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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.

All Our Tours

Worcester
Lincoln
Paris
Carols, Cotswolds Lincoln Market Paris and Reims
2 days From £109 TOPAZ By Coach
3 days From £145 SILVER By Coach
3 days From £149 TOPAZ By Coach
Travel to historic Worcester and its magnificent cathedral for a very special Christmas Carol Concert Lincoln Market, certainly the first German style traditional market in the UK. Experience the magic of Paris this Christmas as it is transformed into a city of festive light.
     
     
Brussels
Brussels
Rochester
Brussels & Bruges Brussels & Bruges Rochester’s Dickens Market
3 days From £155 TOPAZ By Coach
3 days From £169 BRONZE By Coach
3 days From £169 SILVER By Coach
Visit two of Belgium's most famous cities, and soak up all the magic of their enchanting markets. Browse around the pretty stalls selling array of handmade decorations, gifts, chocolates and lace. A new tour to Rochester’s Dickens Christmas Market.
     
     
Valkenburg
Cologne
York
Brussels & Valkenburg Magical Cologne & Aachen York
3/4 days From £175 SILVER By Coach
3/4 days From £169 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £189 SILVER By Coach
The Brussels markets occupy the charming areas of the old town. See them and a selection of other festive destinations. Visit the Cologne and Bruges Markets also featuring the Christmas Market at Aachen. A weekend break combining the historic city of York with the traditional entertainment at the Grassington Dickensian Market and Festival.
     
     
Germany
Valkenburg
Rochester
Germany's Markets Valkenburg and Aachen Rochester Dickensian Festival
4 days From £185 TOPAZ By Coach
3 days From £189 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £199 BRONZE By Coach
Shop for Yuletide gifts in the surrounds of the German Valleys as you visit some of the most picturesque markets. During the festive period the Valkenburg caves are transformed into a spectacular grotto with stalls selling unique local gifts. Every year Charles Dickens' Victorian England comes aliven at the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Markets.
     
     
Paris
Caen
Cologne
Romantic Paris Caen, Mont Saint-Michel 4* Cologne and Merode Castle
4 days From £199 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £199 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £219 BRONZE By Coach
Explore the charm of the French capital when many of the squares and boulevards play host to quaint Market stalls. History, beautiful sights and festive markets combine perfectly in Normandy. Cologne Markets are amoungst Germany's finest making this tour a true shopping extravaganza!
     
     
Luxembourg
Ostend
Rudesheim
4* Luxemburg & Moselle Valley Ostend, Bruges & Valkenburg Rudesheim & Koblenz
4 days From £219 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £219 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £219 BRONZE By Coach
In Luxembourg, you can expect to find locally produced arts and crafts and of course, plenty of food and drink to warm you from inside. Ostend is famous for its skating rink built around the main square giving that extra Christmas feel to the markets. Kick-start your Christmas festivities with a festive visit to two of Germany's finest Markets.
     
     
Maastricht
Paris
Dusseldorf
Maastricht and Liege Paris 4* Dusseldorf & Cologne
4 days From £219 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £229 BRONZE By Coach
4 days From £249 SILVER By Coach
This four day festive break is to two popular Christmas market destinations at the Crossroad of Europe. The beautiful city of Paris now offers a great selection of Christmas markets alongside it’sbreathtaking sightseeing opportunities. Explore the festive stalls and go shopping in the elegant boutiques of the great Rhineland cities of Cologne and Düsseldorf.
     
     
Bath
Germany
Bruges
Bath & Bristol German Xmas Markets Xmas Markets Extravaganza
4 days From £269 DIAMOND By Train
4 days From £249 PEARL By Coach
4 days From £279 PEARL By Coach
We visit the Markets of bustling Bristol and glorious Bath, before taking in a steam railway and charming Lacock Abbey. The mouth-watering smell of baked gingerbread, the warming taste of Glühwein, the sight of twinkling outdoor lights. Our Christmas Market medley cruise is perfect for taking you to some of the biggest and best markets that Europe.
     
     
Rhine
Cologne
Amiens
Magical Markets Rhine Valley 4* Cologne & the Rhine Valley Medieval Amiens & Rouen
4/5 days From £279 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £289 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £279 SILVER By Coach
Spend time exploring the Drosselgasse in Rüdesheim, the Romerplatz in Frankfurt and the Altstadt in Cologne. Combine a visit to the scenic Rhine Valley with a Christmas markets experience to remember in the cathedral-city of Cologne. Spend time in two great cathedral cities with their charming Christmas markets.
     
