Where to go

Old Aug 16th, 2016, 04:12 PM
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Where to go

We have 7-10 days to go somewhere Mid - December. Leaving from Detroit MI so we are not afraid of the cold. We have traveled quite extensively in Europe, some in Asia. Anyone been somewhere near the holidays that was very memorable. Would prefer a country so we can observe & maybe participate in the holiday celebrations. We need to be back by December 22 or 23.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 04:35 PM
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Coming back Dec. 22 or 23 is before Christmas and arriving after St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) if you have only ten days. Is shopping a holiday celebration? Consider Morocco where you could visit the three imperial cities (Marrakech, Meknes, Fez), or just the first one with a trip to the desert and/or the coast.

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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 05:38 PM
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Traveling in Germany and visiting some of the Christmas markets might be enjoyable for you. But with this kind of a question, I think we are going to give you some ideas, and they will be met with a response of "oh we've already been there" from you.

Once you have a few ideas, we might be able to help you plan and decide.
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Old Aug 16th, 2016, 10:08 PM
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As Debbie notes, a little more information would assist in responding. Where have you not traveled, for instance, in Europe? Have you traveled in Europe around the holidays previously?

If Central Europe meets your criteria, you can make a lovely holiday with Prague and Vienna or Vienna and Budapest for Christmas markets, holiday concerts, sightseeing, fabulous dining, and the like. We have also spent winter/holiday time in Berlin, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich and Bavaria, and I would be happy to offer our experiences if any of those destination pique your interest. I also took a three day personal shopping getaway to Paris in early December and, of course, could easily have stayed longer. But again, having a little more information about your interests would be of great assistance.
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Old Aug 17th, 2016, 12:09 AM
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Morocco would be an option if you wanted some warmth and oriental culture. In this case, you could also consider Oman which is even warmer than Morocco. Or you fly into the summer of the southern hemisphere, e.g. Namibia.

But you posted in the European forum and said you are interested in the holiday celebrations. In this case, Germany would be your natural destination because there you find Christmas markets like nowhwere else. Germany can easily be combined with neighbouring countries like Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, France or the Czech Republic if do not want to spend your entire time in one country.

So, where to go in Germany?

When it comes to Christmas markets, it really does not matter where you go: each city has (at least one) Christmas market, and they are all excellent. Forget the question about Germany's "best" Christmas market.

However, you might prefer a market in an Old Town with historical buildings around the market. Then cities like Aachen, Münster, Nürnberg come into my mind, but also Köln, Dresden and Berlin are great backdrops for Christmas markets.

So, what can you do?

One option would be the Capital and the East: Berlin, maybe a side excursion to the incredibly picturesque small towns Wernigerode and Quedlinburg, plus Dresden, eventually plus Prague.

Another option would be the West with the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage sites: Köln (Cologne), Aachen, Monschau (for an incredibly picturesque small town), then across the border to Maastricht (Netherlands) and in Belgium Gent, Brussel, Brugge. Alternatively, instead of Belgium Paris.

The Southern option would be Nürnberg, Rothenburg o.d.T. and Dinkelsbühl (for incredibly picturesque small towns), München, Salzburg and Wien (Vienna).

You see, I tried combinations of big cities (bigger cities have bigger Christmas markets and lots of attractions), grandiose historic sites and picturesque small towns for each itinerary.

A last word about travelling style in December: Expect nasty weather, temps slightly above the freezing point, no snow, but rain and short days with daylight from 9:00 to 16:30. This means, indoor activities (like museums) will be important, strolling over illuminated markets at dusk, sitting in cozy cafés and sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine. Also, nice hotels with sauna, steam room and pool are recommended in December.
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Old Aug 17th, 2016, 05:49 AM
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Why not try something different and head to Barcelona for the Feria de Santa Llucia that would fall right into your time frame? Warmer than central Europe, longer daylight, and you could get a car and explore some of the countryside - up through the Costa Brava (some lovely little towns) even to fascinating Perpignan in France, or Montserrat...

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Old Aug 17th, 2016, 05:52 AM
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We also loved our time in Alsace and Strasbourg around Christmas, lots of Christmas markets and festive decorations.

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Old Aug 17th, 2016, 05:09 PM
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We have not been to Europe over the holiday season before. The charm of the smaller towns and Christmas concerts and markets is appealing. But so are the larger cities and their decorations and concerts and performances.
It is like going to NYC and then going to NYC at the holidays and experiencing all the store windows and fronts being decorated and going to see the Nutcracker. Those are 2 different NYC.

So even if we have been there previously we would be willing to see it again during the holiday season.
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