We're planning a winter trip from the end of November, to mid December, preferably for about 2 or 2 1/2 weeks. Where in Europe would you suggest? So far we'd really like to visit Vienna, and are also interested in Salzburg, Prague and Munich or Cologne. Maybe Amsterdam?
Any suggestions would be much appreciated! We're interested in food, modern culture, historical sights, beautiful landscapes and also love ice-skating. I am also vegan, so anywhere with great vegan food and restaurants would be an added bonus! Thanks in advance :)
I visited Vienna last year and was quite surprised by the great food. Lots of vegan options and restaurants! A bit pricey but a real treat is TIAN restaurant Wien, a vegan restaurant with a Michelin star. You will also find lots of vegan options in many restaurants and cafés, such as at Vollpension. And there are quite a few vegetarian/vegan restaurants to choose from! Overall, this is a really beautiful city. Expect pompous buildings, white horses, cobble stones and parks. But also food, shopping, art and many bars! We saw a ballet at the Staatsopernmuseum, which was great. Also, the Prunksaal der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek felt very Harry Potter-esque if you are into that. It might actually be one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Another interesting museum was the Sisi museum at the Hofburg Palace. Before visiting Vienna I had never heard of empress Elisabeth but she sure was a fascinating figure! With all this said: Vienna is quite small. We spent 4 nights here and felt that we got to see almost everything we wanted. So it sounds like a good plan to combine it with other cities.
It was 15 years since I last was in Prague so I can't really say much about the food but there is lots and lots of amazing buildings and historical sites. Other people on Trippy will probably give you great tips. :) When it comes to Amsterdam: charming in many ways but I generally advice people to avoid the red light district. The women there are treated like a tourist attraction with whole families staring, laughing and pointing at them. Also: lines to the museums were really long. In order to get into a museum we had to spend several hours queuing so maybe buy tickets in advance if it's possible? When it comes to food I remember that it was a bit tricky to find vegan/vegetarian options but I guess you are familiar with the Happy Cow-app? It is very helpful in most european cities! Also: it was 7 years since I was in Amsterdam so things might have changed a bit since then.
Have a great trip!
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Highly recommend Prague. They have a Christmas market if you are interested in that kind of thing.
Vienna is also a great city. I highly recommend getting the signature 'Sacher torte' at one of the cafes downtown, and the museums that are located in walking distance.
I would also suggest to go to Budapest if you are driving/flying around Europe.
I'd highly recommend Salzburg. Nov/Dec is the beginning of the winter cultural season, so that's a great time of year to get your fill of culture and catch an opera or an orchestra performance. The Austrian Alps are in my opinion second only to the Italian Dolomite Alps as the most beautiful part of that range. Munich is also a great spot and only a few hours' drive or train ride from Salzburg. A good detour from either city would be Fussen and the Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau castles. Vienna can be rainy and dreary in winter but as with Salzburg, Nov/Dec is a great time of year to get your fill of culture. You could also venture into the Dolomites by stopping off in Bolzano or Cortina d'Ampezzo for a heavily Austrian-influenced taste of Italy that relatively few tourists experience.
Amsterdam is a great city but best visited in the warmer months...winters in the Netherlands are cold, windy and rainy, and you won't get that crisp mountain air you get in the Alpine regions.
Part of experiencing a different culture is leaving your first world problems and personal hang-ups (i.e. imposing your dietary demands on the people gracious enough to host you in their country) at home and stepping outside your comfort zone. Live like a German or Austrian and tuck into a nice schweinshaxe or wienerschnitzel...it's part of the experience! You can always go vegan again when you get back home.
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