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Christmas and New Years: Where would you go?

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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:13 PM
  #1
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Christmas and New Years: Where would you go?

My family and I are seriously considering a 2009 Christmas/New Year's trip to Europe. My children are 14 (son) and 15 (daughter). We live in MN, so I am fine with cold, but not as cold as MN. This is our first trip at this time of year so I would like a festive atmosphere. We took the kids to Milan and Berlin (3 days each city), and they really enjoyed that trip (it was a business trip for my husband so it was limited to 8 days). We have travelled extensively in the US. My kids favorite trips, Quebec City at Thanksgiving, and Boston at Thanksgiving. We have been to NY, and they didn't like it. So I think we like manageable cities. Although, I think they would get a kick out of London. I'm okay with taking the twelve travel days (real travel days not including flying to and from Europe) and splitting between two locations. We love train travel. We do need somewhere that offers variety which most of Europe does. What I mean by this is art museums, history museums, good food, scenery, castles, churches, great architecture and any fun things that young teens would enjoy. We all like to walk around and get to know the place we are visiting.

Any suggestions? I am still not used to the new format, and I can't seem to search as well as before so I haven't been on this for some time, but everyone has always been so helpful. Money is an issue, and certainly flying will be our biggest single expense. At this point, we probably could fly to London roundtrip cheapest. If we did London, is there a place to go for part of the trip that we could take a train, and then head back to London for the return trip. My husband and I have been to London, but that was 18 years ago!

We are really open to all suggestions. When I have looked at Europe it has mostly been for summer so I am not as well aware of good locations at the holiday season. We have talked about Rome, Sicily (a stop at Pompeii for my daughter) and back to Rome, but I don't know if that would work as well at Christmas/NY.
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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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mosey, we did a family trip to Barcelona a few years ago at Christmas and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. The city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, churches, architecture etc. and getting around is very easy. We were there for 10 days, and still didn't see everything that we wanted to see. We rented an apartment in the Gothic Quarter and found that to be an ideal location as we could walk to quite a few of the things we were interested in. But the subway/bus system is pretty efficient when you want to get to things that are a bit further away.

The weather is usually relatively mild at that time of year..in the 50's or so, which you might appreciate.

I think London would be a good choice too.
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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:40 PM
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I spent the last 2 Christmas/New Year holidays in Rome and loved it. I dressed in layers and always had gloves and a scarf, but didn't always need them, more in the evenings than day time, and I live in SC so not accustomed to really cold winters.

Day trips from Rome are easy. A closer option instead of Pompeii (doable in a day, but it's a long day) is Ostia Antica. One thing about Rome in winter is that it gets dark around 4:30pm, so it's something to consider when planning what you'd like to do during the day.

There is lots to do in Rome...museums, art, history, you can easily fill a week. Not too mention all the great restaurants.
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Sep 15th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Three years ago I spent two weeks (right after Christmas) in Copenhagen and Stockholm. I loved it. It was very cold that year however but it was not "normal", there was much more snow than they usually get. It was very festive because the season goes until the second week in January, so lots of decorations, lights etc. It did get dark early. There was about six hours of daylight each day.
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Sep 15th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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How about Bavaria, on the Czech border. Bayerisch Eisenstein is a small town, 2 hours away from Munich, 3+ hours from Praha. There is a great apartment setup there that gets fantastic reviews. And you can't beat the prices. While the Christmas markets will be closed in Germany, some are still open in Austria and Czech Republic.

http://www.bavarian-forest-holidays....day-prices.php
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Sep 17th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I did some budgeting on what it would cost for Rome, and this is beyond what we can spend right now. I did look at apartments, too, but with the flight cost and the apt., well it is just too much. I will keep these for future reference. We are totally going to do a Scandinavian trip sometime. I would really like to take my children, but it may be a trip we take when they are off to college. I don't know how people afford to go to Europe with a family.

I really want to leave over Christmas due to some local family issues so I think I will look to the US. Thanks again!
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Sep 17th, 2009, 06:27 PM
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How about half the time in London and the other half in Paris. I imagine you would see beautiful Christmas decorations and lights and festivities. You could fly into London and out of Paris (train in between or one of those cheap airline companies) or, if it's cheaper, train back to London. Personally, I would love to see both these cities during the Christmas time. I can hardly think of any cities that have more variety as in the things you'd like to see.
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Well, we made it happen. We booked Rome for 10 days over Christmas. (life is too short, that kind of thing) I will move over to Italy for more specific questions. Thank you all!
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Sep 22nd, 2009, 08:34 AM
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Mosey, we did Christmas with our grown children one year splitting our time between Florence and Rome. It worked wonderfully. enjoy your trip and your family.
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Sep 28th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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Mosey, you'll love Rome over Christmas. We spend most Christmas times there and will be back again this year for about 2 weeks.
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Sep 28th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Thank you for the encouraging words. My husband asked me about how open things were in Rome around Christmas week (this is after we booked it), and I just put such trust into fodorites, I said there will be things to do. He was afraid that museums, etc. would close for the week around Christmas. Now I need to start doing my homework!

daveesl, do you have a favorite place to stay? Do you have a favorite area in which you stay? I am looking into apartments so that we can all stay together versus two hotel rooms.
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Sep 28th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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We left Dec. 26 last year and returned the 3rd or so. A great week to be in Rome--you will have to plan around a few closures on Christmas Eve and Christmas but there's so much to see in Rome this shouldn't present a problem! Enjoy. I wish I were going this year...
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Sep 28th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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Other than Christmas day, nothing is really different than any other week. Most museums are closed on Mondays, except Vatican. You'll hear people say nothing is open on Christmas Day, that is hogwash. Plenty of places to eat. Metro is closed and buses stop running around 10pm on Christmas Eve, but there are some buses running on the day.

There is so much to see in Rome that does not require a ticket, trust me you can stay very busy.

We almost always stay in apartments, usually in the Navona area. This year we have one a block north of the Pantheon. Check out sleepinitaly.com

Are you planning on being there New years eve?
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Oct 8th, 2009, 03:34 AM
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Sorry, it has taken me so long to get back here, and I haven't worked on our trip either! My son has been sick. We are leaving New Year's Eve. It was a lot cheaper to fly on that day.

I need to start looking for apartments. Yikes!
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