Europe 12 days December-New Years

Oct 3rd, 2012, 07:03 AM
  #1  
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Europe 12 days December-New Years

I am trying to narrow down my December trip with my husband to Europe. We plan to fly out Christmas Day and would like to travel between cities via a scenic train ride.

Cities on my list are
Salzburg
Vienna
Prague
Budapest
Lake Como
Milan
Venice

I know I do not have enough time to do all of them but am not sure of best combination given the areas we are looking at and time of year. Also, which city would be best for New Years??? Thank you soooo much for any recommendations and your advice!!!!
MAVA is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2012, 07:34 AM
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for loads of great info on train travel and scenic train routes in those areas check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com - sites with lots of great info and not just the typical add to shopping cart sites.

And you may want to investigate the Eurail Select Pass, valid in Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy - a 4-country pass - Saverpass is for two or more folks traveling on one pass.
PalenQ is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2012, 11:41 AM
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IMO Lake Como will not be at its best in winter. And Milan would be quiet as it is a business city primarily, though a city we quite enjoy visiting.

Venice will not be as mobbed in December as it is much of the rest of the year. If you want to see Venice then perhaps add Rome and make it an Italy focused trip.

We were in Prague for Christmas last year and really enjoyed it. We also very much enjoy Salzburg for the holiday season. Not big fans of Vienna but that is personal taste. And we are headed to Budapest for the 1st time next month.

Many train rides are not scenic, especially on the fast trains.

With 12 days (does this include travel dates?) I would choose to base in 3 cities and make day trips from those cities as opposed to moving every 2 days. That is our personal preference when we travel in Europe.

You can play with schedules on the DB site: http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml

We often opt for the passes as it gives us maximum flexibility.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 12:37 PM
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Salzburg
Vienna
Prague
Budapest
Lake Como
Milan
Venice

scenic train rides -

Vienna to Venice is very scenic - again lots of Alpine regions

Salzburg to Vienna is nice the whole way - not dramatically but nice mountainous terrain

but in 12 days there is just way too much IMO terrain being covered - lots of nearly all day train trips - I would advice either cutting off Budapest and Prague especially in dreary December there) and just doing Salzburg, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome and even that is too hectic for some.
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Oct 3rd, 2012, 03:22 PM
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Thank you all for your responses, very, very helpful!

12 days would include travel days.

We have both been to Rome so would opt to explore cities that are new to both of us. (My hubby has been to Venice, I'm trying to sneak a few days in there if I can, but I can opt to eliminate Italy altogether if its easier.)

Thank you again for all of the advice!
MAVA is offline  
Oct 4th, 2012, 01:31 AM
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With only ten nights you definitely need to scale back.

Prague was not at all grim last year at Christmas. The Christmas market was still open and the locals and tourists both were out enjoying the festivities, there were many concerts around the city and the weather was quite mild.

That being said, Salzburg and Bavaria would be high on my list at this time of year.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Yes Prague or any city can be nice in winter but the overall weather in that part of Europe simply sucks at that time of year - days get dark really early and the sun rises really late - it may well be grey all day and raining - Italy IMO would be much more enjoyable at that time of year for the average tourist.
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Oct 4th, 2012, 10:47 AM
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Perhaps, but the Christmas I spent in Rome and Florence was very grey and rainy for the duration of my stay - 10 days. As was the winter I visited Venice in early January, though I was happy to sacrifice weather for crowds.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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yes Rome and Florence can be wet as well but at least rarely any ice or snow - I have spent two Christmas' recently in Rome/Florence and temps were delightful - in 60s and sunny - but this is variable weather and yes you may have temps in 50s and overcast/raining.
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Oct 5th, 2012, 07:00 AM
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Because you can't count on good weather and because the hours of daylight, especially in Northern Europe, are short in the winter, stick to the bigger cities, where there are many indoor sights.
Mimar is offline  
Oct 9th, 2012, 09:46 AM
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We narrowed it down to Vienna (4 days there and maybe sneak in a day trip to Salzburg)-Prague-Budapest with the idea that we will need to prepare for the cold and rain.

Any hotel recommendations or tours?
We like to start off our European trips with the tours where you can hop on and off the bus around the main city sights. Any recommendations?

