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Christmas and New Years... Need a Romantic Holiday Wonderland

Christmas and New Years... Need a Romantic Holiday Wonderland

Jul 18th, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Christmas and New Years... Need a Romantic Holiday Wonderland

Hello! We are going to Europe For Christmas 2008 for about 7+ days Maybe even through New Years. We are very excited but are having trouble on where exactly yo go. There will be at least 6 to 7 people and it is very possible there will be more. The ages will be: 20, 22, 26, 28, 40, 42, and 61. Everyone is healthy and active and like outdoor stuff but also like shopping, art, and cultural experiances (oh and food!) We really want it to feel like christmas but dont want it to feel isolated. We were thinking of the following places: Switzerland (interlaken area or luzerne) Germany (Bavaria) Austria (vienna or salzburg area)Or Maybe Prague. WE also have not ruled out italy but not any of the major cities - something more like the amalfi coast. We understand that the last will not be really chrismas like.

I NEED YOUR HELP! Please give me ideas and let me know which place will fit us best! Remember we would prefer a christmas like feeling and snow would be nice but not necessary. We live close to Lake Tahoe so we can ski anytime although we will not rule it out plus we are used to the cold.

Thanks so much! I hope to hear from you all soon!
TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 05:18 PM
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I would cross the Amalfi Coast off your list. Not the least bit Christmaslike, and likely to be dead at that time of year.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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Check out Peternhof, right on the Austrian side of the border between Reit im Winkel (Germany) and Austria. Check their website www.peternhof.com. It is a resort and they might be able to accomodate a large party like yours.

Reit im Winkel is your storybook Bavarian village, surrounded by mountains. It is a summer and winter resort, and from there you can get by car to Salzburg (a bit over 1 hour) Berchtesgaden (ditto), Kitzbuehel (45 min.) and - if the lake is not frozen over, King Ludwig's palace on the Herreninsel (island) in the Chiemsee (lake) (45. min.)as well as some other attractive sites like Aschau, St. Johann/Tirol and Elmau/Tirol with its funicular ro the top of the mountain.

If there are skiers in your group (and there is snow!), there are several good sii areas, like Kitzbuehel, Elmau, and nearby the Winkelmoos Alm.

PS:I am not a promoter, just happend to have lived there before I moved to the US.
treplow is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 08:58 PM
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Vienna is magical at Christmas. It has a huge Christmas market, as well as several smaller ones, and the overall feeling is pure holiday.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 12:06 AM
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I suppose you'll want a white Christmas although you're not mentioning that. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee for snow at Christmas except very high up in the Alps or in Northern Scandinavia. So for snow you'll have to pick a mountain ski resort.
quokka is online now  
Jul 19th, 2007, 02:35 AM
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sparks_fly is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Snow would be fantastic although not necessary! We are just looking for something out of a postcard. The main square with a huge christmas tree and ice skating. Twinkle Lights and maybe even christmas markets. We would even like a place where you can do horse drawn carriage rides. I know that Even though my husband and I have been to neuschwanstien castle, the other have not and would like to see that if it is close by.

Please Keep the ideas Coming!!!

TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Salzburg and Vienna are magic during the markets, though you will miss those as they close before Christmas.

kfusto is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 02:09 PM
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when do the markets close? Christmas will be on a thursday that year so we may go down the weekend before....
TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 02:45 PM
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also, does no one think that switzerland is a good choice? I think this may be what we are leaning to. If anyone has info or ideas about stuff in switzerland that would be great! I was thinking the murren area or grindelwald. Would this be a good area?
TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 19th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Christmas markets generally close on or near to December 24th.
Underhill is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 12:40 AM
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Salzburg sounds like what you are looking for or Tegernsee in Bavaria
Lawchick is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 02:47 AM
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Hi TravelinSteph,

Well . . . Muerren or Grindelwald may or may not be the perfect spot for you.

I was surprised to discover that the Swiss don't "do" the holidays the way that the Germans & Austrians do them. The Swiss consider the holidays a time for family gatherings and private celebrations, not for public displays. When I spent Christmas in Gstaad one year, all I saw were a few fat Santas as decoration.

There are Christmas markets, but they're in the cities -- Luzern, Basel, etc, not in the small villages.

Also, it's not such a snow-sure area anymore. I scheduled my Wengen ski vacation in mid-January this year to be sure to have some snow, and of course there was just the bare minimum for skiing, even that late.

I spent a month in the village of Mittenwald in Bavaria this winter (Dec 06-Jan 07), and thought it was just ideal (though also very little snow). I think either Bavaria or Salzburg will be what you want.

Good luck!

swandav2000 is online now  
Jul 20th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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is there anyplace that is like a small village but somewhat close to salzburg or a major city with lots of the things we want?
TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 09:05 AM
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Hi Steph -

We took a family Christmas trip to Munich and Garmisch a couple of years ago. Loved it.

Start your trip several days before Christmas to experience the Christmas atmosphere. The Christmas season begins in early December and pretty much ends on December 25.

We started in Munich. Some snow on the ground. Cold but not bitterly so. Great Christmas Market. Interesting things to do inside to get out of the cold - Deutsches Museum, Residenz, Nympenburg, art museums. The Nymphenburg in the snow was magical.

Just about everything closes down at about noon on Christmas Eve, but you can still find some restaurants that will be open. We wrote to our hotel for recommendations before our trip, and they made us a reservation for Christmas Eve dinner. Midnight Mass at the cathedral was very beautiful and moving - Silent Night in the dark, etc.

We rented a car on Christmas morning. The idea was to travel on a day when most everything is closed. We had a scenic and easy drive to Garmisch and arrived at our hotel for lunch. There was plenty of snow on the ground and in the mountains. Since it was a clear afternoon, we went up to the top of the Zugspitze. Spectacular views. Garmisch is fairly lively, but the best part, aside from the mountains, was the vendors selling Gluhwien on the snowy sidewalks at night. I think this is the atmosphere you're looking for. From Garmisch we took trips to the Wieskircke, Neuschwanstein (some people don't like it, but it's spectacular in the snow), and Linderhof. Lots of other possibilities.

Do not hesitate to drive. The roads are excellent and well maintained - no snow or ice left on them.

Bavarian food is superb, and its heartiness is perfect for winter.

robertino is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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jamikins is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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robertino - Thanks so much! Like I said above, I have been to hohenschwangau (neuschwanstien) we actually stayed in a hotel right at the base of the mountain in between both castles and has a magical view. Although 2 of us have been there, the others have not and would really like to add that to the vacation. we also went into munich for a day - not really long enough.

Munich was not our favorite but I think it was because we went on our own and got lost trying to find the old town. We ended up by the english garden on a bridge going over the river. There is a building with an angel on top there where the road splits and goes around the building. To this day we are still trying to figure out what the building was. If anyone knows.....

Also I have to agree that the food was FAB!!!!! and we are still looking for good german food here localy.

We do want to do something that is new to all the families going but some of the same stuff is not bad. Keep the ideas coming....
TravelinSteph is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 01:35 PM
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We have been spending Christmas in Germany for the last 9 years. We have been spending most of our time in Oberammergau. It is about 10 miles from Garmisch (down the mountain). Also, we spend part of our holiday in Berchtesgaden. For the last 2 years with have taken our granddaughter (3 years this Christmas)with us and she LOVES it!! Oberammergau is a small village where the Passion Play takes place in the summer every 10 years. It is extremely quaint and lovely (especially at Christmas). We have met some friends at the Post Hotel that are from Switzerland, but choose to spend Christmas there because it is so "Christmas-ee". We usually stay at the Hotel Alte Post right in the center of village. The friendliness of the people and fantastic food are fabulous.
We love Berchtesgaden, too. The mountainous scenery is gorgeous. Hitler once said that it was the most beautiful place in the world. Of course, his Eagle's Nest is atop one of the mountains. There is a hotel on the way up that mountain that housed the SS during the war. You can pay 5 Euros and tour the underground tunnels that Hitler, Eva Braun, etc. used.
Any place you choose in Bavaria would be wunderbar!
annebarber is offline  
Jul 20th, 2007, 01:53 PM
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Hi TravelinSteph - you may wantto look into a european river cruise during the Christmas holidays. Last year I did a spur of the moment tour starting in Vienna and ending Nurnberg, Germany visiting Christmas markets along the way. I really enjoyed unpacking once. This year my husband and I will leave 12/28 - 1/5/08 for another holiday river cruise in France.

Suspaul is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2007, 08:06 AM
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You're smart to put Italy last on your list. Our friends went there last Christmas and were disappointed, because Rome wasn't decorated like they'd expected such a Catholic city to be, and many shops and restaurants were closed. Have fun planning your Christmas trip.

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