Our grandparents have toiled tirelessly for the past 40 or 50 years to create a wonderful life for their children and family. Now, as they enter retirement, we want them to get as much out of their golden years as possible. For many, the drive to travel to unknown locations is at the top of their bucket list. However, some cities are more elderly-friendly than others, which is why we have compiled this list of the top five European cities to take your grandparents on vacation and suggestions for getting the most out of the trip.
1.Double-Check with Doctors
Unfortunately, as we age, we tend to have some physical limitations. It might be a bad knee, heart problem, asthma, or any other array of problems. While younger individuals may be able to power through, big trips can stress ailments for the elderly. We recommend taking your grandparents for a doctor’s check-up before the trip and seeing if the doctor provides any restrictions or advice to keep them healthy, happy, and safe.
2. Book Well in Advance
Next, we recommend planning your flights, accommodations, transportation, and tour-style activities way in advance. You will want it to be elderly-friendly on all accounts, so try to skip any walk-up accommodations, uncomfortable buses, or back-of-the-plane seats. To make your trip super easy, we recommend hiring group transportation services to get your family to and from the airport with ease.
3. Give Them Insider Info
Half the fun in traveling is the anticipation. Rather than keeping your grandparents in the dark to create a surprise trip, we advise letting them in on all the details and having them help plan activities. If they are retired, they will have plenty of time to research ideas that are within their interests and limitations while building a bunch of excitement along the way! Plus, planning a vacation together is a lovely way to bond and spend time together prior to the big trip!
4. Pack the Essentials
If your parents are new to traveling overseas, we recommend helping them pack their bags. Make sure they have the appropriate clothing, their preferred toiletries, any required medication, and small items to keep them entertained when they get bored.
Slow, old-world charm is the perfect trait offered by Vienna for traveling with grandparents. With snow-capped peaks in the distance, strong scents of dark coffee wafting through the air, and delightful wine awaiting a sip, you can’t go wrong in sharing this trip with your favorite people. We recommend taking your grandparents on tours of the Belvedere and Schönbrunn palaces; the Mozart Museum, and to the hills for a wine experience. If your grandparents are particularly fond of music, we recommend taking them to see an Opera or at the very least, letting them walk about the House of Music, where exhibits of the world’s greatest composers are on display.
2. Eger, Hungary
Since joining the European Union in 2004, Hungary’s tourism industry has gained incredible momentum. With travelers of all ages gracing the country, seniors certainly don’t want to miss out. When bringing your grandparents on vacation to Hungary, we recommend taking them to the city of Eger. With old-world castles, impressive libraries, thermal baths, and incredible wine, they will get to relax and experience a historic and captivating culture. We recommend having them try Bull’s Blood, the traditional red wine of Eger.
3. Freiburg, Germany
As the largest city in the Black Forest region, Freiburg, Germany entices older generations to its streets. This fairytale-style town is rich with historic squares lined with quaint cafes, lively beer gardens filled with laughter, and boutiques displaying souvenirs perfect for friends back home. When touring Freiburg with your grandparents, we recommend taking them to medieval Martin’s Gate; the city’s oldest plaza of Münsterplatz, and the Little Venice neighborhood. We do want to note that Freiburg is a smaller city, so if you are on an extended European tour, we recommend making it a three or four-day stop on your vacation.
4. Bruges, Belgium
As one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, Bruges is a fan favorite for grandparents who fancy themselves to be history buffs. With canal cruises that allow comprehensive tours of the city with minimal walking involved, compact tourist areas, and easy train access to nearby cities, this location is perfect for limited mobility while still providing a wide array of sights to see. We recommend the Grote Markt, Minnewater Park, and, of course, taking a canal cruise!
5. Galway, Ireland
If your grandparents are still quite mobile, we recommend taking them to Galway, Ireland. Located on the western side of the country, this quaint city is the perfect central location for an Ireland adventure. Within Galway, grandparents will love to watch the buskers on Quay Street; traverse the shops of Kirwan’s Lane, and learn captivating history at the Galway City Museum. To extend your tour further out of the city, we recommend taking them on a boat tour of the River Corrib; taking a ferry to the Aran Islands, or riding a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher.