The plans you have for long touring trips all over Europe take time, money and dedication. Not many families are happy all sitting all together for long trips in cars, let alone airplanes. Long trips tend to be with like minded friends for weekends or events. Nothing is nicer than a no compromises airplane, which can handle all situations with ease.
That's why the Cessna 182 is the best all round 4 seater for most people. The Piper Dakota comes close, but wouldn't be just as good in short fields with its long tapered wing. The tailwheel version of the Cessna 182 is a force to be reckoned with. A prized possession, rarely on the market with an impossible mix of talents. Short field performance, cruise speed, stability, load carrying it can do it all. If you don't need to go into those short strips, there are some great 180hp aircraft that are very talented like the Grumman Tiger and Piper Archer that can handle most GA flying with grace and predicable running costs.
Moving into 6 seats the choices get complex, you can quickly get into retractable, deiced, turbocharged, pressurized hardware that is both taxing on talent in the air and in the hangar. Performance comes as a trade off in cost, dispatch reliability, and owner recurrence commitments.
The Piper PA32 range is hard to beat, and a late model Cherokee Six cannot be beaten for moving people around. The Cherokee Six is simple to maintain, easy to fly and can be loaded easily to max weight and still stay within the C of G range. Of course we've had lots of fun flying seaplanes, homebuilts, aerobatic aircraft, and microlights - but when the weather is bad and you need to get moving we still like the old favourites!