Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

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market timer
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Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by market timer » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:17 am

DW and I are thinking of booking a trip to Europe in late Jan. We have been to most of the major cities already (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam), so were thinking of something less crowded this time. Excluding airfare, we'd like to keep the trip under $3K (~$270/day for 11 days). We won't be able to rent a car (don't have a driver's license), and are not interested in skiing. Otherwise, open to any suggestions. Hopefully, there are some good values off-season.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:22 am

You can go to Moscow. Ruble is down and Aeroflot is cheap.

Victoria
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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by jebmke » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:30 am

It won't be as dark as mid-December but the days will still be quite short. Assume it will be cold and rainy and prepare accordingly.

I'd consider Florence, Barcelona if you want second tier cities. I don't know Barcelona well at all (only there a couple times) but in Florence you can easily dedicate 3-4 days for mostly indoor sites and day trips (many day trips reachable by bus or train). Both cities are great eating locations.
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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Professor Emeritus » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:37 am

My favorite cities North of the Alps at this time of year
are Rothenburg, Munich and Salzburg. All have good mass transit or are fully walkable
all have good mass transit connections to Munich airport all have winter "seasons" that are fun.
Vienna is also possible.

If you go anywhere warm in Europe in January you are paying high season prices.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by rjm_cali » Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:50 am

You've only got 11 days so you're probably not going to criss-crossing the entire EU+.

If you head north be prepared for short/very short daylight hours. Nice if it's still snowy and Christmassy . Not so nice if it's the usual cold damp northern European weather.

Me I'd probably head south and look at the south of France and northern Spain. This could take you to places like Nice/Cannes/Monaco , Perpignan , Gerona and Barcelona/Valencia. You could even head north west to The Dordogne and Bordeaux.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by rj49 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:26 pm

Spain might be a good option, with both off-season and tough-economy savings, and lots of interesting larger and smaller cities to choose from. I heard Rick Steves lecture last night, and his books and website are a great source for inexpensive but central lodging and meals, and for any country you could just follow one of the itineraries from his group tours. He also spoke for an hour about the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine) and has a new show about visiting there, so that's another option if you want to get out a European tourist comfort zone and get warmer weather. He also mentioned Istanbul as a fascinating and affordable place. You might also look at various Mediterranean cruises, which are a good way to sample various port cities without the hassles of arranging travel and lodging (again, Steves has a book on Mediterranean cruise stops where you can see things on your own without paying for cruise land tour prices).

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by natureexplorer » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:44 pm

With a budget of $270 a day in late January, you can pretty much go anywhere in Europe. I'd recommend considering:

Alps (maybe stay a few nights in a ski resort like Zermatt but don't ski)
Berlin
Zurich

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Caduceus » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:10 pm

Are you spending your GDX windfall? :) I have three suggestions that seem to fit your criteria.

Southern Spain / Andalusia might be a good option for an 11 day trip. Granada and Seville could be two bases during that time. Lots to see and do. Won't be crowded (relatively speaking)

Sicily is another option, although arranging for transportation from one part to another will require advance planning. Great views, very peaceful and definitely more of an adventure than the regular tourist spots. It has some of the most amazing architectural gems and historical ruins in Europe, though you will have to hop on local buses or take a short hike to get there. I didn't drive. The street food is fairly amazing too, and the local churches are straight out of an Anne Rice novel.

If you prefer more urban areas, what about Istanbul? 11 days will barely be enough, but little planning required, and superb and inexpensive cuisine is a plus. Traveling with your wife means you will avoid all the young men dressed in suits and ties who want to bring you to Taksim for a drink.

I'm a huge fan of the Mediterranean, generally. (And this isn't Europe anymore, but what about Morocco?)

