Where to go in Europe over Thanksgiving

Old Oct 5th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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Where to go in Europe over Thanksgiving

My husband and I have the week off for Thanksgiving and would love to go somewhere in Europe. This will be his first trip to Europe (outside of London for a business trip). I have been a few times - France, South of France, Scotland and Belgium. We love warm weather and beaches but that is not necessarily a requirement for this trip. I just want to see somewhere amazing together - like Paris. He doesn't get much time off and so I want to show him that the 12 hour trip is worth it so we can go again this year!!

I read a few posts on Athens and Spain. I am thinking Italy. We have 7 days. Any thoughts on where to go in Italy to set up a post and do day trips as well as get the most of the weather? I was thinking Sicily but that seems remote. Or, I am open to another country entirely.
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Old Oct 5th, 2010, 05:13 PM
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I would say Vienna (not because of my username), but it is truly amazing and beautiful. It probably would be quite cold over there by November, but it would definitely be worth it. A capital for the Hapsburg Empire is no joke, and there's a lot to see. You could even do a day trip to nearby Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Or you could go to Graz, Salzburg, Brno, Prague (that's a little far).

I hear that Rome and many parts of Italy rains a lot in November from my Italian friends. They do not recommend me to go to Italy over November. However, Italy is still amazing year-round; however, if you go during November, bring raincoats and umbrellas and expect dull weather. However, I think Sicily (or Malta) will be quite nice during November.

I do not know anything about Athens. I assume it is a really great place to visit. Keep in mind that although the ancient monuments are great in Athens, there is little to see that dates from late Roman era to 1830s in Athens. However, I hear that the museums are excellent. Athens, rather than Sicily, is very remote from the rest of Europe.

Paris is also a great option. It is actually a wonderful place to visit year-round, except the gardens would probably not be as beautiful as it is during the summer.


My advice to you is either Sicily, Malta, Paris, or Vienna. If I were you, I would go with Vienna if you have not been, because you can see many European capitals (Prague, Bratislava, Budapest) around the area. Try something new.
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Old Oct 5th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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There is no place in europe that has beach weather at that time of year - so I would go for a major city - in which the weather doesn;t matter so much. And november tends to be wet - rainy north and snowy farther north or higher altitudes. Again I would ignore that and just go for the glamour of a large city - whichever you think most fascinating after looking at a couple of guide books.
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Old Oct 5th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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Sicily is a great idea. A week or so is just perfect, and around Thanksgiving it will be cool but - with a bit of luck - nice and with few tourists. (They don't do Thanksgiving of course).

Forget the beach thing, although on a nice day you can walk in the sand and have a pleasant time, but that's not what it's about. It's the cities, the mountains, the volcano Mount Etna (a great hike if you're brave!), and the incredible Greek ruins that - in many cases - are better preserved than those they had to dig out, in Sicily they have been standing ever since.

The food is something else, and you can plan on visiting wineries, maybe taste the very young wine of the just completed harvest.

The whole place has a distinct character of its own, yes it is a part of Italy, but in its very own way. You'll have to look at DVDs and clean out the travel shelves at your library, in preparation of your trip.

Rent a car, shop around at kemwel, sixt, europcar, autoeurope etc., then drive and wing it, it's not tourist season - if you have been reading up on what you want to see, do it at your own pace, no need to reserve ahead of time and lock yourselves in.

Sicily is not remote, it's a quick flight onward from your landing hub in Europe, probably best Milano or Roma but you'll have to explore the usual suspects among the websites - kayak, mobissimo, etc etc.
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Old Oct 5th, 2010, 07:30 PM
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My husband and I spent Thanksgiving in Rome a few years ago. Weather was great, I think we were lucky, though. Temps were in the 50-60 range, sunny days, no rain.

again, I think we lucked out that year.

