I've been lurking for a few weeks, reading what many of you have been discussing. I've got RS's ETTBD, and have been researching forums and articles on Europe in the winter.
My fiancée and I are planning to take a European vacation at the end of the year. She's from Brazil and has never seen snow. I'm from the Pacific Northwest, USA. Neither of us have been to Europe. We've got 3 weeks to play with, including Christmas and New Year. Right now, we're open to a lot of travel options: guided tours, My Way tours, cruises, etc. We'd like to hit the basics: museums, historical locations, castles, shopping.
I'm kind of stuck on how broad our trip should be. I've read a lot of advice about this. We could spend the whole trip in the UK, or spread it out to places like Amsterdam, Germany, Austria, Italy, France. Assuming this would be the first trip of many:
- What's your advice for a nice, well-rounded trip?
- If we were to marry abroad, what Euro countries have fairly relaxed marriage requirements? I.e., residency, paperwork, minimum stay, things like that.
- Where would you suggest in Europe for a great authentic Christmas experience? Things like decorated cities, festivals, Christmas markets, For example, I've read a lot about Nuremberg, Munich, Norway, Hallstatt and Salzburg.
- Where would you suggest for a great snowy wonderland experience? I've read about Oberlap pass and Glacier express.
Thank you for your thoughtful advice!