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Kemwel Travel Blog

Kemwel makes it easy to book the best discounted travel services and car rentals in Europe. Whether you need a rental car, a buy back auto lease, airfare, hotel reservations, or even a luxury auto rental, Kemwel can meet your needs. Check out our car rental guides for useful travel and driving information. Drive Europe!

We have been driven to provide the guaranteed best travel service at the best price. We guarantee it with our beat rate policy and our philosophy of no surprises or hidden costs.

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Christmas Markets: Last Chance!

Winter Festivals and Christmas Markets offer a myriad of opportunities for the curious, the acquisitive and the enthusiastic! Whether you relish the hunt for new and interesting items, tracking the scent of sweet and savory fare as it wafts through the air, championing a cause, or my favorite—people watching, there’s something to capture any imagination and attention span at these European celebrations.

Weinachtsmarkt in Austria edited

Austrian Christmas Market Stall

Weinachtsmarkt AUSTRIAKlagenfurt, nestled in the Adriatic Alps, is home to one of Austria’s most prominent seasonal Weinachtsmarkts. The city’s location offers the perfect, scenic landscape when paired with jubilant carolers, bright, twinkling lights and vibrant holiday decorations. Visitors from around the world plan their holidays around attending the Klagenfurt Christmas Market with designs on the plethora of potential gifts that will grace their Christmas trees and stockings.

Tollwood Winter Festival GERMANY–Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute is transformed for your listening pleasure by the replacement of classical notes for African beats! The Christmas Market overflows with local and worldly treasures from Indian merchants with cashmere scarves to Tyrolean cured meats and cheeses, brightly German toys for tots and elegant homegoods from France. When your stomach rumbles, and your thirst must be quenched, follow your nose to the food stalls where organic-gastronomical cuisine and warm glühwein is served on environmentally-friendly porcelain plates and cups. Don’t worry if more traditional fare is more to your palate, there’s less potent beverages and more heart-attack inducing dining options as well! Information and exhibits on ecological, animal welfare and social issues that are the keystone of the festivals inception can be found in the Weltsalon as well as international speakers. Make Munich your winter destination and experience The Tollwood Winter Festival!

Kürtőskalács - Chimney Cakes. Edit

Kürtőskalács – Hungarian Chimney Cakes

Karácsonyi Vásár HUNGARY—Vörösmarty Square in Budapest positively thrums with activity and sound during the Christmas season. The Christmas Market overflows with smart, cottage-style stalls, laden with tantalizing and attractive goods, while eclectic performances, including minstrels, puppet shows and the occasional flash mob are interspersed throughout the square. Personally, I’m looking forward to sampling the Kürtőskalács, which are a Hungarian “chimney cake” with carmelized surgar, cinnamon and nuts. We have similar confections in the states, but as we all know, taste can easily be subjective to location!

Strasbourg illuminated square and cathedral

Strasbourg Cathedral

Christkindelsmärik FRANCE–Below the intricate, sculpted figures and imposing tower of Strasbourg’s stunning Gothic Cathedral sprawls the city’s internationally renowned Christkindelsmärik. The longest running Christmas Market in France, the Strasbourg Christmas Market has established its place in the hierarchy of European must-sees! Purchase an eco-friendly collector’s cup to have filled and refilled with the hot or cold beverage of choice as you stroll through the city. A special element is the yearly installation from a specific international country that’s incorporated into the market each year. This year the Czech Republic was invited to participate! Street parades and light shows dazzle the eye as the merchant chalets lure young and old alike with sticky sweets, brightly colored toys, hand-crafted goods and mouth-watering aromas carried on the breeze.

