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Magical Christmas and NYs in Europe!

Old Sep 26th, 2019, 05:29 PM
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Magical Christmas and NYs in Europe!

Hi all,

I had some really good help when i posted here for help for our honeymoon. Hoping that we can get some advice about our plan to spend 4-5 weeks in Europe over Christmas/NYs next year (about 30 days on the ground)!

At the moment, these are the cities below that we are pretty set on visiting (in order):
- Copenhagen 4n
- St Petersburg 4-5n
- London 4n
- Paris 4n
- Amsterdam 3n

We also are interested in:
- Edinburgh (potentially for Hogmanay)
- Budapest
- Vienna/Salzburg/Hallstatt

We have heard amazing things about visiting Copenhagen and London before Christmas, ideally would want to spend Christmas day in Paris, and then open to where we go for New Years. Is there a better order to visit the cities we've mentioned above? Has anyone had a really amazing experience in one of these cities around Christmas/NYs time that could give us some insight on making sure we are selecting the right places for the right dates?

Thanks so much!
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Old Sep 26th, 2019, 07:56 PM
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Hi,
May I ask for some more info? Have you been to these places already? And for the flight, are you going to book an open-jaw ticket?
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Old Sep 26th, 2019, 08:30 PM
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Those are all wonderful cities -- but I would NOT plan on only 4 nights in London or Paris for sure. Especially in the deepest of winter and over the holidays. It will be cold, likely wet or snowy and the days will be VERY short.

This is not to dissuade you but to advise you to sloooooow down. Four nights in for instance in London will net you 3 days and that is nothing, especially when it is dark by 4PM. In Edinburgh & St Petersburg will be dark even earlier.

Instead of jumping around so much -- pick fewer places and stay 4 to 6 days (5 to 7 nights) each.

As for Edinburgh/Hogmanay -- it is fabulous but very crowded and VERY expensive.
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Old Sep 26th, 2019, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 1234wanderlust View Post
At the moment, these are the cities below that we are pretty set on visiting (in order):
- Copenhagen 4n
- St Petersburg 4-5n
- London 4n
- Paris 4n
- Amsterdam 3n!
Do I understand correctly that this is intended for 2020/2021?

If you're dead set on St. Petersburg, make sure you get going on the Visa application now, if you are from a country that Russia requires. It is my understanding that most stays can be 72 hours without a visa, longer stays require a Visa for most travelers.

To me, though, you're traveling quite long distances between some of your destinations and your time in transit (even with flights) combined with the shorter days will really chip away your time on the ground. But, it's your trip.
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Old Sep 26th, 2019, 09:51 PM
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I’ve visited London before and after Christmas. I vote after Christmas. After New years, in fact.

Hogamany is just not worth it. What appeals to you about it? Edinburgh is great during the Christmas season, though.

have you considered anywhere a little warmer? Like southern Italy? Spain? I don’t really understand how you came to select your destination and times. It seems so arbitrary.

Or if Christmas stuff is what you’re looking for, why you left Germany out entirely.

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Old Sep 26th, 2019, 11:49 PM
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Amsterdam has a light festival every winter. You can book a canal cruise to see some of it and walk around the rest. It is different every year. Also Amsterdam museums are open on Christmas Day so you have something to do that day should you stay in Amsterdam over Christmas.
Wherever you spend Christmas you will need to book restaurants for at least Christmas Eve, Christmas day and the day after as well, several weeks ahead of time.

https://amsterdamlightfestival.com/en
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Old Sep 27th, 2019, 06:35 AM
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I'd do London before Christmas myself. All the Christmas concerts, Pantos, events, etc. After New Years can get dreary. But with just 4 days it really wouldn't matter much.
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Old Sep 27th, 2019, 07:05 AM
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"If you're dead set on St. Petersburg, make sure you get going on the Visa application now, if you are from a country that Russia requires. It is my understanding that most stays can be 72 hours without a visa, longer stays require a Visa for most travelers."

