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Aug 11, 2014 01:43 PM

Christmas Season in Europe

We went to Copenhagen last year before Christmas and could not have been festive.
Are there other cities in Europe that people love just before the Christmas season???

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  1. Munich, Berlin come to mind.

    The classic destination for Germany around xmas time, of course, would be Nuremberg.

      1. re: monchique

        Great suggestion! Prague probably, too!

        1. re: linguafood

          If you want a Czech Christmas Prague is really quite touristy... the best experience IMO is in Brno. The markets are very good with very little tourist trash and mostly geared to socializing. There are 3 markets in the centre all within easy walking distance of each other.

          1. re: vanderb

            Never been to Prague around xmas time, so you're probably right. Of course, it's one of the most touristy cities period, so one is hard pressed to visit at a time when it isn't swamped.

          2. re: linguafood

            I find Prague to be a little less packed full of tourists at Christmas time than in the summer. It's all very crowded, but not unbearable. Karlovy Vary also has beautiful markets. I've never checked out Brno's Christmas scene, need to put that on my list.

            1. re: alliegator

              I've only been in the summer myself (and still think it's the most beautiful city in Europe.... well, of the ones I've visited), but I could imagine it to be quite dreamy in the snow.

              1. re: linguafood

                I am not saying Prague isn't beautiful in the winter it is, and was my first experience of the city a few years ago; and it is less touristed around Christmas too. But, the markets in the centre of town are still very tourist focused and lack the local, social nature and intimacy of other markets I've been to.

                Again, just my opinion.

        2. Lincoln holds the UK's largest Christmas fair. Incredibly popular.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Harters

            And I will put in a vote for Birmingham. Huge German market that has been coming to Brum for many, many years.

            1. re: Londonlinda

              Thanks for that, Linda. By co-incidence, Mrs H & I were planning what we call the "office Xmas party" to be in Brum this year - couple of decent meals. We usually go somewhere right at the beginning of December but will think about linking it in to the market, which is presumably a bit later in the month. We have a similar market in Manchester but, frankly, it's not very good - particularly if you've been a couple of years on the trot.

              (EDIT: I see it starts mid November, so that works even better)

          2. Bruges, Trier and Luxembourg City are some of the smaller places I've been close to Christmas. All beautiful.*

            *The smell of gl├╝hwein/vin chaud makes everything christmassy and magical. The taste, not so much - but it does keep you warm!

            1. I've been making a study of this in Central Europe since moving to the area a few years ago, here are my findings (please note these are personal observations and preferences).

              Prague - very touristy in the Old Town, impersonal with mostly imported trinkets and the food/drink is mediocre.
              Brno - very local in the centre of town, great food and drink with lots of locally made handi-crafts. Very reasonable prices for everything.
              Bratislava - quite local, although a few tourists, not much to buy in terms of handi-crafts as 90% of the markets are dedicated to food and drink... very social.
              Krakow - quite touristy, but not as much so as Prague. Decent handi-crafts, food is good but drink is limited.
              Vienna - multiple markets specializing in different things, a bio-products market, an artisans market, touristy market and everything in between. Products for sale vary wildly by price and quality depending on the location. Prices are quite high for products, food and drink. A hot wine in Vienna was 5Euro (+ refundable deposit for the mug), while in Brno the same hot wine was less than 1Euro.

              I need to get to Nuremberg, although that won't happen this year.

              My winner for best place(s) for the Christmas season would be the triangle of Brno - Bratislava and Vienna. This also gives the opportunity to stop in small towns and villages along the way (ie: Poysdorf in Northern Austria and Mikulov in Southern CZ) to experience the season at an even smaller scale.