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Winter idea in Europe

I am posting this for a friend (really).

I have a daughter who will be studying in Brussels for the fall semester. Before she comes back at the end of the year, I plan to take my other daughter (also at college age) to go meet with her, and try to see Europe for 2 weeks. So this will be around Christmas time. So far, none of us have been to Europe yet.

Any suggestions on where to go and what to do for us first timers? We probably will rely on public transportation during those 2 weeks.

Thanks

Posted by
693 posts

By the time she's been in Brussels for a few weeks your friend's daughter may have her own ideas of where she wants to go before flying back to the US. However, Christmas time could be the most fun in Southern Germany and Austria. There are the Christmas markets to consider. Days are short but there is still the cafe culture (maybe not so interesting to the college age kids, though.) I would also consider Paris and London, they're worth visiting any time of the year. It's hard to make specific recommendations without knowing the interests of the travelers. Tell them to pack at least one cashmere sweater, a fleece pullover and maybe long silk underwear. If they want to explore one of the major cities in depth, they might want to consider renting an apartment for a week.

Posted by
42 posts

Be prepared to be COLD. I went over the Christmas-New Years holidays and nearly froze my tush off! Pack good long underwear. Paris is beautiful. London was neat, but I'm a history nerd.

Posted by
8064 posts

Why Southern Germany? Northern and Central Germany have just as many Christmas Markets and just as many historical sites to see as the Southern part.

For college students, I would suggest Berlin. Amsterdam might be something the 2 of them would like to see. If you sort of stay around this same northern area, not so much time or money will be needed for travel between cities.

As was already mentioned, going to school here will give your daughter some good ideas, so you might want to leave it up to her to plan something.

Posted by
2297 posts

I'm curious. What kind of activities are available in Muerren in the winter time other than skiing to fill out more than a couple of days?

As already mentioned be prepared that it can be very cold and uncomfortable around Christmas time. And the days are very short with sunlight gone by 4.30 pm.

Therefore I'd choose places that also provide lots of interesting indoor activities. Berlin comes to mind with musuems and shopping activities during the day and very interesting nightlife full of performances and clubbing opportunities.

I might be a bit biased but I'd definitely recommend to schedule your itinerary around some Christmas markets in Germany. They usually shut down by Dec 23.

Public transportation is a good choice given the risk that streets could be icy and slow going in the winter time.

Posted by
12040 posts

There are Christmas markets all over Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany at this time of year. I don't know if Brussels in particular has an impressive one, but the nearby cities of Leuven and Hasselt have very large markets. Hasselt's is still the most elaborate I have seen anywhere... more of a combination Christmas market/ Winter carnival, complete with temporary restaurants, a skating rink, and rides (even a large roller coaster!).

Posted by
3086 posts

We haven't been there for Christmas but are thinking that Barcelona and Madrid might be good--a little warmer than some places with average temps 48-51 degrees for December.

I always love Paris (anytime) but especially in December though, as others have pointed out, the days are short and it's chilly.