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17850 Besalú, Girona, Spain
A short trip from Barcelona via bus or car, explore Besalú's medieval old town. Cross its restored 11th century bridge into a picturesque village with cobblestone streets. Shop for handmade trinkets or stop off for a meal or a drink in bars and...
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08569 Rupit, Barcelona, Spain
In Rupit, Stone cottages with orangey-red terracotta roofs perch around a stream, half-hidden by the mountainous green hills. An hour and a half drive from Barcelona, walk around this beautiful, if tiny village (approximately 340 residents). Pose...
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La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
As you enter Barcelona's famous Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria from La Rambla, one of the first stalls you encounter is Tocineria Marcos, purveyors of Iberico ham and a stunning array of other cured, cooked, and fresh meats. It's just one of...
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Plaça del Rei, 08397 Pineda de Mar, Barcelona, Spain
In the midst of entertaining tourists, he turns to me and smiles knowingly, whispering with his eyes: "Life is beautiful, my dear. Life is beautiful!"
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17320 Tossa de Mar, Girona, Spain
The Old Town of Tossa de Mar is simply breathtaking. Walking along the narrow streets is some of my fondest memories of Spain. This is one of the views from the many stairways that dot the village. Simply unforgettable!
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Carrer de Querol, 21, 17520 Puigcerdà, Girona, Spain
Oriol, the chef and owner, will welcome you with a beaming smile. Your wallet will thank you because an afternoon of wine and cheese tasting will not break the bank. Close to the border of France, in the small town of Puigcerdà, Tap de Suro is a...
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Plaça del Roser, 1, 17531 Gombrèn, Girona, Spain
Michelin-star chef, and virtually self-taught man, Francesc Rovira's cafe and restaurant in sleepy Gombrèn is not centrally located for gastronomy enthusiasts to find. Far from Barcelona, but not too far to drive for a day, nestled in the Pyrenees...
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Calle Oriente, 23, 17538 Alp, Girona, Spain
In the town of Alps in the valley of La Cerdanya, Casa Patxi serves traditional Catalan food - family style. The friendly woman who owns the restaurant, and her son, will welcome you as if you are her own. Each course will be served with love and...
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Plaça dels Valls, 6-9, 17811 Santa Pau, Girona, Spain
Just off the main square of Santa Pau, which dates to the early fourteenth century, under cover of a deep sapphire sky -- we ducked under a stone arch to walk into Cal Sastre. Immediately I noticed the salmon walls, multitude of awards and faded,...
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Carrer Balandau, 24-26, 17534 Ribes de Freser, Girona, Spain
Within Hotel Caçadors, lies a restaurant with a chef renown for inventive Gin & Tonic creation. But the restaurant does not merely delight with drinks. The gastronomy features local ingredients and seafood so fresh it surprises (given the distance...
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Pl. Major, 28, 17468 Orfes, Girona, Spain
I took one bite and about fell off my chair. This was the creamiest, most flavorful onion dish I had ever tried. I found myself taking smaller and smaller bites so that I could somehow make it last longer. In a tiny little town barely found on the...
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Muntanya de San Sebastià, Llafranc, 17200 Palafrugell, Girona, Spain
In Costa Brava, Spain, you may hear someone say, "ir a hacer el vermut," which can have dual meanings. Literally it means, let's go drink vermouth, but in Spain the term vermut is also a more general term for let's have an aperitif (a drink to...
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Catalonia, Spain
Hiking in the Pyrenees of Spain, we came across a small town, quite proud of its Catalonian heritage. Flags were flying and music was in the air as a sunny September day was in full swing!
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Spain
Would-be ghost-hunters will enjoy a tour of this abandoned village in Tarragona province a little over an hour's drive from Barcelona. Left completely deserted after the end of the Spanish Civil War, crumbling homes, a church in ruins, and empty...
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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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Sint-Katelijneplein, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
The most interesting part of Brussels' Christmas Market is in St Catherine's Square, where there are not only food and drink stalls, as well as those to buy gifts, but also a chance to go ice skating and ride a very big Ferris wheel. The square is...
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Trg bana Josipa Jelačića, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia
Reflecting on my Christmas in Croatia, I can only feel tremendously blessed. Though my flight from Budapest was cancelled, I ended up in a taxi with four other interesting people. Upon crossing the border into Croatia, we handed the officials five...
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27 Rue des Cordeliers, 13100 Aix-en-Provence, France
Unfortunately, I haven't been to enough European Christmas markets to know whether this one is truly extraordinary, but I really love the marché de Noël in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. The little stalls are set up along the Cours...