Waterford Crystal Glass Factory

Waterford Winterval IRELAND– Take a detour from the popular cities of Dublin and Cork and find some middle ground where you can still take part in an Irish Christmas Festival. Waterford, Ireland’s Winterval takes you on an enchanting journey throughout the city ensuring your Kemwel car rental will be put through its paces! Take the kiddies to meet the man himself at Santa’s Grotto in the Medieval Museum, before you take a scenic ride on the Winterval Express. Enjoy the artisan food fair and explore the Yuletide Viking Village. Discover illuminated carousel’s and stalls with games of skill and chance. The holidays aren’t complete without taking a turn around the town ice-rink and a visit to the Christmas Market in Cathedral Square will help check off the rest of your holiday list. Since you’re already in town, a visit to the Waterford Crystal Factory will not go amiss if you’re looking for a gift with a touch of elegance. Rekindle your holiday spirit and enjoy the festive charm of Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford for Winterval!

Plzeňské vánoční trhy CZECH REPUBLIC – Despite the wintry chill, you’ll find the Pilsen Christmas Market in the Czech Republic is bursting with light and life. Savor the sweet scent of cinnamon and cloves emanating from the steaming mulled wine in your cup as you join your fellow travelers and Plzeň denizens amidst the festive crowd. Musicians and singers perform quintessential Czech holiday songs to laud the season.  The piping voices of children rise in excitement as they spy games and toys while adults admire the artful craftsmanship of seller’s wares.

Wherever you find yourself during the last days of the holiday season, in whatever way you choose to celebrate, may your time be full of laughter, friends and family, and hope for a bright new year!

Europe’s Top Christmas City: A Short Break in Helsinki


Europe’s Top Christmas City

Helsinki is often hailed as Europe’s top Christmas city. It is certainly on top of the list of best Christmas destinations in Europe. The city itself is both the largest city in Finland and is the country’s capital. Even during the off season, there are tons of things to do in this magical city, but Christmas in Helsinki is the time of year when the capital seems to come alive with attractions, lights, and decorations. Everybody in the local area gets into the Christmas spirit and, weather permitting; it provides beautiful vistas for all to gaze upon. The many churches that dot the landscape provide an extra bonus insofar as they help spread the religious and cultural history of the city to anyone interested.

Here are just a few of the many reasons to consider a short break in Helsinki during the Christmas season:

  • Christmas lights throughout Aleksanterinkatu – Every year around the end of November, the lights along the shopping center in the city are turned on. 2014 marks the best-christmas-destination-in-europe-helsinki-kemwel66th year of the tradition and promises to be one of the most enchanting celebrations to date. The tradition began all the way back in 1949 as a means to compensate for the effects of World War II on the city. This is the official opening of the Christmas season in the city.
  • Glogi – Glogi is a traditional drink during Christmas time. It is made from wine with spices, almonds, raisins, and a little bit of vodka. This unique drink is served at parties, in homes, and through street vendors in the markets around Helsinki and other European cities during the Christmas season.
  • Ample amounts of snow – When it comes to finding the European city with the best winter snow cover, Helsinki is certainly an impressive option. Snow usually arrives early in the season in Helsinki and is almost guaranteed to carry through until mid-spring. The locals know how to handle the issue, so traffic and flow of services are rarely impeded.
  • Ice Skating at the Railway Station – Another popular tradition, especially with families, is ice skating at the local railway station. Open every day, the ice rink at the Railway Station has a café and is a wonderful place to bring the whole family after finishing your Christmas shopping for the day.

Planning a Short Break in Helsinki

Visiting Europe during the winter almost necessitates a stop in Helsinki. Since the city is easy to get to because of eased travel restrictions in the European Union, barriers to entry are minimal. This means that if you are in Finland or one of its neighboring countries, it is a simple matter to stop by for a day or two (or longer) and see all that the city has to offer, from beautiful churches and sparkling lights to the small local shops filled with hand-made artisan goods.

Rent a car in Finland to get around Helsinki and tour the area at your own leisure, avoiding public transportation services which are often expensive during the holiday season in the city. It should come as no surprise that Helsinki could easily be Europe’s top Christmas city, as it boasts a truly magical experience for travelers looking for a trip brimming with atmosphere and old-world charm. Plan your next holiday trip around Christmas in Helsinki and you will be sure to have a memorable experience. Rely on Kemwel for all your trip-planning needs, from great deals on hotels to convenient chauffeur services among many other specials and promotions. We are here to help you book an affordable rental car, or help you arrange any of our other convenient travel services. Easily make your reservation online, or call us toll-free 24/7 at 1-877-820-0668!


