Please sign in to post.

A cosy quiet week in November...somewhere?

Hey folks. We had a lovely trip to Poland and Hungary booked for September but have had to cancel. If we want a trip this year it will have to be late November/early December...probably can leave the week of (American) Thanksgiving.

I really want some serious downtime; we have talked about renting a cottage in the Cotswolds for a week, super low-key, walking to the pub of an evening, maybe a few drives or sights, becoming a short-term "regular" at the pub or cafe or whatever. But England in November...nah. What else would match that kind of low-key, chill vibe, with at least slightly less miserable weather? Is it a terrible time to go to Greece or Italy? Spain or Portugal? We spent a few nights in the Algarve last year, and if you're not in a chi chi beach resort, that could work. Cadiz is on our list right now. (We did Seville last year and liked it a lot.) Have thought of Northern Italy--Trieste, Bolzano, etc. (because we're frugal, and dislike crowds). Open to somewhere less travelled (Croatia?) We loved small town Provence in May, but I've heard the winter can be rough. (Ok I read Peter Mayle's books ;) and I can't forget how he characterized "Le Mistral". Of course he was English and more tender than we tough Canadians.) Don't get me wrong, I'm not a beach bunny, but prefer something between 10-20C. After a quiet week we might grab a second week of Christmas markets, probably Germany/Austria.

Thoughts? Any late-year travel experiences or gems come to mind?

Posted by
1123 posts

I used to use Vancouver Island as my "go to" Thanksgiving get away.

Posted by
638 posts

Costa del Sol would be very nice. Malaga is quite easy to reach from US airports.

Posted by
6670 posts

French Riviera? Southern Italy or Sicily? Crete? Anywhere south that doesn't face the Atlantic?

Posted by
545 posts

I would suggest Malta. We went in mid-October a few years back and were able to do some snorkeling. But I haven't researched late November, so do your homework. But off the top of my head, that's what I would likely pick.

Posted by
2670 posts

Gibraltar: UK ground island at the south end of Spanish mainland.

Posted by
18802 posts

JoAnne, you did all that research on Budapest, maybe you still put it to use.

You want downtime, we find you a cozy flat to rent for a week or more.

You do the Christmas Markets in Budapest, Szentendre, maybe Vienna for a night.

A night at the Opera or the Operett theater.

Just live like a local for a while. Talk to some shop keepers and join some locals at the corner wine bar.

Cant guarantee the weather, but last year about that time was within your temperature range after sunrise.

This is really a sweet city November and December. But then I think most of Eastern Europe is. Its when the culture shines the brightest.

Posted by
4342 posts

Mr. É is not wrong that Budapest might still be a good spot - and position you well for Christmas markets.

But if that doesn’t sound appealing, maybe consider Seville or Granada or Cadiz (or nearby). A lovely area with things to see but also easy to just relax.

Posted by
1222 posts

I have never felt as chilled as I did one November week in St Remy de Provence. The mistral chilled me to the bone and I've been in Moscow in January! I think southern Spain might be a good bet and perhaps slightly more reliable weather than Croatia or southern Italy.

Posted by
18802 posts

TTM, my attitude on weather and travel might be unique. If there is a place that is special in warm weather, then that's when I want to be there. I've also noticed that places that have short winters at best "survive them". So when I travel in the Winter I go for a place that celebrates the season .... having no choice possibly because the season is so long. Eastern Europe and I presume the Baltic states and further north fit that category.

Posted by
18802 posts

Skyegirl I visited Moscow once Christmas (January), the exact year escapes me right now (but it was quite some time ago), but it was said to be the coldest winter since 1941/42 when the Germans froze their ..... off. To be honest I have never been so cold in my life. Well, except for one brief DoD work assignment in Minot.

Posted by
1603 posts

Madeira would be lovely but not very convenient for German Christmas markets!

Posted by
27424 posts

Madeira sounds like a good idea if you have to travel in November (it's stunning), but it may turn out to get time-consuming to get to. That's the first thing I'd check.

I agree that Cadiz is worth considering.

In Italy I'd suggest Orvieto and Salerno as possibilities.

Posted by
255 posts

Thanks everyone for your experience and ideas. I am a bit away from booking so we have time. Right now I have a strong hankering to go back to Rothenburg during the Christmas market. I in fact have a cancellable hotel booking for Dec 2-3, just in case. :) Have been looking at accommodations in Cadiz today. I am ok with a "two centre trip" on this occasion as it seems pretty simple to grab a cheap flight from somewhere warm to somewhere less so, with an open jaw across the pond and at least a week at both centres.

