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Europe in November... Where to go...

mia1181

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Oct 25, 2006
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Hey Guys,

So my big 30th birthday is in November and we are thinking of going on a trip. We haven't been to Europe so it seems like a good idea. I'm kind of picky about where to go so I could really use some help with suggestions for places to visit.

Here are my likes/dislikes:

1. I don't mind going to 2 different places, but it would be ideal if we could get to the 2nd destination by train and not have to fly.

2. I like exploring things myself- hate guided tours

3. I prefer doing things as opposed to seeing things (although my husband is the opposite, so some scenery/architecture would be nice for him). For example, when I think of going to Paris, I'd be much more interested in going to the Louvre than seeing the Eiffel tower. Scenery is nice, but as soon as I see things I am ready to move on and do something. I don't know if that makes any sense...

4. I do not like doing things that feel touristy... I'd much rather see and do things that not everyone does when they visit an area, or go places that are unique.

5. We don't really need a nightlife, since we only go out to clubs with our friends and never just the two of us. However, we do like places that have some of a nightlife because things are open later and there are usually other things to do.

So does anyone have any recommendations for places based on these interests?
 

NewEnglandLady

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Since you haven't been to Europe, my first thoughts were:

1. Paris, then London via chunnel for second destination. There is so much to see and experience in both places and I feel everybody should go to both cities at least once in their life!

2. Italy. It's so easy to do Rome, Florence and Venice via the train system and it seems like it would be the perfect blend of art (for you) and architecture (for him). Plus Italy has great non-club nightlife. We ate dinner at 10 p.m. every night and then enjoyed a beautiful walk, grabbed some gelato and headed back to the hotel.

I know these seem like "touristy" options, but I feel like they're perfect destinations for a first trip to Europe and they wouldn't be too cold in November.

I feel like you could get by with some Rick Steves books and his tours that you can just download onto your iPod, so you don't necessarily have to do a guided tour.

Happy 30th, by the way!
 

bee*

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What about Barcelona-there's tons to see and do there so it would keep your DH and yourself happy. The food is delicious, the weather is still relatively reasonable in November and although the majority of the locations are tourist locations, you don't particularly feel like you're at tourist locations. In the evening, sip a glass of wine while having some tapas at a bar. I love that city.
I think Paris and London would be good too but I do find them cold in November. My parents have a house near Paris and it's chilly. Paris is beautiful though and there's a huge amount to do. It is more expensive than Barcelona though.
You could also do Dublin and travel around Ireland-I won't lie, it will probably be chilly in November but again there's tons to do.
Berlin is a great city to visit also and you can get a train down to Munich. I adore both of these German cities, although I do think there's a bit more to see in Berlin.
Depending on when you're going in November, the Christmas markets begin in Prague on the last week of November. DH and I are going for the first time this year and we've heard great things about them.
 

zoebartlett

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I don't know what the weather will be like in November, but I'd vote for either Ireland or England. Ireland is one of my all-time favorite places. Dublin is a great city (east coast), and so is Galway (west coast). I was in England during the summer several years ago and there's so much to see and do, especially if you're in London. York is also a great city.
 

AprilBaby

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I would totally recommend Italy. Plenty of museums and Basilicas to explore and you can get around quite easy on the trains. The prices are cheap and the food is cheap and delicious! I'm sure the weather isn't too bad either! I also second Barcelona. Very cool place with lots to see, very colorful, but lots of pick pockets. Just be aware of your surroundings.
 

movie zombie

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november in europe: take care for weather.
ireland/scotland/wales/england = cold, rainy and in some cases snow.

Paris would be my choice.....so much to do indoors.

if you want to go somewhere warming up and also lots of fun: Australia!
 

Colltee

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Jul 22, 2011
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Come to Sydney - it's gorgeous here in November! 8-)

Europe-wise I'd say Italy. Fly into Rome and self-drive through Tuscany, stopping off in places like; Siena; Montepulciano; Voleterra; San Gimignano etc. all utterly gorgeous, then drive up towards the Cinque Terre, Santa Margherita and Portofino. Then you could fly out of Pisa. Or go south from Rome towards Positano and the Amalfi Coast.

