We need a destination!
September 30, 2009 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Help us pick a destination for a two week winter getaway!

So since my girlfriend and I have successfully survived the latest round of layoffs (knock on wood), it's time to blow some of those vacation hours we've been hoarding. We'd like to take a trip for about two weeks, leaving shortly after Christmas and coming back sometime in January. So far, we have been tossing around ideas about heading to Europe but we are having a hard time deciding where specifically. I've only been to Paris before so it's all new to me, but she has studied abroad for a year and has more European traveling under her belt. We are still trying to decide on a country but locations that keep coming up in conversation are Barcelona, Venice, or Prague. Seeing as how we are terribly indecisive, I turn to you, AskMe, for recommendations.

Some things to consider:

- We're in San Jose, CA so we'll probably be starting out at the San Francisco airport.
- We're not afraid of cold weather but we don't want to be stuck indoors for two weeks.
- Wherever we end up, we'll be there for New Year's! We like fun but we'd also like to avoid NYC Times Square type events.
- We don't speak any other languages, although I can struggle my way through French if needed.

That's it! We'd love to hear your recommendations on where to go, and why. Any place you've been dying to get back to? Places you've always wanted to check out? Big cities? Small towns? Let us have it.

posted by Zaximus to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: BARCELONA! I always thought Rome was my fav - but after visiting Barcelona last year it has moved to number one! And of course, I always love London any time I am there.
posted by pamspanda at 3:00 PM on September 30, 2009

Oh please please please go to the Ice Hotel in Sweden.
posted by Sassyfras at 3:04 PM on September 30, 2009

Best answer: Amsterdam! Oh Amsterdam for New Years is AMAZING! Fireworks like you've never seen, huge huge huge celebrations on the streets, people yelling and having a great time! Seriously, absolutely wonderful. However, if your'e interested in going, book your hotel (or rent a houseboat, which is what I do) ASAP because New Years fills up super fast.
posted by banannafish at 3:27 PM on September 30, 2009

Best answer: If you like beaches at all try Lagos and / or Sagres Portugal. Really beautiful dramatic cliffs, caves and charming small towns.

Amsterdam is fun. That's a great recommendation.

How about a road trip Stateside? Go to the Grand Canyon, then drive down to White Sands and Carlsbad in New Mexico then Big Bend National Park along the Texas/Mexico boarder. Marfa TX is a unique place. Big Bend is isolated and beautiful. Warm during the day - cool sometimes cold at night.
posted by dog food sugar at 3:46 PM on September 30, 2009

FYI, most Scandinavian capitals will have fireworks and street-partying for New Year's. They'll also be cloaked in dark coldness. Barcelona is nice, just keep an eye on your wallet when walking around Las Ramblas and the Barri Gotic.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:51 PM on September 30, 2009

There are still mind-boggling deals to be had for travel to Iceland.

Barcelona. London.

That said, I'd be looking to avoid the really heavily traveled locations, and instead splurge on hotel, food and other things. So ... Montreal.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:02 PM on September 30, 2009

Why not head north to Vancouver to check out the winter olympic games?
posted by alon at 4:40 PM on September 30, 2009

If you live in San jose you may not own the sort of winter clothes you would need in places like Prague or Scandinavia. I was in Sweden once at Xmas and it was 30 below!
posted by mareli at 4:48 PM on September 30, 2009

Best answer: Morocco (Marakesh and Fez). Still somewhat European, but with a twist. Your French will help. Alternatively, try Turkey.
posted by nestor_makhno at 7:09 PM on September 30, 2009

Why not head north to Vancouver to check out the winter olympic games?
No way, no no no. The flights are jacked up to the hilt. The hotels are entirely full. The traffic is going to be a mess. Restaurants have been booked for years/months. Unless you have tickets to something that you're actively interested in, stay far far away.
posted by barnone at 7:30 PM on September 30, 2009

Best answer: What about South America? There are some amazing deals right now, and it'll be summer! The flights are a bit longer than Europe, but you don't have the same kind of jetlag either. Rio would be awesome, and you could go north for a week. Or Argentina or Chile!
posted by barnone at 7:32 PM on September 30, 2009

Love Amsterdam in December, but isn't there a tradition of throwing firecrackers in the street -- sometimes at people -- on NYE?

Was in Ecuador a couple of Decembers ago. They have some neat Christmas/NYE traditions. But probably not as accessible with zero Spanish.
posted by troywestfield at 7:40 AM on October 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice so far!
posted by Zaximus at 8:55 AM on October 1, 2009

If you go to Italy:

Rome will be more temperate than Venice. Venice is ice cold that time of year.
posted by Zambrano at 9:41 AM on October 1, 2009

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