Holiday Markets

Three must-visit destinations to experience the wonders of the season

As autumn makes way for winter, there comes along a magical feeling. You know the one – it adds a spring to your step, a smile to your face, and a joy that you just can’t help but spread.

Here's to some magical holidays – the breathtaking surroundings, the pampering, the blissful journey, the savory food, and the fun you’ve been craving.

Europe #1

If you want to experience the deep-rooted holiday traditions and elegant pageantry of Europe, travel across the Pond and visit the world’s most timeless Holiday Markets at its most festive time of year and get caught up in the pageantry .

Let iconic capital cities of central Europe —Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna—decked in holiday finery with glittering Christmas trees illuminated by thousands of lights, bells pealing from cathedral towers and children dressed as angels singing carols, dazzle you. Wander the stalls of Europe’s most traditional and enchanting Holiday Markets, including Regensburg and Salzburg, and enjoy shopping for handcrafted toys and gifts, sipping hot mulled wine and inhaling the fragrance of gingerbread and roasted chestnuts.

Moving west, warm up with a mug of steamy glühwein while at the Cologne Market located in front of its UNESCO-designated Gothic cathedral. Let the "Capital of Noël," Strasbourg, the oldest and largest Christmas Market in France, captivate you as it has for centuries. Meander through Heidelberg’s majestic Christmas Market nestled idyllically amongst the historic squares of the Old Town. And while in Gengenbach, marvel at the world’s largest Advent calendar, where every evening at 6:00 PM, the brightly lit windows of the neo-classical town hall open to reveal a picture behind each one by a famous artist, such as Andy Warhol. Cherish all the glory of the season in grand European style.

These markets generally run from late-November until after Christmas. There are various modes of travel that can enable you to visit most of these locations in one visit.

Here’s a toast to Kellemes ünnepeket,  joyeuses fêtes and, šťastné svátky! (“Happy Holidays” in Hungarian, French and Czech.)

Honorable mentions: Holiday Markets in London, Bath, Stockholm and Milan are not to be missed either!

Canada #2

Fancy a car ride (or a quick flight) in the heart of winter to our northern neighbors? If so, be sure to enjoy the German Christmas Market in Québec City, Québec, Canada. As the air becomes crisp and snow begins to fall, Old Québec transitions into a stunning winter wonderland, with snow-capped 17th and 18th-century buildings, and festive lights strung along doorways and roofs.

Visit close to 100 kiosks, lined with a great selection of succulent German treats, such as bratwurst, mulled wine, hot chocolate, Nuremberg gingerbread, German Christmas cake, Feuerzangenbowle (a flambé hot wine), and much more. Check out delicious terroir products, exquisite Christmas gifts, choral singing, shows, indoor and outdoor performances, and the much-anticipated WinterBar to get into the true spirit of the holidays. Kids will also get to visit a special Santa zone.

After the Market, walk up to the top of Pierre-Dugua-De-Mons Terrace, and capture the festive lights strung along rue du Petit-Champlain. Then, ride the ferry across the St. Lawrence River to Lévis for a beautiful view of the Québec City skyline.

These markets generally open the third week of November and run until just before Christmas.

Frohe Weihnachten! (“Merry Christmas” in German)

United Sates #3

It would be hard not to mention one closer to home that draws about a million visitors every year – the internationally renowned Union Square Holiday Market in New York City, NY.

With 100+ vendors, you can find unique handmade wearables and jewelry, children’s toys and Christmas ornaments, handcrafted bowls, winter accessories, artwork, candles, and much more. Many artisans sell certified organic and fair-trade goods as well. Feeling chilly? Take advantage of the warming station while savoring a cup of hot chocolate.

With food being an integral part of NYC, the market would not be complete without the many food stalls serving everything from pizzas and  empanadas to soups, hot chocolate and more. Hop on the subway or take a drive to visit this splendor in the heart of the City.

Honorable Mention: The Columbus Circle Holiday Market, also in NY, isn’t far behind when it comes to an elegant and unique holiday shopping experience. A must see while in NY!

These two markets run from mid-November to the end of December.

 Other Special Mentions: Holiday Markets are huge in Mexico and Latin America as well, with a variety of delicious, mouth-watering dishes to savor, drinks to wash them down, and celebrations that run for days on end. A must-visit!

Please note that in 2020, events worldwide are subject to change.

In conclusion, the Holiday season is a time to cherish, reflect and be merry, and there is nothing more special than spending the holidays with your family and loved ones at many of these Holiday Markets.

About the Author: Nish Verma is a Luxury Travel Planner based in Berkeley Heights, NJ, serving travel enthusiasts and experience seekers globally. To find out more about various travel options, best places to visit, stay and eat, and to plan a vacation in 2021, please contact him at 908-517-1107.  Visit his website http://www.LetsGlobetrot.com for travel inspirations, and don’t forget to follow him on Facebook and Instagram via @letsglobetrotcp.

Happy Holidays!

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