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Seeking Christmas holiday adventure

Travel Forums Europe Seeking Christmas holiday adventure

1. Posted by bostongirl (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

I like to escape during the holidays to a mild or warm climate and have an active, new, cultural experience. In 2006, I signed up for a 10 day tour of Guatemala that was fabulous w/a company called The World Outdoors. Last year, I selected Belize and did a one-day caving expedition before heading out to Long Caye where I stayed at a small resort where everyone hung out like friends. That worked really well since I travel alone, and like sharing meals in good company.

This year, I'm a bit clueless and am hoping for some suggestions. I've thought of Italy (I've NEVER been there). Is it possible to find a tour for about 3-4 days in the southern regions somewhere? I could then travel to Cinque Terra and Florence on my own, I'm guessing. I'm a 57 year old professional woman---who drives a VW Westfalia. :) Adventure travel companies appeal to me; I sign up for moderate-level activities like hiking, kayaking, walking, biking...

All input welcomed and desired! Many thanks.

bostongirl

2. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 8y

Europe, winter and warm climate? Forget it.

While Europe's climate is milder and more humid than the climate in the USA it is nevertheless a fact that Naples (Southern Italy) is on the same geographical height as New York. The best you can hope for in Southern Italy in terms of good winter weather is temps around 15 C / 60 F and no rain - but temps around 5 C / 40 F and constant rain are far more likely.

And if you are heading up to Florence or Venice - yes, it does snow in Italy in winter. The Dolomites are one of Europe's popular ski areas so if you want a day or two of adventure your best choice is a snowshoe hike.

But if you want temps as they are in Guatemala or Belize around Christmas you'd have to go to sub-saharan Africa.

Egypt, Tunisia or Morrocco are a possibility, but if you are travelling independently there be prepared for quite a culture shock. You could go on a camel safari, there are a quite a number of good companies offering trips.

See these links for travel to the above countries:

http://looklex.com/tunisia/index.htm
http://looklex.com/morocco/index.htm
http://looklex.com/egypt/index.htm
http://www.ask-aladdin.com/

As one of the resident experts on all things Middle East feel free to pm me if you got more questions.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 24, 2008, at 12:22 PM by t_maia ]

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4808 posts) 8y

Quoting t_maia

Europe, winter and warm climate? Forget it.

The Algarve (Southern Portugal) comes close. I remember eating Christmas dinner outside, right at the beach there once, which was a surreal experience. Daytime temperatures were well above 20 degrees celsius iirc. (It might have the same latitude as Southern Italy, but the gulf stream with warm waters from the south is coming right by, and that makes all the difference.)

4. Posted by vanessa (Travel Guru 257 posts) 8y

what about Israel?
winter is the best time to visit the country.
You have variety of adventures (desert, sea, mountains, orient) + valiable historical background - Just Jerusalem is enought reason for visit, but , basically all the bible is written on local matirial.
+ top-quality food
+ american-friendly country

you need organised (guided) tours only for adventure stuff,
and all the rest (walks, sighseeing) could manage alone if you wish.

  • self-driving is not recomended - driving conditions are better then in Damascus, but much worse then in Italy (famous for crazy drivers)
5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Quoting t_maia

Europe, winter and warm climate? Forget it.

The Algarve (Southern Portugal) comes close. I remember eating Christmas dinner outside, right at the beach there once, which was a surreal experience. Daytime temperatures were well above 20 degrees celsius iirc. (It might have the same latitude as Southern Italy, but the gulf stream with warm waters from the south is coming right by, and that makes all the difference.)

Similarly, my sister lived in Malaga, Southern Spain for a year and said there was only one month of the year where she wasn't able to sunbathe on the beach! (not sure which month it was).

6. Posted by bostongirl (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Maybe Baja / Central America offers the best mix of things I'm looking for over the holidays...cultural change, warm weather, reasonable cost from Boston, and a few tour companies to select from.

I am really grateful for all your feedback and ideas; you've all helped me focus (Naples will feel like NYC in December---duh!). I visited Portugal 16 years ago and discovered (thanks to Rick Steves) a village not even on the map at that time: Salema. What a dream come true!

bostongirl