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Winter in Europe- where would you go?

Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 08:36 AM
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Winter in Europe- where would you go?

Hello all! Forgive the broad nature of this question, but I am interested in general opinions.

My husband and I have vacation time for mid-February (restricted to that time period), and are trying to decide where to go. We have a California trip in our back pockets, but would like to think about European options as well.

I would love to hear your suggestions of European locations that are pleasant (i.e. not miserably cold) in mid-February. We want to keep our minds open to all possibilities, which is why this is a deliberately broad question.

Thank you!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 08:55 AM
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Define miserably cold.

I've been to Italy late-Feb/early March. Rome, especially, was quite pleasant. Not warm, though, by any means. I live in California, by the way.

Cold weather doesn't bother me too much as long as I'm not trying to relax by a pool. I've been to the South of France in January and still managed to have a wonderful time. But I've also spent the first week in January enjoying all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. So it's up to you.

Have fun!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 08:58 AM
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In February, just about every place I can think of in Europe is cold, or at least cool and damp. Though parts of Spain would probably be fairly dry--with average daily highs in the 50s to mid-60s F depending on where you go.

How about the Canary Islands? Sort of Europe.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Thank you for your replies so far! I should mention that we live in NYC, so to us, 50s-60s would be a welcome change!

When we travel, we enjoy spending time walking around and exploring...so we would want it to be at least "warm" enough to do that comfortably (wearing layers is fine!)
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 09:04 AM
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...or north Africa, as an alternative?
If you can handle normal cold, as opposed to definitely miserable cold, I still vote for a capital city visit: London, Paris, etc. As people here have said, barring a disaster, there is no miserable weather that can ruin a trip, just inappropriate clothing.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM
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or some blizzard high in the alps. It's interesting to see how fast you can loose orientation when everything around you is white and you're suddenly feeling dizzy and miserably cold ;-).
You can go just about anywhere in winter and it'll be far less expensive.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Andalusia, southern Italy, Greece, Canaries, Azores, Madeira. We've also been on the Cote d'Azur around then and it was warm-ish.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:11 PM
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For the last several February, I have visited Malta, Brittany, Valencia, Tuscany and Bordeaux, all quite nice; went to Sicily last mid-March, wild flowers were all out, great weather. This past Fevruary, went to Vienna & prague, a bit cold but not unpleasant.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2005, 06:33 PM
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Portugal!

We were there for New Years 2000 and a lightweight coat was plenty of warmth. We went south in the Algarve, but I would head north next time.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 05:14 AM
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The fact that a particular spot might have had a mild winter week when someone was there in 1935 doesn't provide much useful information for the OP.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 05:21 AM
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I've been to Rome in February, and in fact I'm going back to Italy in February 2006. You run the risk of rain, or maybe colder than usual temps, but to me, it's worththe risk because you will probably have lovely weather, and even if you don't it is certainly manageable.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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Athens. See my trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed it a couple of winter's ago.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 08:11 AM
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True, Rufus....but if you search on weather.com for averages, you'll see that the averages hover in Portugal (Lisbon and south) in 50-60 degree range which is what the OP asked for. So my experience in 2000 was average for that season. And, to your point, any destination can have unusual seasonal weather, but averages are a good starting point for basing an opinion, especially if trying to predict weather in advance.

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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 08:27 AM
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We live in the Swiss alps and February is one of the most popular times of year for vacations, not just for ski-ing the region offers endless sports opportunities, curling, cross country skiing, iceskating, sledging but also winter walks and rambles, at least 150 km of prepared winterwalks are open! Come and see the alps at their best, blue skies and sunshine are normal, cold yes but as you said you can wrap up warm!
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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Spent a week in London in early February last year and had nice time. Some days wore a light jacket, some days a heavier jacket and always carried an umbrella as showers were common. Probably in the 50s in the day but that is a guess but never uncomfortably cold and the tourist areas were much less crowded than summertime. I would guess the same would apply to much of Europe. I would suggest picking out where you would most like to go and if the projected temperatures fall in an acceptable range carry appropriate clothing and go there. The great thing about February is you will miss the heavy summer tourist crowd and will save some money doing it.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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Cold weather is about more than temperatures.
There is delightfully cold and miserably cold. Delightfully cold would be a crisp sunny day with no wind after a fresh snowfall. If you're dressed appropriately, spending time outdoors in that kind of weather is wonderfully invigorating.
Miserably cold is rain (perhaps mixed with sleet) mixed with strong wind. It's pretty hard to enjoy that kind of weather no matter how you're dressed. You can get that kind of miserably cold weather almost anywhere in Europe in winter--I'd rather have temps of 30 degrees and delightfully cold weather than 50 degrees and miserably cold.

You could try your luck with Portugal or Sicily, but I would pick a 4* or 5* spa hotel in a pretty alpine village where I can do the things piznair described on sunny days and shop, drink hot chocolate by the fireplace and loll about the spa if it's not sunny.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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beanweb--now your second posting gave some really useful information. Thanks.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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My sister and I had a very nice time during a trip to London in Mid-February 2002. Hotels prices were great, sights were not congested and we walked everywhere. There was some luck involved though, weather cooperated and when it didn't we were either at the British Museum or or at an indoor activity. Also recommend Rome.
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Old Sep 24th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Tarheels, I would suggest Sicily. Went there a few years back. Stayed in Taormima and took trips to Mt. Etna, Sryacusa, Medina, and other places. Good touring weather. Flowers in bloom. Gorgeous scenery, great food, good shopping.Chilly at night. Being from New England, I thought the weather was comfortable but noticed the Sicilians in furs! In my view, I think Europe in winter is great! Enjoy.
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Old Sep 25th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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What wonderful suggestions! Thank you all very much for your responses. We have clearly have quite a few interesting choices, and I can't wait to research them all.
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