If I could, I'd do this trip again tomorrow in a heartbeat (downside to living in Oz - everywhere else is just a tad far away)
 

Blackpaw

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id be voting greece, portugal, spain, southern italy, turkey would be amazing - my reasoning is that the weather would be pretty decent at that time of year, and they have all the things you'd need for you and your SO to be happy!

Probably portugal and spain or greece and turkey would be easiest to lump together. I havent been to portugal and spain, but i would highly recommend turkey and greece...particularly turkey as the weather might not quite be beachy.

Cant wait to hear about where you go =)
 

MAC-W

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Sep 28, 2009
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671
bee*|1315346056|3011007 said:
What about Barcelona-there's tons to see and do there so it would keep your DH and yourself happy. The food is delicious, the weather is still relatively reasonable in November and although the majority of the locations are tourist locations, you don't particularly feel like you're at tourist locations. In the evening, sip a glass of wine while having some tapas at a bar. I love that city.
I think Paris and London would be good too but I do find them cold in November. My parents have a house near Paris and it's chilly. Paris is beautiful though and there's a huge amount to do. It is more expensive than Barcelona though.
You could also do Dublin and travel around Ireland-I won't lie, it will probably be chilly in November but again there's tons to do.
Berlin is a great city to visit also and you can get a train down to Munich. I adore both of these German cities, although I do think there's a bit more to see in Berlin.
Depending on when you're going in November, the Christmas markets begin in Prague on the last week of November. DH and I are going for the first time this year and we've heard great things about them.

I absolutely second Barcelona for your trip.

It is absolutely amazing and has so much to see and do. Have a look HERE and HERE.

Weatherwise it is generally around 55F and sunny but take warmer clothes (Jacket / jumper) for evenings.

If you do choose Barcelona and you are happy to spend a little extra on your accomodation can I recommend you look at Hotel Neri - Its the most amazing little boutique hotel and in a great location - central but quiet.

ETA: if you do pick Barcelona, you absolutely have to go to Monserrat - at least do a day trip, but if you like hiking you could do an overnighter as well. The train from Barcelona to Monserrat is really easy - about 1 hour - then you can get the cable car up to the monastry. There is accomodation up at the monastry (but it is in a hostel type place rather than a hotel) and if you are a light sleeper the bells ringing might be a problem for you or there are a couple of little towns / villages nearby that do bed and breakfast.


Another option to consider is Austria - you could do half in a city (Vienna! :love: ) and the other half skiing (Oberlech is a classic ski resort and you are pretty much guaranteed snow in November). I dont believe there is a train all the way from Vienna to Oberlech but you could certainly get a train from Vienna to Innsbruck and then pick up a cheapy hire car (they drive on the same side of the road as the US) - The Vienna - Innsbruck train journey is through some amazing scenery.

If you are worried about language barriers, both Barcelona and Vienna will cause you no problems - Almost everyone in both cities speaks at least some English. But is you prefer to go to an english speaking destination, as Zoe said - Dublin! There is loads to see and do and the people are fabulous.

Wherever you pick, have a great time and enjoy your birthday :)
 

mrscushion

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Nov 15, 2008
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The Paris-London trip via channel and Rome-Tuscany trip both sound like excellent first forays into Europe to me.
 

AmeliaG

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Yeah for November, Barcelona would be your best bet. There are a lot of little day trips to surrounding areas that you can take out of Barcelona. The one thing I regret about my first trip to Europe was that I tried to cover too much ground in too little time. I spent more time in trains than anywhere else. Now I prefer to pick a city and get to know the area around it. I feel like I'm experiencing the less touristy side and I spend more time doing what I want rather than just hopping from one scenic attration to the next.
 

centralsquare

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Jan 18, 2009
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mscushion|1315376543|3011411 said:
The Paris-London trip via channel and Rome-Tuscany trip both sound like excellent first forays into Europe to me.
I agree - what a way to ring in a new year!
 

iheartscience

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Jan 1, 2007
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12,111
Ditto all the Barcelona recommendations-that was my first thought! You could go to Bilbao and see the Guggenheim or just take the train to Madrid. There's tons of great architecture, museums and food in Barcelona. Bilbao is much smaller but still great to visit, and of course Madrid also has a ton of great museums.

