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Eleven of the best… Christmas Markets

| 18 May 2009

Cox & Kings’ guide to eleven of Europe’s best Christmas markets.

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Berlin
From £625 per person: includes 3 nights accommodation, BA flights to Berlin and transfers.
Berlin is one of Germany’s main Christmas centres, with more than 50 Christmas markets and bazaars every year. Filled with the seasonal aroma of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and fir trees, the main market square buzzes with 100 handicraft stalls, refreshment stands and amusements.

The city’s Gendarmenmarkt provides a wonderful setting for some of Germany’s most extensive and popular Christmas markets. Craft tents host wood carvers, flax-embroiderers, ivory carvers, tailors, wood-turners and goldsmiths; the food tents serve festive gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and sausages, and children are entertained with performances from clowns, acrobats, story-tellers, choirs and magicians.

The markets are also an ideal opportunity to buy unique and traditional Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. Beyond the shopping, there is much else to do in Berlin. Famed for its devotion to the arts, the city has over 170 museums, including the Pergamon Museum, rich in classical antiquity, and the Schloss Charlottenburg, the former summer residence of Queen Sophie Charlotte.

The Kempinski Bristol Hotel is located in the heart of Berlin on the famous Kurfürstendamm Boulevard and is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. The hotel has 248 elegant guest rooms in eight categories, and an eye-catching semi-circular facade that makes it a local landmark. There are two restaurants, The Kempinski Grill and Reinhard’s, and there is a heated pool and gym.

Brussels
From £270 per person: includes 2 nights accommodation and return Eurostar tickets. Transfers are not included.

The administrative centre of the European Union, Brussels has much more to offer its visitors than government buildings including antique shopping, cafés, boutiques, fine dining and numerous museums.

Brussels’ Christmas market takes place around the Grand Place, close to the Royal Windsor Hotel. Open from the beginning of December, the stalls sell an array of seasonal delicacies and traditional local crafts and are a great draw for both visitors and locals.

A member of Leading Hotels of the World, the Royal Windsor Hotel Grand Place is a 5 star property is located at the Grand Place in the very heart of Brussels, just a short stroll from the city’s stylish boutiques and the antique market on the Sablon. Chutney’s restaurant bar offers traditional Flemish cuisine and a summer terrace, and there is a fitness centre and sauna.

Prague
From £480 per person includes: 3 nights for the price of 2 accommodation, BA flights to Prague and transfers
Prague has a compact medieval centre that is a picturesque maze of cobbled lanes, ancient courtyards, dark passages and churches, all overlooked by an 1,100 year old castle. The city has a lively street scene, many museums, two beautiful opera houses and some elegant architecture throughout.

With two Christmas markets, located in the Wenceslas and Old Town Squares, and daily carol concerts, Prague is a perfect destination for a pre-Christmas break. A collection of wooden huts sell Czech handicrafts, hot food and warm drinks and a good selection of stocking fillers including wooden toys, handmade jewellery, hats and scarves and Christmas tree decorations. The markets are open throughout December.

The neo-classical Carlo IV Hotel is situated in the centre of Prague, just a few short steps away from some of the city’s finest architectural sites. The 150 rooms offer rich furnishings, décor and modern comforts, and guests can enjoy excellent cuisine at the Box Block restaurant.

Bruges
From £325 per person includes: 2 nights accommodation and return Eurostar tickets. Transfers are not included.
Occupying a magnificent 19th century mansion, the Heritage is close to the Market Square and the city’s many attractions. Each of the 20 guest
rooms are individually styled and the hotel has a small health centre.
Bruges’ Christmas Market takes place in the city’s main square, a variety of colourful stalls forming a ring around an open-air ice rink.

Budapest
From £495 per person includes: 3 nights for the price of 2 accommodation, BA flights to Budapest and transfers.
The Corinthia Royal Hotel opened in 2003, transforming the tired old Grand Hotel Royal into an elegant luxurious 5-star property. A key part of the restoration was the Royal Spa, first opened in 1886 and now beautifully restored to its original splendour. The 414 rooms offer contemporary design and modern facilities. In addition to 3 restaurants offering an awarding winning range of cuisine from Traditional Hungarian to Sushi, the hotel also has a coffee shop and piano bar.
The Budapest Christmas Market takes place in Vörösmarty Square in the city centre.

