European road trip with kids— 3 countries in 3 days

 In Europe

It may sound crazy but you can easily road trip through three countries in three days when traveling around Europe. And yes, you can do it with kids.

Using northern Italy as our home base, my family visited Lake Bled in Slovenia, the coastal town of Rovinj in Croatia and the thriving metropolis of Trieste in Italy. We could have easily skipped Trieste and headed to Venice, but we were up for a little something new.

Is this really even possible? Well it’s a bit of a whirlwind but here is how you too can cross a few sights off your bucket list in a very short amount of time without losing your mind.

Lake Bled

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Day 1 Italy to Slovenia

Leave in the morning. Get the kids up and everyone into the car as soon as they’ve had breakfast. Better yet, give them breakfast in the car. Hopefully you have already run down to the local coffee bar to down your latte to get your day going.

Start driving northeast into Slovenia. About halfway through your 4-hour journey to Lake Bled make sure you stop for some lunch or a snack, and a little time for the kids to stretch their legs. You should arrive at Lake Bled by early afternoon.

Drop your bags at your Slovenia hotel and head straight for the lake. Walk to the boat docks; pay the man to take you across, especially if it is raining. If you are feeling adventurous rent a rowboat for slightly less to paddle yourself to the church on the island in the middle of the lake. There are no life jackets so keep an extra close eye on your kids.

Once you finish your tour of the church, head back to shore in your boat and go find some dinner. Finish up your night with a few bed time stories, repack your bags and get ready to hit the road again in the morning.

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Day 2 Slovenia to Croatia

Get back in the car after breakfast and head south to Istria, Croatia’s stunning peninsula, and home to the coastal town of Rovinj. You will be faced with another 3+ hour drive, but you can make it there by lunch.

Pull up a chair at a restaurant looking out at the boats. Many spots serve up the same food so pick your spot based on the view. Order a pizza for the kids to share and get yourself any kind of fish on the menu. You will not be sorry.

Take a self-guided walking tour up to the church that looks over the city. As long as you head up hill you are going the right way. Snap a few photos, check out the interior and then make your way back down a few crooked side streets to get a glimpse at how the locals live. Poke around the local market and let the kids play in the playground for a bit. Find yourself an early dinner and head to bed. At this point you all will be exhausted.

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Trieste, Italy

Day 3 Croatia to Italy

On your third day pack up the family and make your way back to Italy. Stop in Trieste to take in a few of the sights in the Piazza, have a little lunch and get yourself home in time for a late nap or early dinner.

Sure it seems hectic, but look at how much you and the kids just saw. Each place definitely deserves more than a few hours, but think of this as a scouting trip for future visits. If time is short, you certainly can check every one of these spots off your list in just three days, but you always have the option to go back for more.

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Lake Bled

Lake Bled, Slovenia

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Showing 8 comments
  • Terumi

    Did you do this one alone with the kids? I love the idea of renting a car and just going:)

    • Keryn @ Walking On Travels

      I did it with a friend, her hubby and their two kids. We rented again in Spain with my parents and it was definitely the cheaper way to go. We saw a lot more of the countryside and we could detour if we wanted. Much more flexible!

    • Keryn Means

      No. I did it with 2 friends and their 2 kids 🙂

  • tripsbylance

    It all depends on the child. Some travel well, others don’t. Our son would easily handle this. Obviously you’d want to spend more time in these locations, but seeing the highlights is still a great experience. And driving, especially if the roads go through great landscapes, is part of experiencing the beauty of a region.

    • Keryn @ Walking On Travels

      Definitely depends on the kid, but even then I think you can make it work Lance. My boys (and me) are not great car people. But we find ways to make it fun and break up the trip so we all survive. This was definitely a “highlights” tour. So much in those regions that I need to go back and explore now!

  • Deia @ Nomad Wallet

    Wow, this sounds like a really jam-packed trip! I like that you treat it as a scouting trip, though. I definitely would prefer spending more time in each place, but desperate times, desperate measures. 😉

    • Keryn @ Walking On Travels

      Deia we were seeing SO much on our 5 week trip around Europe. Most of the time we just stuck to one area, but my friend and I had a crazy idea to road trip over the weekend and we went for it. I definitely need to get back to each spot to spend a lot more time. Maybe next year!

  • Sonya @

    Fab road trip itinerary for families! The photo of Lake Bled is beautiful.

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