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Europe in December

Europe in December

Old Sep 8, 05, 3:38 pm
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Lightbulb Europe in December

I'm a novice traveler! Please help! What are the best places in Europe to visit during the first couple of weeks in December? I don't mind the cold too much, but I don't want to visit a region/country where my vacation experiences will be limited. Are Vienna and Prague out of the question?
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Old Sep 8, 05, 3:43 pm
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They're not out of the question, but it will be chilly and maybe even snowy.

We've gone to Europe twice in December; once to London, once to Rome. London was cold. Rome was not.

I'd lean more toward places in the southern half of the continent. Think Rome, Athens, anywhere in Spain or Portugal, etc.
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Old Sep 8, 05, 3:48 pm
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Europe is a big place, where you go will be influenced by your own interests. The question you have asked is a little like asking "where should I go in the world?" Europe is a lot more geographically diverse than the US - a lot more history has let small countries develop quirks which separate them from their neighbours, much more so than between the US states. Perhaps a little more information about what you hope to do and like doing would help us? Also, telling us where you are from will give an indication of what temps you are used to, so what you would consider cold.

You could also try searching this forum with a search word such as Europe or the cities you suggest in the thread title... you'll be able to see what advice has been given previously.
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Old Sep 8, 05, 4:04 pm
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Europe can be quite exciting in December, there are all kinds of Xmas markets, like in Germany or Alsace region of France. Great food, hot and spicy Xmas wine, all sorts of Xmas pies, etc.
You also can go to Switzerland, enjoy the snow before the crowds arrive after the 20th.
Even Venice, with its fog a good part of the morning can be a treat... Schönbrunn palace in Vienna in all its splendour.... You'd wish the year had 5 Decembers to see it all
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Old Sep 8, 05, 4:05 pm
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I love hanging out in thick clothes in Paris. Wish I had the opportunity to experience a white christmas there.

But anyways to the OP, Paris would not be as chilly as Prague or Vienna in December so I would recommend going there though you would still have to pack thick clothings.
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Old Sep 8, 05, 4:07 pm
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Depends what sort of thing you want to do, how much touring you want to do and budget etc... There are so MANY things that you could do

You could do some toruing around the med - if you want to remain a bit warm: Rome, Pisa, Florence, Venice, maybe over to Athens, some Greek Islands, could also do some Spain (Barcelona/Madrid...).

You could do some classic Western Europe: London, Oxford, Bath, Eurostar (maybe) to Paris, Bruge in Belgium is pretty nice. Maybe go to one of the big European "Christmas Markets" (Bruge probably has one, Brussels does, most of the big German cities do...). Maybe fit a little skiing in (if you like that sort of thing). Vienna would be fab (if cold). Budapest is a really beautiful city too, but can get BITTERLY cold in Winter...

The world is your oyster...


Last edited by Boo Boo; Sep 8, 05 at 4:12 pm
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Old Sep 8, 05, 7:22 pm
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First trip to Europe: the places that are at the top of every list are there for a reason. They're all special. So I'd stick to the best-known destinations.

Places to avoid: anything that shuts down after the tourists go home. (We have those here too. Think Martha's Vineyard after Columbus Day.)

I agree with staying in the south. Also, unless you're already fairly fluent in a European language, I'd make my first trip to someplace where they use the same alphabet you're used to and you have a decent shot at finding someone who understands a bit of English in most places. Save the tough language problems for your next visits.

Put it all together, I'd vote for Rome. Depending on how long you plan to be there, branch out in Italy: Venice, Florence, all of Tuscany...

And remember: there are few, if any, really bad choices.
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Old Sep 8, 05, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Boo Boo Too
You could do some classic Western Europe: London, Oxford, Bath, Eurostar (maybe) to Paris, Bruge in Belgium is pretty nice.
I did all of those except Oxford a couple of Decembers ago and had a great time. Bruge was excellent during that season. Check Ryanair between the UK and the continent. Low baggage limits, but far cheaper than Eurostar, but Eurostar is Dang cool.
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Old Sep 15, 05, 12:15 pm
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Red face please advise further

Hello everyone. I have surfed multiple threads here and really want to know about Prague in the winter.

