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Germany / Austria in December with parents - weather question, please help!

Germany / Austria in December with parents - weather question, please help!

Mar 2nd, 2016, 05:53 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 131
Germany / Austria in December with parents - weather question, please help!


We want to take my parents to see the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria in Dec 2016. We (husband and I) have lived in NY, but currently live in Singapore with our 2 kids - 7 and 4. My parents live in Mumbai, India where there is no "real" winter per se.

I understand it will be very cold in Dec in Germany and Austria and I am struggling to decide if this trip will be a good idea. The kids have been to Germany in late Oct - so far, that is the coldest weather they have experienced.

Christmas markets being the key thing in our agenda, I expect that we will be out and about in the cold in the evenings. Any experiences from anyone who lives in warm weather with a trip like this will help me a great deal in making this decision.

Please let me know your thoughts and share your experience!

Thank you.
love_travel11 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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I live in Texas but am originally from Cleveland, Ohio which has cold snowy weather. My daughter and I returned from Berlin and Munich Feb 6.

In my experience, you and your family could enjoy the Christmas markets in spite of probably cold and possibly snow or rain if you have the right winter clothes. The problem with this is that these clothes can be expensive, bulky and it seems you may not use the clothing again.

If you don't mind buying the right clothes then I think you would do fine and may even enjoy the winter weathe.
nubbyrose is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 08:41 PM
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Proper attire is key, especially footwear, but don't underestimate the need for hats and gloves, either. While most markets are set up on cobblestones or pavement, some are set up on gravel surfaces (Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna comes to mind) that can also be wet, sloppy and cold when the weather turns inclement.
fourfortravel is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2016, 11:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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For Germany last month we took down coats, smart wool base layer, water proof boots/shoes, hats, gloves, scarfs. It would also help if your hotel is near the markets so that if you get cold you can warm up and then go back.

We did a five hour walking tour in Berlin on Feb 1. It rained the whole time but the hotel gave us umbrellas and we stopped in coffee shops for hot drinks. We enjoyed ourselves. I'm considering the Christmas markets too - maybe Budapest and Vienna.

Anyway- be prepare for winter weather and I expect you will enjoy the experience.
nubbyrose is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:29 AM
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Be alert to another factor: At the end of the year, daylight will fade away in mid- to late afternoon. The nights are much longer even than in NYC.
Southam is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 07:18 AM
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I live in Florida and have been to the Christmas markets about 4-5 times.
It took me a long time to gather all the winter gear I needed to feel comfortable. Buying a down coat and heavy gloves are hard to find in a warm climate but you will need them.Also the coat has to have a good warm hood or you will also need a warm hat.
Long underwear will probably be a must also. The lightweight Cuddle Duds is what I use. Wool socks are a big help And I have heavy walking shoes that I waterproofed so I have not bought boots yet. Snow boots are really hard to find here).
I have also in the past depending on the forecast brought handwarmers and toe warmers for inside my shoes.
It will be cold but I think the markets are so fun it is worth it.
MarthaT is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 09:12 AM
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In December, the temperatures will probably be between 0°C and 12°C. It may be snowing, but most likely it will be raining. As said, daylight is short, between 9:00 and 16:00.

So, our Christmas Market culture is a reaction to nasty weather. The Glühwein is needed to warm you up. Make sure to order a Glühwein "mit Schuss" (a shot of liquor or liqueur). Or Eierpunsch (egg punch).

We also love all the artificial lights in the dark season.

Dress properly to enjoy Christmas season. Insulated boots, hat, gloves, thick and rainproof coat, scarf will do the trick. And continuous intake of Glühwein.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 02:53 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 131
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Obviously, I will not be able to buy the attire in Singapore or India for this trip. My best bet may be to buy online for ex from amazon.com and get it shipped. Are there any websites that may sell this stuff discounted? Any links to the kind os shoes / coats we would need to buy will be very helpful.

Thank you once again!
love_travel11 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 02:56 PM
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Just realized, would it make sense for us to get to Germany and buy all these things there? (we do have a coat, sweater etc - it will not be enough to keep us warm throughout the trip, but should do if we can get to the store first thing when we get there).

We fly into Munich. How do stores / prices there compare to buying online from amazon? (DH has a meeting in NYC in late June, so he can bring the stuff from the US if I order online - that way I will save on the shipping charges to Singapore).

Thank you!
love_travel11 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 03:18 PM
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I love smart wool socks, down coats, hats, scarves and mittens. I find that popping into a store helps warm me up and then I am out again. The booths are close together and block the wind so that also helps. If you get some sun even better.
flpab is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 03:20 PM
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As mentioned above, December is usually not a seriously cold month in Germany. But can be cool, rainy, uncomfortable.
Even places like Munich rarely get snow.
Real winter usually does not start in Germany until mid-January.

You don't super-special attire.
Check our your local Uniqlo stores in Singapore and get the Ultra Light Down jacket. It takes up hardly any space.
Add a sweater and hoodie. Possibly also a long sleeve t-shirt. Uniqlo also has a good range of 'thermo' shirts and long johns that can keep you warm.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 04:57 PM
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While that area will be chilly to cold in winter it's rarely really bad weather at that time of year - snow is quite rare.

