Best Travel Month/Country Choices ???

Jun 16th, 2010, 09:18 AM
  #1  
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Best Travel Month/Country Choices ???

We are extremely fortunate to have been given a gift of a very short trip to Europe from an employer. The caveat is that the trip must be completed by the end of April. We will probably lengthen this trip to two weeks (or a bit longer, if we can manage it). It's about an 11 hr flight or more, depending where we go.

I've been lurking on the Europe Forum, trying to get an idea, but am just overwhelmed.

I'd love to hear your suggestions about when to go and where. Our previous trip was in the month of June to Rome, Prague, Bavaria, Salzburg, and Paris. It was very hot and very humid, yet it was wonderful. We would love to return to those areas and explore more but are thinking we should see new places. Of course, we are concerned about weather. Does April tend to be a rainy month? Right now we are considering France or Italy (perhaps Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast) or even Greece. Once we figure out the month and the country, we can more easily figure out the rest.

Really, appreciate your kind suggestions/advice/opinions. Thanks!
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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I must mention that we have also been considering Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland...and, well...just about everywhere. Please help. We love walking and being outdoors wherever we are; we enjoy just feeling a place and its people and culture, not just its history and art.
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Spain can be magnificent in March, sometimes even better than April. I'm not a hot weather person, so I would think about Italy or Greece only in the shoulder months, i.e September/October.

If you can go as soon as this summer, then I'd think about Northern European countries: England/Ireland/Scotland -- or Scandinavia. Admittedly the timing of "summer" can be unpredictable in Scandinavia, so be prepared for any kind of weather outside of July/August. As the Norwegians like to say, "there is no such thing as bad weather...only bad clothing!"

One option would be to embrace winter, if you like snow -- Switzerland, Germany for the Christmas markets, English country house hotels over the holidays -- any could be quite magical!
skibumette is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 09:48 AM
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Definitely look at the April weather pattern history for the destinations you're considering.

Here's a link for Greece but you can change the country and city once you're on the website. Scroll down for "History and Almanac" and enter past dates.

http://www.wunderground.com/global/stations/16716.html
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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"One option would be to embrace winter, if you like snow -- ...Germany for the Christmas markets -- any could be quite magical!"

I agree and we are making this trip again this winter, our fifth visit to Germany and Austria for the Advent season. The Alps are simply stunning and Germany and Austria both beautiful with great diversity. They are also, IMO, a great value compared to France, Italy and Switzerland.

Do you plan to rent a car? We use public transport so my suggestions would be based on that.

You could start in fabulous Berlin and spend 5 nights, making a day trip to Potsdam. Then on to Dresden for 2 nights. I would then move on to Franconia and spend a few days in Bamberg or Wurzburg, using as a base to explore this area.

I would work my way to Salzburg for 5 nights there, using it as a base to explore the Salzkammergut which is stunningly beautiful. You have been to Salzburg but have you explored the areas near by? There is much to see. I would end the trip in Munich and fly home from there.

If you do decide to travel in April, I would stay as far away from the Easter holiday as possible.
kfusto is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 10:42 AM
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Hi elnap29,
We absolutely loved the Berner Oberland in Switzerland last September. It is a beautiful place to hike and be outdoors. You can spend five or so days there and then train down to Tuscany and Venice for 5 days each.

We toured Italy last year in October with fabulous weather and few crowds. Although a car is not necessary for the BO or Venice, you will find it handy for Tuscany.

I agree with brotherleelove2004 about checking wunderground for past weather history. It will give you a better idea what you consider to be good weather.

Happy planning,
Michele
michele_d is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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The latter half of either May[ flowers] or Sep[harvest]
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 12:41 PM
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We aren't so interested in embracing winter, as we are from California and do not have a wardrobe for snow. Cold is alright, but not snow.
And yes, September and October would be our preferred months, but those months are out of the question. We can only go as soon as November or as late as April.

Thank you for all of the information so far. We will check the weather history as suggested. I love the idea of Switzerland and Italy, and also the Germany/Austria idea is appealing. Skibummette, can you tell us a little more about Spain in March and April? And michelle_d, what would Berner Oberland be like in March or April? Kfusto, thanks for the warning about Easter; we hadn't thought of that. We like the idea of using public transportation; we did not rent a car last time.
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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Hi elnap29,
We went to the BO in September. Maybe you can search this forum for info on the BO. I remember there being recommendations regarding weather during different months. I especially remember that the cablecars might not be running that early. It also might be a little early for wildflowers.
Michele
michele_d is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 04:51 PM
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Can anyone advise which country is most likely to have the best weather in March or April?
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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In Spain you can have full blown spring-like weather in mid-March even in the middle of the country around Madrid, not just in the south...a great time to visit.

Most first-timers to Spain will spend a few days in Madrid seeing the Royal Palace, Prado and other museums, etc. -- as well as taking a day trip to Toledo and perhaps another to Segovia. Then they head south to Granada (Alhambra), Cordoba, and Sevilla -- all are fascinating. You could also continue on to the Costa del Sol, although this is not my favorite part of Spain (too many condos full of tourists), but I do like the Spanish Riding School in Jerez and sherry-tasting. Heading south all works in your favor at this time of year!

BTW, Easter is late next year: April 24th. Holy Week in Sevilla is really powerful: all night parades of huge floats covered in flickering candles while penitents carry heavy crosses through the streets -- but there are loads of people and most hotels require a minimum 3-4 nights.

I personally love Castilla-Leon, the northern coast, and Galicia -- but weather would be less far less reliable at that time of year. Barcelona is great; it is definitely Catalunya (not "Spain") and has a very different feel -- but I probably wouldn't try to include it unless I really had several days to devote to it.
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