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Top 10 Christmas markets

11th November 2011 Print

As the Christmas lights go on in the UK, it’s time to get into the holiday spirit. With just 50 days left and counting, the magic of Christmas is just around the corner. Instead of sticking to the crowded department stores, why not make a weekend of it? Explore Christmas in all its authenticity with markets in some of the world’s most stunning cities., UK website for travel deals comparison, has just the list to rival Santa’s with its Top 10 Christmas Markets.

“Christmas markets are a great way to get into the spirit of the season. They literally smell like Christmas and are packed with activities that the whole family or fun-loving singles can enjoy,” says Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for

“It’s also an opportunity to get some Christmas shopping done in an enjoyable atmosphere, away from the stress of overcrowded stores. Shoppers can find unique crafts, handmade wooden gifts and all manner of things you won’t find in a shop,” adds Hallak.

Here we preview five of the ten best Christmas markets around the world:

Where better to start than at the start of where the tradition was born? Nuremberg’s Christmas market was first held in 1628 and is one of Germany’s most famous, attracting more than two million visitors every year. Candy-cane striped stalls serving glühwein and bratwurst fill the Old Town while live music is performed late into the night. The must-buy souvenirs are the Nuremberg Plum People, tiny figures made from prunes. Follow the Christmas Angel between 25 November and 24 December.

Yes that’s right, Dublin! Keep things close to home and hop over to Dublin's Docklands, which turn German for 20 days in November and December. German traders display their wares alongside their Irish counterparts. The air is filled with the scent of roasting nuts, mulled wine, eggnog and sizzling bratwurst. The Irish love to party and a feature of this market is the full programme of musical entertainment with story tellers, carol singers and bands. Santa turns up at the weekends mingling with the smaller visitors and dispensing a few sweets to the young and young at heart. Dates: 2-22 December.

Make it a white Christmas…or at least a white Christmas market at Tivoli Gardens, the famous amusement park, which hosts Copenhagen's Christmas markets. The willow trees are festooned with lights, there are almost four miles of colourful stalls and the little ones will be able to see how the residents of Nissekøbing bring Christmas to life. The market welcomes around one million visitors each year, most of whom will want to take a ride on the carousels, Chinese Lantern and Elves' Train. Dates: 11 November to 30 December; closed 24-25 December.

Strasbourg's Christmas market takes pride of place in front of the sublime, towering Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. It's the largest and oldest Christmas market in France. For more than 400 years the city has welcomed visitors to its Christkindelsmarik. Beautifully made Christmas decorations, Nativity figurines and traditional delicacies (spiced bread, mulled wine and foie gras) fill the stalls. Each year, a different country is celebrated and in 2011 it's Switzerland's turn. Place Gutenberg will host a Swiss market selling delicacies from that country with concerts, dancing and exhibitions from its cantons. Dates: 26 November to 31 December.

At the other end of a short Eurostar ride, the Brussels Christmas market is practically a stone’s throw away. Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Pret) - is a new arrival to the scene. It has only been around since 2004, but its location at the Grand-Place of Brussels and around the Bourse (on the Place Sainte-Catherine and on the Marché aux Poissons) gives it a centuries' old vibe. Almost 250 chalets, ice rink, fairground rides and bauble-studded Christmas tree make it a real winter wonderland. Then there are the mouth-watering delicacies, the local chocolates, pots of mussels, cones of French fries and Belgian waffles to enjoy. Dates: 25 November 2011 to 1 January 2012.

For the full Top 10, visit