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Avoiding Snow

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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:10 AM
  #1
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Avoiding Snow

I will be traveling Europe for 3 months starting January 1st. I would like to avoid bad weather and snow as much as possible. What is the general cut off in the south of Italy where this begins to become unlikely? How are countries in eastern Europe like Bulgaria, Romania Croatia and Hungary in late February? Would it be more advisable to do the south of Spain and Portugal during January than Italy, Greece and Turkey?
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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Though I've not seen it myself, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia do get plenty of snow. There was just a huge snowstorm in Croatia this past weekend. Southern Spain, along with Barcelona and the Mediterranean coast should work, as should most of Portugal. Rome had a lot of snow last year, but that is rare. Turkey along the Mediterranean coast should be fine, as well as Athens and the Greek Islands, but these are resort areas so I'm not sure how much you'll find to do in winter. Bear in mind that where you don't have snow, you could still have lots of rain.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Had snow in April in Croatia a few years ago. Our travels in Bulgaria were not to the ski resorts so we never bumped into smow even in late October. Romania, we recently 2005 ran into heavy snow in the Sinaia area 100 miles north of Bucharesht and in Prislop Pass (4,000 feet) (Maramuresh/Bukovina region), in late fall. Stick with the areas Trebex mentions above.
Stu
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Dec 11th, 2012, 11:55 AM
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Canary Islands, Mallorca, Madeira . . .

What is bad weather? Just snow or does cold rain or a certain level of wind count?

Remember: Rome is on a latitude close to New York City, which is not known for mild winters. Even though the prevailing weather patterns and water currents keep Rome warmer (usually), you're rarely far south in most of what's called Southern Europe.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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should mention that the snow in Croatia was in and around Plitvice lakes.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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None of those countries will be reliably warm Jan thru Mar. Parts of some of those countries might be warm-ish. But you could get cold and snow even in Spain and Italy.
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Dec 11th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Your best chance of avoiding snow are the Canaries, southern Spain (but the mountains can be cold and there is skiing), Sicily, Malta, etc.

But even in these places Jan can be chilly and rainy - although you are likely to get a lot of days in the 50s.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 12:07 AM
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Generally speaking, coastal areas will be milder than inland, but you could get snow in any of those countries. I don't really understand the question, though — is your entire itinerary dictated by the likelihood of snow? If so, why not go somewhere in the southern hemisphere where it will be summer?
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Dec 12th, 2012, 12:32 AM
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I have some experience with winter in Italy having spent two full winter seasons in Brindisi and the part of one in Assisi.

In general the cut-off would be Rome and points south. The closer you are to the coast the less likely the snow...the closer to the Appian Mountains the more likely. In two winters in Puglia I only experienced snow once and that did not survive the day.

While it is not unusual to find snow around Rome, I never experienced any in Rome because the city itself generates too much heat.

I was in Assisi for six weeks from late January to early March. In that time we had 3 weeks of wintry, snow filled days and 3 weeks of beautiful, balmy weather (per nytraveler above). Some of the snowy days were downright brutal with temps in the low teens (Fahrenheit).

Having said all of that please allow me to editorialize if I may. While the south of Italy may be relatively snow free that time of year it is also very bleak. The south comes alive during the summer and hibernates during the winter...except for Rome of course which is always wonderful.

My recommendation would be to embrace the snow and visit places that do the same. Following my stay in Assisi that winter I traveled to the Dolomites...Bolzano & Castelrotto...and it was vibrant, festive and breathtakingly beautiful. They know how to do snow.

The same can be said for Switzerland, Austria and many other European countries...Salzburg is particularly accommodating and nice that time of year. Sipping a cup of steaming hot chocolate while sitting in a lodge in the Alps is one of life's great pleasures.

Given the opportunity to return to Europe for another winter my personal plan would be to ..."go with the snow". (Pun intended)
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Dec 12th, 2012, 01:50 AM
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I agree with jim21 - why not embrace the snow and seek it out. Even if you don't like winter sports there is plenty to do in snowy countries in the winter.

I don't like snow when I'm at home, trying to live my normal life. It is a pain, especially as here in the Netherlands, like in the UK we are not used to much snow and take a while to get things working in it (though we're generally faster at coping than the UK). But after two winter trips to Norway I really like the idea of snowy winter holidays now.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Is this question really that confusing? There is nothing puzzling about somebody wanting to go to Europe in winter and avoid freezing weather and heavy snow, especially since they won't have the option of "staying home and needing a normal life." They will going out every day.

Alex_V1234

Yes it would it be more advisable to do the south of Spain and Portugal during January than Italy, Greece and Turkey, although much of southern, Mediterranean-facing Italy and France stays above-freezing for most days of January. Snow, if it occurs seldom creates a problem for more than few days (but you can get that in Barcelona as well).

It can be extremely pleasant to walk around in the mild winters of the Mediterranean.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 04:59 AM
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Southern Greece is as warm as Southern Spain in the Winter with Crete being even warmer....

Fodorites tend to believe that only the South of Spain is warm... judging by the numerous posts i have seen regarding this subject so far

have a look at http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/country.php3?r=EUR
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Dec 12th, 2012, 05:44 AM
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Is this question really that confusing?

No, it's not confusing at all. It's just that some of the best places in Europe to visit during winter are those that do have snow, while many of those that don't are primarily summer destinations with not much to do in Jan-Mar. Okay, I'm generalising, but London rarely has snow, either.

If it must be Europe and you want to avoid bad weather, I would pick as many large cities as possible, where there are cultural activities to keep you busy indoors.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 07:30 AM
  #14
 
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It is worth bearing in mind that though it can and does snow, it is still pretty rare in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Madrid, Venice, Florence, etc... The last few years have seen erratic weather and this winter looks similar. But the chances of a snowstorm hitting any of these places while you are there is fairly slim.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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I think many have missed the gist of the questions . . .The OP said >>I would like to avoid bad weather and snow as much as possible.<<

Where he is going can be wintry at any time in Jan, Feb, Mar. Even if there isn't snow - it can be very cold and raining buckets, or freezing fog, or anything. It is Winter in Europe and it will likely be winter weather.

Alex: If you want to avoid cold/bad weather you really should go another time of year. Not that you can't have a lovely holiday in Europe Jan-Mar - you definitely can. But don't go then if you must have decent weather.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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Bad weather is relative. Winter in europe is winter. Cold and chilly rain, sleet or snow are not really bad weather - they are seasonal weather.

They would be bad weather in Hawaii or the Carib.

If the OP wants a guarantee of weather that is sunny and 60 plus degrees - they need to head for Hawaii, Carib or SE Asia in Jan-Mar.
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Dec 12th, 2012, 10:46 AM
  #17
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Thank you everybody for your advice. I appreciate each and every one of you. This is very helpful. I should clarify, I am not dead set on avoiding snow. The purpose of the question was to ask where would be the nicest at that time of year and get feedback on my thoughts. I figured it would be the south of Italy/Greece and Turkey.

Now the question has evolved into a different beast. Should I "go with the snow" or seek out nicer weather? Why? If you say "go with the snow" where specifically?
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Dec 12th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Unless you are going to Russia or Finland, it would be hard to say you'll definitely see snow. You might or you might not. I'd say go to the places you want to go. If it happens to snow there, you'll have some good photo opportunities.
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