ETA It should still be pretty warm there, too, and it's not nearly as crowded in the fall. I went in October a few years ago and it was fantastic. I had been once before in the summer and it was super hot, particularly in Sevilla, so walking around and exploring wasn't as pleasant.
 

Clairitek

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Jul 21, 2008
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I *just* spent a weekend planning a trip to Europe for DH and I in mid-October. We sound a lot like you and your DH, though I am the one who likes to see and he is the one who likes to do. We both can enjoy either, though.

This is our basic plan. I am happy to share some of my research with you if you want it (I know how to reach you elsewhere...) . We are staying exclusively at B&Bs and country inns, except in Barcelona

We are flying into Milan and renting a car. Driving to Piedmont for two nights (to taste some Barolos and other Piedmont varietals) and then to Cinque Terre (thanks to OUPearGirl for that idea). After two nights in Cinque Terre we are going to ditch the car and take the train to France. Staying a night in Nice and then picking up another car to drive through the countryside to Provence (Vaison-la-Romaine to be exact). Two nights there and then we are driving down to the border with Spain, leaving the car, and taking the train to Barcelona. We are spending two nights there.

This is DH's first trip to Europe but out of our destinations Barcelona is my only repeat.

I agree with the others that Paris has tons to do. I love walking around that city and looking at the buildings. The Louvre wasn't my personal speed but I adore Musee D'Orsay and the George Pompidou museums. More than enough in those to kill a couple of days. My most enjoyable trip there involved fruit and croissant for breakfast every morning and then walking around until we found something that piqued our interest.
 

mia1181

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Oct 25, 2006
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Wow guys! Thanks so much for the ideas! I'm afraid Barcelona can't be an option because I have a very competitive friend who was supposed to go in November but her trip fell through and I know exactly how she would act if I ended up going (drama).

Hubby is thinking Eastern Europe like Prague, but I will have to see what's there...

I'm actually thinking of Russia, but we had a very bad experience there and we swore we would never go back! Now I am thinking of giving it another chance... I don't know if that is a crazy idea though. In a nutshell we got stuck there overnight without a visa and had to stay in a dingy hotel room with a guard right outside the door. The food was terrible, not only when we were "imprisoned" but at the airport too (not that one should expect gourmet cuisine from prison or airport food, but it just left such an impression). The people were unfriendly (I know it is a cultural thing but it was hard for me to get used to). And lastly, our dog got sick while we were there and ended up passing away not long after returning so that experience made our time in Russia that much more unpleasant. However... I am wondering if we went back under different circumstances, if we would have a better experience. I have always wanted to go to St. Petersburg. I don't know, I will look into it more...

You guys are really getting me interested in Italy! Especially Cinque Terre! If all else fails I know there will be tons to do in Paris too... Hmmm... Gonna keep thinking about this...
 

Magpie09

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Jun 1, 2009
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mia1181|1315434679|3012056 said:
Hubby is thinking Eastern Europe like Prague, but I will have to see what's there...
I travelled with my Bf to Prague, Bratislava and Austria recently and loved it! Prague is great for the nightlife as many places are open late. I would also recommend taking one of the free tours that are run (many start near the Astrological Clock) rather than one of the paid ones.

I love Bratislava because it hasn't been overrun by tourists yet. It still has many of the original buildings which have been restored to their former glory. If you go to Prague or Bratislava you have to try the pastries as they are pretty much made fresh and are still warm when you buy them- I'm still salivating over them months later!

Austria is lovely as well. There is so much to see there- unfortunately I was only there for one night so I only had time to visit the sights in the city centre but it is one of those places I would love to return to and explore more of.

