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Christmas Markets 2013

Christmas shopping has got to be done, so why not do it properly, and have a well deserved break at the same time ? Christmas markets put the magic back into it. For the most part, we’re talking genuine crafts rather than global gifts the type you can pick up in any shopping centre anywhere in the world. This year, 2013, Citiescapes (Dublin 2941000) have a range of Christmas Markets in Europe. For some inspiration on where to go and what’s on offer keep reading. Oh! The information, times and dates etc, below are correct at the time of writing this Blog and is given in good faith and is for guidance only. Please check with our friendly staff for up to date information. A full list of our currently available Christmas Markets is available here. Christmas Markets – Which one ? Depending on the Christmas market you choose they are invariably in historic settings, they sparkle with lights, are crammed with stalls and radiate atmosphere all vying to put on the biggest, brightest and prettiest displays. With their atmospheric squares full of fairy lights, pretty stalls and handcrafted gifts the German Christmas Markets have to be the Mummy and Daddy of them all and the Mummy and Daddy of the Christmas German markets has got to be….. Berlin. Berlin is closely followed by a selection of other German cities but Munich has got to be one of the best and with direct Citiescapes tours from Ireland, is one of the easiest to get to.

BERLIN’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS 25.11.2013 – 31.12.2013

Anyone who wants to experience the incomparable charm of “Winter Magic” has to come to Berlin! Berlin is the capital city of the German Christmas Markets. Whether you prefer a contemplative and magical Christmas market or a lively and urban one, this year Berlin offers you a choice of sixty Christmas Markets. Allow yourself to discover the vendor booths’ magic, charm, and unique items along the large boulevards and squares as well as on the small side streets and even in several museums. This year marks the fourth time a Christmas market will be held in front of Charlottenburg Castle. The Christmas Market will feature the Biedermeier period. Historic carriage rides, theme exhibits in the palace itself, and specialized lighting will feature the fascinating era between 1815 and 1848.

MUNICH, GERMANY 25.11.2013 – 24.12.2013

Munich’s Christmas Market – whose roots go back to the 14th century – is held on Marienplatz in the heart of the city centre. Town records first mention a ”Nicholas Market” in the Kaufinger Strasse near the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) in 1642. Back then, just like today the Munich Christmas Market offers traditional Bavarian Christmas gifts, including wood carvings from Oberammergau, gingerbread (Lebkuchen) from Nuremberg and notably some exquisite glassware from the Bavarian Forest. Crib figurines, bee wax candles, chimney sweeps made of plums and almonds are just some of many thousands of other traditional Christmas gift ideas on display. Each day, from the balcony of Munich’s town hall, music lovers will be able to enjoy the festive season celebration with a special alpine Christmas Market concert. Not interested in German Christmas Markets ? Don’t worry we have put together a range of other cities

VIENNA, AUSTRIA – 16.11.2013 – 24.12.2013

Vienna has had a Christmas market of sorts since the 13th century; today, it has several spread throughout the city. The biggest, and gaudiest, fills the Rathausplatz, the vast square in front of the monumental neo-Gothic City Hall. There are more than 140 stalls, selling items from traditional miniature wooden houses and toys, puppets and gingerbread hearts to leather gear and woollen hats. When you have had one roasted chestnut too many, take a stroll in the surrounding Rathaus Park, which has been turned into an enchanted parkland with trees and pavilions hung with lights and snowflakes, old-fashioned carousel rides, and a “Post Office in the Clouds” where you can post your Christmas cards. Alternatively, try the atmospheric lanes of the Spittelberg market near the Museum Quarter for handmade crafts, handblown glass, silverware and ceramics.

BUDAPEST, HUNGRY – 16.11.2013 – 30.12.2013

Cottage-style wooden stalls and an outdoor stage take over one of Budapest’s most attractive squares. You can smell the scent of traditional honey cookies, mulled wine, cinnamon and fir from far. The rich fragrant simply lures you to the market. The famous Gerbeaud confectionery has an Advent Calendar in its windows. The pages turn over day by day, each day a decorated window opens at 17.00.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC  30.11.2013 – 01.01.2014

With a patron saint immortalised in a Christmas carol, Good King Wenceslas, it’s no surprise that Prague is an enchanting place at Christmas. The beautiful Old Town Square, a marketplace since the 11th century with the truly wondrous Astronomical Clock, is filled with stalls, an enormous light-twinkling tree and the scents of hot punch, mead and roasting chestnuts. A stage-set nativity scene and daily performances by folk bands and choirs add to the atmosphere. There are further stalls in the vast Wenceslas Square, the scene of political protest in 1989. Look out for carved wooden toys, Bohemian crystal, garnet jewellery, icing-covered gingerbread, and traditional straw and maize decorations. Czech nativity scenes are an ancient and venerated art; go to the Charles Bridge Museum to see its collection as well as the world’s largest straw nativity scene.

BRUGES, BELGIUM – 22.11.2013 – 01.01.2014

With its medieval buildings, cobbled streets and squares, and picturesque canals, Bruges is possibly the most fairy-tale-perfect city for a Christmas market. The two main markets are in the spacious Market Square, overlooked by tall, gabled buildings and the 13th century Belfort (belfry), and in Simon Stevinplein. Handmade jewellery, wooden toys, woolly hats and scarves, and leather goods are on offer, as well, of course, as delicious chocolates. Look out for chocolate Sinterklaas, moulded Santa Claus figures, and honey waffle biscuits. For regional food specialities, such as foie gras and Flemish beers, head for the smaller market in Walplein. Fairground rides will keep children happy while everyone can have fun on the Market Square’s ice rink. For something chillingly spectacular, visit the Ice Sculpture Festival in Stationsplein, where artists will have fashioned more than 650,000 pounds of ice and 400 tons of snow into an Ice Age 3 adventure. Warm up afterwards with glühwein, hot chocolate or the potent local jenever.

Krakow, Poland – 2013 Dates to be confirmed

The beautiful city of Krakow is usually draped in snow during the festive season, making Krakow Christmas Market an even prettier sight for visitors. The Rynek, which is the huge market square in the old town’s centre, provides the setting for the Christmas Market and is largely filled with wooden stalls offering a variety of gifts. The Rynek is dominated by the ancient majestic Cloth Hall, which makes for a splendid backdrop for visitors shopping at the Christmas Market. From mouth watering delicacies to traditional items such as woollen clothes and locally-crafted jewellery, your are sure to find your perfect Christmas gifts. Citiescapes offer tours to most of the Christmas Markets in Europe. Our staff have visited each of the cities listed and have first hand knowledge of the hotels and markets. Please give them a ring with any queries you may have on Dublin 2941000. All tours are featured on our website . – Alan, Managing Director