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Where to go in late January/early February 2020 for 9-11 days in Europe?

Where to go in late January/early February 2020 for 9-11 days in Europe?

Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 01:36 PM
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Where to go in late January/early February 2020 for 9-11 days in Europe?

Hi there:
I had planned 10 days in Languedoc in November, but due to change in the timelines of my project, I had to cancel my plans.


I want to plan a ~ 10 day trip for late January/early February, at which point the project should be over. A bit of occasional sunshine might be nice, so I want to go south, but not interested in North Africa or the Canaries.

Usual likes: culture, history, museums, gorgeous architecture. NO DRIVING, so destination has to be interesting to fill most days and day trips accessible by public transportation.


Nice (been three times, but several years ago) and Malaga would be easy, and the fallback. OR would my original plan for Languedoc (Toulouse and Narbonne 5 days each) still be workable in January?


I have been to Sicily once in January (driving) but would like to see more. Would Palermo and surrounding area suit for 10 days in January, and I it reasonable to expect to travel by public transportation?


I have never been to Greece! What about Athens (which I just know I will love) for a few days and then on to WHERE? from there by public transportation? Alternatively, could I spent 10 days in Crete and get around by public transportation?


I am traveling for the next two weeks, so I don’t have access to my library of travel books but have all of the above at home ��.

Please pitch in with your experiences and recommendations.



Best regards Ger

Last edited by OReilly64; Oct 23rd, 2019 at 01:45 PM.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 08:38 PM
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Have you been to Andalucia? if not, that's what I would recommend. Or Provence, but I think it would be easier to drive. Avignon has a train station, so you could stay there but I don't think it's the prettiest place to stay in Provence. Maybe Aix-en-Provence? And one of these combined with Marseille?

I was in Athens many, many years ago. Based on my memory and what I have read recently, I think it would make a great winter destination. And maybe combine with the Peloponnese Peninsula, but not sure about public transportation.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by OReilly64 View Post
Would Palermo and surrounding area suit for 10 days in January, and I it reasonable to expect to travel by public transportation?
IMO, Palermo is fascinating -- on the gritty side, but filled with treasures and there are some gems within easy public transportation of the city. Others of Sicily's treasures are a bit harder to reach by public transportation, but if you're willing to take the time, you can see a lot without a car. There have been a few trip reports on this forum about visiting Sicily by public transportation -- you might try a search.

Originally Posted by OReilly64 View Post
I have never been to Greece! What about Athens (which I just know I will love) for a few days and then on to WHERE? from there by public transportation? Alternatively, could I spent 10 days in Crete and get around by public transportation?
Greece is delightful! I'm not sure how easy either Crete or areas near Athens would be without a car, but I'm sure you can find out by checking rome2rio and google maps. And if you haven't already seen it, you might want to take a look at my trip report.
With Gratitude for a Glorious Solo Month in Greece
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Old Oct 23rd, 2019, 08:48 PM
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Late January take advantage of the fact it's very off season and head to Venice. Or wait until the start of Carnevale and go for that on the 8th -) Plenty of options to tack on. By train you could easily head to Rome or anything in between. Florence,Bologna etc

No matter where you go sun won't be assured.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 11:39 AM
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I'm not sure about Spain, but in the last two years, there has been a ton of snow in southern France and northern Italy (also Greece, Turkey, etc.) while northern France remained mild and snowless. So there is absolutely no guarantee about the weather during those months. I would absolutely not base a European trip in January on possible weather. Just pick the place that really interests you and as for the weather.... just suck it up.
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Old Oct 24th, 2019, 09:45 PM
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We go to Morocco when it gets nasty here in the Perigord. It costs 21 euros on EasyJet Bordeaux to Essaouira. Ugly cold winter in Europe solved. No more fires in the fireplaces, romantic as you can make them seem, no more shivering in the morning and trying to keep your toes warm at night - just fresh orange juice and couscous and warm days by the ocean. Got the chilly winter issue solved.
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 10:57 AM
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Looks like my kind of choice st cirq.
We spend new year in the Caribbean.
OP what about some days in paris than a train to a town like mégère or serre chevalier and ski or snow activities ?
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 01:13 PM
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StCirq, have you done a trip report on any of your trips to Morocco, including places you stay and any places you especially like, transportation once there, etc.? I am being a bit lazy, could scan all of your posts, but hope you won’t mind this once.
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 01:57 PM
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Sassafrass, I've posted a lot of info about Morocco on the What's for Dinner thread, including lots of photos, but never formally turned it into a trip report. With the local cooking contest and our annual Thanksgiving bash coming up, I may not have time to piece together a TR for a couple of weeks at least, but I'll try.
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 02:31 PM
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Many people make the mistake of going south at this time of year. There is absolutely no guarantee of good weather and in recent years it has been colder in the south than in northern France at that time of year, including roads blocked by snow.

It is good time to visit the north, which is extremely lively in the winter. And carnival season gets underway in certain areas. Here is an example of Dunkerque in February: Carnival in Dunkerque 2010 | Any Port in a Storm
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Sassafrass, I've posted a lot of info about Morocco on the What's for Dinner thread, including lots of photos, but never formally turned it into a trip report. With the local cooking contest and our annual Thanksgiving bash coming up, I may not have time to piece together a TR for a couple of weeks at least, but I'll try.
No, no. Don’t do that. I can look up your posts and will enjoy reading them. After I read your posts, if I have questions, I will start a thread and ask for specific advice. I am working on Thanksgiving too. Hope you have a wonderful holiday.
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Old Oct 27th, 2019, 04:51 PM
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But kerouac, there is almost certainty that the weather will be gorgeous in Morocco. We spent 10 days last December in Marrakech, Taroudant, and Essaouira, then the whole month of February and the first week of March in Essaouira, with trips to the mid-Atlas and Tafrout and Agadir, and in all that time, which amounted to nearly 7 weeks, had exactly two days when it sprinkled rain for 15 minutes or so and a couple that were warm (28-35C) but cloudy. This was my 7th trip to Morocco in winter since 1972, and the weather has always been balmy.

