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Dec 9, 2008 11:19 PM

European city with great chow and Christmas markets?

I'm a little bit overwhelmed trying to narrow down where to go for the Christmas markets. Of course I live to eat so I figure the city with the best food and great Christmas markets wins.

So far I've narrowed it down to either Prague, Brussles, or Vienna. I've never been to any of these places and they all seem to be amazing from what I've read on the boards.

Please let me know what you think of these, I am also very open to any other city suggestions. Thank you!!!

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  1. Berlin. Excellent food at decent prices. And the Christmas Market on Gendarmenmarkt is the prettiest of them all...

    1. Germany is really the place for Christmas markets. Nuremberg is the most traditional and requires only authentic goods be sold, not Chinese junk imports or plastic garland decorations. Bamberg, which is close by also has a highly rated walk through town visiting beautiful creche scenes in a very well-preserved city.

      Check out the website for the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg and you will see what I mean. Lots of hot gluhwein, wurst and wild specialties along with sublime pork dishes in Germany, almost everywhere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: glbtrtr

        Well, gotta take back one thing - there were plastic garlands at the Nurnberg market, but the goods were a little more unique. And the bratwurst and gluwein was flowing. Found a nice casual place for some wonderful food in Weinmarkt up the hill a bit from the market - Goldenen Post (something) - delicious bratwurst, potato salad and apple and plum desserts with local wonderful beer.

      2. I would love to go to Germany, but my friend wants to try somewhere else. So to amend my first post, outside of Germany; where would you recommend. If Germany is really the clear winner, I'll have some convincing to do. :) Thanks!

        2 Replies
        1. re: BBB

          Compared to our Christmas markets here in North America, almost any city in Europe will amaze you and your friends.

          I am biased for Vienna. Prague is great for food, not so much for a market I would think. No idea about Brussels.

          Many years ago my parents would schlepp me to the Chrsitkindlmarkt in Steyr, Upper Austria. Though smaller a city, it is equally Christmassy. Less international tourists, more the local folks from Linz, Wels and other surrounding places.

          1. re: worldwidestuff

            I concur on the Vienna Christmas market. They do it up very nice. Seems a bit more spacious (at least compared to German markets i've been to. Rathaus site is nicley spaced out).

            I was there years ago, but still one of our favorite memories in Europe

        2. Vienna: The nice thing is there is not ONE Christmas Market, there are dozens...
          Every district has at least one. We prefer the Spittelberg market for the Czech potatoe patties with onion butter, the one in the old AKH courtyard for its athmosphere and the one at the Belvedere for its goodies...


          The restaurant scene in Vienna is lively and quite inexpensive, stay with the tips on this board.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sturmi

            Ok we settled on Munich with a possible side trip to Salzburg. Is one better than the other in terms of food, Christmas markets, etc.?

            1. re: BBB

              Are you asking if one market in Munich better than the others, or if Munich better than Salzburg? If the former, I think the best Weihnachtsmarkt in Munich is on the Weißenburger Platz. If the latter, it depends on your tastes. Munich is a real city, Salzburg is much more alpine. They both have their charms.

              1. re: BBB

                If you're going to Munich, the christmas market at the Chinese tower is very pretty. Smaller and less commercial than marienplatz. If you are shopping for christmas ornaments, it is worth checking out the christmas sections of department stores too (Beck on Marienplatz etc.)...they have some really beautiful stuff.

            2. Let me put a word in for Strasbourg France. We zoomed through there one time on the way to the Black Forest and wanted to return. About 6 years later we got to spend a week there and found it magical! Although it was not at Christmastime, many folks told us how the whole city turns out for Christmas with special marketplaces, special restaurant menus, etc. I'd love to go back and see it. There are plenty of things to see and do, not just in the city itself, but in the surrounding countryside. We did a winery tour when we were there and it was marvellous.

              Plus, it is a wonderful central point for visiting parts of Germany and Switzerland. And all that Alsatian, German and French Food can't be beat! I don't think we ever had a mediocre meal there, let alone a bad one.

              Now that the EU has a lot of its administrative headquarters there, the city has expanded (and probably got more expensive), but I also expect you can find a wide diversity of things to eat and buy. Definitely worth looking into.

              The Drawback, of course, is you "can't get there from here"....or maybe it's part of the charm. The nearest airport is in Mulhouse, about 2 hours away, and you have to decide in the airport whether you are exiting for Switzerland or France. But the Highways are good and they drive on the right.

              3 Replies
              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                FriedClam- For what it's worth (a little late now), I 100% agree about Strasbourg. My all time favorite European city (aside from Barcelona), and it has a beautiful Christmas market. I've been back a total of five times and literally have never had a bad meal there. My fiance thought I was going to actually turn into a tarte l'ognion though. But you're right, not easy to get in to. I'd actually recommend flying in to Baden Baden and staying there for a night, then drive in to Strasbourg. If anyone visits I highly recommend Chez Yvonne by the cathedral square.

                1. re: mjhals

                  My Italian cousin who lives in Munich is always recommending Strasbourg. The Chez Yvonne menu sounds wonderful! Can anybody recommend any other specific places in Strasbourg so we can menu gaze and have the info in one sport for a trip this year? Thanks.

                  1. re: Angela Roberta

                    I used to live in Strasbourg but have not been there in almost ten years. So not sure if the restaurants are still there or still good. Both were run by passionate hosts and consistently had great quality over years, so I would definitely go back.

                    First is "La Sandkischt" at 23 rue de la carpe haute. Great tarte flambée with Alsatian Riesling and other wines. Definitely off the beaten path, a rustic almost rural feel on the fringes of Strasbourg.

                    Second is Le Cornichon Masqué on Place du Marché Gayot. Great for lunch, sort of an innovative twist on traditional Alsatian cuisine. Smack in the center on a square that is buzzing with music and fun in the summer!

                    Hope this helps. Neither seems to have a web site, unfortunately.