Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Christmas Road Trip- Spain/Portugal or Italy

Christmas Road Trip- Spain/Portugal or Italy

Sep 13th, 2015, 08:07 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
Christmas Road Trip- Spain/Portugal or Italy

We will be road-tripping from mid- December to early January. We hadn't quite set our itinerary but we're tentatively looking at Spain and Portugal or Italy. We have travelled extensively in both countries already so we aren't worried about jamming EVERYTHING into our 3 weeks. We will be traveling by small RV.

I would welcome any suggestions or hints for either area, particularly given the time of year. We have spent the last two Christmases in Barcelona so we have a sense of Catalunya at Christmas but don't know much about the rest of Spain, Portugal or Italy over the Christmas break.

Thanks in advance.

k
KMacK_ca is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 08:27 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Italy often has extremely poor road/weather conditions right around Christmas. Last year much of northern Italy experienced quite significant storms, with a lot of rain, snow and ice right on Christmas day. You would be taking a significant risk planning a road trip with an RV at that time.
sandralist is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 08:47 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
Good advice. I should have noted we were actually planning to stay south of Tuscany. If we go to Italy. In fact, we may even stay south of Rome!

I should also have added that I ski every year in Aosta and I have experienced the cold weather and snow in the North. While the RV is winterized and will have snow tires, I have no interest in being in the north at that time in an RV!

I am more concerned with how the holidays will impact social outings and events. In Barcelina, it doesn't have much impact in our experience. We really just plan on moving from town to town as we feel like traveling but don't want to be caught without basic provisions due to holidays.

Thanks for reminding me though. I don't plan on bring my skis this trip!
KMacK_ca is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 09:00 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,760
Weather is going to be totally unpredictable but as said expect the worse. I would add even in areas you do not expect it, especially if you are driving across Europe.
If you are driving your own vehicle ensure you know about the tolls on Portuguese roads. Do a search I have posted the link about this far more time than I care to remember.
A lot of camp site will be closed. however you can find places to dump your waste water all over Spain.
Things close on Xmas eve and reopen on the first working day after Christmas day, except in Catalunya. NYE and NY day will find a lot of places closed. Maybe on the 6th Jan for the Dia de Los Reyes.
Do forget your driving safety gear too. I would include snowsocks/chains.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 09:15 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
Thanks very much. We have chains. We were very grateful we had them when we needed them for our car last time we went into Andorra on our way back from Barcelona two years ago. We are Canadians living in Europe so we are very experienced winter drivers.

I am familiar with Portugese tolls, having overnighted at a gas station along a toll highway between Lisbon and Evora (I think) a few years ago. That is where we learned that it matters how long you are on the toll road! Imagine our surprise when presented with a toll that cost more than a cheap hotel room! Lesson learned.

Thanks for the advice in closures. I had the sneaky feeling hat the rest of Doain might be different from Barcelona.

We have found a few year round camp sights but there doesn't seem to be a lot which is what caused us to ponder just what might be open over the holidays in general.

I really appreciate your comments.
KMacK_ca is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 09:36 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
We spent a week in Tuscany in 2012/2014 over NYE week and it was amazing. We had decent weather, but obviously that is not guaranteed. We are booked for another week over NYE this year with my parents and brother. Fingers crossed for decent weather, but if not we are happy to hunker down in Montepulciano.

You can see our pics here form our last trip
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...57639164500734
jamikins is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 09:44 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
We also spent two weeks in Portugal in 2010/2011 holiday period.

Pics here https://www.flickr.com/photos/pug_gi...57636734183955
jamikins is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 10:24 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
Thanks very much. I will definitely look at your pictures after this post!

We also have our fingers crossed for decent weather but -- being Canadian -- anything above freezing will be considered good to us! We really aren't worried about the weather.

We aren't looking to be visiting museums or taking in tourist spots but we are concerned about things being open generally. What was your experience in Tuscany? What about Portugal? (In what area of Portugal did you spend the holidays?)

I don't expect things to be open on Christmas Day but I also don't want to be in a situation where no stores are open for more than 2 days otherwise we quickly run out of food. Also,we will need to dump grey water and pick up fresh.
KMacK_ca is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 10:30 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 65
PS I love your travelling partner's Canada sweatshirt!
KMacK_ca is offline  
Sep 13th, 2015, 10:53 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,298
There were a few restaurants closed in Tuscany the week after Xmas, but lots were open. Apparently a lot of Romans head to Tuscany. The roads were open, parking free and food delicious. We lived it so much that we are bringing my family this year.

Portugal was warmer. We spent a week in Lisbon/Sintra and then another week in Tomar/Marvao/Evora. Things were very quiet outside Lisbon. We would go back to Tuscany but not rural Portugal during the winter. Lisbon was great and Porto in winter this year was great as well.

We are Canadian/British
jamikins is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:06 AM.