The castles and cathedrals of Europe are at the top of our list of favorites! They are “museums” of royal residences and places of worship. Walking through each of them for me is like becoming reincarnated into a world you read about, learned about, delved into and envisioned. Many tourists have described their sightseeing into castles and cathedrals as repetitive, redundant….however, I don’t see it that way. I placed importance on each specific building and appreciated the specific details of each glorious monument that they are.
Purchasing the guidebooks and taking numerous photos of each place will help your children remember the landmarks; especially if you immediately make photo albums or photo books and document details. You are creating the memory for your child by having them metacognitively process their experience. While I wouldn’t recommend only touring castles and cathedrals, I definitely would build them into the itinerary as primary points of interest.
A developmentally appropriate itinerary for elementary school aged children would strike a balance between cultural sightseeing of museums and monuments with time spent at the beach, childrens interactive museums and excursions or (theme) parks. The latter might even be true for adults!
It can be overwhelming to cram in too much intellectual information without a break. You have to give yourself time to process what you’ve visually experienced. Travel can be tiring and stressful if you don’t make time to rehydrate, relax, re-energize. Sometimes long, relaxing lunches can take care of the latter and give you that extra boost of energy to start touring/sightseeing again. I also viewed our time in the cathedrals as our own spiritual time to reflect and grow closer to God by being among all of the icons or religious artifacts that have honored Him over the centuries.