Posted by Carter | Under Events & Festivals
Saturday Dec 20, 2014
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 AUSTRIA—Klagenfurt, 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!
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!
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 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!