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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Six Christmas Markets To Visit In Europe

Christmas market at MunichImage via Wikipedia
Author: Lindy Howard

At Christmas time, Europe comes alive with Christmas markets. These are set up in all major cities throughout Europe, in one form or another, during the Christmas season, and have been for centuries.
Magical and fascinating, Europe's Christmas markets excite visitors with handicrafts, mulled wine, gingerbreads, large Christmas trees, wooden craft stalls, carollers, free mugs of ale and sell delicately hand-crafted holiday decorations.
We've put together a list of the top six Christmas markets to visit in Europe:

Cologne Market
Cologne's glitzy Christmas markets take place in four locations in the city attracting as many as two million guests every year. The most famous location is 'Am Dom' located in Cathedral Square, overlooking the Cologne Cathedral and featuring the largest christmas tree. There are 160 stalls set up which are visited by wandering street musicians. This is a very special area for children and the young at heart boasts a merry-go-round, puppet theatre and Santa's Grotto.
Nuremberg Market
This market which first opened in 1628 features 200 stalls situated on a cobblestone area. Nuremberg Market is specially known for hand-crafted wooden figures. Specialty foods to be found at this market are spicy sausages known as Bratwurst and sweet gingerbread. Visitors are alerted to watch for 'the Christ Child' who may on market opening day encounter a young child dressed in a gold and white robe, wearing a golden crown and seen moving quickly about the market welcoming visitors with Christmas greetings.
Munich Market
A special Christmas market takes place in the Marienplatz area, dating back to the 17th century. The official opening takes place on the first Friday before Advent featuring the lighting of a very tall Christmas tree. The Crib Market features handmade nativity figurines from Braveria and Austria. Special music is rendered daily by Alpine choirs and musicians.
Vienna Market
'Christkindlmarkt', opening in mid-November, features wooden huts surrounding the town hall. This is believed to be the oldest market in all of Europe. There is a special section 'Vokshalle'. Perhaps the best translation of this word for American visitors is 'tot drop and shop'. Many large shopping malls and chain stores such as WalMart have special areas where children will be cared for by specially-trained and designated employees while parents shop. In the Vokshalle, children spend time making gifts and cookies while parents shop. World-famous choirs perform programs especially on each weekend in December.
Dresden Market
This is the oldest market in Germany, dating back to 1434. Special foods include a sweet fruitcake drizzled with sugar icing. The Stollen Festival takes place on the second Sunday in December. Today's visitors view a 3000kg Stollen being borne through the city. There are 250 stalls featuring glass-blown balls, Saxony ceramics and blue and white print cloth known as 'Blaudruck'.
Berlin Market
The main attraction of this market is Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskriche which is the ruins of a church left untouched from a WWII bombing incident. Berlin's Christmas markets take place in Potsdamer Platz, Alte Potsdamer Strasse (small), in front of Charlottenburg Castle, and the most beautiful, Gendarmenmarkt.
They're definitely worth a visit, and certainly a must-do if you ever visit Europe in winter time.
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This article is contributed by, a budget travel company which offers cheap hotels in Germany so that you can enjoy the Christmas season and markets for less!

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