Croatia and Prague in Dec

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Oct 8th, 2018, 08:11 AM
  #1
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Croatia and Prague in Dec

Hi we are a family of four( two teens) and interested to visit Croatia this winter.we donít mind the cold weather as long as things arenít closed. When I search online most ( except a couple of links) suggest to visit Croatia only in summer. From the other two links that say itís nice in winter, seems a lot is open n there are Christmas markets and New Years party n a lot still going on. Besides the weather and daylight is there something that one misses during gbd winter visit?any thoughts on the trip ?TIA
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Oct 8th, 2018, 10:27 AM
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kja
 
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Some parts of Croatia are year-round destinations -- places like Zagreb and Split. Others will be nearly shut down; Korcula comes to mind. Whether you would be able to see the places you want to see in the way you want to see them really depends on what you want from the trip.
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Oct 8th, 2018, 02:00 PM
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I went to Zagreb, Split, and the little island of Brac in February and it was actually perfect! Obviously you can't lie out on the beach, but we loved exploring Croatia minus all the tourists, and really got a chance to meet the locals. That being said, Zagreb and Split are cities that don't close down in the winter - so there was lots to do - but I don't know if this is the case for the areas where the beach is the main attraction. For example, there was NOT a lot to do on Brac, unless you enjoy wandering in the nature despite chilly temperatures (which we do).

Prague is beautiful in December and the Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas are absolutely adorable - you'll love them!
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Oct 14th, 2018, 01:10 AM
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Hi thanks for your comments and suggestions. It took me a while as I started choosing. For Croatia I have - Zagreb, Dubrovnik , Plitvice , Zadar( 1/2 day) in mind. However we are split between Croatia and Macedonia ( 10 days ) vs
Prague Budapest and Slovenia10 days. I tried to combine Prague and Croatia but budget flights ( checked all ) are very expensive.
I know itís a personal thing asking which combination is better but generally asking whatís more beautiful n lively in the winter. We really donít mind the winter cold and and enjoy museums, architecture, culture ,Xmas markets , beautiful landscapes. We have been to Germany , Italy , France n Austria all in the winter. hence not combining with Prague.
montenegro looks very interesting as well but a lot of blogs say summer is the time as winter a lot is closed.
I wonder if itís the same for Macedonia.
Many thanks in advance,
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Oct 14th, 2018, 09:59 AM
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With that choice, I'd go with Prague, Budapest, and Slovenia. These cities are lovely at any time of year.

Actually, I'd limit myself to Prague and Budapest, with perhaps a day trip or two or maybe a small city nearby easily visited by train. Trying to city Prague AND Budapest AND Slovenia in the same 10 day period would be far too rushed for my tastes even in summer; in winter, with limited hours of daylight and the possibility snow or ice, I think it would be very very difficult to fit that all in.

While I'm sure Croatia is also lovely in winter, most people want a car for the Plitvice Lakes, and you could face snow or ice on the roads -- not something I would want to face if I could avoid it. I suspect that you could only include a half day in Zadar if you drive, again, risky at that time of year.
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Oct 14th, 2018, 11:20 PM
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I think you'll find Prague and Budapest to be the liveliest; Ljubljana is a lovely city but comparatively the teens might not find it as entertaining in the winter. I write this as the parent of a teen and now 20-something, both of whom we have dragged around Central Europe enough to know their preferences. There is simply more going on in Prague and Budapest for everyone.
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Oct 15th, 2018, 07:57 AM
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Thanks for the inputs ! So Prague n Budapest it is! Will try to squeeze one train stop to Bratislava as well. Is there a Christmas city thatís cozy with lots happening and a New Yearís Eve city between the two countries. Anything that we should absolutely not miss ( other than standard itineraries)?
We love trying out good food ( as long as itís tasty ) and last year in Spain we found the best food in small , food joints which were not Michelin. I saw a list on the post of thanksgiving to which couple of you suggested good food places n shopping.
Any tours recommended ? I love walking tours. Food wise - flavorful n spicy is what I like. We love artisan cocktails.
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Oct 15th, 2018, 08:15 AM
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Just my opinion, but the Bratislava Christmas markets are ho-hum. The one in the old town square is comprised mostly of food vendors; and the one along the Hviezdoslavovo nŠmestie is not too different. Vienna's NYE is rather remarkable, though, with various stages along a Pfad ("path") throughout the city. There are fireworks displays at the Rathaus that our teens and their friends enjoy (we tend to stay home with DDog, who is terrified by the pyrotechnics). I, personally, would skip Bratislava for NYE, but the city might be just fine for a day trip, time permitting.
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Oct 16th, 2018, 07:11 PM
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Thanks ! Got it ! Bratislava is not the best place for Xmas markets.What would you recommend there for half a day - day trip ? I read the three days recommendations for Prague. Is there anything else in Czech Republic to do n see during that time of the year? Similarly what are the must doís for Budapest along with places to eat n shop. I love very colorful and quirky stuff including vintage shops.
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Oct 16th, 2018, 07:40 PM
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What guidebooks are you using? They should cover these basics.
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Oct 16th, 2018, 08:25 PM
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Prague is amazing on december, the squares are so beautiful. Don't doubt on going
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Oct 16th, 2018, 10:26 PM
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Thanks ! You are right itís very open ended. So for Bratislava what I liked so far
breakfast at moods bakery
primates palace ( only from outside )
visit the oldest shop t Biela street- eat the Rozok there
st Martinís cathedral
Oldest street -walk to Michaels Gate
predential palace -
SNP square - Bratsilava castle
old town hall
so any recommendations for great local to eat/ Shop
non touristy?
TIA
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Oct 16th, 2018, 11:34 PM
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Restaurants in Bratislava that I would eat at again (and often have):
Cafe Stefanka and Zylinder (Slovak cuisine). The latter prepares a rather good Tartare.
Bratislavsky Mestiansky pivovar (Slovak pub food and good beer). Share the Slovak cheese board.
Green Buddha (Thai). Everything we've ordered has been delicious.
Nobile (Georgian) The Tsatsivi (warm) is luscious, and we've yet to eat a Khinkali we didn't like. Georgian wines are among my favorite, too.