The Secret to Finding the Best Backcountry Skiing in Europe

Backcountry Skiing in Europe

finding-the-best-backcountry-skiing-in-europe-kemwelBackcountry skiing, also known as off-piste skiing, is one of the most exciting activities that travelers to Europe can take advantage of during the winter months. Unlike traditional alpine skiing, which utilizes the benefit of marked trails and regular ski patrols, backcountry skiing generally takes place on un-groomed territory outside the confined boundaries of a ski resort. Though the terrain involved may be somewhat forgiving, off-piste skiing can still employ the use of equipment like ski lifts, snowmobiles, or even helicopters. Traversing slopes in the backcountry can be a challenge for first-timers, but once you are able to push through any initial issues that arise, you will find a rich and rewarding sport awaiting you.

Finding the Best Backcountry Skiing

finding-the-best-off-piste-skiing-in-europe-kemwelThere are numerous locations in Europe that offer fantastic off-piste skiing opportunities, from the Alpine mountains of beautiful Switzerland and lovely Italy to the Pyrenees Range in the nation of France. Providing a plethora of beautiful landscapes and winters abound with powdery snowfall, Western Europe is a veritable paradise of backcountry skiing havens that keep adventurous travelers entertained for days and weeks on end. Combine that with the ease of accommodations and travel and you’ll have a recipe for the ski holiday of a lifetime!
Follow these guidelines for having a great off-piste ski vacation in Europe:


  • Ski common trails until you are experienced – One of the most common pitfalls for individuals trying out off-piste skiing for the first time is that they will become a bit overzealous in their own abilities and try to ski some of the more difficult trails right off the bat. This presents a problem because, although tractable, the sport can be somewhat dangerous for inexperienced individuals. Pick easy trails to start out on like the Gatterl route in the mountainous country of Austria.
  • Look for tourist packages – Countries that feature fantastic off-piste skiing destinations will also host a number of tour companies that offer comprehensive ski packages for everyone from beginners to experts. This means that you’ll be able to purchase an all-encompassing package that includes ski passes, rentals, accommodations, and even lessons, all at a reasonable price.
  • Consult the experts – There are many experienced local guides who are willing to make their expertise available to visitors exploring the ski scene in a new area. This is often the best way to get your foot in the door and learn the ropes in a given locale before branching out on your own. While many other sports are more straightforward for newcomers, backcountry skiing has an element of exploration and discovery that requires some seasoned insight.
  • Ask your local rental/accommodation providers – Consider consulting your destination’s local car rental office or the concierge at your hotel in Europe. They will likely have extensive information about backcountry skiing in the area, as well as other useful local travel tips. Also be sure to check if they have ski racks that you can attach to your vehicle to make your snowbound adventure even easier!


You can add an element of adventure and excitement to your next winter holiday by planning ahead for some venturous backcountry skiing using the tips outlined above. Whether you decide to explore the uncharted slopes beyond the confines of marked trails, stick to traditional outlined ski resort routes, or just spend a relaxing stay at a warm and cozy base lodge, look to Kemwel to get the best travel discounts and deals for your next wintry expedition. The powdery mountains of Europe await and you can have the vacation of a lifetime for less than you may think when you book a great deal on a cheap car rental with Kemwel! Browse our rates online or feel free to call one of our friendly reservation agents anytime, 24/7 and toll free at 1-877-820-0668



Peugeot Open Europe Buy Back Leases

Discount long term rentals!

Kemwel car rental has partnered with the car manufacturer, Peugeot to provide you with discounted long term car rentals through our buy back auto lease program.

If you need to rent a car in Europe for more than 17 days, we can save you money. More information...
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