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  1. #1
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    Ideas for early winter tour in Europe

    It looks like I might have a window of time from late October through Late December to do some touring. I'd like to go to Europe and am looking for suggestions. I have a friend in central Germany, plus my girlfriend will be in Denmark the first week of November, so I'd like to start out in that region... but may not start my tour until after that (too cold to bike from Germany to Denmark in early Nov?). I'm not opposed to taking cheap surface transport to get me to-from warmer areas as long as I can fit my bike on them, obviously. In fact, I view the trip as an exploration with a bike rather than a dedicated bike tour. I'll take the most economical way to enjoy the journey in all cases, which will often be bike, but sometimes may be a bus, train, or truck hitchhike.

    My main concerns are weather, as I'm guessing much of Europe gets rather cold that time of year. I can handle daytime temps as cold as 40 deg F., and nighttime in the teens, but much colder would be tough, and honestly, I'd only want that to be occasional (high mtn. passes or very cold days later in the trip).

    I'd Love to see the Baltic states/Russia/Scandinavia, but am guessing that would be too cold? How far south would I need to go for the weather to be comfortable? How do Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Eastern Europe, and morocco all compare weather wise that time of year? I've lived in central Cali, new hampshire, and new mexico, for comparison purposes.

    I'm also open to the idea of New Zealand or South America if someone can convince me it is insanely cheaper, but I'd rather make Europe work.

    I'll be camping mostly, and have a warm bag and good tent.

    Thanks so much in advance for any advice you can provide!

  2. #2
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    It's not too cold to go touring in November. As long as you dress warm enough, take a nice hot shower at the campground, and have a nice warm sleeping bag. Sounds awesome! Will you be flying into Frankfurt?
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  3. #3
    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Short answer: bring rain gear.

    Longer answer: Here are the average monthly weather data for Denmark, in a nice graphical format. The left axis, nedbør, is precipitation. Dagtemp=daytime temperature. Mellemtemp=average. Nattemp is night time temp.

    The sun sets pretty early in November (5:00-6:00 or so), so bring a good light. But overall, there's no real "problem" with touring around here in November, and finding places to stay will be easy. Where will your girlfriend be? Copenhagen? Jutland? Funen? Let me know and I can give ideas of places to see.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal View Post
    It's not too cold to go touring in November. As long as you dress warm enough, take a nice hot shower at the campground, and have a nice warm sleeping bag. Sounds awesome! Will you be flying into Frankfurt?
    Good to hear! I'll probably be flying into where ever is cheapest, as my friend lives in Hanover. How much is the cost for a typical campground? Is it reasonable to find free places to camp outside of the main cities? I would rather save some $ and commando camp. In the US most campgrounds are $15+, but you can shower for a buck and there are usually free places to camp close by. How does this compare in Germany and elsewhere in Europe?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gcl8a View Post
    Short answer: bring rain gear.

    Where will your girlfriend be? Copenhagen? Jutland? Funen? Let me know and I can give ideas of places to see.
    Thanks! She'll be in Copenhagen. Is whether in the rest of scandanavia and the baltic states comparable?

  6. #6
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skelonas View Post
    How much is the cost for a typical campground? Is it reasonable to find free places to camp outside of the main cities? I would rather save some $ and commando camp.

    I stealth camp very often in Germany. Wooded areas are everywhere. Camp grounds are about 10 bucks.
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  7. #7
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    All the above ideas are excellent -- I'm all for cold-weather touring. But keep in mind destinations like Sicily and southern Italy (Calabria, Basilicata) that will be warmer and less demanding. They're wonderful destinations for any kind of travel, and here you are on the perfect vehicle touring at the perfect time to take advantage of their relative southern warmth (and their seasonal lack of tourists).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by skelonas View Post
    I'm also open to the idea of New Zealand or South America if someone can convince me it is insanely cheaper, but I'd rather make Europe work.
    Look in any guidebooks for Europe and for South America/Central America, along with checking the current currency exchange tables, and you will quickly see that latin america IS insanely cheaper than Europe. I'm also wondering if campgrounds will even be open in central or northern Europe. I recall campgrounds being closed in northern Italy in early November. I also recall that campgrounds were mostly closed in October in Czechoslovakia (it was one country then). If you insist on going to central/northern Europe, youth hostels might make more sense. And if you have your heart set on Europe, and your bank account can afford it, southern Europe makes a lot more sense for november. If I had to pick a European touring region for the month of november, I'd head to Sicily.

  9. #9
    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skelonas View Post
    Thanks! She'll be in Copenhagen. Is whether in the rest of scandanavia and the baltic states comparable?
    I think southern Sweden (Skåne) is. Beyond that, I cannot say.

  10. #10
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    Having done both, if it's a choice between Europe in Nov/Dec and South America, I would definitely go for South America - much, much more bang for your buck.
    I'm sure you'll still enjoy your trip, but Europe is really not at it's best in Nov/Dec and just about all the camp grounds will be shut. It's also bloody expensive (I live here). If you do come, it's worth joining a Youth Hostels Association - the hostels are pretty good in Northern/Western Europe.

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