We have two weeks vacation Nov 23-Dec 8, 2013. Where can we go in Europe where the weather won't be too bad at that time?
Define "not too bad." Obviously, the further south you go the better. Southern Spain, France, Italy.
By "Not too bad" I mean, not pouring rain where roads would be closed or trains not running, or heavy snowing. Would love to go to France, spending time in Paris and the French Countryside. What would the weather be like that time of year?
Hi Brenda, If you want to go to Paris, then go for it! Of course it's colder than it is in our area, but if you dress for the weather you can have a great time. We were there a few years ago for 10 nights over New Years. It was VERY COLD that year, but we only had one day with a little rain and one day with some snow. There is so much to do indoors there that weather doesn't need to be a factor. As for the countryside, that may be a little more problematic. Cities are best for wintertime travel. A combination of Paris and London would work well. A group of us that met through this Helpline meet every month on the 3rd Saturday. We are all experienced travelers and are happy to help others with their plans. If you are interested in joining us let me know.
Unless you head to the Alps, there's not too many places in western Europe where you would realistically need to concern yourself with snow at that time of year. And rain in the late fall/early winter, even though it may occur frequently, usually falls in light sprinkles and mists. Soaking downpours are rare. Weather also usually has little impact on trains or roads (barring again, those high Alpine areas). That being said, there are some meterological considerations to keep in mind. For one, even though it may not rain in torrents, the atmosphere is usually quite damp. So, if you're expecting sunny skies and the bright, vivid colors of the countryside... wrong time of year. Everything usually looks kind of hazy and gray. Also, the periods of daylight are much shorter than you are probably accustomed to in California. So, the central point? Your money and time would be better used exploring cities than in venturing out into the countryside.
With 2 weeks you can do 3 cities with maybe a couple of day trips to other places. If you've not been before I would do London/Paris/Rome, flying into London, Eurostar to Paris then budget flight to Rome and fly home from there. If you're in the city the weather isn't going to be a big big factor. You'd also be in Paris at the right time for Christmas markets either in Paris or on a day trip to Strasbourg or Colmar. Lots of people on this forum love to go to Europe during this time of year, regardless of the weather. If you're intent on a better chance of 'nice' weather then Frank's suggestions of southern France, Spain, Italy are good.
The Christmas markets in Austria - Vienna, Salzburg, Wolfgangsee, etc - would be my choice. Could be cold, but not so bad. Transportation won't be affected by the weather except in very extreme conditions.
This is a slightly edited version of my response to Ursula's similar question. Try Weatherbase to get the info you seek. Click on November or December under Vacation Finder at the bottom of the opening page. Leave "Don't Care" in the boxes if you really don't or fill them in with your temperature preferences and go "On To Step 3." Choose Europe, then your country(ies) of choice. You can get a general idea of the weather in different parts of the country from the charts. For the most complete data, click on the individual cities. From those charts, you can see the two months side by side. As others have mentioned, and having lived in both the Seattle area and Germany, I think the biggest issue that time of year, is the short days. The biggest advantage is the usual lack of tourists.
Different angle - have traveled many times in Europe in all seasons. I find that packing is almost easier in the winter - less weather/temperature extremes to pack for. It could be T-shirt weather in Paris, Austria, Germany, etc., but it won't be shorts weather, no sandals, etc. One good wind and water proof knee-length raincoat with hood, one umbrella, one pair of good trail/hiking type shoes, one fleece sweater/jacket, fleece hat/gloves, one pair black jeans, one pair black slacks, t-shirts - mostly long sleeve & a couple short sleeve, a neck scarf. Maybe a pair of tights to go under pants if really cold, but you'll be walking and that keeps you warm. Hiking socks that are synthetic and quick dry, not cotton. Done. Easy... Just less variation in weather in the winter. It can get cold and windy, or likely wet, but you'll be ready. Don't concern yourself with "good" weather, instead find somewhere fabulous that's extra special this time of year - like the Christmas markets, that you can't see at any other time. And enjoy, weather be damned! I love winter travel in Europe, with no crowds and lower prices. I spent a Carnavale in Venice in the snow one year, and then snow down through all of Tuscany. Spectacular! Wouldn't have traded that for all the sun in the tropics! Focus on special sights and events, and just prepare for winter weather and enjoy it... Cheers!