Europe Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Christmas and New Year's in Europe - Tips? Where to go?

Jump to last reply

My husband and I are planning to take a trip to Europe over Christmas/New Year's and are trying to decide where to go. Where are the best destinations for that time of year? We are planning a 6–8 day trip, probably in no more than two cities so we really have time to explore.

We are in our late twenties, and are looking for a romantic getaway to celebrate our anniversary. We enjoy food, wine, history, architecture, and beautiful landscapes. We grew up in the Midwest, so snow and cold temperatures don't frighten us, but we'd probably prefer a more temperate climate if given the choice. Budget is definitely a factor; ideally we'd like to go somewhere we can get the most bang for our buck.

We've already been to Paris together (we actually got engaged there), and have both traveled fairly extensively through Germany and Austria. We would like to travel somewhere neither of us have been before, although we are considering being in Paris for New Year's Eve because the city holds so much meaning for us.

Do a lot of the shops and markets close down during the week between Christmas and New Year's? Is it fairly easy to travel between countries on the train? Any advice for European travel over the holidays would be most appreciated!

  • Report Abuse

    At that time of year the only places with a warmish climate (but NOT beach weather) would be southern Spain - or possibly parts of Sicily or Crete. No guarantees though.

    Rome is usually not too cold that time of year - but snow is possible if they get a cold snap - as is very chilly rain. A friend of mine did a week in Venice around Christmas and it rained every day - except for one it snowed and the temps never got out of the 40s.

    Christmas Day most things are closed everywhere. And in many places they close early on the 24th and in some place the 26th is a holiday called Boxing Day. Also things are closed New Years Day and may close early on the Eve.

    I would not reco London - or the UK at all - because of the holidays. Wherever you go make sure you have meal reservations for all the holidays - since many places are closed or booked solid in advance.

  • Report Abuse

    I would suggest the UK, especially London over Christmas. Or Cyprus can be pleasant at that time of the year, snow in the mountains and warm enough to sit outside for lunch during the day. Plenty of sites to visit, good food, lots of architecture, very friendly people. Americans don't visit it much since they only know Greece. I have been to Moscow & St Petersburg over Christmas and the New Year, I can recommend that for somewhere different.

  • Report Abuse

    <<We enjoy food, wine, history, architecture, and beautiful landscapes.>>

    French Alps. Italian Alps. Swiss Alps. Bavarian castle trail.

    The "beauty" of landscapes changes - at that time of year, you may need someplace wintry to enjoy a given landscape at its peak. You won't see the poppies in France or the innumerable sunflowers in Italy in late December.

    Realize this: you will have FAR LESS daylight in Europe than you would in the US for what you would consider an "equivalent" city climatologically.

    For instance, New York City is in the "northeast" United States, but it is on the same parallel as Madrid (40N - 40 degrees north latitude). Rome (41N), which is southern Europe, is on the same parallel as Chicago (yes, New York is SOUTH of Chicago). Paris (and Munich, both 48N) is well north of Toronto (43N) and Montreal (45N). London is on the latitude of Calgary. Edinburgh is north of Edmonton (53N) and Dublin is roughly on the same parallel as Edmonton. It will get dark early on you (in Krakow, night falls by 4 pm at that time of year).

    And St. Petersburg is just south of Anchorage. You'll need vitamin D supplements and will also have to contend with this (from Wikipedia) "The Neva River within the city limits usually freezes up in November–December and break-up occurs in April. From December to March there are 118 days average with snow cover, which reaches an average snow depth of 19 cm (7.5 in) by February."

    <<Is it fairly easy to travel between countries on the train?>>

    Considering that the borders are effectively open in the Schengen countries, yeah.

  • Report Abuse

    The only time trains will be a problem is if there really is some kind of snowstorm, because trains cannot run with more than a certain amount of snow on the tracks. I wouldn't go to some real cold, snowy destination and plan on trains myself, but I wouldn't go there anyway in Dec-Jan.

    At that time of year, I would only consider a major city myself, where the weather doesn't matter as much. London sounds good to me. I've heard Edinburgh has a great NY eve blowout, but don't know what their weather is like then. I'm sure cold, but I don't know other levels.

    Where cities are on latitude in US vs. Europe isn't a good predictor of temps and weather, as the climate is different even for places at the same latitude, although it is very useful for understanding daylight hours, as noted above.

    You could easily do London and Paris, that would be fine for me (since you want to be in Paris for NY eve). Of course some things close between Christmas and NY, it is a slow time of year, but shouldn't be any major problem (except plans for dining on exact holidays). I think more closes in London, they even have some holiday that isn't recognized most places (Boxing Day), including France. And London is also unusual in really closing down on Christmas, even public transportation from what I've read. I don't know of any other city that closes down like that on Christmas.

4 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 Trip Report Five Days With Rabbies in Devon and Cornwall
  2. 2 flights from San Francisco to Germany
  3. 3 4-6 weeks
  4. 4 Trip Report 27-DAY ODYSSEY IN THE ALPS with 3 FINAL DAYS IN PARIS
  5. 5 Trip Report Adventures in Italy with Momma
  6. 6 Trip Report London, Paris, Rome Trip Report
  7. 7 Paris for a Week – Looking for a Day Trip Outside the City
  8. 8 Barcelona and/or ??? with another family
  9. 9 Eiffel tower tickets
  10. 10 Trip Report Christmas Market Battle: Vienna/Salzburg/Munich
  11. 11 Venice Banning Fodors
  12. 12 Iceland with kids - purchase a 'self-drive' package or DIY?
  13. 13 1 Month Europe (June 2015) with 3 children, ages 6-11
  14. 14 Difference in price between Lufthansa and United
  15. 15 Need Some Italy Planning Help
  16. 16 Please help with Sicily Itinerary!
  17. 17 Alcobaca, Batalha and Tomar, all or one?
  18. 18 France, Italy and Greec
  19. 19 How to pay tolls in Portugal when there is no toll booth
  20. 20 England/Scotland/Wales Planning-Summr 2014
  21. 21 Why go further, Manchester Christmas Markets back soon.
  22. 22 Zurich to Basel transfer
  23. 23 Greece - 3 week trip - requesting input
  24. 24 UK & Ireland 2 week travel itinerary (looking for input)
  25. 25 Trip Report A nine day whirl through Istanbul and Cappadocia
View next 25 » Back to the top