Christmas is coming and what better place to work yourself up into a festive frenzy, than at one of Europes finest Christmas markets? Explore decorated cabins in search of the perfect gift and decorations, while all around you choirs fill with the air with carols. The delicious smell of roasted almonds and mulled wine will linger close by as you peruse the stalls, whetting your appetite before its time to find the perfect restaurant to try the delicacies of the region.
Sound tempting? This time next week, you could have left the wet, miserable British winter behind to experience some picturesque winter weather in Prague, Berlin, Hungary or Vienna. Christmas isn’t Christmas without a snowflake or two after all!
Here, at Aspen Travel, we are booking agents for a number of prominent European Christmas market tour providers. Enjoy 3 or 5 day visits to the Christmas market of your choice, or cruise along the Danube, visiting a variety of them. Fill your suitcase with handmade soaps, tasty treats, traditional toys, aromatic candles and all manner of exciting seasonal giftware.
The Christmas travel operators with whom we partner are experts at creating a perfect shopping experience for you. We are currently booking packages with big name brands; Uniworld, AMA Waterways, Colette, Regent Holidays and Travelsphere, to name just a few.
During your break, not only will you be immersed in traditional Christmas villages, but you’ll also work your way through various shopping centres, high-end boutiques and one-off designer outlets. Of course, youll stop for regular delicious meal breaks, snack times and excursions to exciting attractions within the city youre visiting. Christmas-themed shows and light displays will also feature heavily.
Why not recapture that craving for all-things- Christmas you had as a kid, by combining a mini-break or cruise with some atmospheric wintertime entertainment? Surprise your mum, friend or partner by enquiring today and taking advantage of some of our best deals. You could be staying in a luxury European hotel by tomorrow night! So what do the host cities of some Europes finest Christmas markets have to offer. Let’s have a look at a selection of them:
Berlin is one of the most exciting Christmas destinations, given that it hosts over 60 different Christmas markets of varying sizes in and around the city. Charlottenburg Castle provides a romantic backdrop to one of the largest. There is a huge array of crafts and gifts for sale here. The Gendarmenmarkt is located in a beautiful square, where youll be entertained by dance troupes, choirs and artists as you wander from festive cabin to sausage stall. For fairy lights and sleigh bells, why not head over to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial. Youll be met by a twinkly, beautiful sight.
One big highlight of your tour will be the Christmas market in Potsdamer Platz. This all-singing, all-dancing corner of the city not only boasts an ice rink and toboggan run, but is also very close to the famous Berlin landmarks; the Brandenburg Gate and the home of the German Parliament; the Reichtag, both of which are well worth a visit. Take Europes fastest lift up to the top of the latter for a birds eye view of the Christmas wonderland below.
Other city attractions to admire whilst you’re in the vicinity, are the infamous Unter den Linden, Museum Island, where five of Berlins most popular museums are housed, and, of course; the Berlin Wall. Checkpoint Charlie and the Holocaust Museum are also must-see features of the city; dedicated as they are to telling the horrifying events during the first half of the twentieth century. They contain important details for those interested in world war history.
For a truly magical experience however, why not take an open carriage ride through the streets of a festively lit Berlin at night, headed for the Spandau Christmas market in the historic old town. Theres a lively stage schedule to keep you entertained, as well as a unique, but spectacular Medieval plague procession!
During the day, should you wish to travel further afield to complete your gift buying, youll be taken to some of the very best retail outlets. KaDeWe is probably the most famous department store in Berlin, while Das Neue Schwartz is the place to be for cut price designer fashions. Original and innovative presents can be found in concept store; Voo and upmarket chain store Manufactum.
As for artisan food you can use to add a little European flavour to your Christmas dinner, you can acquire this at the Markthalle. Whilst there, be sure to try local delicacies; Berliners, (a sugared doughnut) and breaded veal schnitzel. Turkish food is also very popular in these parts.
Germany is just over an hour away by plane from the UK. You could be soaking up the Christmas vibe in a matter of hours. For a few days away, why not give our talented and friendly Aspen Travel team a call. Well take care of the booking process for you and help you get the very best rates.
Prague in the Czech Repulic is an Eastern European Christmas paradise. It has two main Christmas markets. The market in Wenceslas Square is very traditional with plenty of wooden crafts, pine needle decorations and mistletoe. The National Museum is located here, so theres plenty to entertain you. Make sure you enjoy a trdelnik as you walk around the festively decorated stalls. These sugar-coated pastries are melt in the mouth delicious, especially when washed down with mulled wine or beer.
The largest market takes place in the Old Town Square. In addition to the Christmas cabins selling all manner of glassware, jewellery, ceramics and traditionally-dressed dolls, youll find an authentic nativity scene complete with real farm animals for you to stroke. There’s plenty of BBQ food, grilled sausages and incredible looking cakes for you to try as you walk around, but the most impressive thing about this particular market is its Christmas tree. Known as the mighty tree, it is chosen for its height and stands proudly high above the proceedings.
Other highlights of Prague that are simply not to be missed are the Prague Opera, Ballet and Marionette Theatre. The Charles Bridge is the landmark to visit if you want spectacular exterior views. However, if youd like to be wowed by some internal architecture then the St Vitus Cathedral needs to be on your to-do list, as does Municipal House, which hosts classical concerts and Prague Castle.
Whilst in Prague be sure to try local dishes; palacinky, which are Czech pancakes served with cream, nuts, jam and fruit, as well as klobasy; Czech sausages and dumplings. You can walk it all off in the Petrin or Letra gardens, before you complete your shopping spree in the Centrum Chodor and Palladium malls.
If youd like to see Prague at its prettiest, full of festive cheer as it extends its exceptional hospitality your way, please give the Aspen Travel team a call. Well be able to answer all your Christmas queries and secure you a festive trip youll remember forever.
Vienna is home to one of Europes oldest Christmas markets, known as the Krippenmarkt. It has its origins in the Middle Ages and is located in front of the City Hall. There are dedicated childrens areas, where kids can make crafts or biscuits. Choirs fill the city with the sound of Christmas songs.
There are smaller markets at the Belvedere Palace and Maria-Theresen Platz, the latter of which is located between the Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Vienna is known for its culinary delights, almost as much as it its known for its huge contribution to European art, music and culture. Local dishes that must be sampled before you leave include Wiener schnitzel, Viennese sausages and Appel Strudel. Local art that must be viewed can be found in the Leopold Museum of Modern Art and the Albertina art gallery.
As well as the museums and Christmas markets, places of interest to visit in Vienna are the baroque palaces; the Schoenbrunn Palace and the Hofburg Palace, St Stephens Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. If you’re travelling with kids, you might also like to check out the zoo; Tiergarten Schoenbrunn and the iconic big wheel of the Prater Park.
Christmas only happens once year and for many, it’s a magical time full of surprises. Why not surprise a loved one (and possibly yourself) by booking yourself onto one of our all inclusive luxury European Christmas Market packages. Everything will be taken care of by a highly experienced tour operator and guide. All you have to worry about is making sure you get everything on your gift list!
Give us a call today to find out about of all our Christmas market destinations and deals. You could be on the next plane out of here enjoying some well deserved, if possibly unexpected pre-Christmas fun! Get in touch with Aspen Travel now to place your Christmas wishes.