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Europe in Winter

Travel Forums Europe Europe in Winter

1. Posted by SalFrog (Budding Member 22 posts) 7y

Hi All,

Firstly let me say this site is the best traveller's information site I have come accross. Thanks to all who have posted such good information!

I am a 21 year old travelling to Europe with my partner. My question is about going in winter. I am travelling to Canada for 6 months in June 09 and will be heading to Europe in early January 2010. I have heard many conflicting stories about going to Europe in the colder months, the good being there are no crowds and everything is much cheaper, the bad being the obvious cold and possiblity that lots of the stuff that most people want to see won't be open. We want to to a bit of snowboarding, but not for the whole time we are in Europe.

We are looking at staying in Europe for 5-6 weeks going to:

France - Venice - Vienna - Prague - Belguim - ( back to ) France

Spending about a week in each place , but if anyone has any 'must see' destinations that aren't in any of those countires we are always open to extening out trip.

Thanks so much to all those that reply, any help is greatly appreciated:)

Sal

2. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1384 posts) 7y

It depends a little on your interests, if you want to visit museums or palaces, than I don't think you will find many places that will be closed. From my own experience, I can tell you that places that will become unreachable (like the ice caves in Werfen) will be closed.

Besides the obvious things, like needing more/different clothes (rain), the winter is just a different season, with it's benefits. This weekend in Carnaval, you could check when the carnaval is next year, and if you like the event, try to be in Venice during these days. (book way in advance!) For most cities I would think that 3-4 days is enough to get to know the city, but if you prefer more time you will have more time, and also the possibility to make some daytrips. (in Belgium there are a couple of places that are worth a visit Brussels, Brugge, Gent, Leuven, Antwerp, Ieper (depending of where you base yourself), form Prague you have Cesky Krumlov and Kutna Hora, and from Vienna of course the nearby capital of Slovakia: Bratislava.

If you want to do a bit of snowboarding than you need to go to the mountains, it will be hard to find slopes in Belgium, Vienna and Prague. In Austria there are a lot of wintersport towns (check: Kaprun/Zell am See) where you can go.

The differences in temperatures can be big, and snow can lead to some problems in transportation. If you want to have some nice weather after the wintersports, you could go to the south of Spain or Portugal. (Sevilla or/and Lagos)

3. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 7y

I'm from Australia and the thing about European winters that people never tell you about is the grey, dark, overcast days; one after another, after another, after another.

Sure it's cold but it's no big deal. It's the lack of sunlight and the really short days that played with my mind.

4. Posted by Holly76 (Budding Member 10 posts) 7y

james, i don't agree. the weather is not necessarily as bad as you're saying. this january was icy, but the sun shone (shined?) on many days. in early february the same. it would be ok to say that the wather in winter is less predictable and the chance to catch a period of bad weather is higher than in summer.

sal, i would not bet on the legend that everything in europe is much cheaper in winter. this may apply sporadically (e.g. in botanic gardens where there is nothing to see in winter), but it is my experience that most services are as expensive or inexpensive as in summer (food, accommodation, admission fees, etc.). the only thing normally being less expensive in winter are airfares, but this depends on the oil price and should be of just marginal interest to you.

also you need not be scared of closed attractions. apart from leisure parks, virtually everything worth visiting is open in winter too (museums, public buildings...).

anyway, europe is so diverse that it will be hard to make a choice, as it is hard to make certain recommendations. as a german, i can of course invite you not to miss this nation. we have to offer much more than the black forrest, rhine valley and neuschwanstein castle. worth the trip are berlin, weimar, dresden, to list just a few.

anyway, europe is more beautiful in summer, but not that bad in winter.

5. Posted by radenka (Inactive 2 posts) 7y

If traveling through Balkans, you will notice that different nationalities living in neighboring countries are not so different at all. They share so much history and their looks, customs, food and other are very similar. It is important to be open minded when going to places like Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia etc, as there are so many ways to enjoy your stay just by avoiding prejudice. People are welcoming, food is grate, nightlife vivid, and culture very colorful and rich. If you would like to read a travel journal written by Iranian American that spent three months in the Balkans, and learn about people that live there, current political and economic situation in the Balkans and the world, you should look up -snip

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

6. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 7y

Quoting Holly76

james, i don't agree. the weather is not necessarily as bad as you're saying. this january was icy, but the sun shone (shined?) on many days. in early february the same. it would be ok to say that the wather in winter is less predictable and the chance to catch a period of bad weather is higher than in summer.

Even when the sun does shine it's like a candle in the distance with absolutely no heat coming off it whatsoever. And the days are short whether it's sunny or not.