Sensory friendly European travel
July 30, 2019 11:02 AM   Subscribe

So we are located in Ireland and I HATE the rain and love to travel. My young (3,4) kids love to travel too (but only in a sensory friendly way) Our local airport is very sensory friendly and it flies to a few places- but have you been on a relaxed kid holiday or city break in Europe? More details below.

This is the opposite of most travel questions! We need the most simple of simple. My kids get stressed out by crowds and noise so most big cities are really going to be too much. We flew impromptu to Majorca in June to escape the rain and the kids loved the resort and I loved the break too!

My boys are super sweet but they are super sensitive to crowds and noises. I had to take them to an appointment yesterday in the city and they did great but they were a bit stressed out and tired after and we spent today mostly resting around the house and not doing much. They are country mice.

My ideal destination:

We need to be able to take a (less than an hour) taxi ride to the hotel/resort and then park ourselves in the vicinity. Ideally there is a playground nearby and a playroom in the hotel and a swimming pool. The more kid friendly the better- but feel free to surprise me!

They like: playgrounds, buffets, swimming pool, garden/parks (3 out of 4 of these things are necessary I guess)

Our airport flies to: barcelona, Faro, Frankfurt, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Krakow, Lanzarote, Malaga, Manchester, Palma, Tenerife, Warsaw...

I am very interested in places that would be nice to visit with them in the Fall, Winter, and Spring... Summer is much easier to deal with!

I am also interested in knowing about other sensory friendly airports in Europe!
posted by catspajammies to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Also would love to hear about any awesome and not to crazy kids clubs anywhere in Europe. This year my youngest will be too young for kids club, and my oldest too old for baby club- but will make a note of it for the future!
posted by catspajammies at 11:04 AM on July 30, 2019

PPS- I am open to anything sensory friendly! Family farm b and b's, Scandinavia- really anything!
posted by catspajammies at 11:15 AM on July 30, 2019

Malaga in the south of Spain is very hot in the summer, but cools down considerably in the fall. It is a small town, and close to the ocean. Lots of lovely resorts, although I can't speak to any parks or playrooms in the vicinity. Lanzarote is a similar resort town. It seemed relatively quiet compared to, say, Madrid or Barcelona when we were there. You can also do day trips to Cordoba and Sevilla from Malaga that are quiet and pleasant. Citrus groves, beautiful gardens. Just don't go in the summer, as it usually hits a blistering 100+ degrees!

I would avoid Warsaw - it's a city with a lot of history but might be boring for the kids as it's a 'big' city with not much except museums (perhaps someone more familiar with Poland can speak to the kid-friendly aspect better.) Krakow was a lot more fun, but I'm speaking as an adult.
posted by Everydayville at 11:17 AM on July 30, 2019

You might want to check out Trusted Housesitters (if you like pets and are willing to petsit). There are wonderful listings for villas in France, Italy, etc in peaceful parts of the countryside. The stay is free in exchange of taking care of the homeowner's pet. Many of the listings I've seen include swimming pools. Some have interesting animals (eg donkeys). The taxi ride requirement might be a little more challenging, but some are near train stations. Feel free to memail me if you want a discount code or have questions.
posted by pinochiette at 11:36 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Why not go back to Mallorca?
When my kids were small-medium, we had an annual holiday in Rome, and they loved going back to the same places, as well as gradually extending their range. For the adults it was great to know that there was no stress about seeing sights or doing stuff, because we'd be back (and I've lived in Rome, so I had no boxes to check).
Over the years, shop owners, concierges and waiters recognized us and were even kinder and more helpful. Specially one restaurant appreciated that we also introduced friends to their place, and often treated us to specials and extras, including once to a family dinner.
posted by mumimor at 12:03 PM on July 30, 2019 [4 favorites]

Yeah, if you pick Warsaw leg it out into the countryside as soon as possible - not a sensory friendly city outside of the parks (and even there there are pushy squirrels). There are some classic resort hotels near Zegrze within an hour's taxi ride especially if your flight is Ryanair into Modlin; Narvil is very fancy and the food is great.

But for country mice I'd head to Puszcza BiaƂowieska, the last bit of primeval forest in Europe. A tour package might be good but lots of farmers deal in "agrotourism" and have special activities for children, including helping in fun bits of farm work and forest excursions. Bit closer to Warsaw, I'd recommend Tykocin, around two hours by motorway - lots of forests around an ancient town with three religions represented (Roman, Orthodox and Jewish - you have to go a bit more east for Polish Muslims who have been here for six centuries) plus a castle. I've spent a magical winter weekend some years ago in Kiermusy nearby. All of these are eastern enough to guarantee proper winter snow, a novelty for Irish-raised children.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:17 PM on July 30, 2019

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