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Where to go — two weeks Nov, 1 week Dec?

Where to go — two weeks Nov, 1 week Dec?

Old Sep 26th, 2021, 11:28 AM
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Where to go — two weeks Nov, 1 week Dec?

I suddenly find that I have the last two weeks of November and the first week of December completely clear, so would love to head back to Europe (finally!) for solo travel, preferably relying on public transport.

In other years I would simply head to Japan or Thailand in November and early December but not this year. I have never thought about going to Europe in the very late autumn, and now discover that it is an awkward time in many places. And I have to pull together a trip quickly.

Northern Italy has long been on my list, and so my first thought was to go to Venice while it is relatively uncrowded, and then head to the Dolomites … but hiking and public transport in the mountains are not ideal at the end of November. Same for the Piedmont, and of course even without hiking much of mountainous Switzerland is “on pause” in November. Public transport through Tuscany and Umbria is challenging, but in Italy I prefer not to rent a car when solo.

I have read excellent trip reports about Croatia, but would like to save Croatia for a time when I need days there as non-Schengen days on longer European trips. But perhaps I should consider it for Nov/Dec. 2021.

Perhaps the south of France? I have not been there and thus have done no research yet. In southern Germany and Austria, in late November and early December could I make do with public transport and have a couple of lovely weeks in the mountains? If I venture much further north, daylight hours will be short. In either France or Germany renting a car would be a possibility.

Please toss some ideas my way; I need to start researching ASAP and whittle down my options. Where have you gone (and enjoyed) at the November/December cusp?

Thank you.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 11:46 AM
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Hi BarbWire, I can't speak to covid requirements, but Menton is nice. Good bus and train options. We trained to Genoa, bussed to Nice. Hotel had a van trip to Ventimiglia. We did a fair amount of bus and train day trips out of Perugia. I'll post my trip reports for ideas.

Trip Report from Menton and Lyon

Perugia and Rome by train and bus
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 12:28 PM
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I have not traveled that time of year in a long time, but would consider Portugal or Southern Spain or Crete.

It does not seem as if you are, but if you were into things like Christmas markets, then Germany would be fun for a few days.

Of course, not Europe, and more expensive to get there, but this time of year is going into Summer in New Zealand.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 03:23 PM
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Thank you. Day trips from Perugia are interesting. hmmmm. Travelling in this “downside shoulder” season suggests that base + day trips rather than relocating every three days may be the way to go. Thank you also for the TR links.

I now wonder if I could start in Venice, and then work my up to Austria, pausing briefly if at all in the Dolomites,and then base out of Innsbruck for a few days before moving on to the Munich area.

Alas, NZ is not viable this fall. Six months in NZ is in the master 5-year travel plan, but now it is a question of when ….

Strange times we live in. This is the first time I have planned a trip on short notice with sooooo many variables. In the past “Short notice? Go to the UK / Thailand / Japan” have been my “no research required “ trips. Alas, not now,

Thank you for the suggestions.




Last edited by BarbWire; Sep 26th, 2021 at 03:27 PM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 03:29 PM
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Where have I gone and enjoyed in November/December?

Switzerland, Austria, Germany...and this year we're including Italy.

We've spent many late Novembers, and most of many Decembers in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and after an 18 month long hiatus, we plan to do the same this year.

"On pause" doesn't slow us down much. In fact, we much prefer "on pause" to any other time.

Never had to "make do" with transport either. Transport is generally very easy, regardless of time of year. Yes, some options might be less frequent, but if you're realistic and plan well...

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 26th, 2021 at 03:38 PM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 03:44 PM
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We love France, Germany and Italy during that time. Christmas markets just taking off. We do public transportation and since we live in Fl I love the cooler weather.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 04:20 PM
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Germany, Switzerland, Paris, London -- all favorites of mine that time of year. London most of all if I had to pick one.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 06:02 PM
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Agree with others regarding the Christmas markets. Vienna and Budapest come to mind in terms of our favorite markets.

Other places we’ve visited during this time window: London, Paris, Rome, Madrid. We went to Egypt during this time last year and had the best time; no crowds at any of the blockbuster sights. Further afield and potential open to visitors, I think of Patagonia and Sri Lanka.

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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 06:36 PM
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I was in the Lac Leman area of Switzerland (outside Geneva, towns like Vevey and Montreux) once in November. It was definitely winter (needed wool coat, scarf, hat, boots, etc.) but not snowing at lake level. Lovely trip.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 08:46 PM
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I would not be thinking of hiking or anything outdoorsy late November. Unless you're planning on bringing your own Saint Bernard to save you. The rainy season has already started up north and will only intensify.

