Brugge, Gent, or Maastricht

Old Dec 11th, 2002, 06:25 PM
Flying Dutchman
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Brugge, Gent, or Maastricht

Out of these three cities, which one do you prefer and why. Which one of these would have the better Christmas markets - if any?
Old Dec 11th, 2002, 09:20 PM
Ben Haines
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Brugge has waterways, fine gothic churches, alleys of old brick buildings, and many fine paintings, especially of the fifteenth century. Ghent (Gaunt) has the same, but interspersed amongst recent buildings, not gathered into a compact space. Maastrict has little or no open water, is slightly hilly, and is strong in Baroque and Catholic buildings.

I am sorry I am no help on markets. Welcome to Europe.

Ben Haines, London
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 12:10 AM
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Maastrich has a Christmas market from Dec. 6 - 23, 10am - 11pm, on the Vrijthof and in the Dominicaner Church. Maastricht is also very close to Germany and the famous Christmas markets of Aachen and Cologne, and numerous others. There is also an outdoor ice-skating rink in the center of town (typical Dutch fun) and there are lots of concerts. Check out:
Some of the schedule is in English.
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 01:06 AM
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Brugge also has a skating rink and Christmas market. Many of the stores are beautifully decorated for Christmas. Of the three, Brugge is the hands down winner.
Aachen is probably my least favorite Germany Christmas market. Many of the goods are schlocky trinkets not made in Germany (i.e., China). It's also incredibly crowded and pushing through the mob (mostly there to drink) does not do much for the holiday spirit. The cathedral is interesting, though.
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 01:15 AM
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Thanks for the tip, Brugge - I've never been to the Aachen market, only heard that it was big. I think I'll skip it!
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 01:34 AM
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Another vote for Brugge. We were there last year during a snowfall and it was beautiful--people skating, the market not too croweded--a real pleasure. Brussels also has a Christmas market around the Grand'Place for people passing through. Many of the stands there are run by local volunteer groups to raise money for charities (we volunteered last year at the Canadian stand and the money raised went to aid a shelter for abused women and children). Also, in the Brussels market, there's one stand selling great hand-painted glassware at really modest prices. We are spending the winter holidays with family in Germany and found our new favorite market--in Muenster (sorry, I can't do Munster with the proper umlaut). Wonderful!! The old city itself is very attractive and the Christmas market was excellent. Lots of high quality handcrafted items and good food. Also, live music--there was a terrific brass band playing over the week-end. Another lesser known Christmas market is in Hattingen, a small, charming hilltop medieval town near Bochum. Lots of half-timbered houses, nice cafes and shops. I did a search for "Hattingen" on Fodors and didn't come up with a single response...the Muenster and Hattingen markets are two undiscovered gems.
BTilke (heading back to Muenster on Tuesday)
Old Dec 12th, 2002, 03:56 AM
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Brugge is a little too touristy to me but I have nothing but good memories of Maastricht. & it does have the XMas market as mentioned prior. I have never visited Ghent.
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