I've gotten so much great info about buys, places to stay, etc so thats not a bother.

But would you please share about snow there? Skiing? Daytrips that may not require a car?

Should we rent a car? I love to travel in the slow season but hope to see a lot while we are there! We prefer to see the city on foot and hope a car rental is something we can avoid.

Planning to stay Nov..13 to 18 Vs Dec. 11-16...... We're leaning towards the Dec. dates only to see some of the holiday festivities I've heard that you see around Christmas. Also, would there be more going on around the city in Nov. compared to Dec?

The way I am reasoning it, December cant possibly be more cold than November, can it?

I look forward to your sage advice!
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Old Sep 15, 05, 2:04 pm
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Originally Posted by magexpect
Even Venice, with its fog a good part of the morning can be a treat... Schönbrunn palace in Vienna in all its splendour.... You'd wish the year had 5 Decembers to see it all
My friend once traveled to Venice during January and said it was a thrill riding the gondolas during a rare snowfall. BTW I've always wanted to go in any type of boat ride during a snowfall.
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Old Sep 15, 05, 2:45 pm
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In November, enough snow for skiing is hardly probable, except perhaps high up in the mountains. Prague is not in the mountains, and it's no skiing resort, btw.

Of course December can be colder than November. The coldest months are January and February.

Prepare for more rain than snow.
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Old Sep 15, 05, 3:42 pm
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Been there, done that, doing it again

I have been to middle Europe in early December 3 times. Do I recommend it, would I do it again? Simple:

Do not look for me to be posting here in 90 days.

Look for me There with a warm mug of gluwein in my hand. ^

Cold? What are you yankees whining about? I am a Florida Native with no tolerance for the cold. Know what? Southern Germany Dec 10 is about low 32 F and high 36 F and walking around with my nice Gortex coat from LL Bean is Survivable, for a few days.

The Black Forest air is crisp and clean and Wonderful. ^ ^ ^

Take the train, forget about driving, and who cares if it snows a little?

The Christmas Markets are something you just are not going to see in the US. I love them.

The first two weeks of Dec are after the Thanksgiving rush, and before the Christmas rush, which I assume starts about Dec 15, as that is when some airlines start to put blackout restrictions on their award travel. So no crowds, nothing but locals and those few of us smart enough to go then.

Selected the seats at NWA today for open jaw tickets. Just as long as DL and NW keep operating so I can make it!
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Old Sep 15, 05, 6:08 pm
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I adore traveling to Europe in December. The food is hearty, the locals seem even friendlier, few crowds and some hotel rates drop. Two of my favorite December destinations are Venice and Paris. A couple of years ago we visited Prague in January and I guess we were just plain lucky, but the weather was glorious. Cool air and bright sun; a great combination.
Edited to add:
Where are my manners? Welcome to FT pinkpr

Last edited by obscure2k; Sep 15, 05 at 6:10 pm Reason: My manners
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Old Sep 16, 05, 2:51 pm
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Thank you for all of the recommendations! To answer Jenbel’s question, I’ve been in Texas for about 10 years, so I’m accustomed to mild weather. But I’m not a stranger to cold weather either. We don’t get snow very often where I’m living currently and I miss it! I’ve done a lot of reading about the Christmas markets and they sound WONDERFUL! I definitely want to experience that. I think Prague and Vienna it is!
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Old Sep 16, 05, 3:02 pm
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Prague's a great choice in December... wrap up very warmly, but the nice thing is the hotels and restaurants are super-warm. And I thought I did more sight-seeing because it was cold - you don't get heat fatigued. The Christmas market is fabulous, as are the Christmas decorations and so is the mulled wine they serve on the streets

But I will admit when I went in December, I went to a great concert in one of the chapels next to the cathedral, and its the only time I've hoped a good chamber orchestra doesn't encore - after sitting in a cold church for a couple of hours, i just wanted to get out and moving and WARM!
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