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Destinations to avoid from Dec. 27, 2021 thru Jan 7th, 2022

I am worried about places being closed down after Christmas and after New Years Eve. Are there towns in France, Germany and Switzerland to avoid during this time? Places we should focus on during that time? Thanks so much. We were supposed to do this trip in July 2020 when kids were still in college etc. I may never get the opportunity to do this again with my kids and this is the only time people have off from work.

Posted by
7196 posts

Nothing to worry about; it depends on *where specifically in France, Germany and Switzerland * you are going and what specifically you want to do. For example I went to Normandy to visit the WW2 Dday beaches and memorials around that time of year in 2014 and everything I wanted to see was open. I have gone to Europe every year from 2014-2019 that time of year and had fun ringing in the New Year in Paris 2014, 2015, Orivieto, Italy in 2016 in Amsterdam 2017, in Seville 2018, and in Collioure, France 2019. Things like museums are just shut down New Years Day just like in the USA as most people sleep in after partying late New Years Eve. Finally if you are bothered by late sunrises and early sunsets (the days are short on sunlight in Europe that time of year) don't go,

Posted by
21082 posts

Most museum, etc., websites list closing days as well as hours of operation. In my (somewhat limited) experience they may not be terribly precise about days when they will close early or open late, at least not this far in advance. Still, my suggestion is to hit the websites of the attractions important to you and see what they say. I think it might be a bit risky to be in a smallish city on Dec 31 and Jan 1 if there are only a very few indoor attractions of interest to you. If you're in a major city, you can probably find something, at least on Dec 31. I know the London Walks folks do conduct walks even on holidays. So that's something to check out in major cities.

If you have some tentative itinerary ideas, post them here. I think it will be easier for responders that way.

Posted by
3838 posts

Speaking about France, the one thing to plan ahead, perhaps, is your dinner on 31 December as many places will have expensive special menus, and for the best ones, people will book a long time ahead. Otherwise, French cities are actually pretty lively at that time of the year, nothing to worry about .

Posted by
7613 posts

Just be aware that in France, some museums/sites will be closed on January 1.

Usually they already have that information on their website (like “closed Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and May 1).

But there's not a reason to avoid any place. But good for you for thinking ahead about it!

Posted by
199 posts

Museums and attractions in Germany will be closed on January 1 because it is a holiday. So will stores and grocery stores. The problem you will run into is that Jan 2 is a Sunday. Museums and attractions will be open (individual results may vary, but in general), but stores will be closed. So for those two days you might need to plan carefully. Restaurants can be open (and will on Sunday the 2nd, but results will vary the 1st--chains more likely to be open).

New Years is an EVENT in Germany. If you are in Germany, expect fireworks all day the 31st and certainly loud partying all night. You have young people out and about or in clubs (normally, we'll see how Covid affects things), and older people finding a sit down for raucous singing and celebrating. Expect that the parties will go until quite late/early. Public transport lines that normally shut down for the night might actually run all night with a special service. My advice--decide how much you want to join in with the locals and find a nice place to do so or decide you prefer to get some sleep and see Germany when the entire country is hung over and in bed (and not at all crowded!). We do not look our best New Years Day--the dirtiest day of the year because of all the firework remnants EVERYWHERE. But the night before is pretty fun! So it's up to your own family's level of enjoyment of the local "party" scene.

Depending on your luck you might be able to catch the last few Christmas markets, though of course the atmosphere is different. There are a few that stay open for a few days or even up to a week after Christmas to catch that last Glühwein.

One obscure and highly local tradition is Rummelpottlaufen in northern Germany. On NYE, groups go around in a form of trick or treating, except they sing or recite poems, often in local dialect. Yes, they dress up. Older/adult participants might wear a shot glass around their neck and receive a shot of Schnapps instead of candy. Or often they get a few Euros. For this tradition you would need to head to very northern Germany--along the North Sea coast mostly. Föhr might be the best place for that, and I suggest finding a local or two, an easy costume, and ask if you can join in--just go easy on the Schnapps. If you can arrange it in advance, you might have time to learn one or two of the local songs. Quality of singing or even pronunciation not required, especially by the third house.

I can't speak to France or Switzerland at that time of year.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks so much. Covid is wreaking havoc on our trip once again but we are going to try and be smart about where we go based on the latest info.