Ideas for a short winter break for two?
August 16, 2011 6:06 PM   Subscribe

Long time, first time. Looking for travel ideas: want to take the kid (23) for a treat-holiday over Christmas break. Specs include a short-ish flight out of NY, cold weather, shopping and museums, coffee and cocktails, not too terribly expensive, two female travelers, maybe 5 days.

She likes the idea of Reykjavik, but nixed Quebec/Montreal as being something she might do on her own without it being my treat...which treat is by way of an 'attagurl' for having completed a 10-month internship for a nonprofit watershed group. Very proud of her!
Any good ideas, hive?
posted by henry scobie to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Edinburgh, Scotland! Fantastic museums, castles, chilly weather (although more likely bearable than NYC weather during that time of year), excellent cuisine if you know where to look. Not exactly cheap, but not a wallet buster either.
posted by holterbarbour at 6:22 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

My first suggestion was going to be Montreal but since that's vetoed (although there is more than enough to do for more than two trips!), I will offer Ottawa which will be all dressed up in Christmas finery (plus Canadian Museum of Civilization, numerous art galleries, etc.), and Halifax, which has some amazing live music, natural history and maritime museums, the ocean, walking from shop to shop with cute bars in between and a ferry (plus a mall if you want it).
posted by hydrobatidae at 6:24 PM on August 16, 2011

My boyfriend just took a trip to Iceland with his family. They flew into Reykjavik then rented a car and drove around the country. He loved the scenery, and has told several of his friends to go in the winter when they can see the northern lights. (Obviously, having just taken the trip, he went in the summer.) So yeah, Iceland sounds cool.

I haven't really traveled a whole lot outside of the US (if you're dead-set on leaving the country), but I've been to Switzerland and Switzerland is gorgeous.
posted by phunniemee at 6:28 PM on August 16, 2011

Germany! The Christmas markets in Bavaria are genuinely charming, and you could slide in 2 days in Berlin for museum geeking. Berlin's also relatively affordable, as European capitols go.
posted by cyndigo at 6:36 PM on August 16, 2011

I spent Xmas in Stockholm once when I was a teenager and loved it. We walked everywhere, then spent a couple of days somewhere in the country a few hours away by train; it was next to a huge frozen lake, a big old resort hotel.
posted by mareli at 6:45 PM on August 16, 2011

OMGoodness, these are all great ideas! I was in Iceland last summer & wouldn't mind at all going back to see the northern lights from the blue lagoon... but... but ... Scotland!! men wearing tartan! the Bavarian Christmas markets! snow and glogg! Nova Scotia, our friendly giant to the north with its maritime ice! Stockholm, peaceful land of the grandparents!!
I love all these - thank you so much - keep 'em coming!
The kid stays in the picture and gets to decide...
posted by henry scobie at 6:55 PM on August 16, 2011

My first thought was London. Iceland, Edinburgh, and Stockholm are all further north and will have less daylight at that time of year.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:15 AM on August 17, 2011

Amsterdam at Christmas time is really beautiful and they have these special fried dough pastries that are only available at that time. I had a great time when I went.
If you are worried about the red light district and "coffee shops" not being family-friendly, don't be. There is plenty of other stuff to do and you can avoid those completely if you want to without missing out on Amsterdam as a great city, which is what almost all the locals do anyway.
Go to the Van Gogh museum, try to catch one of the modern dance performances by the Nederlands Dans Theater at the music hall.
posted by rmless at 8:31 AM on August 17, 2011

Update - October 14 - we're going to Amsterdam! Thanks for all the great ideas, kids! (Reykjavik, the child's first choice, was overruled due to a mere 4 hours of daylight at that time of year...we'll do that next summer hopefully.)
posted by henry scobie at 6:00 PM on October 12, 2011

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