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Christmas Markets 2014

Have fun with your Christmas shopping AND see fabulous European sights at the same time on a colourful Christmas Market break. These are centred on key historical landmarks of the host city and feature unusual gifts, traditional crafts and local delicacies. We offer a great choice of Christmas markets around Europe including Germany, France, Belgium and Austria and many diverse cities such as Cologne, Lille, Prague, Salzburg, Berlin and Brussels. We also combine great shopping trips with river cruises for a unique Christmas break experience.

Brightly coloured wooden stalls display their wares and the smell of roast chestnuts and mulled wine wafts by. The sound of festive music fills the air;.. welcome to a magical, European Christmas market.

Each year, festive stalls form a carpet of colour in many of the squares and cobbled streets of towns and cities across Europe, each selling unusual gifts and trinkets that you just can’t resist.

Late Availability and Special Offers

Cologne
Dusseldorf
Rhine
Magical Cologne & Aachen 4* Dusseldorf & Cologne Magical Markets Rhine Valley
3/4 days From £169 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £229 SILVER By Coach
4/5 days From £239 SILVER By Coach
Visit the Cologne and Bruges Markets also featuring the Christmas Market at Aachen. Explore the festive stalls and go shopping in the elegant boutiques of the great Rhineland cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf. Spend time exploring the Drosselgasse in Rüdesheim, the Romerplatz in Frankfurt and the Altstadt in Cologne.
     
     
Ostend
Luxembourg
Dolomites
Ostend and Three Markets Luxembourg & Trier Dolomites
5 days From £269 EMERALD By Coach
4 days From £269 SILVER By Coach
7 days From £279 EMERALD By Coach
The magical Christmas Markets of France and Belgium are truly a sight to behold from the seasonal delights in Lille in the place Rihour. Explore some of Europe’s best Christmas Markets. The Dolomites comprises of a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks.
     
     
Valkenburg
Holland
Lake Como
Valkenburg, Aachen & Cologne Holland River Cruise All Inclusive Lake Como
4/5 days From £289 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £299
BRONZE
By Coach
7 days From £299 EMERALD By Coach
Enjoy a short stay in the ever-popular Dutch town of Valkenburg, experiencing markets with a difference - staged in the illuminated municipal caves! Relax onboard the M.S Princess as we sail the scenic waterways of Belgium and Holland. This unique holiday combines a relaxing all inclusive break by the shores of Lake Como with opportunities to do your Christmas shopping in Milan.
     
     
Belgium
Austrian Tyrol
Rudesheim
Belgium River Cruise Austrian Tyrol Rüdesheim and Rhine Valley
4 days From £299
BRONZE
By Coach
6 days From £299 SILVER By Coach
5 days From £304 EMERALD By Coach
A value-for-money festive cruise including 3 fantastic Belgian Christmas market destinations onboard the MS Princess. Experience the beautiful mountain scenery of the Austrian Tyrol, savouring the festive celebrations in Salzburg and Innsbruck. Staying at the heart of vibrant Rudesheim, which hosts popular Christmas markets, we’ll also explore the delightful surrounding towns as well.
     
     
Brussels
Rhine Valley
Salzburg
5* Brussels and Bruges Cruising the Rhine Valley Salzburg, Munich & Innsbruck
4 days From £325
SILVER
By Coach
4/5 days From £379
SILVER
By Coach
7 days From £389 SILVER By Coach
Combine the traditions and quaint atmosphere of the Christmas markets with 5-star luxury in the heart of Brussels. Enjoy a wonderful 4 or 5-day Rhine Cruise experience aboard the MS Rhine Princess A wonderful winter tour featuring three great Alpine cities and superb European Christmas markets.
     
     
Hannover
Munich
Bavaria
Medieval Hannover Munich and Fairy-tale Castles Bavaria’s Festive Markets
6 days From £399 SILVER By Coach
7 days From £439 EMERALD By Coach
7 days From £449 EMERALD By Coach
Enjoy the delights of medieval Hannover, which takes on an even more charming atmosphere at this special time of year. Munich's Christmas Market is one of Germany's oldest, attracting visitors from all over Europe who come to admire the 140 stalls. Discover the beautiful region of Bavaria, at this magical time of year when Germany’s towns and villages host their traditional Christmas markets.
     
     
Berlin
Rhine
 
Berlin and Dresden Rhine Cruise  
7 days From £494 EMERALD By Coach
7 days From £519 EMERALD By Coach
 
Berlin is home to Germany's most popular Christmas market. Soak up the enchanting atmosphere at the Christmas markets in Koblenz, Rudesheim and Cologne as you enjoy a relaxing river cruise.  
 
     
     

 

A Christmas market, also known as Christkindlmarkt, Marché de Noël, Christkindlesmarkt, Christkindlmarket, and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol, North Italy and many French regions such as Alsace, Lorraine, Savoy, but are now being held in many other countries. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German-speaking part of Europe and in many parts of the former Holy Roman Empire that includes many eastern region of France and Switzerland. Dresden's Strietzelmarkt was first held in 1434. The Christmas markets of Bautzen (first held in 1384), Frankfurt (first mentioned in 1393) and Munich (1310) Augsburg (1498) were even older. The Vienna "December market" was a kind of forerunner of the Christmas market and dates back to 1294.

In many towns in Germany and Austria, Advent is usually ushered in with the opening of the Christmas market or "Weihnachtsmarkt". In southern Germany and Austria it is sometimes called a "Christkind(e)l(s)markt" (German language, literally meaning "Christ child market"). Generally held in the town square and adjacent pedestrian zones, the market sells food, drink, and seasonal items from open-air stalls, accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. On opening nights (and in some towns more often) onlookers welcome the "Christkind" (originally boy Jesus, but more often depicted as an angel-like girl), acted out by a local child.

Popular attractions at the market include the Nativity Scene (a crèche or crib), Zwetschgenmännle (figures made of decorated dried plums), Nussknacker (carved Nutcrackers), Gebrannte Mandeln (candied, toasted almonds), traditional Christmas cookies such as Lebkuchen and Magenbrot (both forms of soft gingerbread), Bratwurst, and for many visitors one of the highlights of the market: Glühwein, hot mulled wine (with or without a shot of brandy), or Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). Both help stave off the cold winter air which sometimes dips below freezing. More regional food specialties include Christstollen (Stollen), a sort of egg bread with candied fruit in Saxony, and hot Apfelwein and Frankfurter Bethmännchen in Hesse. Many other handmade items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and ornaments (and in recent years less useful gadgets) can be found at a Christmas Market.

Famous Christmas markets are held in the cities of Augsburg, Dresden, Erfurt, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Stuttgart, making them popular tourist attractions during Christmas holiday season. The Nuremberg and Dresden markets draw about two million people each year; the Stuttgart and Frankfurt markets attract more than three million visitors. The two most visited Christmas markets in Germany are to be found in Dortmund with more than three and a half million visitors of 300 stalls around a gigantic Christmas tree creation that stands 45 metres tall, and in Cologne with 4 million people.Additionally, Berlin claims over 70 markets, which open in late November and close just after Christmas.

In 1982 Lincoln, England established an annual Christmas market in early December, and this remains one of the most extensive such market by area in the United Kingdom, with a claimed total of over 300 stalls attracting more than 100,000 visitors over its four days.



   

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