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Staroměstské nám. 1/4, 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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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
I got to Copenhagen with zero idea that there would be an amusement park right in the middle of it. Let alone a 19th century amusement park, which makes it all the more magical and romantic (in the antiquated sense). At age 23, I still enjoyed...
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Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
I would compare Marienplatz to the Grand Place in Brussels, but with a Bavarian twist. The square in Munich is almost as large, and its town hall just as impressive. A beautiful destination for lovers of architecture. While the square itself is a...
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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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Ludwigsburg, Germany
Cinnamon, vanilla and anis lead the way. Bells and laughter invite. Two golden angels greet you as you walk through the gate. It's such a special time and no place really seems to bring the joyful feeling of Christmas closer to my heart than the...
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Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona's Fira de Santa Llúcia may not be as big or diverse as some of the Christmas Markets in other parts of Europe, but it has some very unique decorations. There's the Caganer, a long-time figure in Catalan nativity scenes, that's most often...
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V Kotcích 516/15, 110 00 Praha-Staré Město, Czechia
One drizzly December day I came across this intrepid soul teaching archery to a knot of bored preteens in the Czech Republic. I couldn't put my finger on why, exactly, but the scene very much seemed to belong in a tenth story from "Nine Stories."...
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Hauptallee 10, 01219 Dresden, Germany
Every other year my wife and I travel to Europe for Christmas Markets. Why? To begin with, most of these markets are traditions stretching back hundreds of years, so each market takes on it's own distinct personality. This trip we visited Erfurt...
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The Milan Cathedral, or Duomo, occupies a site that’s been holy since the time of the Romans, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century when the finishing touches were finally placed on this massive building. The Duomo is the fifth largest...
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111 29 Stockholm, Sweden
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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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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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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La Défense, France
If you're in Paris during the wintertime, you're obligated to visit at least one of the many magical Christmas Markets set up across the city. Although often overlooked because of its location in the business sector of Paris, the La Defense...
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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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Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s showpiece schloss is one of the main sights in the Charlottenburg neighborhood. Initially a country house built for (the future) Queen Sophie Charlotte in 1695, it served as a summer residence for Prussian kings throughout the 18th...
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Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, at the Gendarmenmarkt plaza is one of the city's most scenic. Located directly in front of Berlin's concert house and in between French and German Cathedrals, the backdrop at Gendarmenmarkt is majestic....
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6301 Valkenburg, Netherlands
Every year, the little town of Valkenburg creates a Christmas Market atmosphere in the municipal caves of Valkenburg aan de Geul. Considered the largest and oldest underground Christmas Markets in Europe, the caves are very inviting to visitors...
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Alter Markt 47, 50667 Köln, Germany
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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Graz, Austria
Advent, the month before Christmas, holds great significance in all of Austria, but the city of Graz takes holiday spirit to a whole different level. The entire city is transformed into a glowing winter wonderland, with ornate light decorations...
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Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany
August 6th, 2004 As a non-religious person, I am still a big fan of church architecture. Its hard to get more iconic than the Cologne Cathedral. If you visit and arrive from the train station, you are dumped out directly beside it. Climb the...
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1080 Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria is home to numerous Christmas Markets. Spend the day visiting as many of the traditional Christmas markets as possible. Short on time? Head to the Christmas market in front of City Hall, the Rathausplatz, or the Christmas village...
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Barfüsserpl., 4010 Basel, Switzerland
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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Düsseldorf, Germany
I always wanted to visit Dusseldorf and this year I got to see it during the Christmas market season. There is a major construction project going on, in the center of the city, so moving about is not very easy, especially with the thousands of...
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Düsseldorf, Germany
I have not seen many vendors of chestnuts this year, at the Christmas markets we visited. The best one was in Dusseldorf. The roasted smell draws you close from far away. I don't know about others, but when I see and smell them, I have to have a...
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Düsseldorf, Germany
Germany has some incredible Christmas markets. This year we visited Dusseldorf and were very happy with our findings. Great city, atmosphere, and food. I recommend it to anyone who loves visiting Christmas markets.
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Tauentzienstraße 21-24, 10789 Berlin, Germany
Kauhaus de Westens (Department Store of the West) is Europe’s second-largest department store, boasting a food hall rivaling Harrod’s. The 6th and 7th floors are entirely devoted to gourmet, and advertisements tout the place as having two football...
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Römerberg, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
There’s no better way to experience the festivities of the holidays than Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt) in Germany, and Frankfurt's is particularly beautiful. The markets take place usually in the center of the town, and you'll find all...