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Christmas markets

Old Sep 12th, 2017, 12:34 AM
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Christmas markets

My wife and I will be going to Europe mid November for around 3 weeks. We will have about 10 days before they start from what I have read anyway. I work for an airline so our arrival and departure destinations are very flexible. We have been to Italy, Greece and Prague before and want to spend a couple of days in Venice we have friends that live there. So suggestion please for Christmas markets best ones and where to spend time before they start. We don't want to fly around we thought maybe train or some driving. Thanks in advance for your help M&M
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 01:47 AM
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Define "best" please: largest? most extensive? largest variety of different merchandise? starts earliest?

BTW, exactly what have you read?
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 03:31 AM
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Best means in your opinion if you were going back again which ones would you want to return to? I did read that Zagreb in Croatia have been good for the last couple of years.
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 03:50 AM
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"Best" is really subjective. Though we have fond memories of our Christmas market holidays, we would more likely experience new markets rather than return to ones we have visited.

In the event you are interest, here are my reports on the various markets we have visited, in order of preference.




And here are my notes on the markets in Vienna, where I live:

In Vienna it really pays to do your Christmasmarkt homework; otherwise it is too easy to be lulled into monotony. There is, of course, the "big" WienerChristkindlmarkt at Rathaus: commercial and touristy, but so merry and bright that you can't help but feel holiday cheer. For other markets, the setting is more enjoyable than the actual market offerings (Schloss Schönbrun and Schloss Belvedere come to mind, especially at night); while the reverse is true for the AltWiener Christmasmarkt and markets like the ones at Karlsplatz and Am Hof, all of which offer beautiful handcrafted items and excellent food but without a palace backdrop. Then there is the Spittelberg Adventmarkt, which combines artsy and handcrafted items in the tiny lanes of the Spittelberg area, trimmed with pretty Biedermeier architecture. Other markets are only open for a particular weekend, and may be in a spectacular setting (Schloss Graffenegg and Burgruine Aggstein, for example) or have a theme, like the medieval Adventmarkt at the Military History Museum or the botanic theme at Hirschstetten Botanical Garden.

The market at the Altes AKH (Old General Hospital) is super child-friendly with small and pleasant rides and often animals to pet. Traditional craftsmen can also be seen practicing their crafts, too. The food and drink is "meh," though.

A little further afield (and a short train ride) from Vienna are the Bratislava Christmas markets. A friend and I day-tripped to experience their two markets, and found them small, folksy, and with no shortage of heavy and delicious Central European fare.

I hope this information proves helpful in your planning.
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 04:13 AM
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I've been to countless Christmas markets throughout Germany over the years. Seems like every town has one or more.

Best ones? The one that happens to be right near where I'm staying...

Most frequently visited: Dresden - several markets around town. Love the one right outside the Hilton Hotel (for convenience)/Neumarkt area. Can't beat the smell of freshly roasted chestnuts as you listen to those classical Christmas favorites "Feliz Navidad" and "Rudolph"... seriously. Sampled a dozen different Dresdner Stollen. Ended up buying a few as gifts to hand carry home. Realized when I got home that my local Aldi in US had a stock of Stollen at great price. Could not tell the difference between the 2. (blind taste test). Also like the one near Altmarkt. Same products, same booths. Fun to get a spice wine & sample the foods.

Spontaneous visit: Frankfurt, old town. Got stuck with a 1/2d layver at FRA airport due to bad weather. Hopped on a train/subway & spent a few hrs having fun rather than sitting in the airport terminal.

Most unique: Freiberg, near Dresden. Small, but very local products. Meats were all local game. Nice to see something different than your cookie cutter goods seen elsewhere.
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 05:17 AM
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German trains are great - for 'best' Christmas markets head for bigger cities and trains are great for that. But as others say all towns have such markets and seeing just a few would salve most desires- for info on German trains check - German Railways site for schedules and booking your own tickets- at a discount if you book early enough - has great info on booking your own tickets; for general info and

You can take overnight train Munich/Vienna to Venice also if into that.
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 08:12 PM
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Thank you
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Old Sep 12th, 2017, 08:51 PM
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Best serious shopping: Nuremberg. Best surroundings: regensburg. Best atmosphere: Dresden. Best cathedral: Erfurt. Best variety: Munich (munich has multiple markets).