From the 1th October the max stay will be 8 days and you don't need to arrive on a cruise to qualify for visa free entry, you can just fly in(arriving by train is not allowed for some reason). This option will be available to citizens of 53 countries including all EU countries.

https://guidetopetersburg.com/electr...ctober-1-2019/
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Old Sep 27th, 2019, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for the clarification. Still, suggest the OP check with applicable consular services in her area to ensure what fits to her nationality and any said requirements. Things can change between now and then, too.
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Old Sep 27th, 2019, 09:09 AM
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Just a word about Hallstatt - we were there last December - it was fiercely cold and gloomy, with fog hovering over the lake. In fact our entire time in the Salzkammergut was pretty dismal weather-wise. Days are very short, and it gets darn cold around those lakes - we like cold, but brrrr.....

Hallstatt is not a place I'd visit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - its few businesses will no doubt be closed.

Having said all that, I'm still considering taking my niece to Hallstatt as a day trip from Salzburg after Christmas this year - only if we have the time and inclination and the weather isn't too horrid.
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Old Sep 30th, 2019, 11:03 PM
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Hi all,

thanks for all your responses. This will be mine and my husbands second visit to Paris, London and Amsterdam and our second to Edinburgh, hence why we have allowed 4 nights as we have already ticked off a lot of the “tourist” stuff to do and more just want to be in these cities if that makes sense.

Yes we would be booking an open jaw ticket. We aren’t interested in visiting Southern Europe (like Spain/Italy) during winter, as we are saving these countries for a summer trip. We chose these cities because we love the ones we have visited before, and because we have always wanted to visit Copenhagen and St Petersburg. We have been to Germany and aren’t interested in returning at this stage.
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 04:34 AM
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"Has anyone had a really amazing experience in one of these cities around Christmas/NYs time that could give us some insight on making sure we are selecting the right places for the right dates?"

We lived in Vienna for the last seven years; posting now in the U.S. as of June. Christmas time in Vienna is magical, no doubt. The markets, the lights, the seemingly-less commercialism of it all is refreshing. However, one needs to be prepared for the shorter store hours and early closings before Christmas and during the week between Christmas and New Years, as well as the closings on Christmas and NYD. With planning you can make Vienna a lovely Christmas destination.

New Year's Eve/Day in Vienna is...quite something. Throughout the Inner Stadt there are multiple music venues (The "Silvester Pfad") and stands with Punsch and all sorts of libations. The normally reserved Viennese begin their pyrotechnic antics in the early afternoon and extend well into the wee hours of NYD. On our first NYE in Vienna we hiked into the vineyards to watch the city fireworks show and were surrounded by revelers bearing equal parts Schlumberger and Fireworks. From the hills the scene over Vienna resembled the "Shock and Awe" Campaign. In subsequent years we preferred to host intimate dinner parties and comfort our terrified DDog. Our Teen children though went happily forth into the merriment without problem. On NYD the Vienna State Opera performs an annual concert; there is a big screen at the Rathaus for those not fortunate enough to score tickets.

We also spent one Christmas in Paris and thoroughly loved our holiday. Though, this was our 5th visit to the City of Lights and could keep our itinerary low-key. I don't think I would want to spend Christmas in Paris as a first visit to the city. Just my $0.02.
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Old Oct 1st, 2019, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 1234wanderlust View Post
Hi all,

I had some really good help when i posted here for help for our honeymoon. Hoping that we can get some advice about our plan to spend 4-5 weeks in Europe over Christmas/NYs next year (about 30 days on the ground)!

At the moment, these are the cities below that we are pretty set on visiting (in order):
- Copenhagen 4n
- St Petersburg 4-5n
- London 4n
- Paris 4n
- Amsterdam 3n

We also are interested in:
- Edinburgh (potentially for Hogmanay)
- Budapest
- Vienna/Salzburg/Hallstatt

We have heard amazing things about visiting Copenhagen and London before Christmas, ideally would want to spend Christmas day in Paris, and then open to where we go for New Years. Is there a better order to visit the cities we've mentioned above? Has anyone had a really amazing experience in one of these cities around Christmas/NYs time that could give us some insight on making sure we are selecting the right places for the right dates?

Thanks so much!
Ditch Amsterdam.
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