I completely agree that weather in southern France in mid-winter can be horrible - that's why we escape to Morocco. Well, there are plenty of other reasons too - francophone country, amazing food, really inexpensive....I think we went through at least 10 stères of wood last winter before we took off for North Africa, which cost more than what we paid for a gorgeous apartment in Essouira for 7 weeks. We could have hunkered down here and enjoyed our home, and we had only 5 minutes of snow, but the bitter cold was wearing, and the rivers overflowed.

It has taken some getting used to climate change in the Périgord since we moved here 5 years ago. It was all balmy and pretty predictable. Not so much anymore.
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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 05:15 AM
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If you go to Athens around the end of January you may be lucky and hit the period of mild winter weather known as Alkonides (Halcyon Days). Equally, you could have snow, so there are no guarantees.
https://greece.greekreporter.com/201...-halcyon-days/

Nowhere in Europe has warm weather in winter, so you may as well look for activities you can do in cold rainy weather. London has many museums, theatres, etc where weather doesn’t matter. If the sun is shining you could dress warmly and take a walk along the Thames or in one of the many London parks. My daughter and SIL love taking my granddaughter to Richmond Park.
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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
But kerouac, there is almost certainty that the weather will be gorgeous in Morocco. We spent 10 days last December in Marrakech, Taroudant, and Essaouira, then the whole month of February and the first week of March in Essaouira, with trips to the mid-Atlas and Tafrout and Agadir, and in all that time, which amounted to nearly 7 weeks, had exactly two days when it sprinkled rain for 15 minutes or so and a couple that were warm (28-35C) but cloudy. This was my 7th trip to Morocco in winter since 1972, and the weather has always been balmy.
.
I like Morocco, too, but when somebody writes in their opening post "no interest in North Africa" I try to respect that. Aversions to certain areas are rarely rational, so I do not try to argue.

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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 04:37 PM
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I think I must have overlooked that. I read too fast when I'm on Fodors. Well, back to the drawing board, then.
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Old Oct 28th, 2019, 08:37 PM
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Sicily offers so much, including ancient Greek history, theaters, temples. I think it is your best option for the majority of your time in January.
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Old Oct 29th, 2019, 07:35 AM
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Thanks to all. You have given me lots to think about. I will spend the next few fays checking out the logistics of Sicily and Greece before making a decision.

Overall, I don’t expect the weather to be fine and bad weather does not affect my enjoyment of a place.

KarenWoo: yes, I did a fairly extensive trip to Andalusia back in Spring 2018. I am doing further research on Athens. If the weather is bad, there are plenty of indoor activities.

Kja: Thank you. Yes, I think there is lots to do in Palermo. I have been to Sicily in January before and had mixed rain and sunshine. I never visited Palermo though. Will read your trip report on Greece with pleasure.

Traveler_Nick I have been to Venice in January and was pleasantly surprise so may add it to the list. I have a wonderful vacation in the Veneto about 18 months ago. I have visited both Florence and Bologna recently.

Kerouac: As I said above, bad weather does not affect my enjoyment. My trip to Puglia in may was mostly cold and rainy. “Aversions to certain areas are rarely rational” BTW: I do NOT make irrational decisions regarding my travel -all are well researched from a historic, cultural, culinary and architecture perspective. Rather bewildered why you make such a judgmental remark when you don’t know me!

StCirq: Mellen - I read your Morocco report in the Lounge and enjoyed it very much, but I have no particular in visiting Morocco when there are so many other places that I long to see.

ahbonvraiment : Spent many winter vacations in the Caribbean when I lived in Canada. Re Paris: I usually visit about twice a year for long weekends as I live in London, so will be part of my planning for later.


Heimdall: Thanks for the link. Yes, London is wonderful … which is why I am living there 😊

HappyTrvlr: Thanks. I am beginning to think so too.



OK, I am off to do some logistical planning to see what is ‘doable’ by bus.

Thanks again … Ger




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Old Oct 29th, 2019, 08:33 AM
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May I throw something in the mix?
Portugal? I love Lisbon and was really impressed by the Monestry. Even just the public square and the area where the shops are just beautiful.
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Old Oct 29th, 2019, 08:39 AM
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Agree Jessica, I loved Lisbon and surrounding area and it is on my list again for next year also. Will include that also. Thanks … Ger
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Old Oct 29th, 2019, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by OReilly64 View Post
Kerouac: As I said above, bad weather does not affect my enjoyment. My trip to Puglia in may was mostly cold and rainy. “Aversions to certain areas are rarely rational” BTW: I do NOT make irrational decisions regarding my travel -all are well researched from a historic, cultural, culinary and architecture perspective. Rather bewildered why you make such a judgmental remark when you don’t know me!
I'm a bit sorry that you had such an insecure and defensive reaction, because I was not at all talking about you. You are very lucky to never make irrational decisions, because I make plenty of them. For example three cities that I absolutely do not like are Vienna, San Francisco and Melbourne. I have visited all three and have no rational reason for being repelled by them, but there you go.

Since you do such perfect research, I'm sure that such a thing will never happen to you. Or then again, it might and then you will be devastated after all that work.

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