Travel in late November/ early December

My husband has asked me to pick 'somewhere' to go for my 40th birthday at the end of November. We have already spent a month traveling throughout Thailand. Although he is retired Navy and has been all over the world, he's never really spent much time in Europe. I love Europe and would like to take my trip 'somewhere' there. I love Italy but am open to anywhere in Europe. I've been researching the weather during late November/ early December and I'm starting to get discouraged.... Is there anywhere in Europe with semi-decent weather this time of year? I'm worried we'll be stuck with cold, rainy, short days. Also, if anyone has any suggestions for anywhere else in the world not to be missed during that time of year I'd be open to those suggestions as well!


Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
2081 posts

...days grow shorter toward December 21st, limiting your site seeing opportunities

True for daylight site seeing opportunities. Also many venues operate shorter "off-season" hours.

But then you will have more night life:
When that evenin' sun goes down
Yeah you'll find me hangin' around
Because the night life, it ain't no good life
But it's my life.

No bad weather, only bad (inappropriate) clothing. Less light during the off season also translates to less crowds and off-season pricing.

Posted by Galen
Dallas, United States
484 posts

You said:

Also, if anyone has anysuggestions for anywhere else in the world not
to be missed during that time of year

Brazil! You didn't say what you are particularly interested in, but Brazil has wonderful beaches all along the coast; historic cities like Salvador and smaller ones in the state of Minas Gerais; many natural wonders such as Iguazu Falls and the Amazon River; big cities like Rio and Sao Paulo and all that that brings; and delicious food all along the way. Happy birthday and have a great trip!

Posted by Kim
Franklin, NC, USA
33 posts

Remember that many Christmas Markets kick off in early December. We've left the US for Germany the day after Thanksgiving several times & have (usually) had brisk but nice weather while visiting markets in Heidelberg, Trier, Speyer, & Nuremberg plus other smaller markets. The days are short but the nighttime markets are lively with folks of all ages.

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1491 posts

Right, the southern hemisphere in Nov/Dec traslates to May/June for us in the northern hemisphere. We were in Spain this past November, and in Italy the December before that. While a couple of days in our week in Rome had rain, and we were absolutely poured on at Herculaneum a couple of weeks later, most of the time the weather was simply cool-to-mild. Locals carried umbrellas on the days when rain was forecast, and all of the museums and other sights had umbrella stands next to the coat and baggage check counters. Some places were open shorter hours than in the summer, but were still open, and as we understand it, Rome can be stiflingly HOT in summer, so going in the late fall avoids that.

Spain was also mostly just cool, but on a rainy day in San Sebastian on the coast, it was cold. Still, with an appropriate jacket and something to keep dry, we enjoyed our time there. Of course, you could hit a warm, dry spell, so others' past experiences may not apply. Plan and dress accordingly, and have a great trip! Happy Birthday, too!

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
3134 posts

For more than 20 years we went to Europe in late Nov./early /Dec. We LOVED the UK at that time- even the Highlands of Scotland. Yes is could be coldish (not much worse than here in NC) and occasionally dampish (just light rain usually- not the thunder storms/downpours of summer) and a couple of times we got light snow- just enough to be pretty!!! We also went to Austria (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck) during some of those trips. We had some snow in Salzburg once- it was so beautiful! It is cold there- sometimes the high for the day was less than 32 degrees F. As someone else said- they have cold and know how to cope and make it fun. The Christmas markets were marvelous (and you can get hot grog/wine too :-) !!!) Just pack layers and warm socks and shoes and you should be fine.

Plan on visiting 'inside' things later or earlier in the day and use the middle for any outside things where you might want to take pictures. Though hubby got some great shots outside in the late afternoons. We really enjoyed visiting Kew Gardens in the winter (London). Their gift shop is one of my favorites and we'd stock up on some great small Christmas presents there. A couple of times we went just for the gift shop- they will let you in with a 30 min. pass for free. The gift shop at the Tower of London is also very nice. And London,York, Bath, Canterbury, Cardiff Wales and Edinburgh all have GREAT Christmas Markets. Windsor has a smaller one- and it is French style rather than the German style of the others.

The smaller numbers of people is a big plus. Shorter lines means less wait time so you can really see MORE. There's different seasonal food (and beer and wine), too. We had some great meals in the winter. And if you love hot chocolate---- Oh MY!!!!! (with whipped cream - mit schlag!!!)

So- I wouldn't limit choices based on cold or wet weather.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

Anywhere is workable, but if it really bugs you -- look at South Island, New Zealand; New South Wales and Victoria, Australia; Patagonia, Argentina;
or just about any place in southern Africa.