The problem is not the weather - it;s having the right clothing.

And this is no Siberia you don;t need long ski underwear or those down coats that are good for 20 below (F, not C). But everyone will need a real winter coat - preferably not a short jacket just to the waist, a hat, scar, gloves, warm boots, warm sweater and pants and a selection of long-sleeve shirt or tees (one thermal might be good). The issue is that without this clothing anyone will feel really cold - esp if humid and windy.

Frankly if it were me I would just take my winter leather jacket (comes to mid thigh) and not a down coat (which I don;t wear until the temps get into the 20s - 4 degrees C.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 05:03 PM
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Aren't there places in northern india where it's cold in the winter? I would think you.they could find places there to shop for winter clothing.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 06:00 PM
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The Christmas markets are in large cities--you can duck in and out of cafés, shops, museums, etc. to stay warm.

I would not invest in heavy-duty coats, check out the Land's End offerings, they start around $100 and up for a winter jacket, many have zip-out linings. If you're starting in Munich, you also could consider researching good second-hand or charity shops before you go and shop there first.

You will need coats but in my experience you don't need thick down or heavy wool.

The cold doesn't affect me much so I would be happy with a fleece over a wool or cashmere jumper. Hats, scarves, gloves and warm socks are as important.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 06:04 PM
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You have a couple options - hope for the best or plan for the worst. Packable down coats can be inexpensive (my costs $30 form Costco). It's not warm but I took it and used it to layer.

If you pass on down coats and insulated waterproof boots/shoes and the weather is colder than you thought, you are going to have to take time to find these clothes in Germany and maybe pay more or you may have to spend less time outdoors at the markets. The weather may go your way though. This past December I believe was mild.

I bought a new down coat at Eddie Bauer when their coats were 40% off. This was a good deal. I think in October the coats went on sale. LL Bean has good down coats also and you may find them in clearance at some point. Sierra Trading sells close outs.

If you plan for the worst you'll have time to look for deals.

As far as whether you need down or base layers - people vary in the sensitivity and tolerance for cold. We can't predict the weather nor can we tell you how cold tolerant you maybe. All I know from living in Cleveland for 45 years is that with the right clothes you can enjoy the outdoors in winter weather.

For reference - my down coat with 40% was $150 and my boots were $100. My winter clothes totaled about $400.
nubbyrose is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2016, 09:23 PM
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Well, I disagree with nytraveler that you won't need "long ski underwear . . ." I grew up in Saudi Arabia and spent my teen years in Florida, so, like you, I am mostly acclimated to warm weather.

But I live in Germany now, at the base of the Alps. I wear long underwear 3 seasons of the year. When everyone else is in short sleeves at 60 deg F, I have on the long-john top and a light-weight cotton sweater, and I am comfy. The advantage to that is that they wash easily and dry overnight and don't need ironing, so I cut waaaay down on my ironing chores, lol.

I think you should bring along 2 or 3 pairs of long-john underwear, something like the Cuddle Duds that MarthaT mentions above, and you can cut back on the number of sweaters you need to bring (no one will remember what you wore yesterday).

My layering for coldest days consists of:

long-john underwear
mid-weight sweater (wool if possible)
cardigan or polartek fleece vest
heavy waterproof coat

Admittedly, you won't need all that for December -- you could probably skip the cardigan/polartek vest.

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 4th, 2016, 07:49 AM
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Good tip about uniqlo. I have a down jacket that folds into the pocket but also a jack wolfskin rain coat parka that goes over it. Layers. I am from a warm climate and do ok there.
flpab is offline  
Mar 4th, 2016, 09:18 AM
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swandav - well obviously you are VERY sensitive to cold if you are wearing long underwear most of the year. (We had a niece from FL visit once and she kept asking us to turn on the heat - which is limited in NYC to very specific temps and only provides heat to 68 degrees. She wanted heat if the temp was under 75 - at which point I put on the AC. Everyone else was walking around in tee shirts. So we just bought her a couple of sweat suits to wear all of the time indoors.)

What I don't like about long underwear is that unlike a jacket or even a sweater you can;'t take them on and off every time you go in and out of doors - so you can get overheated indoors.

We don't know how the OP or his family may feel but IMHO they definitely need a winter coat - and could wait until they get there to buy long underwear if they find they need it based on current temps and how cold they feel.
nytraveler is offline  
Mar 4th, 2016, 09:16 PM
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nytraveler -- yes, I am, as I said. Summers in Arabia got up to 130 deg (in the shade, as my Dad used to say). Winters were only around 60 deg. We had outside water freeze one year, and it was a huge deal.

swandav2000 is online now  
Mar 9th, 2016, 04:13 PM
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Thanks everyone for all your help. I think i will look at uniqlo in Singapore. If I am not able to buy everything we need, we may have to do some shopping in Munich when we get there. Any specific store recommendations in Munich that won't break the bank please?
love_travel11 is offline  

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