is europe in winter a problem?

Old Jan 24th, 2005, 09:36 PM
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is europe in winter a problem?

i have recently just come back from europe in july and can't wait to plan my next trip. The only unfortunate thing is that i can't be there until November of this year.

Does anyone think this will be a major problem. I'll be visiting-
paris, berlin, amsterdam & brussels mainly. Dublin & Edinburough closer to january.

Has anyone done a europe trip around this time and can enlighten me on whether i'm wasting my money. Thanks.
poppy83 is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2005, 12:28 AM
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Why would you be wasting your money?

None of the destinations you've mentioned are famed for their beaches. Big cities around the world operate year round.

A few museums may have slightly shorter winter hours but will still be open. If a museum is shut down for construction it most likely was the summer before and will be the summer after too.

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll see Paris' Orangerie with its Monets in my lifetime. It's been shut for 4 or 5 years now.

The weather will be cold but that's not a surprise. No matter what I'm having better weather in Europe then I am at home during the same time. Indiana in winter can hit single digit temps with an occasional below zero day. That's fahrenheit. I've not run into that in Europe yet. Of course I do try to keep south of the Arctic Circle.

I was in France the first week of December last year. I didn't go to Paris. The biggest city I stayed in was Bordeaux. I managed to find plenty to see and do. Here's a link to my trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34546163

In 2003 at the same time of year I was in France again Paris, Nantes, Cognac and La Rochelle:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34461207
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 12:41 AM
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Winter can be a good time to visit cities - many Europeans do long weekend breaks in other European cities, but for the most part you get to see cities rather more as they are for residents, with perhaps a bit less crowding.

Most of the things you want to see will be indoors anyway, and you will have plenty of excuses to linger over a hot drink in a café.

The drawback is that daylight hours are shorter, but only you can know whether that makes a difference to you. What would you be used to at that time of year?
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 01:41 AM
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There are pluses and minuses.
On the plus side: The "season" is in full swing -- there will be a wider range of cultural activities available. There will still be crowds, but they will be predominantly local -- so you are seeing the cities as they really are.

On the minus side: You can have winter storms that affect your ability to get around -- walking isn't as much fun, there can be more transport delays AND in France at least, it is the season of the "work action".

Of all your cities I think the UK ones will be the least amenable to a winter visit.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 01:45 AM
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Those of us who live in Europe don't manage to live through it.
Today is beautiful, sunny, around freezing and there is snow. I much prefer a day like today for walking around in a city, than a hot day in August.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 01:46 AM
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Do manage to live through it!!

And see the recent post about Amsterdam in winter.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 03:52 AM
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I was in Paris last week and it was great. Of course it was cold, but mostly sunny, and we were never hindered by weather. There were no lines to speak of at any of the attractions. It was so great to just walk into the Louvre without a wait or to go to the Eiffel Tower and take the next elevator going up without the endless line I stood in during the high season. Also we paid about half as much for this trip compared with what it would have cost us in the summer. My only regret is that the gardens were not in bloom.

Sfowler mentions "work action." I presume this means a strike. They did have a strike on Thursday, Jan. 20 and all of the tourist sites were closed. However, one of the boat tour companies was operating, so we took a boat ride then spent the rest of the afternoon in Montmartre, just wandering around. It was still a very good day, and the next day everything was up and running again.

It was absolutely not a waste of money and I think you'll have a fine time in November.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 04:15 AM
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Why would it be a waste of money? It will be cheaper than going in the summer, so it should actually SAVE you money.

I love traveling to Europe in winter. I have been to England, Paris, and Spain in January or February.

Karen
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 04:18 AM
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Sure, Europe is great any time of the year. Still, just like visiting a northern city in the US in the winter, there certainly is the possibility that your trip could be affected by a major snowstorm. On one of our trips to Italy in November 1999, countries to the north (i.e., Germany, France, etc.) and were hit by a huge blizzard, and that was only November. (n another occasion, our plane was delayed six hours in Wyoming when a snowstorm arrived on September 10!)
So, yes, it could happen. Still, if I had a chance to go in the winter, I'd still do it!
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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I haven't vacationed in Europe during the winter but have traveled on business and have told myself everytime that I would like to travel for pleasure during the winter. The weather seems milder than in the US Northeast and certainly there is little chance for snow in November. I think significant snow and ice are the exception in Paris. The days are a bit short and there will be rain but there is so much to do inside and, as someone mentioned, the rates can be much lower both for flights and hotels. Go for it!
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Winter is when we typically go as everything from airfare to housing is a fraction of the price. For the places you plan to visit it should not be a problem. How long will you be staying ? There is much to do in all of the places you mentioned (outside of Brussels).
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 05:07 AM
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I thoroughly enjoyed Paris at the end of November, 2003. A couple of days it was WARM...1 day cold and blustery.
The city was beginning to be decorated for Christmas... and everywhere I meandered, I met nice people.
No problems.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 05:08 AM
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I don;t really understand the question. If your sole concern is the weather - it depends on where you're from and what you're ued to. Winter in most of europe is mild in comparison to NYC - it seems to be more like virginia or the carolinas - it can be chilly and snow isn't unknown but is fairly rare - and temps usually don;t go far below freezing. If you're from a really hot climate and can;t stand temps under 70 this may be a problem - but don;t see why it should be otherwise. Also - November isn;'t really the winter.

And while a countryside vacation would be affected - it doesn;t make a lot of difference in the cities.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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I was in Paris this past December. It was cold, sometimes it rained and we were even snowed on. I was prepared, bundled up, and enjoyed every minute of it. Would it bother you? Only you know that.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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I have been to Europe about six times in the winter. That is the only time I have to travel. I will also be in Europe in about two days for a two and one half week vacation. I love it.

Some of the things that I would like to do are not available in winter, but like has already been stated, lower prices and fewer other tourists make it all the better.
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Old Jan 25th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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I've been to both France and the UK in the winter and haven't ever thought I was wasting my time. The weather might be colder and there might not be flowers but there are also less tourists, which means no waiting and no over-crowding. Plus, you can see Europe's beautiful architecture much better without all that greenery getting in the way.
 
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