Christmas travel in the European Alps

My wife and I intend to travel in the European Alps at Christmas time, if this is a reasonable choice. I am concerned that an open-ended flight itinerary between Munich and Venice will be difficult. Traveling from one to the other in the winter might be difficult. We intend to spend 2 weeks; 8 days in Bavaria/Austria, and 6 days in the Italian Cadore (visiting family). IS TRAVEL IN THIS REGION during December problematic or simple? I expect to use public transportation. I welcome all opinions and experiences. Mille Grazie!! Gary

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1425 posts

Hi Gary, You should have no problems. It's also a simply wonderful time to experience the Christmas/Advent markets in Bavaria and Austria. We went on a trip to do just that in late November 2010. While it was COLD some nights, we would do it again, no question about it. We flew into/out of Munich, had a rental car and based 4 nights each in Schonau am Konigsee and Hall in Tirol. From Konigsee we visited the markets in Salzburg and St. Gilgen. From Hall in Tirol we visited the markets in Innsbruck, Rattenberg and Hall in Tirol. My opinion, do not miss Salzburg, Rattenberg and Innsbruck. Even though we've been to Innsbruck before, we were never crazy about the city itself, but at this time of year, it was magical. We've also been to Salzburg numerous times, but during the Christmas season, it was incredible. The atmosphere, caroling, decorations, lights, trees, stalls, etc. during the Christmas markets is not to be missed. I guess what I'm saying is... have a great time! We have photo's at: http://www.worldisround.com/home/pja1/index.html Paul

Posted by Tom
Hüttenfeld, Hessen, Germany
9076 posts

"IS TRAVEL IN THIS REGION during December problematic or simple?" Not particularly difficult. Snow, which is a given, not an "if" in the Alps at that time of the year, can temporarily disrupt auto traffic, but the roads are usually quickly plowed and opened once the snow stops falling. Trains schedules are even less affected by snow, but not completely immune either. Snow probably causes the most problems with air traffic, however.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4751 posts

Do keep in mind that over the Christmas holiday itself, many businesses will be shut down. For the 24th, you should really try and make plans NOW for a place to stay that will offer dinner or some kind of Christmas program. Everything pretty much shuts down about 14:00 on the 24th. All restaurants, museums, and Christmas markets may have closed even earlier, like on the 22nd or 23rd. The 25th and the 26th are holidays, with all stores closed, and museums may or may not be open, so check the websites for any attractions you want to visit. Public transportation will be on a slower, holiday schedule.

Posted by Darren
Boulder, CO, USA
647 posts

definitely do it.
We spent Christmas '09 in Bavaria (and Salzburg) and we would/will do it again in a heartbeat. Yes it was cold. Yes, there was snow, but not so much to be prohibitive for travel. Trains can run through most anything, anyway. You will have a great time.

Posted by Gary
Idaho Falls, ID, USA
2 posts

These answers are all very helpful! I had not considered renting a car; but may. Now I intend to spend the holiday (24 Dec to 1 Jan) with family in Italy. Christmas markets are right in line with my wife's interest- Salzburg is sounding good. Is there a train from Vienna/Salzburg to somewhere in the Cadore???

Posted by Darren
Boulder, CO, USA
647 posts

Salzburg is my wife's favorite town in Austria, so I second your inclination. Something just feels right about that town, so we'll definitely go back when in Austria/Germany next. The markets over there are magical.