Travel to Europe in Winter?

Old Jan 16th, 2018, 03:11 PM
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Travel to Europe in Winter?

Is traveling to Europe during the winter a good option, if someone wanted to avoid large tourist crowds?
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Old Jan 16th, 2018, 03:22 PM
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Depends on where you are going. In winter is very crowded/expensive in ski resorts. And big cities like London and Paris and Amsterdam and Rome are popular pretty much year round. And in some rural areas winter travel can be more difficult due to snow/rain.

You've tagged countries all over the map So - where are you thinking of going? Are those your actual options? Monaco for instance -- what would you plan on doing there? Or are you asking more 'in general'?
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 03:15 AM
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Hard to tell where in Europe (a large continent) you're thinking of going. Of course the tourist crowds are smaller in winter, except for the winter sports venues, which can be as crowded as they get. Big cities are always full of tourists, though not so bad as in high season.The weather in most places is less than ideal.

BTW, Monaco, which is nowhere near the other places you seem to have randomly tagged, is IMO horrible even in summer. I imagine in winter it's even worse.
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 03:55 AM
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Winter in Europe can lack sunshine which for me is worst than the cold. I like to alternate smaller cities/village with bigger cities. With the grayness and the cold, a lot of beautiful summer destinations are just not enjoyable for me. One can argue that the bigger cities will still provide enough experiences despite the winter. I prefer May/June or September. But if I had no choice but to go to Europei in winter,, I would go.
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 04:52 AM
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I like traveling to major cities in the winter. The cultural season is in full swing and the crowds are less than in the summer. The types of things I enjoy in big cities are museums, theater, concerts, basically indoor attractions. And winter weather in places like Paris, London, Rome, and Barcelona is generally less severe than New England, where I live.
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 05:48 AM
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We often visit Switzerland and Germany in winter. December can be very busy in German towns with Christmas Markets, which draw quite a crowd (and the Stollen Festival in Dresden is a zoo). Generally, the closer to Christmas, the busier it gets.The skies can also be very grey (Germany in particular). Ski areas will be busy from Christmas to March, but not-so-much in other areas, outside of festivals of course (music, film, etc).

Last edited by Melnq8; Jan 17th, 2018 at 05:48 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 02:39 PM
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Not on your list, but just regarding winter travel in Europe, my brother, SIL and I went to Copenhagen and Stockholm right after Christmas. We left US on 12-27, and returned, on Jan 15. We still talk about that trip as one of the best ever. It WAS cold, but we were dressed for it and all the Christmas things were still up, and it was just festive and very fun. Tivoli Gardens was open for the season, and closed on Dec. 31 I think. They had a Christmas market and it was a nice way to pass some time one day. I have a scarf I got there and it brings back the memories when I wear it. So, I would not hesitate to travel to Europe in the winter.
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 06:20 PM
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Itís a trade off.
On one hand: people seem less cranky. Heat and crowds arenít a good mix, and summer is more like a marathon for people who work in the hospitality industry. I enjoy Christmas- people are festive, friendly, out and about. I love lights and Christmas decorations. It may not be cheaper over Christmas and NY, but January is much cheaper hotel wise. And I can fly for a 3rd of the summer price. Iíd rather pack a parka than slather on sun screen.

On the other: I agree about the lack of sunshine. I spend more on food in the winter because Iím not of sunning myself and picnicking. Gardens, which I really enjoy, are not as interesting. Things like fountains may be turned off, boarded up. Historical sites sometimes have limited or seasonal hours. Most of my pretty clothing is summery, during the winter I feel a bit like a boring caterpillar. Daylight hours are short. You pretty much can choose between daylight or museums. In summer, I have no problem staying out late and exploring. In winter, once the sun goes down, Iím more inclined to go to my hotel and

especially between say Dec 20-Jan 1, there are crowds. I loved the Louvre in January. Iíd do that again. I wouldnít try to do the British Museum Christmas week again. Locals are travelling to see relatives, stations are hectic, winter weather can mean airline delays.

