Christmas market holidays

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christmas market holidays

A Christmas market, also known as a Christkindlmarkt, Christkindlesmarket, Christkindlmarket and Weihnachtsmarkt, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent.    The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe.


Christmas Markets started in Europe, so this type of holiday should therefore appeal to people living in Europe within reach of these countries by air, rail and road.


Because Christmas markets in Europe are cheerfully bustling with people and tend to take place in countries with chilly winter weather and strong traditions, they are likely to appeal to visitors who enjoy the sights, sounds of aromas of the Christian Festive Season.   They will also be enjoyed most if you like to wrap up warm in coat, hat and gloves, are happy to mingle with various nationalities hunting for Christmas gifts, and are not averse to a possible healthy downfall of crisp winter snow.   Usually Christmas Markets take place in quaint town squares, and it will usually be possible to relax for lunch or dinner in one of many cafes, restaurants and stublis nearby.


Christmas Markets normally begin to appear from the fourth Sunday before 25 December.   Whilst these markets originated in Germany, Austria, South Tyrol and Alsace they are now being held in many other countries.


It pays to wrap up warm for the chill of December and several hours spent browsing the various stalls for gifts.   Whilst the temperate can occasionally be mild at this time of year in parts of Europe, and you will always have the opportunity to thaw out in a cosy keller bar or eatery, you can expect it to be hovering around freezing point, so you should be prepared with a warm coat, hat, boots and gloves.   Most of Europe is free from significant passport, health and security problems, so visiting a Christmas Market can be arranged quickly and easily.   It can of course cost much more to use services like airlines and train services during the popular holiday seasons, so some of the best travel deals can be picked up by booking well in advance.


The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets. It attracts between 1.5 and 2 million visitors a year and has over 250 stalls. The Bautzen Christmas market was even older, first being mentioned in records in 1384. The Vienna “December market” was a kind of forerunner of the Christmas market and dates back to 1294.   Closer to home, Brussels has a Christmas Market which makes an excellent day trip from the UK by air or train.    Further afield, the Rothenburg Christmas Market in Germany is situated within the walls of the ancient town on the Romantic Road and is the perfect place for a cosy long weekend.


It is possible to visit a Christmas Market in Belgium or France for the price of a day return by Eurostar railway, which can be as little as £50 per person depending on how far in advance you book.   For a more lavish treat with a couple of nights comfortable accommodation in a German or Austrian three star bed and breakfast guest house, allow from around £250 per person as well as extra spending money for lunch, dinner, drinks and gifts.


Christmas Markets are much less about celebrity visitors than they are about immersing yourself in the atmosphere of the Festive Season, though you are almost sure to spot some recognisable faces who are also aiming to pick up that special unique gift for their loved ones.

Link to Other Things To Know (Passports, Visas, Health, Security)

You shouldn’t need to worry about anything in particular when it comes to organising a visit to a Christmas Market, but should always double check things like security information before you travel.   Bear in mind also that if you travel to the extreme edges of Europe then you may need to consider tighter passport and visa rules than if you are simply popping to EU countries like Belgium, Austria, Germany or France.

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