Family Travel Question:

Q | Any ideas of areas to see in Europe that are less touristy?

My husband and I have traveled through most of the "high traffic" European countries and sites, but would love to explore more of the less touristy areas with the kids. Any ideas? - Robbie, CA

A | Ireland and Scotland offer less touristy European experiences

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Do your research: what do you want to explore? Are you going on a food vacation? Want to do adventure activities? Interested in history? Think of what you love and want to learn most, and then plan from there. Each country has so much to offer–the world is your oyster!

cullodenIn terms of specific countries, our family loves traveling through Ireland and Scotland. While there are touristy areas in both, even the most touristy are less touristy than, say, Paris. There is very little language difficulty. Ireland is really child-friendly–so many activities are geared toward families, even surfing! In Ireland, you can ride horses on the beach, take a boat ride, explore cemeteries, visit a chocolate factory, eat in a castle, learn about history, or read Gaelic in a library. You can learn more about Ireland by staying off the beaten path than by visiting the top three tourist spots.

In Scotland, visit the Culloden Visitor Centre–an extraordinary place to learn and experience one of the critical moments in Scotland’s history. Head to the beach and watch dolphins cavort and pick up rocks and shells, take a cruise on Loch Ness, visit Urquhart Castle, shop in Inverness, eat well, and even follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter. On Loch Ness, watch for “unexplained wave patterns.” In Glencoe, see where they filmed Hagrid’s hut, do some river rafting, explore the outdoors, or climb a mountain!

Wherever you go, choose somewhere off the beaten path–the rewards are much more than you’d ever expect.

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