Thank you all very, very much!!!
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Oct 9th, 2012, 10:30 AM
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I recommend Barcelo Old Town Praha in Prague, a perfectly located boutique hotel in the center. One of the highlights of our trip to Prague was the time we spent with a private guide, whom I recommend highly:
Andrea Řezníčková

We are visiting Budapest for the first time in 5 weeks and are booked at the Marriott Millenium Apartments. We also have a private guide booked in Budapest as is our personal preference. We plan to see the KGB Museum, the baths and the public market on our own one day and not sure about the next.

We enjoy wines and booked a tasting visit at this place, which comes recommended by a fellow traveler: www.gbwine.eu

Vienna has never been a favorite of mine. Last visit we stayed at The Marriott which was convenient and comfortable. We ended up leaving 2 days early and returning to Salzburg, which we personally prefer to Vienna.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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We narrowed it down to Vienna (4 days there and maybe sneak in a day trip to Salzburg)-Prague-Budapest with the idea that we will need to prepare for the cold and rain>

If doing that by train then investigate the European East Railpass valid on all trains IME in Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia - hop on any train - compared to fully flexible fares a bargain for your trips I would think - especially the day trip Vienna to Salzburg can be expensive if you want flexibility to hop any of the hourly Salzburg-Vienna trains coming back - not having to lock yourself into stone weeks in advance to get online discounts.
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Oct 9th, 2012, 07:46 PM
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Any recommendations as far to the order of cities visited?

I was considering fly into Vienna-train to Prague- train to Budapest. I have been reading as much as I can find online and I have seen a few recommendations of starting in Budapest-train to Vienna and train to Prague. That order would leave us in Vienna for New Years. Is that the safer city of all three?? Best fireworks??
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Oct 10th, 2012, 01:27 AM
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We were in Vienna for NYE last year and the fire works were fabulous! Luckily we were able to avoid the chaos of the streets and watch from the river while aboard a boat.

I do not think any of the three cities are unsafe so would not make that a factor.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 02:04 AM
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We did a similar loop by train over Christmas and New years a couple of years ago...Munich-Salzburg-Vienna-Prague-Dresden-Munich. This is a great part of the world to spend the holiday season in...markets, music and decoration is all wonderful and better, I think, than you would see or experience in Italy. Like kfusto, we much preferred Salzburg to Vienna so would encourage at least a day trip there. Christmas morning music and mass in one of the old churches was very special. We watched new years fireworks over the Charles Bridge in Prague.

We did use layers, but did the whole 2 week trip out of carryon, a consideration if you are hauling your luggage on and off trains. It worked very well for us.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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The Christmas markets in the German area are well worth trekking their in winter IME - they light up both the day with the piping hot grog wine and the night with their bright lights.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Agree that the markets are lovely and we enjoy both Austria and Germany for the markets. Prague's Christmas markets were very festive as well.
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Oct 10th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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We did Budapest-vienna-Prague in July and were very satisfied. We trained from Budapest to Vienna for about 30 Euro/ea and hired a private driver from Vienna to Prague via Cesky Krumlov. Can't recommend CK in December, might be bad in the cold or wet.

We stayed at the Marriott in Vienna on the Ringstrasse across from the Stadtpark and found it very good and well situated via tram to all sights. We rented an apartment in Budapest for a week, through Budapest Vacation Rentals, which we really liked. Our hotel in Prague was the Hilton in Old Town, which we got 2 rooms for a steal through Priceline.

Let me know if you are interested in any of the restaurant information.
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Oct 11th, 2012, 03:26 AM
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Hi Mava, your thread made me join the forum! I am glad you included Budapest, I am from Budapest and love the city at Christmas with all the markets and concerts and candle smells, the Nutcracker ballet at the Opera... Heavenly. Budapest is usually the peak of the Viking river cruises at Xmas!
Here are the dates of this years market (you need to scroll down) http://budapestchristmas.com/budapes...osmarty-square
Art'Otel is relatively cheap and you can get a room with a view to the Danube. so nice!
gets very good stars on booking.com too
but the absolute winner is 4 seasons! Marriott is a solid base camp.
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