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Lynette » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:18 pm

Southern Italy - Pompeii etc. I'm going on a cruise of the Dalmatian Coast (mainly Croatia) in December. Sicily and Malta are also on my list. Istanbul is a definite "again". Morocco would also be quite warm - include it with Spain.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:24 pm

How about Argentina... I think it's warm in January. From cheap cruises try:

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by market timer » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:58 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm discussing them with DW now.
VictoriaF wrote:You can go to Moscow. Ruble is down and Aeroflot is cheap.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are high on my list of places to visit next, but I'm worried they would be too cold in January. Just saw the avg high in Moscow in January is well below freezing.
Professor Emeritus wrote:If you go anywhere warm in Europe in January you are paying high season prices.
Hmm, if that's the case, perhaps we'd be better off taking this trip in the spring.
Caduceus wrote:Are you spending your GDX windfall? :)
Actually, DW received a promotion from Qatar Airlines that offers a free companion ticket to Europe. I guess the GDX windfall also makes it easier to spend money.
tennisplyr wrote:How about Argentina... I think it's warm in January.
We are flying out of Bangkok. Argentina is a bit too far out of the way for us. Some cooler weather would actually be welcome. I've had nothing but summer for the past year and a half.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by surfhb » Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:43 am

Nuremberg is great! Rothenburg is a short train ride away

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Van-Guard23 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:06 am

How about Istanbul and the surrounding areas such as Ephesus and Cappadocia? I second someone's suggestion about Spain (Barcelona, Madrid, Seville and day trips from those locations) and Portugal (Lisbon and day trips from there). We are doing both trips this month and next month.
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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by The Wizard » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:37 am

VictoriaF wrote:You can go to Moscow. Ruble is down and Aeroflot is cheap.

Victoria
Temperatures could be down also in late January...
Attempted new signature...

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:56 am

North of the Alps you will get ice and snow and darkness. London works in January because there is a lot to do-- but it is dull and grey, and when it snows the place shuts down. Munich isn't a bad call -- but you will have (lots) of snow. I've been to Vienna in January and found it dark and depressing, and the same would be true (in spades) of Berlin. However there is lots to do in Vienna.

South of the Alps you will likely get rain, but you may also get some sun. It won't be warm, but it won't be North America in winter.

So:

- Spain - Andalusia - Granada Cordoba Seville and the White Towns. There's more than enough to do. You can actually ski down there in January, but there should be sunshine. Rent a car is best way to get from A to B. Coastal strip is mostly pretty ugly (I liked the old town of Cadiz-- but was warned about camera snatching by the locals)

Barcelona is a fantastic place but I don't know what it would be like in January. Toulouse and that I would expect would be pretty cold and probably rainy.

Provence *might* be worth doing simply because of no tourism. However when the Mistral kicks in, it is something, and it can give people very bad headaches.

- Southern Italy-- there's a lot there like Pompei and Herculaneum. Be warned it will rain most likely. Naples has the challenges of a big city that is not very well policed-- but wonderful in its own way. Norman Lewis's 'Naples '44' is highly recommended reading before going.

- Sicily is a fabulous place for a driving around holiday. Palermo itself is big, has street crime (but is a fine city anyways, just be careful of valuables). It will rain at times.

(Portugal I think it mostly rains. Athens is *cold* in January and those hills are not nice if icy).

As an off the wall, Venice. The only time of year when it is not totally jammed with tourists (it is never not touristy). However if it gets icy, that would be quite a tricky place to walk around, and it would be cold. But you'd see Venice in a state few people see it.

Other places? Tunisia. There's enough to see for a week. Algeria and Libya are unfortunately both off the list because they are fascinating. Morocco is hard work-- the hassling, but again it would be interesting. However the Atlas Mountains would snow, so your ability to get out to see the smaller places is probably limited.

Egypt this is peak tourism time and because of the political disruption tourism is way down, except on the Red Sea (unless you scuba dive, I'd give that a miss-- there are overdeveloped resorts a plenty in the Americas). Egypt the sites are indeed, amazing beyond belief. So is the security, and the general sense of being one of millions of tourists. I am not sorry I went (Cairo - Valley of the Kings - Aswan - Lake Nasser and Abu Simbel) but I am not in a hurry to repeat. I *think* it is pretty safe (as safe as the Middle East gets).

Unfortunately I think the monastery at St. Catherine's is not recommended due to the security situation in the Sinai.

