Christmas markets are a great way of getting into the festive spirit, says Grantham travel consultant Lynne Page
Now is the time to start getting into the festive spirit, if you are that way inclined of course, writes travel consultant Lynne Page of The Holiday Village.
Christmas markets are a great way of doing this. We have some great ones on offer up and down the UK. But how about the markets on offer in Europe? What can you expect and where are the best ones?
The stand out and most popular markets are probably in Germany.
In Cologne there are several, the largest of which is in the city centre, beneath the cathedral and is called Markt der Engel. There are hundreds of fairy lights twinkling overhead with angels adorning the elaborately decorated gables. If you are looking for something aimed towards children then Saint Nicholas’s village tells the story of the real St Nick and then you can head to the outdoor ice-skating rink on Heumarkt.
Berlin has a more modern take on tradition, with around eighty Christmas markets. Spandau being the largest or Weihnachtszauber, in Gendarmenmarkt square, offering arts and crafts. If you prefer winter sports to shopping then head to Winter World and try your hand at tobogganing, curling and free ice-skating lessons for children.
Coming in a close second to Germany is Austria. Salzburg, the hometown of The Sound of Music and Mozart, has traditional market stalls that still look like they did when they were first set up in the 15th century. Every day at 5pm there are free daily concerts in front of the cathedral to really get you in the Christmas mood.
The snowy streets of Vienna have a plethora of Christmas markets spread out along the narrow streets of the old town, where the waft of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and freshly baked pretzels fills the air and you will find stalls selling traditional wooden toys and handmade soaps.
Prague is a prefect destination for the festive season where you can down a glass of ‘grog’ or sip ‘svarak’ whilst feasting on garlic and cheese flatbreads and fresh pancakes. It’s a stunning setting ; on one side, the 14th century twin spires of Our Lady Before Tyn; on the other, the city’s famous 15th century astronomical clock. What a great way to get festive!