Cologne
From £735 per person includes: 3 nights accommodation, BA flights to Frankfurt, return rail travel from Frankfurt to Cologne and transfers in Frankfurt and Cologne.
Offering stunning views across the River Rhine to old town area and the Cathedral, the Hyatt Regency Cologne is an impressive glass fronted property with 306 guest rooms. The hotel contains numerous dining options ranging from a gourmet restaurant, which combines German and Asian cuisine, a cafe and a bar with panoramic views of the city. Health facilities include swimming pool, sauna, steam bath and separate spa.
Cologne has several Christmas Markets, the largest of which is based around Cologne Cathedral, which offers a superb backdrop.

Dresden
From £850 per person includes: 3 nights accommodation, BA flights to Berlin, return rail travel from Berlin to Dresden and transfers in Berlin and Dresden.
Built on the site of a 18th century palace, the Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski Dresden has been reconstructed as a jewel of baroque architecture. It has an enviable location in the city, close to the Semper Opera House and the Zwinger. Each of the 183 rooms combines classical elegance with modern facilities and the Intermezzo restaurant with its summer inner courtyard is one of the city’s most fashionable dining establishments. There are also a French bistro, American bar and a chic coffee lounge. Health facilities at the hotel include indoor swimming pool, spa with treatment rooms and a sauna.

Dresden’s Christmas Market is the oldest in Germany, dating back to 1434. It is located in the historical part of the city centre between the recently rebuilt Frauenkirche and the culinary famous restaurant street of Münzgasse.

Lille
From £360 per person includes: 2 nights accommodation and return Eurostar tickets. Transfers are not included.
The Hotel Hermitage Gantois hotel is situated in the heart of Lille, close to the Grand Palace. This listed 15th century building offers contemporary design while also preserving its history. All 72 air-conditioned rooms combine original features with stylish modern facilities. Dining options include the Restaurant L’Estaminet Gantois that serves local cuisine in a traditional Flanders setting and Le Bar, which has a glass roof.
The Christmas Market takes place in Place Rihour in the centre of town, the whole of which is taken over by stalls selling arts and crafts and local cuisine. Father Christmas attends the market and participates in a spectacular event on Saturday 19th December – when he “falls” from the Chamber of Commerce’s 80 metre-high Belfry.

Munich
From £510 per person includes: 3 nights accommodation, BA flights to Munich and transfers
Le Meridien Hotel Munich is situated opposite Munich’s main railway station and offers luxurious accommodation within easy walking distance of sights including the Marienplatz square and Bavarian State Opera. There are 381 guest rooms and public facilities include indoor swimming pool, sauna, spa and fitness centre.
Munich’s Christmas Market is held on Marienplatz in the heart of the city centre. Each day, from the balcony of Munich’s town hall, music lovers will be able to enjoy a special alpine Christmas Market concert.

Tallinn
From £655 per person includes: 4 nights for the price of 3 accommodation, Czech Airline flights to Tallinn via Prague and Transfers
The Three Sisters Hotel is a 5 star boutique property, housed within 3 connected buildings dating from 1362 and located within the 16th century walls of Tallinn Old Town. Each of the 23 rooms is individually decorated, combining artisan furnishings with modern designs and technology. The renowned gourmet restaurant opens out to a terrace and courtyard and the wine bar is considered one of the best in Eastern Europe with over 300 wines on offer.
Tallinn’s Christmas Market takes place in the Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats), with more than 50 merchant stalls where visitors and locals can admire and purchase products by artisans from all over Estonia.

Warsaw
From £535 per person includes: 3 nights accommodation, BA flights to Warsaw and transfers.
The 5 star Hotel Le Regina is situated in the Old Town of Warsaw, close to a park and the Vistula River. Built on three floors in a historic building, faithfully restored to the style of an eighteenth century palace, inside the style is clean cut contemporary; light hues of stone and wood offsetting coloured silks and elegant Italian furniture. The small vaulted restaurant, La Rotisserie, is known throughout the city for its delectable dishes and extensive collection of wines.
Warsaw’s Christmas Market takes place in the Main Square opposite the Royal Palace.

For details of any of the above Short Breaks, please call Cox & Kings on 020 7873 5000.

 



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