Israel there would be lots to see.

Check Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for travel risks. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Top of my list would be a driving holiday in Andalusia. There's enough there for 11 days. Fly to Malaga (good airport, the old town is nice the rest of the place is overdeveloped. My MIL had her purse stolen in a pub there). Hire a car. Drive around. You should have at least some sunny days. Gibraltar is kitschy-- historically quite interesting, a seaside British colonial town in the middle of Spain. However if the Spanish are being difficult at the border you can have hours delays.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:12 am

The Wizard wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:You can go to Moscow. Ruble is down and Aeroflot is cheap.

Victoria
Temperatures could be down also in late January...
Dear Gawd. Moscow and St. Petersburg in January. My partner found Moscow to be cold, dark and depressing and that was on a fairly ordinary January not a bad one. If we have a bad winter in Europe (and we had a string of them due to jetstream movement, although last winter was relatively warm) then Moscow really would fell like Hell frozen over.

You could lose yourself in the Hermitage for 2 or 3 days I guess. Try to see the film 'Russia's Ark' before you do.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Valuethinker » Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:15 am

Lynette wrote:Southern Italy - Pompeii etc. I'm going on a cruise of the Dalmatian Coast (mainly Croatia) in December. Sicily and Malta are also on my list. Istanbul is a definite "again". Morocco would also be quite warm - include it with Spain.
It should be possible to do Malta and Sicily in the same trip (flying between them). They are both fascinating although Malta feels like one big suburb. The Stone Age sites on Malta alone are fascinating, also Valetta, M'dina. Gozo is worth the side trip-- more rural. We found it very easy and cheap to get around just on the local bus system (1960s Leyland buses).

Istanbul would not be warm, but yes, that's a very good idea.

Morocco has high 'hassle factor'. They really don't let up on trying to sell you stuff. The interesting bits are probably more rural, and the Atlas Mountains would be in snow so I am not sure how visible.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by Lynette » Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:37 am

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Last edited by Lynette on Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by havehad » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:20 pm

I think Southern Spain would be ideal. Seville for a few days with day trips to Jerez for some sherry bodega visits, then Grenada for a few would be easy enough by train

Also near Seville is Carmona with a lovely Parador. I spent from Jan 20 to Feb 10 in the region one year and it was wonderful. Sunny and
low sixties during mid day made lunch on the sunny side of the street possible. We drove and stayed at Paradors which are often a little
removed from the town in some places but had great rates for a "Golden Passport"

Barcelona is cooler but often bright at that time of the year. If you want a quiet sunny time, Pau France in the Pyrenees is a charming town,
the English wintered here in Victorian times for the sun and fresh air. We drove from Bordeaux but I am sure you could train there.
Lourdes is nearby and there is a small airport. Enjoy.

havehad

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Re: Europe off-season (late Jan), 11 days, $3K budget

Post by VictoriaF » Fri Nov 21, 2014 2:50 pm

Valuethinker wrote:
The Wizard wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:You can go to Moscow. Ruble is down and Aeroflot is cheap.

Victoria
Temperatures could be down also in late January...
Dear Gawd. Moscow and St. Petersburg in January. My partner found Moscow to be cold, dark and depressing and that was on a fairly ordinary January not a bad one. If we have a bad winter in Europe (and we had a string of them due to jetstream movement, although last winter was relatively warm) then Moscow really would fell like Hell frozen over.

You could lose yourself in the Hermitage for 2 or 3 days I guess. Try to see the film 'Russia's Ark' before you do.
My suggestion was not facetious. Here is my reasoning:
- Any warm place in Europe is going to be expensive in January. Or boring.
- Any cold place in Europe runs a chance of being too cold.
- People will still be going to London and Amsterdam, but hardly anybody is considering Moscow in January. Thus, it presents an opportunity.
- Moscow has a fantastic culture.
- Moscow has a fantastic metro system.
- Yes, one will not spend much time leisurely walking on Moscow streets. But the opportunities for museums, theater, restaurants--and Metro trips between them--are limitless.

Victoria
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