I am planning on making a 10 day trip into the European continent in December (preferably 5th to the 15th of December). Since it is winter I know it is going to be freezing in most places. However, could anyone let me places in Spain and Italy that may be recommended for a visit in December.
Depends what you want to do.
For Spain, try Southern Spain - Andalucia. See
Winter is the only time the heat and the hordes of tourist don't try to kill you in this area.
In Italy Sicily is supposed to be nice in winter, but you might run into lots of rain, so it is a bit of hit and miss. There is not a lot of tourism in Sicily to start with (compared to Northern Italy), and in winter it will ultra-low season. The big selling point of Sicily at this time of the year is the possible combination of sunshine, 20 C and 0 C and snow higher up the mountains.
If that is not what you want, hit the normal tourist circuit with Rome, Florence and Venice. I've seen pictures of Venice in the snow, they were very pretty.
EDIT: Just saw that you are from India. I think almost every place in Europe will feel cold to you. Also you'll want to avoid the rain you might run into in Southern Spain or Sicily. Unlike the Monsoon in India this is cold rain, and personally I would much rather deal with -5 C and sunshine than with +5 C and rain. Cold weather is relatively easy to handle, but cold wet weather is a killer.
If you have never been to Europe before, check out Germany and Austria. Go to one of the Christmas markets. I can really recommend Salzburg at the border between Austria and Germany.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 1, 2008, at 5:07 PM by t_maia ]
All of northern Europe and much of southern Europe will be from cold to snow in December. You could visit one of the Canary Islands which will normally be mid-70's to mid-80's.
The south coast of Spain is normally mild in mid-December and has a number of nearby places to visit, including Portugal and across the Straits into Morocco.
Italy is a really stunnig country with a lot of different things to see and to do.
If you have just few day I'll advise you Venice and Rome.
The first one is incredible, you have never saw something like that.
The maze of little street and the river everywhere make this city so romantic and unforgettable.
Rome is like a museum under the sky.
Let me know what you will do!
Italy can be beautiful all over in December. If you're worried about it being cold though, head down to Sicily. There's an enormous amount to see there and the food is great.
If the weather don't bother you, than do Florene, Venice and Rome.
You can't really go wrong with those three.
Thank you everyone for your comments and advice. I had been busy wrapping up work and have really delayed my travel planning!! Also I did not get any alerts informing me that posts had been made on my query!!!
Anyway since most of the places would be really cold and grey most of the time ( as was the case with Brussels and Amsterdam), we are planning on spending 10 odd days in Spain. Got some wonderful travel deals from London to Spain and back.
We will be landing in Barcelona and making our way down to Cornoda, Granada, Sevilla and Madrid and spending couple of days in each place.
How does that sound? Any views on how we should travel to places within Spain..rent a car or take public transport? Any advice for Christmas in Madrid? Can we see bull fighting anywhere in Spain at this time?
I will be doing detailed itinerary later today..
To all those who recommended Italy...I will definitely make a trip to Italy sometime in spring or fall!!
Thank you all!
Some of those places you have chosen will be pretty chilly. Inland Spain is always colder than the coast in winter, and of course altitude reduces temperature too. Right now I am sitting looking out of my window: the sun is shining, the temperature is about 1% deg (mid-afternoon) and I can see snow on the mountains. I'm just a few km from the sea but the snow is about 30-40 km inland and 1000+ m up.
If temperature really matters to you, I would advise sticking close to the coast of southern Spain. Don't take too much notice of the people who say that it is too touristy: they haven't looked hard enough. Just here along my local bit of coast, you could be visiting Cartagena (interesting naval city with lots of history), the coast along near Aguilas and Villaricos (very pretty), Mojácar (tourist town yes, but really nice, especially in winter), Cabo de Gata natural park (stunning scenery), etc etc.
I would agree with t_maia, cold, dry and sunny is a world of difference from cold and damp. I often sit outside in 12-14 deg in winter, as long as the sun is shining. But I soon move if the sun goes behind a cloud!
Here in Madrid it is about 12-14 degrees as well during the day the last couple of days. (in the weekend it was much colder, but the predictions for the next couple of days are pretty good.) In the sun, and out of the wind it's quite nice in the afternoons. In the evening temperatures go down to just above 0. Therefor in the mornings it is cold as well.
Madrid with Christmas? There are some christmasmarkets, but they are nothing compared to the ones in other European cities. I guess a lot of sites will be closed on the 24th (Prado is open until 2.p.m.) and the 25th, but again opened on the 26th. At the Reina Sofia, there is a good exposition of photos by Alberto García-Alix, which I liked very much. Prado can be visited for free on Sundays (until 14.30), and on Saturdays after 14.30 till 21.00.
On this website you can find a lot of the events in Madrid (or in other cities, if the settings): http://www.madrid.kedin.es
[ Edit: Edited on Dec 17, 2008, at 3:44 PM by Herr Bert ]