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Opening Weekend for Germany's Christmas Markets

So many of our modern Christmas traditions hail from Germany (via England, thanks to Queen Victoria's German husband, Prince Albert); for a real injection of the spirit of Christmas, no better place to go than the source. Plus, Germans are nothing if not sticklers for authenticity – no plastic or made in China items. Only genuine evergreen branches, music, food, drink and shopping traditions allowed!

Lynn Elmhirst, BestTrip.TV's producer and host, shares her tips for visiting Germany's Christmas markets.

When to go:

Markets are traditionally open during Advent, the last four weeks before Christmas, ending Christmas Eve, the day most Germans celebrate. This year, Advent begins Sunday, November 27th; many opening ceremonies are the Friday before the first Sunday. One more tip about when to go: for an extra special experience, visit in the evening – when twinkling lights, bonfires and torches kindle the magic and spirit of the season and transport you back to the ancient origins of this winter festival.

What to eat and drink:The fir branch-draped, traditional wood stalls include the best German standards: hot sausages, pretzels, and beer, plus the seasonal delights: hot, mulled 'gluhwein'; stollen, a particularly addictive fruit bread; gingerbread or lebkuchen.

And marzipan, oh, the glorious marzipan. Forget the icky, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth goo slathered on top of cheap fruitcakes here at home. Once you taste the real thing, you just can't get enough. Marzipan in Germany isn't just for cake topping. It comes formed in all shapes. Look for the quirky Christmas traditional 'marzipan kartoffeln' – marzipan 'potatoes', little marzipan balls dusted with coco to look like… miniature potatoes. Other shapes are delightful, hand painted confections – a favorite in southern Germany is little pigs, a symbol of good luck. Take some home for gifts! I would love forever anyone who put marzipan kartoffeln in my stocking!

What to buy:Markets are laden with high quality, and often, artisan-crafted German Christmas traditional items like nutcrackers, ornaments, religious items and toys, toys, toys.

You are going to want to buy the unparalleled handmade glass ornaments and you are going to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how and if you can get them home safely. Sheepskin slippers and mittens, and lots of boiled wool. I admit to an obsession with boiled wool, a northern European tradition I can indulge easily at Germany's Christmas markets, buying myself and loved ones hats, mittens, vests, jackets and more with a European design flair you don't find at home. Every market also has local specialties like the iconic blue and white china in Dresden, in everyday and Christmas designs.

How to get there:Any trip to Germany during Advent and up to Christmas Eve gives you the opportunity to visit the local Christmas market. Land tour companies and river cruise companies offer Christmas market specialty tours this time of year that take you to multiple Christmas markets so you can compare the atmosphere, food and shopping. A Christmas market cruise on the Danube, for example, could include flying into Frankfurt and visiting its market before your cruise, and sailing to both Nuremburg's (possibly the most famous) town square market and Regensburg, in the castle grounds.

Even 'grinches' discover genuine Christmas good cheer in the historic, traditional atmosphere of Germany's Christmas markets. And lovers of the season add to cherished memories of Christmas celebrations.

Start your Trip!

 

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If you're lucky enough to visit some of the world's greatest cities, one stop on your itinerary should be the local market. Check out below as we highlight 5 Can't Miss City Markets. 

1. Jemaa El Fna - Marrakech Morocco. More than a square this amazing market is home to street performers, snake charmers and some of the most authentic food experiance in Morocco.

2. Grand Bazaar - Instanbul. This market isn't just for tourists. Since the 1400's people have been shopping in this area and leaving many a dollar behind.

3. Pike Place Market - Seattle. Home of the flying fish market and hundreds of shops the pike place market is no longer just for the fish.

4. The Original Farmers Market - Los Angeles. Over 90 shops and restaurants to choose from the original farmers market has been a favorite for over 70 years.

5. Tsukiji Fish Market - Tokyo. This is not a market where you go to just "shop". This is the famous fish market where licenced dealers go to bid on over 450 species of fish.

In addition to its international reputation as being the home of Robin Hood, Nottingham is renowned for its distinctive lace industry, a traditional source of the city's prosperity. Today the Lace Market area of Nottingham is a hip quarter of the city's center.

This walkable city quarter features stunning architecture and a variety of sights and restaurants. The Lace Centre has since closed but there remain plenty of shops to purchase a memento of traditional Nottingham lace.

Buy

Debbie Bryan Studio & Shop

Address: 18 St Mary's Gate

Hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat 11am - 6pm; Sun 11am - 4pm

Eat

The Kean's Head

Address: 46 St. Mary's Gate (NG1 1QA)

Tel: +44 (0)115 947 405

Open daily from late morning until late eveing.

This small pub tucked away on a quiet street opposite St. Mary’s Church in the Lace Market area is the perfect casual dining and drinking spot. Food is simple but tasty, about £4 to £8 per dish. There is an excellent selection of local and foreign beer and wine to match your food.

Café Rouge

Address: 31 Bridlesmith Gate (NG1 2GR)

Tel: +44 (0)115 58 2230

Café Rouge is part of a popular UK chain, and offers relaxed and casual French-inspired dining. Friendly service combined with delicious food and a top-notch wine selection make this the perfect spot to plan your travel itinerary over breakfast, pop in for a quick lunch, or relax after a day of touring the city.

See

Lace Market Theatre

A small independent amateur theatre highly regarded for its diverse program of modern and traditional drama, comedy, and the occasional musical. Located on Halifax Place, near the Fletcher Gate.

Stay

Lace Market Hotel

A luxury city center hotel located in the heart of Nottingham’s trendy and vibrant Lace Market area. The hotel is definitely a splurge but the rooms are beautiful, the restaurant is award-winning, and the cocktail bar is one of the best in the city.

Photo Credit 

Have any more questions? Want to check out this amazing little city? Contact us for more info!