Western Europe in 3 weeks in January

Sep 12th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5
Western Europe in 3 weeks in January

I'm trying to plan a honeymoon for my fiancee and I., We would like to go to Western Europe, and the only time we can really go is the month of January. We understand that it will be cold and the sun will be setting early. We have 3 weeks- but we are flying from Hawaii so we will probably lose at least a day on either end...?

We would like to skip London, but other than than, are willing to go anywhere. Like many travelers right now, we are on a budget,, and would like to do this in the least expensive way possible, creativity is welcome! (for example, I heard the Louvre is half-priced Friday nights)

We would definitely be interested in some of the off-the-beaten path adventures, and would love to experience some of the countrysides, small villages, etc, while also checking out some of the must-sees.

We would appreciate any recommendations for ideas/ itineraries! Thank you!
iamsam is offline  
Sep 12th, 2012, 10:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,680
Small villages tend to be dreary in the middle of winter.
Michael is offline  
Sep 12th, 2012, 11:03 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Hello and congrats : )
I think it would help if you narrow it down to at least some few locations and then ask specific questions to help you form an itinerary. Western Europe is far too general a statement. Although you say you do not like London, this is a major flights hub, what cities are your arrival options? I guess London,Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt... (?)
3 weeks seems like a long time but it is not and additionally there are further restrictions in winter. Personally I prefer to stay put in only one country and take my time explore around. You mention countryside and it may be time consuming move around there on public transport or even on a hired car (are you willing to hire a car?) Day light hours are limited and you can fit less in a day, while many sites have smaller opening hours or are closed. Often the charm of countryside is the outdoors which is not easy to enjoy on down-poor rain or snow or low temperatures...
That said, I always travel off-season and it works for me. Careful planning is required in advance and I take it really slow. I spent nearly 15 days in Paris alone one winter, while I have pleasantly spend many 3-4 weeks' trips around Ireland off season. Of course those are not the cheapest destinations in Europe and I am mostly after sight seen, soak in the ambiance, talking with locals and not into a romantic mood. I often keep flexible and change itinerary last minute, and I usually prebook only first days of my trip. I consider my self traveling on a low budget, but not extremely tight budget. I usually prefer small B&B hotels/guesthouses, I throw in a hostel here and there, and I often manage to splurge on a posher hotel towards the end of the trip when I feel I could do with a spa break or something...I prefer public transport and rarely use taxis,. Me I do not drive outside my country and this is somehow limiting, but I never rush, so it works for me. Sometimes I may join an organized tour for a day if travel logistics do not work otherwise to visit a place, but I am a DIY kind of traveler. I am not sure if this is what you have on mind for a honeymoon though.
It would help us help you if you provide specifics on what budget you are after, your traveling style (would you pick one country or more, willing to use 2-3 locations as base and explore in depth taking near by day trips or rather moving from A to B to C etc, would you fly on an open jaw ticket and what your options are, what type of accommodation you have on mind, what type of activities are you after and so on)...
mariha2912 is offline  
Sep 13th, 2012, 12:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 527
I would hire a car and drive around central Italy, in the regions of Umbria, Lazio or Tuscany and/or maybe to the Amalfi coast in southern Italy.

We often travel end of December to Italy - it is true that Italy really comes alive during Christmastime and New Year (the Italians celebrate the Christmas holidays till the 6th of January, the feast of the Epifania is a big holiday in Italy) , but it still gets dark early. We do not really mind that at all, we still drive around during the evenings. Of course, if weather is bad, you just would have to adjust and stay indoors, in a nice hotel or Agriturismo. But best of all is that we love the fact that many places are not literally packed and hounded by tourists, it sure IMO makes up for the face that some places, like restaurants etc would be closed. You dress up well, with a good jacket, hat, scarf and walking shoes or boots, and you will be fine. We even went to the Dolomites last December, and walked around in cities like Trento in the evenings, it was not unbearably cold for sure, (and I come from a warmer country, so we are not really used to the cold weather at all) but if I were you, I would stick to central or southern Italy in regions that are not high in altitude.

As mariha2912 mentioned, your question is a bit too vague - whether you are willing to stay in one country, preferences of any particular country/countries, budget for accommodation per day, and whether you prefer to stay in B&Bs agriturismos, or hotels (you will be going in low season which would be a lot to your favour), how many locations you would like to base yourselves in - if you do stay in one countryi (you can afford 2-3 locations in a 3-week holiday), etc..

I am sure many fodorites would give you plenty of information if you inform us of your preferences.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Sep 13th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5
thank you very much mariha2912 and anna for your thoughtful responses. i will do a little more research and then post another question with better detail and more specific locations. THANKS!
iamsam is offline  

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