Travel Picks: Top 10 Christmas markets in Europe

Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:12am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters) - Mulled wine, snowy landscapes and shopping for handcrafted gifts beneath the starry lights of a traditional European Christmas market are so popular at this festive time of the year that the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com (www.virtualtourist.com)

compiled their own list of the "Top 10 Christmas Markets in Europe" Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Munich, Germany

While most people associate the Bavarian capital with its famous Oktoberfest, it also holds a fantastic Christmas market on the Marienplatz in the center of the city. While sipping on Gluehwein (mulled warmed wine) or beer, visitors can find many traditional Bavarian gifts, like wood carvings and gingerbread called Lebkuchen. Though the market offers many food options, Virtual Tourist members recommended also visiting the Viktualienmarkt, Munich's daily outdoor farmers market, which lies just around the corner from the Marienplatz.

2. Cologne, Germany

Cologne, like many towns in Germany, has multiple Christmas markets. The primary market is held at the Cathedral, but another market with slightly more-expensive goods, the Neumarkt, is also a great place to find presents. Cologne's food offerings are slightly more traditional: bratwurst, yeast dumplings with jam and vanilla sauce, crepes, and chocolate. A special rarity: one of the city's markets, the Floating Christmas Market, can be found aboard a boat docked at the Rhine River.

3. Vienna, Austria

Vienna takes the holiday season very seriously, with decorations that rival any city in Europe. The prized Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz also runs the longest of our Top Ten markets, starting in mid-November and running until Christmas Eve. Millions of visitors come each year to experience the picturesque atmosphere and browse the beeswax candles, wooden toys, and Christmas decorations offered. In keeping with the musical history of the city, there are also choir performances in City Hall and a daily wind ensemble performance by the Christmas tree.

4. Prague, Czech Republic   Continued...

 
<p>Christmas Market, Marienplatz, Munich, Germany is photographed on December 2010 with the picture taken by Ryan Rucker of Wilmington, Ohio. REUTERS/VirtualTourist.com/Handout</p>