But overall, Iíd say the best thing about Europe is the pedestrian culture. It doesnít matter what the weather is like, people are out and about. The cities and towns are lively even in winter.
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Old Jan 17th, 2018, 07:01 PM
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We go to Europe in the winter, usually a city visit. We enjoy museums, theater etc. and the off season vibe. We are going to Dublin and Belfast in three weeks. It will be our fourth winter visit to Ireland; we have been many times in other seasons. You have to understand it IS a winter visit and plan accordingly!
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Old Jan 18th, 2018, 05:26 AM
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We went to Europe in the winter once and absolutely loved it! We were in Scotland, London and Paris in February. In Scotland it was extremely cold and lots of snow, and actually we had snow in London one day as well. We had our young kids with us and we all had a great time, FWIW.
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Old Jan 18th, 2018, 06:18 AM
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The Netherlands a lot of fun can be had. Youtube All filmed 18 Jan. 2018
Germany almost as much fun. News site.
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Old Jan 18th, 2018, 07:02 AM
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This was an extreme storm - it's died down now and on the way east and south. We have some pretty rough weather already this winter in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Something to take into account when traveling in winter in northern Europe; your travel plans could be disrupted.
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Old Jan 18th, 2018, 09:19 AM
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My last several trips to Europe were in winter and loved it - but yes it depends on where you go - Switzerland for snow but north of Alps can be cool -rarely cold so I tend to go to Italy or Spain. Especially nice is Italy IMO - Rome, Florence, Venice have decent weather and few of the suffocating crowds of summer. Cities like Amsterdam or Paris or London are always fun and rarely under freezing or snow. Trains are great everywhere -if iterested in them check BETS-European Rail Experts (online European Planning & Rail Guide has lots of suggested rail itineraries all in many countries); www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

I often do a Amsterdam-Munich/Vienna then night train toRome and then Florence and Venice and night train to Paris. Mix in a few cheap flights if don't want night trains.
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Old Jan 18th, 2018, 10:06 PM
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I've been to European cities in June 2017 and, although it's cold you can have a very enjoyable time. It's when you go into the more remote areas where road transportation becomes more involved in severe weather.Trains in Europe are good and are not usually subject to severe delays form the weather, so Cecile's route is one I would also recommend.
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Old Jan 19th, 2018, 03:35 AM
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Europe in winter can be enjoyable, in fact I much prefer it to summer. As others have pointed out, the lack of daylight is a problem. Also, attractions tend to close earlier or not be open at all (Giverny, for example). So consider this and plan ahead if you go then.
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Old Jan 20th, 2018, 07:54 AM
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Go to southern Europe in winter unless like cool - rarely cold - dark dank days with little sunlight (Moscow had 4 minutes of sun this December!) - certain cities like Amsterdam, Paris, London, etc can be fun in winter especially because crowds are few at attractions but though I usually start in Amsterdam or Germany I spend most winter time in Italy where it is still warm enough to sit at outdoor caffes and walk around without a ton of clothes on.
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Old Jan 21st, 2018, 12:44 AM
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better to go in south, in spain there are plenty of places. you can go for sough part and also in northern cities like Oviedo which has so many beautiful places like in New Zealand
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Old Jan 23rd, 2018, 12:01 PM
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Portugal and Greece are warmer too and are cheaper than many norrthern countries.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2018, 12:28 PM
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Just to give you an idea. In the Netherlands we've been having grey, but not too cold weather, wet, and with one major storm that wreaked havoc (lots of damage, two people died) and this will continue off and on well into March. Tomorrow will be 15ļC and dry, perhaps with a bit of sun, but that is the freak exception, certainly not the rule. And now, in late january, days are still shortish.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2018, 01:45 PM
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Amsterdam can be fun at any time of year as most large cities with indoor attractions can be. Not for sitting outside at cafes but as Dutch resident Menachem says tolerable.
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