winter travel

Jul 6th, 2006, 09:08 PM
  #1  
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winter travel

which european destinations are best to visit in the winter, in either december or january?
mon1215 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 10:03 PM
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I go skiing in Europe every winter. I have skied in Kitzbuhel (Austria), Cortina (Italy), Verbier (Switzerland), and last year in Engelberg (also Switzerland).

I also mix in a lot of site seeing with the skiing. I have been to Barcelona, Prague, Rome, Venice, Salzberg, Vienna, Paris, Innsbruck, Lucerne, Bern, and Athens!

IMHO, I think anywhere in the Alps is beautiful in the winter. Austrian, Italian and Swiss Alps are all extremely beautiful.
cheribob is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 12:11 AM
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I did a trip to Venice, Florence, and Rome in December/January and that was great.
WillTravel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 12:19 AM
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I really like being in Italy in December, with all of the Christmas preparations and stuff. It's a side of Italy that is often missed because people don't normally like to come in winter. Where I am (central Italy--Le Marche) there's not normally snow at that time of year (although it just depends), and further south is still relatively good weather I think. We took a lovely trip down to Lecce (Puglia) in early November, and it was still t-shirt weather.
Jackie_in_Italy is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 12:42 AM
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I agree that unless you are looking for warm/hot/beach weather, any place is good. In December you will find lots of Christmas decorations, Christmas markets, mulled wine, hot chocolate, etc. Depending on where you go you could have snow, which is nice. The bare trees against the old buildings are quite beautiful in a place like Rome IMO, and you may even luck out in places in Italy and get warm days. In either month you should find far fewer lines for museums than in the summer (other than Christmas week itself). Anywhere you go, if you are dressed for the weather (rain is likely, in the mountains these are typically the two coldest months of the year), I think this is a great time to go.

You may want to avoid Christmas week itself in resort mountain areas, as hotels can be expensive and often have minimum booking requirements. However, in cites, this is a good time as you may find good deals on hotels; but note that most every shop and restaurant (other than hotel restaurants) will be closed on December 24, 25, 26, Jan 1, maybe December 31. Many stores and small restaurants close the entire week between Christmas and New Years, other than in resort mountain towns, where business is good then as everyone flocks to the resorts for skiing and winter activities. I think you would find good hotel deals in cities in January, hard to say about mountain resorts, as school holidays start to kick in at various times.

One caveat to this is that if you are considering places which are far north, like Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Moscow, Stockholm or Copenhagen, your days are going to be somewhat short, esp. in December. Take a look at sunrisesunset.com for daylight hours in places you are considering. This will eat into sightseeing time; conversely in a place like London that goes crazy with the holiday lights, the shorter days give more time to enjoy them. However, sometimes people are not prepared for the early darkness and the fact that the sun does not come up until after 8 or 8:30 am on many days.
Cicerone is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:34 AM
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My wife and I have booked a "Grand European Holiday Markets Cruise" with Uniworld for December 5th to December 15th inclusive. We will start in Regensburg, then Passau, Linz,Salsburg, Vienna, Bratislava, and finish trip in Budapest. Check it out! We have taken other "river cruises" and really enjoy them.
oberost is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:01 AM
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A lot of people like the European Christmas markets, which open around the last week in November.
shorebrau is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:33 AM
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Bavaria in the snow! Gorgeous!

Paris was also nice.
missypie is offline  
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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We loved Florence & Venice in January:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34758287

May I offer this: Bring one jacket that you like very much, something that can be worn with dressy slacks but something that you also can dress down.

Layer, layer, layer - you would think that in January you wouldn't need light tops but I wore my short sleeve tops as much as I did the long sleeve, and ironically we had warmer weather with no rain while in Venice.

Bring gloves.

Bring a scarf.

Wear one pair of very comfortable shoes and pack one pair of very comfortable shoes. It will be helpful it they too can go casual or dressy.

Jeans are warm.

Cuddle duds or silkie long underwear from Nordstrom or the like are warmer.

Winter travel and winter walking is wonderful and has an ambience that is quite unique. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Tiff is offline  
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