     
Austrian Tyrol
Luxembourg
Cruise
Austrian Tyrol Luxembourg & Trier Rhine Cruise
6 days From £299 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £299 SILVER By Coach
4 days From £299 TOPAZ By Coach
Experience the beautiful mountain scenery of the Austrian Tyrol, savouring the festive celebrations in Salzburg and Innsbruck. Explore some of Europe’s best Christmas Markets. Explore the fairytale beauty of the Rhine Valley its towns and villages dressed up for Christmas aboard a beautifully appointed cruise vessel.
     
     
Valkenburg
Yorkshire
Brussels
Valkenburg, Aachen & Cologne Festive Markets of Yorkshire Brussels by Eurostar
4/5 days From £289 SILVER By Coach
5 days From £295
GOLD
By Train
4 days From £299
SILVER
By Train
Enjoy a short stay in the ever-popular Dutch town of Valkenburg, experiencing markets with a difference - staged in the illuminated municipal caves! Soak up the festive atmosphere in 'God's own county' on this exciting pre-Christmas break. Enjoy time at leisure in Brussels, experiencing the style of 4-star accommodation.
     
     
Black Forest
Yorkshire
Berlin
Black Forest Yorkshire Berlin
4 days From £319 TOPAZ By Air
5 days From £325
DIAMOND
By Train
4 days From £329
TOPAZ
By Air
The Black Forest - a rolling wooded landscape dotted with ancient villages - is the setting for the fairy-tales of the Brothers Grimm. Based in the spa town of Harrogate, experience the Markets in York, enjoy two vintage steam rail journeys. Visit Berlin, the vibrant German capital. Here some 50 Christmas markets offer traditional festive wares and unusual goods.
     
     
Munich
Belgium
Brussels
Munich Belgium River Cruise Lille, Ypres, Bruges & Brussels
4 days From £339 TOPAZ By Air
4 days From £349
BRONZE
By Coach
5 days From £349
SILVER
By Coach
Visit the Christmas markets of Munich, and discover the festive fun of the season as celebrated in the Bavarian capital. A value-for-money festive cruise including 3 fantastic Belgian Christmas market destinations onboard the MS Princess. Enjoy the festive charms of three of Belgian's delightful towns plus Lille.
     
     
Holland
Moselle
Brussels
Holland River Cruise Moselle 5* Brussels and Bruges
4 days From £349
BRONZE
By Coach
4 days From £365 GOLD By Train
4 days From £365
SILVER
By Coach
Relax onboard the M.S Princess as we sail the scenic waterways of Belgium and Holland. Join us and experience the wonders of the Christmas Markets in the picturesque riverside towns of Trier and Cochem. Combine the traditions and quaint atmosphere of the Christmas markets with 5-star luxury in the heart of Brussels.
     
     
Berlin
Luxembourg
Barcelona
Berlin Luxembourg & Trier Barcelona
4 days From £359
SILVER
By Air
4 days From £375 GOLD By Train
4 days From £319
TOPAZ
By Air
Explore the German capital with its fascinating world-famous sights. Uncover the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg’s quaint Markets,and discover Trier in Germany’s Moselle Valley. The city on the shore of the Mediterranean may not offer Bavarian 'Christkindl' but it more than makes up for in stylish shopping.
     
     
Krakow
Cologne
Switzerland
Krakow Cologne & Rüdesheim Switzerland
4 days From £359
TOPAZ
By Air
4 days From £385 GOLD By Train
4 days From £359
TOPAZ
By Air
Join us in the ancient royal capital of Poland, where colourful markets are held against the spectacular backdrop of Krakow. A perfect opportunity to enjoy the traditional Christmas Markets in Cologne and charming Rüdesheim. Few countries exude the magic of wintertime more than the Alpine paradise of Switzerland.
     
     
Strasbourg
Hannover
Italy
Heidelberg, Strasbourg & Trier Medieval Hannover Italy
6 days From £459
SILVER
By Coach
6 days From £399 SILVER By Coach
5 days From £399
TOPAZ
By Air
Experience the unique flavours and contrasts of the German Christmas markets in Heidelberg. Enjoy the delights of medieval Hannover, which takes on an even more charming atmosphere at this special time of year. Join us in delightful Arco for a wonderful festive break.
     
     
Rhine Valley
Cologne
Prague
Cruising the Rhine Valley Cologne Prague
4/5 days From £409
SILVER
By Coach
4 days From £399 SILVER By Train
5 days From £399
SILVER
By Air
Enjoy a wonderful 4 or 5-day Rhine Cruise experience aboard the MS Rhine Princess Travel in style in your reserved seat to Cologne to see the city's variety of Christmas markets. Join the festivities in the breathtaking Czech capital.
     