They sell a lot of the same stuff at all of the Markets. All have gluhwein. All have good food. Beyond that, if there is very specific stuff you want to buy, you need to research and find out what region it comes from, because the more unique stuff is regional. If that's not an issue, I'd base it on what towns you want to see.

If I had to pick one Market to return to, it would probably be Nuremberg. It's very crowded, but the setting is great, and I loved the sausages and gluwhein variety. I liked the market at Dresden more, theme wise, but I don't really care for stollen.
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Old Sep 13th, 2017, 01:43 AM
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Why not pop over to Manchester for what is the largest and most varied Christmas Market in Europe?

Here's a cut and paste from the website of the 2017 markets:

Provisional dates 10 Nov to 20 December, with Albert Square open until 6pm on 21st December

European Christmas Market, Albert Square
Don your Santa hat, dust off the mulled wine glass, and get into the festive spirit – it’s time to head down to Manchester’s world famous Christmas Market.

Attracting shoppers from all over the UK and beyond, the market has put Manchester city centre firmly on the Christmas map – the Christmas Market has become not just a fabulous place to shop but also a hugely popular leisure destination in its own right. No Mancunian winter is complete without a wander through the chalet-lined streets of the markets.

The Christmas Markets are located in 10 different spaces around the city, each with its own distinct character and atmosphere:

Albert Square | Brazennose Street | St Ann’s Square | Exchange Street | New Cathedral Street | The Corn Exchange | King Street | Market Street | Exchange Square | Cathedral Gardens

Manchester’s award-winning Christmas Markets returns this winter offering mouth-watering international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts in the heart of this buzzing city.

With nearly 350 beautifully festooned stalls and chalets spanning 10 distinctive market sites across the city centre, the Christmas Markets are free and accessible to all.

Soak up the atmosphere and follow the market trail as it winds through the city centre, tempting you with gifts, crafts, jewellery, clothes and toys. The choice is getting bigger every year. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.

And when planning your visit, don’t miss the amazing array of food and drink! Manchester’s Christmas Markets are famous for traditional bratwurst but you can also treat yourself to Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast.

Plenty of vegetarian options will be on offer, and for those with a sweet tooth the choices are even more mouth-watering, such as Dutch mini pancakes or French profiteroles!

Relax with a hot chocolate, German or Spanish beer, or French wine. Soak up the atmosphere of a truly international event with a uniquely Mancunian flavour.

Make a date in your diary to come along, enjoy yourself, and make Christmas 2017 the best year ever!

And with all glasses and mugs returnable as part of an environmentally friendly deposit scheme, your Christmas markets are greener than ever.
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Old Sep 13th, 2017, 06:30 AM
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they 'do not want to fly' - so popping over to Manchester for Xmas markets is out - and even though those Manchurian Xmas markets are no doubt great - I think they will have just as good ones in Germany they can reach by rail.
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the advice much appreciated
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Old Sep 21st, 2017, 03:13 PM
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We took a river cruise and stopped in Nuremburg, Salzburg, Prague, Vienna and Bratislava. The best Christmas market was at the Thurns und Taxis castle in Regensgurg. It was charming with fires going to warm you if you were cold. Most of the Christmas markets sell the same things it seems. At Thurns und Taxis they offered the best gingerbread cookies I've ever had. The local Hutmacher offers lovely hats. There is much to wander around and look at on the castle grounds. Regensburg offer about 5 Christmas markets. One had products made by locals that were pricey but nice. We loved Regensburg, it was "the best" Christmas experience we had. Salzburg is lovely, Vienna is stunning. Schonnbrunn Palace has a better market than by the city hall in terms of nicer products. The Christmas lights in Vienna are stunning.
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