For some reason as soon as it becomes October it does seem less wrong to talk about Christmas and if I am honest I had a sneaky look at Christmas decorations online this weekend and got very excited. The Christmas spirit hasn’t really started in the office yet, although we did get our first advent calendar delivered yesterday. Also we the obsession with Great British Bake off in the marketing department our minds are spinning with ideas for gingerbread creations after Tuesday’s showstopper!
October is a great time to start thinking about your Christmas shopping and booking a cheeky trip over to one of the Christmas markets in Europe or arranging a weekend away to one in the UK. You can get some really original gifts and put a bit more tradition into your Christmas.
Here are some of our top Christmas Market destinations to get you in the festive mood:
Prague Christmas Market
Prague is a true winter wonderland and offers the perfect setting to visit a traditional Christmas Market. Running from 1st Dec until 6th Jan the Prague Christmas Market is the key ingredient for a little Czech festive magic. Visitors will find the main markets in Prague’s Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, with smaller ones at Namesti Republiky & Havelske Trziste all of which consist of row upon row of brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional Czech handicraft, handmade jewellery and plenty of traditional Czech food and drink. A visit to the famous Prague Christmas tree which is specially imported from the Krkonose Mountains in the north of the Czech Republic is a must whilst in the Old Town Square area.
Recommended Prague hotels:
Berlin Christmas Markets
Considered to be the home of the Christmas Market! Featuring some of Europe’s biggest and most spectacular sights it is one of the longest established Christmas Markets. Berlin is unique in the fact that unlike many cities, it hosts more than 50 individual Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, running from 2nd December until 26 Dec, with some prolonging the festivities until 2 Jan. The fifth Sunday before Christmas is “Totensonntag” a Remembrance Day in Germany, and a public holiday – which will see many attractions close. This may affect the Christmas Markets and we advise you contact the Tourist office before making any arrangements, to avoid disappointment. The most popular markets are located at the Kurfurstendamm and the Alexanderplatz but make sure you give the smaller markets a visit too as hidden treats can often be found, like the Potsdamer Platz market that features Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run and the ideal choice for children. Variety is the name of the game in Berlin so it’s ideal for travellers who enjoy action packed breaks.
Recommended Berlin Hotels:
Berlin Excelsior Hotel
Zurich Christmas Markets
If you are looking for a magical way to spend a pre or post-Christmas break, why not visit the exquisite Zurich Christmas markets between 22nd Nov until 24th Dec. Start off with a trip down to the Rathaus Market where you can pick up gifts or enjoy sampling the local cuisine. Alternatively if you fancy a break from the cold weather head to Zurich’s Christkindli Market at the ShopVille RailwayCity where Europe’s largest indoor market is located. The market is home to over 160 wooden chalets and a 50 foot high Christmas tree which is decorated each year with over 5000 Swarovski Crystal Ornaments. Finally if you’re travelling with children, a trip to the Werdmühleplatz Market shouldn’t be missed as it is home to Zurich’s spectacular singing Christmas tree.
Recommended Zurich hotels:
If you want to stay a bit closer to home then the UK has some great Christmas Markets were you will be able to enjoy some mulled wine and ginger biscuits.
Manchester Christmas Markets
Between 17th Nov and 23rd Dec the Manchester Christmas market is the perfect place to get your evening started, pick up some Christmas gifts or relax after a day Christmas shopping, the market really has become a fixture of the festive countdown. Stalls offer a diverse range of products from jewellery and bonsai trees to Dutch cheeses, French breads and Spanish chorizo. The array of food and drink on offer is vast with sweet and savoury treats ranging from mini pancakes and goulash to paella and profiteroles. Relax with a hot chocolate, warming Gluhwein, beer or wine.
Recommended Manchester hotels:
Congratulations Neil Jukes who correctly guessed Trafalgar Square, London in this week’s Where in the World Wednesday competition!
A £25 alpharooms.com voucher is on its way to you.