     
Bruges
Valkenberg
Erfurt
Bruges & Ypres Valkenburg Spa Break Thuringia, Erfurt, Weimar
4 days From £395
DIAMOND
By Train
4 days From £399 SILVER By Train
6 days From £409 SILVER By Train
Explore beautifully preserved Bruges and historic Ypres - along with their charming Christmas Markets - on this festive tour. Enjoy a three-night stay in a superb 4-star spa hotel, whilst also enjoying the ever-popular Valkenburg Christmas Markets. Experience the unique flavours and contrasts of this special part of Germany during advent.
     
     
Salzburg
Vienna
Cologne
Salzburg, Munich & Innsbruck Vienna Cologne's Wonderful Markets
7 days From £419 SILVER By Train
4 days From £389
TOPAZ
By Air
4 days From £415
DIAMOND
By Train
A wonderful winter tour featuring three great Alpine cities and superb European Christmas markets. Few festive markets enjoy a grander or more romantic setting than those held in the elegant Austrian capital. Festive Cologne has six bustling markets to choose from - including a floating one.
     
     
Nuremberg
Luxembourg
Hamburg
Nuremberg Bamberg Wurzburg Luxembourg & Metz Hamburg, Lubeck and Bremen
6 days From £509 SILVER By Coach
5 days From £455
DIAMOND
By Train
7 days From £469 SILVER By Coach
Explore the best of Bavaria’s Christmas Markets. We uncover the Grand Duchy's seasonal highlights, castles and wines and also pay a visit to the Christmas Market in nearby Metz. A tour of northern Germany's finest Christmas Markets.
     
     
Black forest
Austria
Frankfurt
Black Forest Austrian Lake District Frankfurt and Heidelberg
6 days From £479 SILVER By Coach
7 days From £509 SILVER By Coach
5 days From £525 GOLD By Train
A special blend of French and German Christmas Markets. Enjoy the breathtaking lakeland scenery of the Austrian Salzkammergur. Travel with us to the picturesque Rhine Gorge and the pretty village of Assmannshausen, for a four-night break.
     
     
Strasbourg
Berlin
Copenhagen
Strasbourg & the Black Forest Berlin, Potsdam & Dresden Copenhagen, Malmo & Lubeck
5 days From £525 GOLD By Train
7 days From £539 SILVER By Coach
7 days From £589 SILVER By Coach
Depart from London on the Eurostar to Paris and enjoy a scenic journey through Germany, before reaching the charming town of Rastatt. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and great sightseeing in these spectacular German cities. Visit Copenhagen and the wonderful Christmas Market at Tivoli Gardens.
     
     
Hannover
Colmar
Bavaria
Hanover, Hamelin & Bremen Colmar and the Black Forest Bavaria
5 days From £595
DIAMOND
By Train
5 days From £655
DIAMOND
By Train
5 days From £595
DIAMOND
By Train
Discover some of Germany's best-loved 'fairytale' cities as they are illuminated for advent. Ancient half-timbered houses with timeless charm clamour for attention in the beautiful Alsatian towns of Colmar and Strasbourg. Sample the sights and smells of three Bavarian Christmas markets.
     
     
Heidelberg
Rhine
Harz Mountains
Heidelberg & Frankfurt Rhine Cruise Harz Mountains
5 days From £625
DIAMOND
By Train
5 days From £590 GOLD By Train
6 days From £665 GOLD By Train
With its idyllic location and romantic castle, Heidelberg has long been one of Germany's most popular destinations. Cruise through the Rhineland, discovering charming towns as they gear up for the Christmas season. From our base in Hahnenklee, sample two of northern Germany’s most charming Christmas Markets in quaint squares.
     
     
Rhineland
Cologne
Harz Mountains
Rhineland Cruise Cologne & Kaiser's Carriage Harz Mountains
6 days From £625
DIAMOND
By Train
4 days From £715
DIAMOND
By Train
6 days From £725
DIAMOND
By Train
Cruising through the Rhineland - what a romantic way to explore this region and uncover the many picture-book towns. Sample the Christmas Markets in Cologne from the comfort of a 5-star Hotel, and visit Wuppertal's Christmas Markets. The Harz Mountains' timeless towns and landscapes are perfect for a taste of Advent tradition in Germany.
     
     
Rhine Cruise
   
Rhine Cruise    
6 days From £595
DIAMOND
By Train
   
Enjoy a fabulous rail-cruise tour along the Rhine, visiting fascinating riverside towns and exploring charming Christmas Markets.    
   
     
     

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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