On the Radar
There’s nothing like a trip to a Christmas market for getting into the festive mood. Eoin Higgins picks the top five across Europe.
Running daily in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Prague’s Christmas markets have a certain magic about them when it comes to making that “Christmas feeling” tangible. A proper romantic destination at the best of times, Prague at Christmas has that added Old World Bohemian feel other cities simply can’t match. (December 1 to January 6)
ugust brings passion and heat to Santiago de Compostela, the Galician city best known as the destination for fervent pilgrims who walk the famous Camino de Santiago. However, the city is not just heavenly for blistered wayfarers; the less nimblefooted devotee will also discover a destination that’s worth a trek. Here are five reasons to make that journey.
Temperatures drop towards the lower end of the thermometer during the festive season in Budapest, but the best-known Christmas market, located on Vörösmarty Square, is certainly somewhere to keep fingers and spirits toasty. Expect plenty of warm comfort food, lashings of hot glühwein, cinnamon pastries and plenty of festive gewgaws and knick-knacks to take home with you. (November 18 to December 30)
The Charlottenburg Castle market in Berlin has become increasingly popular as a winter travel destination since its early days in 2007. A fat stockingful of wonder awaits those who shop beneath the atmospheric lights of the castle and make friends with perhaps some of the friendliest stallholders in Europe. Wonderful gift opportunities too. (November 26 to December 31)
The Christkindlmarkt on the square in front of Vienna’s Town Hall is the city’s most impressive, attracting millions of visitors to its festive wooden huts selling food, drinks and unique, arty gifts. On the periphery of the market itself, another highlight is the trees decorated with glowing lights shaped like festive hearts and gingerbread men. (November 17 to December 24)
Set in the Tivoli Gardens amusement park, Copenhagen’s annual Christmas market is the quintessential winter wonderland. Hundreds of Christmas trees and over half a million lights illuminate the stalls and the surrounding park. There is an ice-skating rink but, more importantly, over 60 different vendors selling locally produced arts, crafts, decorations, glögg and addictive hot apple dumplings. (November 9 to December 28)
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