We also spent time in Rome and Florence in January, and aside from rainy Florence, Rome was fantastic - a down coat, warm gloves and no problem walking hours on end. Loved it! No crwods, no lines, all the sites you want to see, restaurants, etc. I would not hesitate going again in the very off-season.
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Old Oct 5th, 2010, 07:35 PM
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sorry, hit "submit" too soon.

Paris - fabulous any time of the year, but as ilovevienna says, not much in terms of flowers and gardens. Still, ... it's PARIS!!!!

Malaga should be a lot warmer, and beaches are around the corner.

But Amazing - you can't beat Paris or Rome. IMHO, of course ;-)
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions! I am really glad to hear that Sicily is not as seculded as I thought and that I could fly in from another city like Paris or Rome. I also like the idea of Vienna!
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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Germany and Austria are wonderful at that time of year, with the Christmas markets in full swing. We are headed that way on Thanksgiving Day for the 5th time at Advent season.

While Vienna is beautiful, we prefer Berlin. It is one of the most diverse and interesting cities I have been to in Europe and there is an endless variety of things to do. It is also a bargain for a world class city.

I would consider a week in Berlin or a split stay between Munich and Berlin, both very different from each other and really enjoyable at this time of year.
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 08:00 AM
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>>> Germany and Austria are wonderful at that time of year, with the Christmas markets in full swing.

Actually, the Christmas markets start the weekend (well, some may be Thurs or Fri) after Thanksgiving. Presumably, the OP would be heading back home that weekend and wouldn't really be able to visit them.

(We're also headed out to Germany on Thanksgiving day with the markets a primary reason for going then.)
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 12:49 PM
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We enjoyed Venice during our thanksgiving break, it was really nice as we could see everything without throngs of tourists. It was our most enjoyable stay in Venice ever.
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Old Oct 6th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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"I just want to see somewhere amazing together - like Paris."

I think you answered your own question. No, you will not get beaches/warm weather but you will get a great city that is easily explored in such a short period of time. If you want beaches then consider Nice or Barcelona if you can get a direct flight. I think the less travel time the better.

Rome is amazing too and we always seem to hit a warm spot there. I adore Venice but I'd worry about the aqua alta then. We also went to Germany one year during Thanksgiving and it was gorgeous, very Christmasy but cold, ymmv.

I'd think more about what would interest him and make him more comfortable (beyond the shortest/most direct flight): does he speak another language, is his family from a certain country or does he love a specific cuisine? If you can bring him to a place that will interest him beyond the "trip" then I think you'll be traveling in the future to all of the spots, and more, mentioned above.

Best of luck~
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Old Oct 7th, 2010, 02:20 AM
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"Actually, the Christmas markets start the weekend (well, some may be Thurs or Fri) after Thanksgiving. Presumably, the OP would be heading back home that weekend and wouldn't really be able to visit them. "

Some of them start earlier actually. In Salzburg it is Nov. 19 and the 20th in Vienna.

We leave 7 weeks from today .
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Old Oct 7th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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I was in Madrid, Porto, and Lisbon for about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving 2008, flying home from MAD on Thanksgiving Day. The flight MAD-ATL was maybe half full -- I had the entire middle of one row to myself -- but some travelers I was talking to on my connecting flight said that their flight from Rome was more or less packed. 2008 was when airfare was cheap and the economy wasn't in the toilet as badly, so I would expect the flight back from Rome to be as packed, if not worse.

Madrid in that November was COLD. Lows in the 20's, highs in the mid 40's (Madrid is on top of a 2000-foot-high plain, which doesn't help). Portugal, however, was pleasant: lows in the 40's-50's, and highs around 60. There were not many tourists in Portugal at the time, but there were plenty in Madrid and Toledo. Madrid and Toledo were hardly overrun with tourists, but there were comparatively more there than in Portugal. Lisbon in particular was wonderful at that time, since mid/late November is when the City of Lisbon starts putting up all of their christmas decorations through the Baixa area. Plus the coal-fired chestnut roasters are all out.
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