I'm planning to travel around europe (mainly England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece and perhaps Spain) for around 6 wks and can only go around Nov-Jan time. Would it be really really cold and hard to get around due to snowing, wet weather, etc? It'll be my first time in Europe and i've been told that i will have problem trying to find my way around places in bad weathers, on top of language problems.
Any particular country that might be warmer during this time to visit? It's my first time so I want to make the most of it and see as many major landmarks as possible.
The other question I have is about car hire. I travel with my husband and we're not too sure whether to hire a car or not and how expensive it will be. How bad is traffic/parking? Or is it better to use train/bus/ferry, etc to get around.
Is this time of the year crowded or expensive to travel? Should I try to avoid the Xmas season altogether?
Any advices will be much appreciated! Thank you.
Nov-Jan is the off-season (apart from Christmas time), hotels and hostels will be empty and many attractions closed (mainly the ones outdoors). It is not the best season for travel, but ok if it is the only time you can go.
Public transport will be running and if you visit mainly cities you won't have any problems at all. Car rental will also be no problem at all.
Getting around in the mountains (Switzerland, Austria) might require snowchains and knowledge how to drive on snow and how to react when the road is covered with ice. Many passes in the Alps are closed in winter time, take that into account.
Whether to use a car or public transport often depends on personal choice and finances. If you are mainly interested in big cities train and bus are a good option, but when you intend to hit small villages (skiing!) car is better. Cheap hotels in the outskirts of cities are also easier to reach with a car, but hostels are usually close to public transport.
I would not avoid the Christmas season altogether, but take it into consideration when you make travel plans. Germany, Austria and Switzerland can be great during December.
I would not go to Greece during Nov-Jan, as the season in Greece is from March to September. The main attraction in Greece is the beach and the small islands, these islands do not recieve enough tourist traffic in winter to keep hotels open and running. Forget Greece.
You should plan on spending at least 2 weeks per country, so if you have 6 weeks focus on 3 countries max. With 10 days per country you might be able to cram in a fourth, but you'll be terribly rushed.
Thank you. Will take your advice into consideration when I actually sit down and plan the trip. i'm sure there will be plenty of questions to come
A cheap way to get around during this time is the Eurolines pass. They have major discounts when you travel during off-season. Given the choice however I would rather go for train travel or travel by car.
BTW, book anything for Christmas time (flights, hotels) around September/early October at the latest.
I was in London two Novembers ago, and it was about 10 deg on average. Temperatures will dip further at night. There may be rain, especially if you're venturing up to Scotland. As t-maia said, if you're just moving around the cities, you should have no problem getting about. Most tourist sites should still be open, but you will have to check opening/closing times - certain sites do close early from November onwards or don't open on certain days of the week.
I disagree with above to "forget Greece." I went to Greece 2 Januarys ago and had a wonderful time. It wasn't crowded with tourists, and the weather was nice. It wasn't hot, but a light jacket is often sufficient. There's much more to see in Greece than just beaches and islands. I disagree that it's the "main attraction." For most I encountered the main attractions were the ancient ruins, and the Greek culture. Early January is Greek Orthodox Christmas time, which is exciting to witness. I also took the ferry to Crete and rented a car with a bunch of others I had met in my hostel in Athens. Yeah, the island was rather vacant. But the scenery was beautiful. We picnicked on the beach next to the mountainous landscape. It was wonderful. Prices are lower, and tourists are fewer. I had a blast.
England between November and January is cold, wet, dark and depressing. The ideal time of year to go to Australia!
Come on Skylarking... yes the winters in the UK are fairly cold, but to be fair between Nov - Jan is all the christmas hype, and if you're from Australia surely it would be quite magical to see the christmas build up and witness a snowy christmas! I think we'd miss it deep down if it wasn't cold... it would ruin the image of log fires and robins!
I'd much rather spend Christmas where it is nice and sunny and warm. As today isn't looking too bad, its time to get off the net and get outside.
I think that i can help you by the designing of the trip, the Prices and lenguague problems. the Time you have choosen is difficult specially because of the traffic and the waether but there is nothing impossible. do you have any ideas what would you like to see?
It is the Of-Season but the Hotels and Hostals are open maby not all of them but in the citys that willent be a problem. Do you travel with Children?
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