Mr E, I am not giving up on Budapest but in fact don't want to give that plan short shrift, and a November trip would be shorter than the 3+ weeks we had planned for Hungary and Poland. And honestly I haven't heard good things about the Budapest markets--i.e. that prices for food and drink are jacked up compared to what you'd pay a block or two away, and the markets are staged mostly for tourists with few local visitors. Is that legit? TTM I know you are a connaisseur of Christmas markets, what is your experience there? I do like the idea that "culture shines bright" in the off season, though, and it's still a possibility. (And would make a more thematically coherent trip, as if we go to Germany, we also would see some of Austria.)

Posted by
18802 posts

JoAnne, you know i talk about Budapest, because its the only place I know anything about. Plenty of good places to visit in the world. Some almost as good (kidding).

Is it a good market(s)? I enjoy it. But relative to others in Europe, I have no idea. My Christmas market experience outside of Budapest is limited to Szentendre, Vac, Obuda, Vienna, Brasov, Lviv and a handful of small Slovak towns. So not exactly the top ten. But the last Budapest Market(s), like most of the previous years, did make the top or the top ten of just about every list you can find.

https://www.europeanbestdestinations.com/christmas-markets/

The article that may have started the discussion.
https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/12/14/21-bratwurst-and-10-gluhwein-locals-say-they-have-been-priced-out-of-christmas-markets

The Hungarian rebuttal points out that the Budapest market is no more expensive than the norm in Europe. That’s not much for an Austrian or a German, but Hungary is a very poor country so, yes, its pricy for them. Basically this is no different than what happens in baseball stadiums in the US … or movie theaters. https://hungarytoday.hu/budapest-christmas-fair-prices-not-excessive-by-european-standards/

BUT, what didn’t get the press was that “There is a compulsory cheap menu for those who cannot afford the expensive ones If you do not have that much money, you can ask for a small menu for HUF 1,500 (EUR 4). For example, you may eat chicken stew with vegetables and fried potato for that price. It is a rule this year that customers must find hot meals for that much”
But still, despite all of this, Budapest is in the list of the cheapest (at least this list)
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe-travel/most-affordable-christmas-market-breaks-in-europe-brdw3s9mq

I suggest while you are here, for a different local vibe, go to the markets in Obuda, Szentendre and Vac (all very close).

One thing that I did note last year was how many Hungarians were actually there. I was sort of amazed and pleased that, especially in the daylight hours, the predominate language was Hungarian. So, they may not be eating a lot of food, but they are coming. As Budapest is a secondary tourist market I suspect the mix of locals and tourists is better here than in many of the top ten locations.

Outside of Budapest there are more choices if you want to go small and truly local.
https://dailynewshungary.com/premium-christmas-markets-5-cities-to-visit-in-hungary/

Posted by
4342 posts

Oh goodness! I am NOT knowledgeable about Christmas markets, except for gathering information for more December trips myself! I am sure sorry your trip has gotten pushed back after all the thought you have put into it. But I know you will most likely dust it off when you can. My only thought was that if you are headed into Austria and/or Germany for markets anyway and don’t want to fly between destinations, Budapest is there and easy. I am sure the markets are nice, but that’s not why I would go.

And I am also not knowledgeable through experience of a nice cozy place for cold weather and you have some good suggestions. But I have done some pretty nice sitting with a glass of wine in sunshine in Seville and Granada in March. Cadiz is calling me for my next southern Spain trip. I have seen “the big stuff” so only tossing it out there, depending on what you are looking for. I have a friend who sometimes goes to Mull in Scotland for a week in March, to cozy up inside with a book and relax. LOL. Not my idea of a good time, but we are all different. Ha!

Posted by
2670 posts

Right now I have a strong hankering to go back to Rothenburg during the Christmas market.

How about Goslar with world heritage old town and well-known Christmas Market?

Posted by
255 posts

Well we booked 2 weeks (ish), last week of Nov + 1st week of December), into Budapest and out of Munich. Details TBD. Thanks folks!

Posted by
18802 posts

JoAnne, I thought you were coming in September? And I was going to join you in the Turks and Caicos. Not that there is anything wrong with November.

Depending on how much time you have you should think about the Christmas Markets in Budapest, Obuda, Szentendre and maybe Gyor or Pecs ..... And if you like wine, this is always fun and a way to be a little "local" as few tourists do this: https://wineloversrendezvenyek.hu/bordoi-november/

Your are Canadian, but if you wanted to join some Americans, its always fun finding an American Thanksgiving Dinner when traveling. I took a local to one last year, she was confused by it.

More things will come up over the next few months. Rarely is somehting advertised more than 2 or 3 months in advance. Always frustrating, that.

Posted by
255 posts

Lovely ideas as usual Mr E, thank you! You helped with our decision and I'll hit you up soon in the Hungary forum for more.

Another time for the Turks and Caicos! ;)