If you're coming November concentrate on city ideas. Venice will be relatively empty. The smaller centres will that much slower.

The same points go for anything with a summer beach focus like the south of France.
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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 09:06 PM
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Hi BarbWire,

I agree that Paris before Christmas is magical, with plenty to do outside (just walking, shopping markets and market tours, etc) and plenty to do inside (cheese & wine workshops, cooking classes, museums, shops to get lost in). Plus lots of interesting day-trips to make, for champagne cellars or to explore artists' haunts (Giverny, Auvers-sur-Oise).

Also agree that Germany is also magical before Christmas with the markets and a real festive spirit. Yes, you can base in Munich for some days and take excursions to Regensburg, Augsburg, Nürnberg, etc. Then spend a few days in a smaller town like Garmisch (where I live) and take excursions to Füssen, Mittenwald, Oberammergau, Innsbruck, etc. Depending on the amount of snow, you can still go hiking, and of course public transport here is second only to Switzerland.

If you go to Switzerland, they do a great job of keeping many winter trails cleared of mounds of snow, so they are still good. In fact, Melnq8 above always goes hiking on her off-season travels.

Have fun as you plan!

s

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Old Sep 26th, 2021, 09:22 PM
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Also,

There is a fabulous night train that links Venice & Munich -- leaves Venice at 21.05 and arrives at 06.10. I adore taking night trains, but because of my ooolllddd bladder, I need to be on a toilet within seconds of waking up -- that's how I justify taking a deluxe private cabin with its own toilet and shower and sink. Yes, it is expensive, but you won't be paying for a hotel for that night.

It is so fun to enjoy a nice dinner (bring your own or eat in the train restaurant), then get undressed, turn off the lights, open the curtains, and snuggle into bed. Then you can watch the world slip by your window. Very sweet.

I took my first night train in 1968, when I was 13 years old, and I take them whenever I can. They waned at the advent of superfast trains, but are making a comeback. The Austrians are currently operating most night trains under the NightJet name -- just Google that.

The mattresses can be thin, though. But it is a unique and fun way to get from one place to another, and it can add a touch of adventure.

Have fun!

s
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 04:32 AM
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If you go to Switzerland, they do a great job of keeping many winter trails cleared of mounds of snow, so they are still good. In fact, Melnq8 above always goes hiking on her off-season travels.

We also hike in Austria and Germany that time of year, and have never needed a Saint Bernard to save us.

Last edited by Melnq8; Sep 27th, 2021 at 04:34 AM.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 05:56 AM
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Yesterday a 30 year old died climbing.

Last month on one single day two deaths and one serious injury. Three different accidents.

All involved serious experienced hikers.

I can't stop anybody but if you're going hiking winter or autumn in the alps it's not a low risk affair.
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Old Sep 27th, 2021, 09:10 AM
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Thank you, everyone, for these replies. 48 hours ago I was staring at an empty calendar and a blank slate/map (and yearning for Thailand), and now I have a much clearer idea of where to begin my Europe research.

Pending of course the results of my web-digging in the next few days, I think I will explore something along the lines of my initial idea: begin in Venice for a few days (4N/3D?) before it is over-run again, and then work my way by train north through (painting with very broad strokes here) Verona, Bolzano, to Innsbruck and thence to explore the area delineated by Innsbruck, Garmisch, Munich, Salzberg with day trips as suggested by swandev2000.

Or I might do a more westerly loop from Venice to (somehow) Tirano to pick up the route of the Bernina Express and thence through Switzerland to Garmisch, Innsbruck, etc. Or that might be madness. I do adore trains ....

Or perhaps do this in reverse, ending in Venice in around Dec. 8 or so.

Over the course of three-ish weeks, I should be able to do 4N stops in a few places as well as 2N or 1N stops. My preference (other than Venice) is smaller cities or better yet towns with mountain settings, and good local transport.

If anyone would like to suggest a route or itinerary that I can riff of, that would be lovely. Links to relevant TRs would be very welcome as well.

I will be using miles for plane tix so open jawing into Venice or Milan, and out of somewhere in Germany, Austria or Switzerland is feasible on this relatively short notice.

My next step is to spend a few hours with the Man in Seat 61. Then time with the tourist authority websites for CH, DE, and AT.

NB: Perhaps instead of "Hiking" in my initial post I should have said "winter walking in beautiful terrain." I do not plan to bring a St Bernard (though I would love to visit the St Bernard Hospice someday). Just GorTex Oboz hiking shoes and Gortex clothing!

Again, thanks to everyone!

Last edited by BarbWire; Sep 27th, 2021 at 09:14 AM.
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