Thanksgiving Travel

What type of vacation would you recommend for travel around 11/23/13 for about seven days? Is Europe too cold? Is there a part of Europe that is warmer? Thanks - Tom

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9134 posts

Define "too cold". Large parts of Europe are often warmer than Chicago at that time of year. However, one important weather consideration is that much of Europe north of the Alps experiences rather damp and overcast conditions between late October and late spring. What this means is that the striking technicolor rural scenery that tourists enjoy in the summer is usually hidden behind a curtain of dull gray haze. So I think you would experience more bang for your euro by staying predominantly urban.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7828 posts

Late November is pretty well winter in Europe. Europe has winter, and even places in the south like Rome and Athens can be cold, and even on rare occaisons have a few flakes of snow. If you want a warm sunny vacation, Europe in November will not be ideal fit.. Its great for many things, no crowds in museums , lower hotel rates etc,, but no, its not tshirt weather anywhere at that time.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

I think to illustrate further what Tom and Pat are saying: A few years ago, we visited Madrid and did a few daytrips at that time of year. I recall highs in the low to mid 50s. Weather was overcast half the week and partly cloudy/partly sunny the other half. I think we had some fog and light rain one day, and it was all rain the day we left with just a dusting of snow on some of the mountains viewable from the airport. Small towns with no world-class sites are probably not good that time of year, but big cities like Madrid are great (very few tourists and everything's open). Smaller places like El Escorial, Toledo, or Segovia can be good for daytrips since they are packed with world-class sites. Barcelona is another good option. The south of Spain is good. Italy can be good. Still, the weather will all be sort of similar to what I described, even though it will be a bit warmer in southern Spain. Greece might be an option. You're not going to get all sunny and warm anywhere in Europe.

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

Tom, have done the quick Thanksgiving trip 3 times. 2 times to Paris, great weather, once to Prague, very cold. Smaller crowds of course, and also shorter hours. This works well for those going with me, shorter hours then my customary go-go philosophy, which tires people out. Good Luck!

Posted by Christina
New York, NY, 10025
365 posts

I went to London over Thanksgiving '08 and the weather was about 40 Fahrenheit and mostly cloudy. If that would depress you, then it's to be avoided, but I was okay with it. There is plenty to do indoors in London. And since there is no Thanksgiving, I got to see London in Christmas mode, which was very nice. And there weren't a ton of tourists around, though of course there were some. Since I am from NYC London wasn't much different to me than home at that time of year, so that helped me to be okay with it.

Posted by Jesse
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
171 posts

We did Thanksgiving in London a couple of years back. Weather was no worse than it is in Oklahoma in winter. We had a great time.

Posted by Claudia
Land of La
2014 posts

What are you looking for? Fun in the sun? Cheaper airfare, fewer hordes of tourists? I've traveled in Europe over the Turkey Day holidays more than once. Weather has never been t-shirts and shorts but have enjoyed High 60's as well as low 40's. Snow once. It's when I love to travel. Like the US of A, Europe is in the Northern Hemisphere where November is considered late Fall, early Winter. If its a tan you want I'd say Puerto Rico. Belize. Cabo. Otherwise pack layers and enjoy Europe.

Posted by Rosalyn
Berkeley
1011 posts

The year I was an exchange teacher in London we spent the Xmas break in Sicily. We had only one cold, rainy day; and that was almost 4 weeks further into winter than what you're considering. Sicily also has many indoor attractions, so some inclement weather doesn't necessarily spoil a trip. That being said, to me, 7 days is too short a time to offset the pain of trans-Atlantic travel. I recommend Hawaii. We celebrated our 50th anniversary, the last week of November, by renting houses on the Big Island for us and our family. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Almost every day saw a high of 80 - 82. Plenty to do in addition to beach/pool time; Volcanoes Nat'l Park, day-long catamaran cruise to a cove for snorkel/scuba diving, daytrip to Hilo for botanical gardens and Rainbow Falls Park. In fact, we ran out of time and are thinking of a return visit so we can catch the things we missed.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1434 posts

Hi Tom, Depends what you're looking for. If it's beautiful old towns with an amazing Christmas/Holiday atmosphere, head to Salzburg and Innsbruck. We took a trip Thanksgiving week in 2010 just for this purpose. Even with cold nights, the food, hot drinks, stalls, lights, choirs, etc. will put anyone in a festive mood. Add a bit of snow and it was perfect! We're hoping to do it again this Nov. or Dec. http://www.worldisround.com/home/pja1/index.html http://www.salzburg.info/en/art_culture/advent_new_years_eve/advent_christmas_markets http://www.christkindlmarkt.cc/54-1-Silvester.html

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
2852 posts

Coming from IL, you probably won't be fazed by the temperature. But even more than cold, prepare for the short days and the lack of light. I was in London in December, and not only were the daylight hours short, but it simply never got very light out (and I was comparing it to Philadelphia, not Miami or Phoenix - I was still depressed by how dark it always seemed, even at midday). Do take into account the above points that, while European cities are fully "open" in November with lots of indoor attractions and few tourists, rural areas are not at their best. And yes, if you're looking for real warmth, you wouldn't go to Europe in November.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3511 posts

As Harold said, you'll have less daylight. Chicago is about the same latitude as Barcelona and Rome. Farther north, you'll have even less daylight. On the other hand, places like London and Paris have less severe winters than you do. I've been to Italy and Andalusia in February and the weather was pretty balmy for the most part, but it's unpredictable. I'd head there if you want more outdoor sightseeing. But I'd happily spend a week in London or Paris. If the weather's not so nice, there are so many wonderful indoor places to visit.

Posted by Ron
southwest, Missouri, U.S.A.
1361 posts

Hello Tom. In the last week of November, the air will probably not be cold at the island Crete of Greece. There could be some rain.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1349 posts

We left on 11/23/12 for a trip to Salzburg, Regensburg, Rothenburg, Wurzburg, Bamberg and Nuremburg to see the Christmas markets. In Salzburg it was sunny and high 40s - delightful. In Germany it was more often in the 30s with some sun and some snow - certainly not warm, but easy to keep warm with the right clothes. It was just right for getting in the Christmas spirit. If you are interested in the Christmas markets, you would have to check the schedules because not all of them are open in November.

Posted by Roy
Auburn, AL
805 posts

Why not Turkey for Thanksgiving week? Better weather than most of Europe and it would be a new twist on the holiday.

Posted by Jack
St Joe Beach Florida
149 posts

Tom, I travelled to Madrid for Thanksgiving week a couple of years ago and found the weather great. I had a fleece jacket and packed a cotton sweater and was fine. BTW: That year, at least, the Hard Rock Cafe in Madrid had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for all Americans in the city. Check it out!

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
948 posts

most of my trips to Europe have us leaving Florida on thankgiving day. For us Floridians, we do not mind the fact that it is going to be chilly and a bit rainy. It has never ruined a trip for us. You don't live in Florida so I can see why you would want weather to be a bit more warm. you could chose 2 cities in Spain or Italy. Maybe fly into Madrid and then out of Barcelona. Fly into Florence or Venice and out of Rome.
We like traveling during that time as it seems that it is the cheapest time of year to leave the states. We are vegetarians so we do not care that we don't have turkey.