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Backpacking in winter, any advice?

Travel Forums Europe Backpacking in winter, any advice?

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1. Posted by xAthenax (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

This has probably already been made a thread, but I'll just make a new one...

So, it's a tradition in my family to go back packing through Europe after we get out of school, one that I have wanted to do for years not just because it's a tradition but because it's truly something that I want to do so, I have a ticket bought for January when I finish this semester of college and I'm shipping off by myself.

However, I'd like some advice. My father went backpacking by himself when he got out of college thirty years ago, and although he can provide me with some advice from his experiences I'd like some that's more recent and potentially more relevant to an eighteen year old female than a twenty-two year old male in the early eighties.

So anything will help, I have travel books but I want some real life advice.

Thanks :p

2. Posted by hotguy_here (Budding Member 6 posts) 5y

What kinda advice u r looking at?

Some basic stuffs:

1. Travel scandinavia (norway/sweden/denmark) before it starts snowing or after it stops.
2. Going to greece is a must. Some backpackers avoid it, better not to do so.
3. Amsterdam needs more than a week.
4. Better not go to the concentration camps. (I didn't like them at all).
5. Portugal can be avoided, if u don't like beaches. But the beaches there are simply awesome. May be better than french riviera.
6. Hungary is the cheapest country while Budapest is one of the most beautiful.
7. Switzerland is obviously the heaven on earth but costly.
8. Eiffiel is not as beautiful as it looks but Paris overall is breathtaking.
9. Spain is crazy, so try spending 3 weeks there. Barcelona is unbelievable, while Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Toledo are just unavoidable.
10. Don't go to Romania, they deported me back to Hungary :(

And..

11. Carry ur passports with urself.
12. Dont carry much cash. Carry cards.
13. Travel in group.
14. Backpack sud be fully packed with all the stuffs.
15. Better not to spend nites outside (like on platforms or stations)

3. Posted by cricrifin (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

i would still recommend coming over to Finland in winter time, it is amazing time, beautiful landscapes and many outdoor activities to do ;-)
been leaving in Helsinki for 16y, and even it it freezing in winter, this is still something you should experience... especially the frozen baltic sea !!! i am a guide for outdoor activities on the frozen sea, like snowshoe trekking, skiing, ice fishing, ice sailing, etc.... and i can tell you that everyone would love that!
christelle

4. Posted by xAthenax (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

Ah, this is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for since I knew really none of what you guys told me! I mean, yes I knew it would be cold but other than that I was unaware, and I will definitely put Finland on my list more-so than before.

All the quick little information you gave me is also great, because I would have totally not known to not go to Romania or how much time to spend in each country. Info like that is EXACTLY what I'm looking for :p thanks!

5. Posted by shefftommo (Budding Member 36 posts) 5y

Don't just listen to one persons opinion, Romania is a fantastic country!
My uncle lives in Bucharest, and I have visited many times.
Ok, it's poor and dirty compared to western Europe, but it has lots of character.
Having said that, I wouldn't recommend going there in Winter!

How long will you be travelling for?
I'd definately recommend central/eastern Europe.
Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Riga, Tallinn are all beautiful in Winter.
Venturing further east to Russia is also fantastic, St Petersburg and Moscow in Winter is something special! I am off there on new year's day.

I wouldn't advise spending a week in Amsterdam. 2 or 3 days will be enough as it is very expensive, and you may have seen enough after 3 days unless you are really into art.

I have never been to Scandanavia, but I'm sure it is incredible in Winter!

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Sep-2011, at 02:41 by shefftommo ]

6. Posted by SkiBunny84 (Budding Member 26 posts) 5y

Hmmmm if you're in Europe over Christmas, Germany is great leading up to Christmas because almost every city (and even the smaller towns) have Christmas Markets, which are cute and quaint!

Winter is a good time to see things like museums and stuff.

Keep in mind that you need proper winter clothing. Some countries get COLD. I'm just telling you because when I lived in Europe, I didn't heed this when I first arrived, and not coming from a particularly cold place, I had no idea just how cold 'real' winter was. You need lined boots, and a very warm coat.

It's overall not a bad time to travel because prices are cheaper and attractions are less busy :)

7. Posted by xAthenax (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

My dad said that about Germany too, he told me all of the fantastic christmas wines to try and the fun thins to do there, although because I wanted to spend christmas with my family I'll be going on January 11th, but hopefully this will not be my last trip to Europe so next time I go I'll be sure to have some german christmas time in lol.

And fantastic, because museums and other things like that are one of the main reasons I'm going.

Also, that brings up another question of mine, how cold is COLD? I live in the North East and it gets to be around 0 degrees Fahrenheit around here (about -17 degrees C) in the dead of winter. I'm sure it gets colder than that seeing as how much more north it is, but how much colder does it get? Like, unbearably cold?

And thank you to shefftommo, I'll research more into Romania because I actually would like to see that country seeing as my grandmother is Romanian so I'll definately check into it.

Thank you so much for all this awesome advice, it's helping so much!

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 5y

As long as you stay in the west, "cold" will be warmer than that (for example, in the Netherlands winters rarely have more than a week or two of temperatures below freezing, and -17 is pretty much unheard of here); the gulf stream keeps things warm despite the higher latitude. But the further inland you move, the colder it gets.

9. Posted by cricrifin (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

in january, temperatures in Finland, in Helsinki i mean (because up north it is another case!!!), we have from -10 to . it can be more , it can be less.... ;-)
but if you need any help here, dont hesitate to contact me,

Christelle

10. Posted by xAthenax (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

Ah, awesome, I mean I enjoy the cold (it's unbelievably nicer than the hot weather, in my opinion) so it seems I will definately be making my way to the Netherlands at some point because that seems lovely. And yeahh, is there a lot to do up north of Helsinki? Cause I want to visit Helsinki, but anything north of that doesn't really peak my interest as far as going in January...lol.

But thank you for all this amazing info!