You could sample the Rozok in Prague (where it's called Rohlik) and in Budapest (where it's known as Kifli) for comparison!
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Oct 18th, 2018, 07:04 AM
  #14
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Thanks fourfortravel. Iíll keep these in mind.we are looking for something other than a big city experience. I looked at
sumava as we like to combine a charming town or a forest where we could go on an animal safari or bird watching.
Is sumava mostly nice for skiing ? As not all four of us skii and we arenít good skiers. Secondly, I also looked at Cesky Krumlov, karlovy Vary And KutnŠ Hora for day trips. I feel that small towns add a lot more to the cultural experience than just the big city alone but worried that it might be all dead in winter. I donít intend to drive but use trains. Any recommendations for day trips ? TIA
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Oct 18th, 2018, 11:56 AM
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Out of the three day trips from Prague you've mentioned, I'd recommend Cesky Krumlov - it's one of the most charming, "fairy-tale" like towns I've ever visited. Look up pics!

If you're looking for a more authentic Czech experience, I also really loved Brno - the second biggest city (after Prague) in the CZ. Just as charming as Prague, but smaller and with less tourists. There are some great castle grounds you can tour, and I believe Brno has Christmas markets as well? (Although I wasn't there during Christmas, so can't comment on how "good" they are.)

You could also take a day trip to Karlstejn castle from Prague - it's breathtaking and fairly large, so takes a bit of time to explore.
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Oct 18th, 2018, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by imz2018 View Post
Thanks fourfortravel. I’ll keep these in mind.we are looking for something other than a big city experience. I looked at
sumava as we like to combine a charming town or a forest where we could go on an animal safari or bird watching.
Is sumava mostly nice for skiing ? As not all four of us skii and we aren’t good skiers. Secondly, I also looked at Cesky Krumlov, karlovy Vary And KutnŠ Hora for day trips. I feel that small towns add a lot more to the cultural experience than just the big city alone but worried that it might be all dead in winter. I don’t intend to drive but use trains. Any recommendations for day trips ? TIA
The alps being "just down the road" here in Austria, we tend to stay in country for our mountain experiences, so I can not comment on Šumava except to suggest that you might not have luck with an animal safari or bird watching in December.

KutnŠ Hora did not move us. In fact, we were creeped out by the bone church and could not even eat lunch in the town. Your experience might be different. We did enjoy St. Barbara's Cathedral nearby, though. We loved CK on our first visit in 2001, when the tourist density was much different than on a return visit in 2013, but this comment could be made about any number of places.

Another possibility might be a trip to the Bishop's palace at KroměřŪž. The gardens will not be interesting (if they are even open), but the palace should still have tours operating.

Brno does indeed have a Christmas market that, according to our Brno friends, "has gotten better over the years."
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Oct 22nd, 2018, 10:45 PM
  #17
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Hi

How does the below combination look. I have been to Munich, garmish , Black Forest area, cologne, Vienna , Spain ( in diff trips before ).I just don’t want Xmas markets but a mix but st the same time don’t want a very dull holiday as it’s cold.
Prague - Berlin - Dresden - Nuremberg - Salzburg - Budapest
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Oct 22nd, 2018, 10:49 PM
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In 10 days? For me, that itinerary would take at least 3 weeks at a very rushed pace.
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Oct 23rd, 2018, 12:22 AM
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Let's break this down, assuming you will travel on public transportation.

Day 1 Start in Berlin. Arrival and jet-lagged wandering
Day 2 and 3 Berlin (minimum, not including Potsdam)
Day 4 Berlin to Dresden (Ĺ day travel, including logistics)
Day 5 Dresden
Day 6 Dresden to Prague (Ĺ day travel, including logistics)
Day 7 and 8 Prague (no day trips)
Day 9 Prague to Nuremberg (4 hrs travel plus logistics)
Day 10 Nuremberg

Continuing...
Day 11 Nuremberg to Salzburg (3 hours plus logistics)
Day 12 Salzburg (without Salzkammergut and its charming Adventmarkt, one that I would rank above the markets in Prague and Budapest)
Day 13 Salzburg to Budapest (6 hours plus logistics)
Day 14 and 15 Budapest
Day 16 Depart Budapest thoroughly exhausted

Add to this shorter daylight hours; having to orient oneself in four different countries and three currencies; and really only seeing the minimum "must-dos."

If you eliminate Nuremberg and Budapest then you will have a less-rushed itinerary but will still only have time for the minimum sights.

If cold is a factor, then perhaps just Berlin, Dresden and Prague should be your itinerary, where there is more to see indoors. The damp cold of the cobblestones can ruin the day of those unprepared, and no amount of GlŁhwein can make it better.

If Christmas markets are a factor, then go with Berlin, Salzkammergut, and Vienna. Perhaps Dresden, but we have never been to its Christmas markets so I can not comment on them. The markets in Prague and Budapest are nice but nothing special; Nuremberg's market is a spectacle to see if that is a priority.

I hope this is helpful.
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Oct 23rd, 2018, 05:09 PM
  #20
kja
 
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Not to disagree with fourfortravel, but I don't think the plan she laid out would even cover what I consider the minimum "must-dos" of these locations.
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