Warmish places to go in Europe?
December 2, 2009 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Where in Southern Europe should we go for a few winter months?

We work remotely and are considering spending January through March in Europe. We've done this before in Northern Europe (Germany, northern France & Italy), but because of the season we're thinking about going south. Ideally we'd rent an apartment for a month in each of 2 or 3 places.

We love smallish, walkable, affordable cities - Freiburg, Germany was one of our favorites - but we're flexible. It's great if there are day trips nearby, as we won't have to start working until 3 PM.

Thanks for any ideas!
posted by walla to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:13 PM on December 2, 2009

You know, I haven't been outside of the country ever, but if you insist on Southern Europe I would have to counter that with insisting on Greece. That is where it all began.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 8:10 PM on December 2, 2009

Croatia is very quiet/peaceful and cheapish. It's not really on the tourist trail either. The Greek Islands are worth a look too, though can get extremely busy.
posted by wackybrit at 10:59 PM on December 2, 2009

Warmish in January and February in Europe, to me - living in Poland (note: Poland is cool, but definitely not the right temperature!) - means the southern half of Spain (especially Andalucía), southern Portugal, or Sicily. But note that even Mount Etna on Sicily and the Spanish Sierra Nevada get snow; you can ski near Granada!

Check Wikipedia for climate charts for cities where you'd like to go. Here's Palermo, Seville, Lisbon (the warmest!), and Valencia.
posted by mdonley at 11:31 PM on December 2, 2009

Best answer: We like Barcelona that time of year as its a welcome break from London's dull grey drizzle.

The weather isn't super warm but, most important to us, its bright and sunny. You'll need a jacket leaving in the AM but it can be shed by mid afternoon.

That time of year is off tourist season so most of the hotels and restaurants slash their prices compared to the May - August boom period.

Barcelona is right on The Med, meadning you can get a ferry down to Ibiza (9 hours IIRC) or Palma or a bunch of other places if you'd like a change of scenery and want to avoid flying (speaking for myself, I've done far too much and try to avoid it now). One year I chartered a boat (off season) and just floated around The Med for a week; incredibly relaxing.

Folks have always been very nice there and if you like art, the entire city is a gallery.
posted by Mutant at 1:30 AM on December 3, 2009

Depends if you are fleeing the cold or just want a nice atmosphere (less tourists in winter.) Often a town that is not the capital city is a good choice. Portugal is laid back and affordable with great cafes and food - Oporto is the kind of place where you can quickly make friends.

Cheapest place might be in Montenegro, although I like Turkey if you can manage a cheaper place to stay - but Istanbul is almost too interesting and engaging to get any work done. Greece can be a bit pricier for long term living. Albania for the adventurous.

Crete (southern coast) and Sicily or Sardinia for winter warmth.
posted by zaelic at 1:52 AM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: You haven't given any constraints which makes this difficult. Small, walkable cities abound in Southern Europe. Do you like Art, architecture, great food, nature? Anyways, here's some recommendations based on places I've been:

-Southern Portugal as others have mentioned.
Lisbon itself is a very walkable city. But if you want something smaller, I'd personally recommend someplace like Evora (beautiful, historic town) in the Alentejo region where my wife and I go often. Its not far to Lisbon or to Sintra or to lots of cute little Alentejo towns.

-Southern Spain.
We were in the white Andalucian towns last February and it wasn't cold at all. You can probably hop from town to town or go visit nearby Jerez (where Sherry comes from) or Seville or even Gibraltar.

-Barcelona region.
Again, Barcelona itself is very walkable. But if you want a smaller town I'd actually recommend the Girona region - a town such as Figueres (birthplace of Dali) on the Northern coast. Trips from here include of course Barcelona, much of the Spanish coast, as well as possibly dipping into France to visit Carcassone.

-Cote d'Azure, Provence.
I dont have any specific recommendations on the Cote d'Azure itself as its a region I dont know well, having only driven through it a couple times. But a bit inland, there are innumerable little Provence towns I could recommend, although I wont name any specifically. :) There's lots to do and see in this entire region - old Roman and medieval architecture, great markets, beautiful Nature.

-Northern Italy.
I actually prefer this part of Italy over the South. The food is amazing and there is lots to see and do. You could try one of many small villages in either Liguria (near Cinque Terre perhaps) or the Langhe or something closer to Parma or Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region. These areas are gorgeous and vastly under-touristed since most people think of Italy as Veneto-Tuscany-Rome.

A lot of Italians like to vacation in Croatia. They share the Adriatic. The big draw is all the islands here, the clear Adriatic water. The islands are well-serviced by ferries so all you need is someplace to stay like Dubrovnik in the South or perhaps on an island like Hvar which I thought had an incredible diversity of things to see and do for such a small place.

Anyways, those are just my own recent experiences. Hope that helps.
posted by vacapinta at 4:21 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Malta. Prices vary.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:29 AM on December 3, 2009

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