Christmas dilemma

Nov 3rd, 2012, 06:27 AM
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Christmas dilemma

I'm planning a trip to Europe in early December. (7 to 11),
I'd love to see the famous Chrismas markets and experience a typical European Christmas. I heard good things about Germany and Austria, but also Prague and Strasbourg. I'd like a city with a beautiful Christmas atmosphere, but also a that can keep us busy for 4 days. Right now, I'm torn between 5 plans:

A) Paris+day trip to Strasbourg. (already been to Paris, but never in Winter)
B) Vienna
C) Prague
D) Berlin
E) Munich

I chose Berlin because the accommodation is really cheap and I heard it has a great Christmas market, but I guess Prague, Paris and Vienna are more picturesque during Christmas? Which plan would your recommend? Other suggestions are welcome.
Thank you
KodakMoment is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2012, 06:58 AM
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Prague, some great museums, art deco buildings, palace area, local street food (grog and spicy buns), markets. Possible visits by train to Plzen (beer) and Carlsbad (spa)
bilboburgler is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2012, 11:00 AM
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Paris and Strasbourg! We loved our time in Paris at Christmas and I am still kicking myself for not hitting Strasbourg during that trip,
denisea is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2012, 12:44 PM
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I know this isn't a budget-oriented forum, but do you think I could find an apartment in Paris for 150$/night?
Hotels are really expensive! Is a trustworthy website?
KodakMoment is offline  
Nov 4th, 2012, 04:22 AM
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"Other suggestions are welcome."
"I know this isn't a budget-oriented forum, but do you think I could find an apartment in Paris for 150$/night?"

Actually, I think a good number of us travel on a snug budget. You can do much better than that rate in smaller towns in Germany.

A daytrip to Strasbourg from Paris is a big deal, but not from German towns just over the border. I'd suggest staying in the romantic old-world Black Forest town of Gengenbach, an easy 45-min. from train ride from Strasbourg. You could also daytrip to Freiburg (about 1 hour) and smaller Black Forest villages (Triberg, Schiltach, Villingen, all on or near the scenic Black Forest Railway and less than 1 hour away) from there. Gengenbach has its own Christmas market and is renowned for its town hall which gets made up as an advents calendar every Christmas. Freiburg has one too.

This apartment in Gengenbach is a 5-min. walk from the old town center and runs 35€ for two per night. There are of course options closer in as well.

The other money-saver in this area is the KONUS program - all hosts in Gengenbach and many other smaller town provide visitors with a guest card that allows free use of the regional trains (and buses) around the Black Forest, to Freiburg, and to the French/German border during your stay:
Russ is offline  
Nov 4th, 2012, 04:55 AM
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I love your suggestion Russ. Thanks a lot, but where I should I fly to, if I'm planning to stay in Gengenbch. Munich?
KodakMoment is offline  
Nov 6th, 2012, 11:44 PM
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If you have a choice Frankfurt is about 2 hours from Gengenbach via the autobahn...
Travelforbeer is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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How long is your stay in Europe. Great Christmas markets till the 24th in Munich, Neuremburg, Salzburg, Vienna, Strausbourg and other smaller towms. The Christmas markets in Prague stay open till New Years.

You can find accomdations of all levels in all the cities you mentioned. You should be able to find accomadations for $150 or under if you don't mind 2 and 3 star hotels. Lots of times the number of stars has to do with things I don't care about like having a lobby bar or a concierge.

In Paris you can find some hotels like the Meuguet in Ru Cler or the Andrea du Rivoli for very reasonable rates. Check Rick Steves books for suggestions for budget places.
AisleSeat is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 02:50 PM
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Prague is grotesquely overrated and I completely despise Vienna. But of course there is no accounting for taste.

Strasbourg is the best Christmas city. Paris is of course good and so is Berlin. I have no experience with Munich at Christmas, but I would imagine that it is good -- but I might prefer Zürich instead, where I have been for a few fabulous Christmases with friends.
kerouac is online now  
Nov 19th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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If you are going to Munich, I would recommend Salzburg, as it is very close. Its markets are delightful with a view of the castle.
SusannahT is offline  
Nov 19th, 2012, 10:51 PM
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Hi there,

if you are going to Germany during the holiday season don't miss the Christmas market in Dresden, which is also known as the Striezelmarkt. It is Germany's oldest one and you are definitely in for a treat.

Dresden can be easily reached by train. The journey from Berlin is approximately 2 hours ( I recommend at least 3 days for Dresden, there is a lot to see and do there. After your stop in Dresden you could easily carry on to Prague via train as well.

I hope that helps.
ChocolateDelights is offline  
Nov 20th, 2012, 01:47 AM
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> Prague is grotesquely overrated ...
He must have had bad some bad experinece like some do anywhere. I have not, yet, in my about 15 travels to Prague in last 10 years or so.

> I know this isn't a budget-oriented forum, but do you think I could find an apartment in Paris for 150$/night?

I'm a budget traveller myself. I have been travelling to Venice and Prague alternatively about last 10 years for Chrismas time. Partly because both cities mostly apply low season hotel rates until before the new year. For Prague, I have stayed in 3* and 4* hotel, particularly Hotel Roma 4* ( about €60 double & € 40 single) and Residence Mala Strana 3* ( € 40 double & 30 single), breakfast included, both located in central but somewhat quieter Mala Strana area. I'm staying at Residence M.S. for €30 again this Christmas this year. Does it sound low enough? I don't know what is 150USD in EURO. Prague has been quiet westernized price-wise as well but you get LOTS of cheap yet nice offers when you know where to go, even in central area. No comparison to Paris ( well just price wise..).

As to Chirstmas market, I enjoy Prague one fairly BUT, I hear German ones are better and more authentic ( especially like Dresden one mentioned above)

I hear Berlin (and Germany in general) is inexpensive as well). Have been there once at Chirstmas time when you still could feel differentr atmosphere western part and eastern part. More than 20 years ago but it was a great experience.
kappa1 is offline  
Nov 20th, 2012, 04:07 AM
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Actually, I had a splendid time in Prague, but two days was enough for me. (My "problem" might simply be the comparision of Prague to Paris, where I live.)

You can spend as much or as little as you want in Paris for both hotels and apartments. In my own neighborhood of Paris, hotel rooms cost 30€ (and they have plenty of tourists in them), and I have known several visitors who have rented studio apartments for well under 300€ a week in various locations of Paris.
kerouac is online now  
Feb 1st, 2013, 06:01 AM
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Kerouac, what's that neighborhood? Can you recommend some hotels that cost €30?
KodakMoment is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2013, 12:55 PM
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Hope you had a nice trip.
AisleSeat is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 12:33 AM
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Dusseldorf and Cologne have great Christmas markets too.
For next year.

Berlin for some reason is very inexpensive, that was our cheapest weekend trip we ever took in 9 years living in Europe. You get a lot for your money there.
bethany1 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2013, 03:09 AM
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OP was going last year. Berlin so cheap because the city is basically bust and has been for some years. Other cities in what was East Germany are also in a poor way but great for visits.
bilboburgler is online now  

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