Hopefully if you do end up travelling to Russia again you will come out with some more positive memories :))

*edited for spelling :nono:
 

AmeliaG

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A joint trip to Vienna/Prague sounds magical. I don't know about the weather in November though. I lived in Germany for awhile and by November it was not the weather I'd like to go sightseeing in. It wasn't so much the cold as it was the amount of rain we got and the temperatures were cool enough to make you wet and miserable if you had to be out a lot.
 

Pandora II

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All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
 

AmeliaG

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Pandora|1315484580|3012587 said:
All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
Good point! Actually if I were taking a trip to Europe in November, I'd choose one of the more southern places that I'd normally cross off my list for a trip during the summer tourist season - like Granada or Sicily. These places can be incredibly interesting - the architecture in southern Spain is gorgeous - but they're way too hot for most to visit during the regular tourist season. In November, though, their weather may actually be pleasant.
 

bee*

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Pandora|1315484580|3012587 said:
All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
I totally agree. Ireland has had such a cold and rainy summer that I'm dreading the winter.
 

Porridge

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bee*|1315498949|3012762 said:
Pandora|1315484580|3012587 said:
All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
I totally agree. Ireland has had such a cold and rainy summer that I'm dreading the winter.
I heard some fella on the radio today saying they were predicting snow in October. Something about phases of the sun and sunspots and whatnot.

For any Dutchies out there - might be a winter for the elfstedentocht!

Vienna and Prague would be amazing, but cold in November.
 

bee*

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Porridge|1315503167|3012809 said:
bee*|1315498949|3012762 said:
Pandora|1315484580|3012587 said:
All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
I totally agree. Ireland has had such a cold and rainy summer that I'm dreading the winter.
I heard some fella on the radio today saying they were predicting snow in October. Something about phases of the sun and sunspots and whatnot.
Are you serious! That's crazy! I wouldn't mind if we had a decent summer but it's been awful.
 

Pandora II

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bee*|1315505317|3012833 said:
Porridge|1315503167|3012809 said:
bee*|1315498949|3012762 said:
Pandora|1315484580|3012587 said:
All suggestions are good - just thought I would add that Tuscany can be freezing in the winter (hits -10 C easily), London has been cold, miserable and rainy most of August and will just continue in the same vein only colder and darker, so wherever you go bring coats and wooly sweaters!
I totally agree. Ireland has had such a cold and rainy summer that I'm dreading the winter.
I heard some fella on the radio today saying they were predicting snow in October. Something about phases of the sun and sunspots and whatnot.
Are you serious! That's crazy! I wouldn't mind if we had a decent summer but it's been awful.
I know! When I lived in Italy I dealt with the freezing winter and rainy springs by reminding myself that at least a great summer was pretty much guaranteed. Here the last 3 summers have been pretty awful - this year there was a week at the end of April that was glorious (and when I went to Sri Lanka and the monsoon hit early and it poured all week :rolleyes: ) and that has been about it. All the photos I have of Daisy from this year's holidays she is wearing woollen sweaters, polonecks and woolly tights!

Snow in October will just be the icing on the cake...
 

Arkteia

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I'd say, Germany, because the transportation is so good, the museums are awesome, people are nice and almost everyone speaks English.

Another choice, from a practical standpoint, would be Greece/Turkey. First, it is sad, the economy is not so good but this very thing makes traveling cheap. The lira is low, and Greece was pretty cheap last April, it is even better now, especially since in November the tourists' season will be over.

Another thing is, Turkey is amazingly beautiful and interesting, you can see best Islamic history and architecture, and also visit ruins of Ionian Greek cities which were located there. It is easy to get from Turkey to Greece, and vise versa.

The museums in both places are fantastic.

This is not what I saw in Greece, but this is what my son noticed in Turkey (he spent the whole summer there, studying Turkish). This is a culture of small enterprises, tiny cafes, restaurants and neighborhoods where each and everyone knows each other and is supportive of each other. It was very unusual for him, since he grew up in major cities, and he said it was very nice.

Just an idea...
 
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