Christmas and New Year in Europe

Mar 1st, 2006, 10:16 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 97
Christmas and New Year in Europe

We are two aussies who have visited europe a number of times between May and October. This year we would like to spend about six weeks in europe from mid December until the end of January.
Our only similar experience was New Years in the High Tatras several years ago.
What I would appreciate are suggestions of the best way to spend our time in europe at this time of the year.
We prefer to travel by train, to stay in B&B's, enjoy the food and culture, and take our time.
Thanks in advance
macca is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
I'd be inclined to suggest that you spend some time in December in Germany; and Christmas and New Year in and around Edinburgh. Christmas markets and traditional old stuff followed by the best party in the world (outside Sydney?).
sheila is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I noticed that Australians are willing to go to Europe during winter to find something really different from home. And they usually move a lot because they have time. Lucky you! ;-)

The guests I had in December had all stayed in Germany where they found snow, before going to Dijon for a few days (where we had snow just after Christmas). Some of them went to Paris and the others to Italy.

my Dijon pics here :
And we still have snow now!

Happy travels!

cocofromdijon is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 03:22 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
Christmas Day in the UK is not for the unprepared tourist as basically EVERYTHING is closed, so no public transport, no museums, and eating has to be booked well in advance.

For Edinburgh at NY you have to book accomodation well in advance (now would be a good idea) and if you want to celebrate NY in Princes Street you have to get a ticket from sometime on October
alanRow is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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We are fellow Aussies who spent a month in Europe over Christmas and New Year 12 months ago.

We started off with about 9 days in the Bavaria region of Germany (Rothenburg, Fussen, Oberammergau as bases) and it was absolutely fabulous. Christmas itself was spent at Oberammergau. There was a ton of snow and it was picture postcard perfect. I would heartily recommend being in Germany for Christmas because we should all get to experience a white Christmas once. We loved the Christmas markets and the fact that we got to do Christmas in typical Germanic style which was so different to what we were used to (celebrating on Christmas Eve, completely different traditional foods, standing up in the local square and eating bratwurst sausages and drinking gluhwein for Christmas Day lunch with all the locals, a sleigh ride and so on). If you were considering Christmas in the UK, then the customs and food would basically be the same which I think defeats part of the purpose of travelling.

From there you could go anywhere else that interests you. We chose London and France ourselves.
shandy is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 04:17 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,148
You might have a look at Rick Steves newest book about Christmas in Europe. It's not as much a travel guide as a book about the way Europeans celebrate the holidays. If you see something that appeals to you, go for it! (The book is also a video, shown as a special to his television series here in the States.) I know people on this forum have mixed feelings about Rick Steves but this Christmas book and video are quite evocative of Europe at Christmas and quite personal as he visits his old friends across Europe to celebrate.
laurie_ann is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 04:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,801
I'm not much of a celebrant of Christmas, but I had a fantastic stay in Venice one Christmas because there was hardly anybody there! On Christmas morning, I walked to San Marco and the piazza was all but empty. I went to high Mass and the basilica was lit up with hundreds of candles. It looked gorgeous. After Mass, I walked across the Piazza into Florian's, which was mostly empty, sat down in a velvet window banquette and ate a delicous breakfast and had a glass of proseco. After that, I decided to go up to the top of the Campanille because there was no line.

And so the day went. All the hotel restaurants and churches were open. I have pictures of the Grand Canal with only one gondola floating down it. (The vaporettos don't run.) You see grandchildren coming to visit there ancient nonnas on Christmas eve, carrying huge presents and baskets of food. There are midnight masses and festivities in the days leading up to Christmas. The day after Christmas, the museums reopen but it takes a day or two more for the hordes to return.

nessundorma is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 777
France is a good country to visit at Christmas because, being a very secular society, it doesn't shut up so tight as many other places. In Paris even some of the museums (notably the Pompidou Centre) are open on Christmas.

We have also enjoyed Christmas in Nice on the French Riviera, although not so many places are open on Christmas Day. But there is plenty to do, and good train connections from there, as well as nicer weather than Paris.

You can see pictures of our Christmas in Paris here:
and our Christmas on the Riviera here:
nonnafelice is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2006, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I want to know how people get 6 weeks off at Christmas time for vacation. Lucky dogs!
wliwl is offline  
Mar 6th, 2006, 05:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 97
Thanks for all the suggestions. I shall certainly research them all carefully, and get back if I have further questions.
We are very fortunate in Australia with our conditions. One of the best is "long service leave" For example my wife, who is a Registrar in a school has three lots of two weeks plus one six week vacation each year (paid) Also she gets 3 months paid leave every seven years. Me, I'm retired.
macca is offline  

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