Just want to get peoples thoughts on weather its worth freezing our tushy's off in Poland and Austria next Dec. We normally travel Europe in the spring or fall but 2013 wont allow us to go until Dec. Should we just bag this idea and go to the tropics or will we be able to see and do what we want at that time of year.
Only you can know it. In December days are short and you are right; Poland and Austria can be quite cold. It's usually more pleasant to be inside. Maybe to see some Christmas markets and do little skiing in Austria. Personally I would go somewhere where is warmer.
I have now been 4 times in the winter months and love it. But, I also love Europe in the spring, summer and fall. It is just a different mindset, but for me, I would rather spend Dec. in Europe than some Caribbean island...Christmas markets, etc. are wonderful. But... come Feb. when I am sick of winter, I might opt for Central or South America. It's still fun, just dress for it.
Hi Aly, I can only comment on Austria. We made the trip the last week of Nov. '10 specifically to visit the Christmas/Advent Markets. While it was cold and the daylight hours were short, visitng the markets was well worth it. We visited the markets in Salzburg, St. Gilgen, Innsbruck, Hall in Tirol and Rattenberg. We had a great time. Paul
If you are going over there with the mindset that you are going to have to survive the cold you will probably not have a very good time. If you make the cold part of the experience and embrace the experience the cold might actually add to the good memories of the trip. One of my most memorable trips was Moscow in January. I know now why the Germans failed in the winter of '43, celebrated Orthodox Christmas, walked Red Square in the moonlight and got a kick out doing it all in -10F weather. I haven't exactly done Poland and Austria in December. I have been in the High Tatras of Slovakia about 50 miles south of Poland and in Budapest about 150 miles south of Austria in December; a couple of times, and will do it again. This is Christmas Market time and Theater time. We've had wonderful snow ball fights under the Chain Bridge on the banks of the Danube River. Sure it gets dark early but the streets are alive until well into the evening. My experience in Austria is limited to Vienna and Melk and I've looked across the border into Poland but still haven't made the trip so I am not much help there, but if you find yourself in Hungary or Slovakia I bet I could give you enough ideas to make a good trip of it. Of course, if you can't embrace the cold, it will be miserable.
I don't know about Austria, but I was in Poland for two winters and, though I'm from Oklahoma and not used to extreme cold, I found Polish winters quite tolerable. Actually, because it was never as windy there as it is here, it often didn't feel as cold. Plus, when you're at home, you dash from your house to your car, then from your car to the office - never really getting out in the cold and thus never dressing properly so that it can feel colder than it is. (Well, that's the case with me :) )Whereas in Poland, I was always prepared with heavy coat, scarf, and gloves. I only wear a hat if it's extremely cold, and I only felt the need to wear a hat two or three times in Poland. As Ilja said, only you know whether or not you'd enjoy traveling during the winter, but Poland - well, Krakow anyway - is thoroughly charming in December. And the cold weather is a great excuse for some mulled wine and roasted nuts that they sell at various vendors around the Christmas Market. :)