Europe in December

Old Feb 28th, 2007, 07:19 PM
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Europe in December

Hello fellow travelers!

I am planning a trip to Europe (Dates: Dec/22-Jan/5 give or take a day or two on either end). I have traveled to several cities in Europe. My favorites are: Amsterdam, Paris, London, Florence, Innsbruck, Lucerne. In addition I liked Athens and loved Paros (Greek island).

My husband has not been to Europe before, but is open to visiting pretty much any city--but specifically, he would like to go to Spain and Greece (+island(s))...but these countries are not a must for this particular trip.

My issue is weather. I am not sure that the Greek Islands are at their best in December/January. I think Spain would be fine as we would be there to sight see more than we would be there to relax in the sun (we like the idea of a visit to Barcelona on this trip, and perhaps Madrid).

So my question is...what cities (up two three cities) would be best for 2 weeks in Europe? I would like one city to be on the Mediterranean coast. We are open to anything...I am just trying to come up with a good plan for travel in December. I am hoping someone will tell me that the weather is hot, or at least really warm, somewhere on the continent! We are confined to these dates b/c of vacation time from school (both grad students) and work.

Any ideas are appreciated.

Happy travels!
lapur is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2007, 01:22 AM
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i would fly into paris and out of spain.
check intra european low cost flights,, if it is too expensive to stay with same carrier you fly over with.

WARM sunny coastal city in spain in DECEMBER will not be easy.

i guess go south, hit sevilla and down to estepona area would be best.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2007, 02:10 AM
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You will not find any place “really warm” in Europe in December and January. Get out a map and look at how far NORTH most of Europe is. That is why very little of it is warm during December/January, most of it is downright cold, except for the UK which is kept more temperate by the Gulf Stream (albeit it gets dark very early). Naples/Sorrento are on the same latitude as New York City, and are only a bit warmer because the Med is not as cold as the Atlantic. You might get a warmish spell in Rome in December, but odds are against you.

That being said, if you are dressed for it, I think European cities are great in the winter, the only thing you can't do is sit outside at cafes, but museums are not crowded and restaurants are all open, something you won't find in August, for example. In mid to late December you will be able to go to Christmas markets. Christmas in European cities can be a great experience with church music, mulled wine, etc.

Go to, and click on "Vacation Finder". Enter December and the minimum acceptable temperature. It will show you where you can go. The Vacation Finder won't show how often it may rain in that month, for that you need to go to the city listings on the site.

I agree that Portugal or Spain would be a good place for December, if you don't mind some rain. You aren't really going to find beach weather in either place, however. I don't think Greece would be a good idea.

Over Christmas itself and the week between Christmas and New Years, you do have to watch for closures at musuems and many smaller restaurants would be closed for Christmas and for several days afterwards, so you may have to commit yourself to eating Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years meals in a hotel restaurant. Renting an apartment could make this a more fun and homelike holiday.

Even places like Morocco or Tunisia won't be at their hottest, but may be someplace to consider.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2007, 03:28 AM
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I've now spent two winters in Germany and I have to agree that it will be tough to find anyplace in Europe that is consistently warm in December/January. You do not mention Rome on your list of favorites or possibilities, so I'm not sure if that means you've been there and didn't like it, or haven't yet considered it! I have been to Rome twice in December, about 10 years ago and this past Christmas, and the weather both times was reasonable. The first trip was a little drizzly and cool, but we were downright warm on this last trip, with lots of sun and temps in the 60s! We were actually able to eat many meals outside and enjoy gelato. Rome is a lovely place to be at Christmastime, as it is one of those cities that is beautiful at any time of year, but is not overly "done up" for the holidays. Rome is also wonderful for a first-time visitor to Europe since you need virtually no Italian and it is a very tourist-friendly city. Perhaps you could do Rome and Venice?
hausfrau is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2007, 07:48 PM
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Thanks for the input everyone! It seems that we will need to face the fact that a warm vacation will not be had at that time of year in Europe. But that is ok...we are still set on going.

I have always heard Paris at Christmas time can be charming. Any thoughts?

Rome is surely a place we will consider as well. I have been there, and throughly enjoyed it. perhaps we do Rome/Florence/Paris? I liked Venice, but I am not in a hurry to go back.

Based on all of your comments I am leaning toward narrowing or countries to France, Spain and Italy (possible cities --Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Granada, Florence, Rome). Now I do not think visiting all of these place in two weeks is a good idea. I am not sold on the idea of Madrid in the winter...but my husband would like to go there.
Of course, we are not set on these countries only--this is just a thought.

Does anyone know what Turkey is like during Dec/Jan?

lapur is offline  
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