Posted by Diane
Westford, MA
103 posts

Look at Spain's weather for Andalusia region like Seville, Cordoba, Grananda.
Portugal's Lisbon and Algrave. Greece! There will be some rain in these places everywhere but not every day. Normally they have shorter durations than Northern Europe.
So Portugal & Spain; Greece, Happy Birthday!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
6541 posts

Andalusia has the warmest, driest climate in Europe. Also, the days seem longer because although Spain is west of the prime meridian, it's on central European time . . . as in permanent DST. It's a great mix of Moorish and European culture.

Posted by grnplnnr
2 posts

Thanks everybody! I forgot to mention.... I don't mind the cold. Grew up in it as did my husband. BUT, we now live in San Diego and have no real heavy winter clothes left so we'd need to buy new clothes that would essentially go to waste after the trip! :) We have 'cool' weather clothes for the brisk nights here in the winter, but no heavy coats, etc. He's pushing hard for Australia, but I still have my heart set on Europe. My Aunt and Uncle live in Sardinia (she's Sardinian) and she's suggested Sevilla, Cordoba Granada and Jerez. Plus, then they could come over and visit with us and since they go there often they will be able to help us make the most of our week there. (They met me in Rome several years ago and we had a blast!) I love Italy and was hoping to find somewhere there, but anywhere would be great. Thank you for all of your suggestions! I will look into all of them!

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8186 posts

I'm for Rome (and south), Italy or Andalusia, Spain. It's not just the cold, the shorter days limit what you can accomplish further north. The daylight hours will be reasonable further south and the temperature will be comfortable for any activity.

Posted by Cyn
Wheat Ridge, CO, USA
1491 posts

So, grnplnnr, do you have a sweater or two, or something else you can use to "layer"? If you're meeting your relatives in Andalusia (which should be warmer and drier than we experienced on the northern cost last November), do they have clothing recommendations? You may already have garments that would work, if you combine things, and wouldn't need a whole new wardrobe just for this trip.

On our December 2012 trip, in between Rome and Sorrento, we had a week in Sicily - really enjoyed it, and your Aunt and Uncle might even venture south to meet you there! Lots of fascinating Greek temple ruins, ancient Roman sights, great people, and fabulous food!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
5055 posts


In late November, well, I would even hesitate and think hard about going to my favourites Berlin (where I can bet it will be cold) and Vienna. Still, if that were the only time slot, I would choose first of all, London, then maybe Paris, depending on other weather factors.

Posted by Kelly
St Petersburg Florida
951 posts

It's my favorite time of year to travel......have you seen the throngs of people flooding the streets of Europe in the warm months? We walked right up to the Mona Lisa barrier when we were there at end of November; in the rick Steves video, the viewing area was 20 people deep.
Airfare and accommodations cheaper.
I live in Florida and I love getting cozy in my jeans, boots, sweater, scarf, gloves. Don't get to do it often.

Posted by Dee
81 posts

We were in Italy in late November a few years ago. It was mild in Rome, rainy in Florence, a nice day in Siena. It was chilly in Venice and overcast with a bit of rain but with layers ( one layer was a fleece ) and my Gortex jacket I was fine. I had a warm scarf and gloves and of course an umbrella. A hat is a good idea too. I loved it anyway and it was less crowded than our late September visit there a few years later.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3583 posts

I spent late November/early December in Greece and loved it. The weather was cool and some nights quite chilly. Sometimes a little rain. But we had the sites and museums almost to ourselves and the people were less stressed without hordes of visitors and therefore very open and friendly. Mind you this was the mainland and not islands, which largely close down over the winter. And many hotels in smaller towns were closed (like Delphi). But major cities like Athens or Nafplio were no problem.

AndalucĂ­a in mid-November was wonderful too. Warm/mild and little rain. Another good choice.

Posted by BG
SF Bay Area, USA
1645 posts

For a milestone birthday I would choose Paris, for a darkly romantic & beautiful setting. I love Paris in the winter. It could be cold, but you can purchase a reasonably-priced, black, down jacket at C&A store on the rue de Rivoli, and look like all the other Parisian women (and I think they have a men's section also). And of course you will want to have a scarf....
Weather is unpredictable these days, from what I've heard Paris has had a cool, damp summer. So it could be cool and damp and there's less daylight, but the museums, cafes, shops, and the Eiffel Tower will be going strong. The Christmas decorations and markets should be happening then too, and they are delightful.

Posted by James E.
4479 posts

Paris is my second favorite place in the world. But only in spring and early autumn. I think in November and December there would be just too much of the charm lost to the weather.

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

Since you said you love Italy, I would vote for Rome, maybe later going south if you have enough time. I'm real wimp about cold weather, and have enjoyed several winter trips to Rome. No crowds, even in the Vatican museums. Each time I've been there, the weather was slightly warmer than what I found when I came home to San Francisco. And the rain I encountered was mist/intermittent light rain. I've had heavier rain in Rome on trips in the fall.