Christmas Markets – Centuries Old City Break (12.12.14)
However you say it, ‘Christmas Market’, ‘Marché de Noël’ or ‘Christkindlmarket’, the four week Advent Christmas market season is well and truly upon us.
Every year we at Nomadic Thoughts delight in arranging trips for clients wanting to embrace the centuries-old tradition of Christmas markets. With such a variety of central and northern European cities transforming their old market squares, plazas and historical downtowns, this is one of the most exciting times to embark on a city break.
Flamboyant market stalls selling traditional exhibits against the backdrop of colourful lanterns, Christmas decorations and all things mid-winter, mean that all the fun of the fair can be combined with a trip to some of Europe’s most exciting cities. And all this without the full-on summer crowds.
Throughout December there is a vibrant buzz about cities which can otherwise be bleak in the winter months. Factor in a plethora of seasonal culinary wonders including scented stollen cakes, rivers of piping hot glühwein and the possibility of nailing all your Christmas shopping in one swoop – before hitting some of our favourite restaurants and night clubs – and I think we can guarantee a fabulous festive experience with a difference.
So popular has the Christmas market season proved, that it appears to be crossing the continent apace – from Birmingham to Bucharest.
Dating back to the late Middle Ages in the 13th Century, the German-speaking countries were first to embrace this festival carnival. The former Holy Roman cities in eastern France and Switzerland were catching on by the early part of the 15th century.
Six hundred and fifty years later, the selection of continental European market destinations that we at Nomadic Thoughts offer excursions to, grows year on year. Favourites of mine are Berlin, Brussels, Krakow, Lille, Munich and Prague. Other favourite cities which I haven’t yet seen during the Christmas market season include Bruges, Cologne, Salzburg and Vienna.
So if you fancy a pre-Christmas fillip, even at this mid-Advent ‘two candle’ stage, it is not too late to book a quick Christmas market jaunt.