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Christmas Markets

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Places to explore in winter for Christmas
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Lille, France
Popped across the border into France over the weekend to hit the Christmas market. This is something that I have been doing every year for at least the past dozen years. Every year they erect a very large ferris wheel and its usually a freezing...
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75009 Paris, France
Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is worth a visit if only to stand under its magnificent glass dome. The family business has survived as a one-stop-shopping hub for five generations, thanks to steady innovation and an emphasis on high fashion and...
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Budapest, 1051 Hungary
There's no better way to connect with a culture than through food. It's a universal language, tangible and immediate. Street/market food is particularly insightful. I recently spent time in eastern Europe and was pleasantly surprised by the...
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Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
A fairy-tale town deserves a magical funfair. Tivoli Gardens is one of the country’s most popular attractions, drawing more than four million visitors a year (in a country with a population of around 5.5 million). Youngsters will enjoy the...
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V Kotcích 516/15, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
Beautiful, kooky old houses like this dotted throughout the city centre really helped Prague live up to my expectations of a fairytale city. Prague was a fascinating contrast of old and new, so it both lived up to my expectations and surprised me
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Potsdamer Platz 1, 10785 Berlin, Germany
With only my nose peeking from my scarf, the smell of toasted almonds, melting sugar, and mulled wine warmed all my senses. Christmas in Berlin made me feel 5 years old all over again and I had the revelation, “This is what Christmas carols are...
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Locals organized a memorial after Václav Havel, the first president of the Czech Republic, died on December 18, 2011. The experience was surreal: I had read his play Largo Desolato for an English course a year earlier.
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Warmoezeniersweg 20, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Went over to Brugge the other day to see the ice sculptures and also had a walk through the city. The main square was lit up very nicely and there was an ice rink right in the center. The weather was cold but the atmosphere was poetic.
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Switzerland’s favorite cold weather libation is a piping hot glass of glühwein, a German-inspired mulled wine infused with the sweet and spicy flavors of cinnamon, clove, and star anise. The best place to enjoy a glass? The Basel Christmas Market,...
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Berlin’s Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg is home to one of Berlin's most hip Christmas markets: the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt. Located on the grounds of a former brewery, the Lucia Christmas market is the “Nordic”-themed market in Berlin. You’ll...
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Piazza di Santa Croce, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
I studied abroad in Italy and, since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving, my friends and I dove right into Christmas as soon as November came around. I listened to my professor sing in a choir for a Christmas concert, attended the magical tree...
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December in Stockholm is a great time to explore various Christmas markets (Julmarknader) around town. At Stortorget in Gamla stan (Old town), you'll find the city's most popular Christmas market where you can pick up a variety of porcelain...
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Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
An elegant square lined with grand 19th-century buildings, Ban Jelačić is a great spot to feel the city’s pulse. It often plays host to fairs and performances, as well as locals chatting under the sculpture of Ban Josip Jelačić or the...
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7 Chome Odorinishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0042, Japan
One of the highlights we wanted to see in Sapporo was the White Illumination event in Sapporo in the winter. Odori Park, which is a whole12-block stretch of park that serves as a central landmark of Sapporo, is lit up using thousands of light...
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630 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5N6, Canada
I love the lights, the carols, the colors, and the food of Christmas. I have always wanted to take in the famed German and Austrian markets, but I have yet to make the trip. If you are on the West Coast of North America, the Vancouver German...
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One of the best Christmas markets in Europe is in Cologne. The market is open right next to the Cathedral and it is open from the 25th of November till the 23rd of December. Gluhwine, ornaments, great food and allot of Christmas spirit is what you...
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Gamla stan, Södermalm, Stockholm, Sweden
A picturesque mid-December afternoon along the Stockholm waterfront as the sun sets in the background. Despite the early darkness, Stockholm was bright and energetic all hours of the day. The air was festive with Christmas celebrations and...
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Rue du Parc 2, 4577 Modave, Belgium
The Chateau is gorgeous at any time of the year but at Christmas time it's extra special as each room gets decorated with Christmas trees and beautiful ornaments. We went this past Christmas and I loved it. I cannot wait for next Christmas!
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Fürstenweg 37, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
Hellbrunn is the ideal destination for a family outing, or anyone really who likes to have fun, as this peculiar palace was built for that sole purpose. The grand structure glows golden in the afternoon sun, but it is the garden that attracts the...
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Ghent, Belgium
I am really impressed with the city of Gent for putting together such an outstanding Christmas market. It is the best we've see so far. Very diverse street food, the decorations are amazing, there is a huge ice skating rink, merry-go-rounds for...
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400 Beach Dr NE #173, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
If I were walking blindfolded, I would still know when I'd come within ten feet of the Savory Spice Shop in St. Pete. The seductive scent of the store's treasure chest of spices escapes out the door every time it is open. It lingers to entice...
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Praça da Ribeira, nº1, 4050-513 Porto, Portugal
Looking across the Douro in the evening, I watched the night descend and saw a magical sight. The entire area was lit up and looked like a fantasy light display. It could have been Disney World or a Christmas light display. The air was charged...
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Staroměstské nám. 1, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
Old Town Square, founded in the 12th century, is the center of Prague. In the middle of it all, the Old Town Hall (which also houses the famous Astronomical Clock), built in 1338, still provides the best  360-degree views of the city. For a...
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Calle Acera del Darro, Granada, Spain
I planned my trip to Granada after spending a Christmas at home. While I was expecting winter in the mountain city, Three Kings day was a delightful surprise. Christmas may have passed in California but here in Spain the excitement was building....
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Rovaniemi, Finland
Of of the favorite things to do in Rovaniemi, in Santa's Village, was to take reindeer sleigh rides. Very inexpensive and allot of fun. It was especially fun for the kids. I was very surprised to see how small reindeer are. For some reason, I...
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Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
“People can either be over-the-top romantic about Paris, or they think life is ridiculous here,” saysDavid Lebovitz.“I try to strike a middle ground.” Lebovitz, an American, worked for 13 years in the pastry department at Chez Panisse in Berkeley,...
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Riga is credited for being the first place to have a decorated Christmas tree and the Christmas spirit is certainly still present. The Riga Christmas Market was split between several squares throughout the Old Town. With the snow falling, people...
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Jussi Björlings allé, 111 47 Stockholm, Sweden
Centrally located in Stockholm, the King's Garden is a lively urban garden/park/plaza that connects the harbor with one of Stockholm's main shopping districts. It contains a series of "outdoor rooms" including a formal entrance, fountain with...
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Hverfisgata, Reykjavík, Iceland
There's an old tale they tell the children in Iceland about these little elf-like creatures called the Jule Lads who live in the volcanic lands outside of Reykjavik. Traditionally, around Christmas time, they come down and cause all sorts of...
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Leuven, Belgium
I posted about how much I love Leuven before. I have never seen during the holidays. It's even more beautiful than normal, which I did not think was possible. If you ever wanted to visit, the winter holidays is the time to do it. It simply...
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Ypres, Belgium
The Christmas Market season is in full swing and Belgium has some beautiful and well-known markets, but I am trying to explore the relatively new ones that are becoming very popular in Belgium. One of them is the Christmas Market in Ypres. Roughly...
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Soignies, Belgium
The Christmas Market in Soignies is pretty small and it's nothing to write home about but the reason we went was not esthetics but the food. A wide variety of foods and drinks are being sold including a champagne booth. The booth where we got the...