautiful country she has ever seen. It is true that we believe that the country used to be a bit of a “Hidden Gem” and wasn’t on the radar of many tourists. However, the influx of people to the country has not stifled its mystique—and if anything, the outside interest has allowed the country to become tourist friendly. It truly welcomes explorers like us—and like you. Its scenic, remote beauty is easily accessible, even with a child in tow. If we were to make a list of our top 3 scenic spots in the world, Iceland would be at the top—even before a heralded spot like Patagonia.
The Golden Circle, in our opinion, is one of the most beautiful drives a person can ever take in their lifetime. It comprises three stunning locations in the southwest of the country–Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall. It’s quite surreal, frankly—and we saw so many incredible sites that we had never seen before or will likely see again.