Friday, December 20, 2013

European Christmas Markets

I love to travel.  It fuels my spirit and quenches my thirst for excitement, challenge, and personal growth.  Last year I spent over a month traveling across Europe on my own {a life-changing experience} and flew back to the United States two days before Thanksgiving.  I was definitely ready to come home and see my friends, family, and Ryan {he met me at the airport with a big bouquet of flowers...awww}, however, my one regret was that I was not able to stay through December to visit some of the world-famous European Christmas Markets.  It is definitely a bucket list experience for me and I think would be the perfect way to ring in the holiday season.  I have rounded up five Christmas Markets that I think would be especially amazing below:

Innsbruck, Austria: I have only taken the train through this beautiful Alpine town, but seeing it just for those few moments was enough to make me want more.  Nestled in the mountains and covered with snow, Innsbruck is the perfect place for winter sports enthusiasts.  Skiing by day and drinking mulled wine while wandering the quaint Christmas Markets at night?  Sign me up!
Prague, Czech Republic: Another European gem I have not yet visited is Prague.  This beautiful city is home to some of the most impressive Christmas Markets in Europe.  Streets and squares house brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional gifts such as glassware, ornaments, scarves, dolls, and wooden toys alongside local cuisine including pastries, meats, and beer {of course}.  Plus, the city is a cultural center filled with amazing architecture, museums, and art.  I think Prague would be wonderful any time of the year, but at Christmas?  So romantic! 
Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Amsterdam, with it's beautiful canals, vibrant culture, and intricate architecture, is the perfect destination for a week-long winter getaway.  Its long, dark nights are lit up with twinkling lights and over a dozen Christmas Markets.  But, I think what makes Amsterdam the most special is that in the winter the frozen canals turn the entire city into a skating rink!  Can you imagine, ice skating to work?
Vienna, Austria: I visited this glorious royal city last year {see photos here} and was there just days before the Christmas Markets began {I actually was able to see them setting up the huge market and tree at the Schonbrunn gorgeous}.  This city is absolutely stunning, and I can only imagine how much more beautiful it would be covered with Christmas lights and a fresh coat of snow.  Plus, you can see the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, visit the Hofburg and Schonbrunn Palaces, and eat Apple Strudel at Demel.  Simply magic.
Munich, Germany: Perhaps the country most famous for Christmas Markets, this German market {whose roots go back to the 14th century} is held in Munich's beautiful city center.  Sellers offer traditional Bavarian Christmas Gifts such as gingerbread and glassware from the Black Forest.  Each day there are holiday concerts taking place on the balcony of the town hall, creating a wonderful ambiance for shoppers.  I can almost smell the roasted chestnuts...

More holiday travel inspiration: Christmas in New York // Lapland, Findland

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  1. This looks too wonderful for words. Also adding to my bucket list. The Innsbruck photo took my breath away

  2. i think we should most definitely go together some day :)

  3. I've always wanted to be in Europe during parents lived in Germany before I was born and our holiday decor was heavily from the German markets. My mom always told me such magical stories! By the way...thank you for your lovely comment on my Camille Styles feature--it is lovely to "meet" another francophile. Happy Holidays to you + yours!

  4. susan, thank you so much for stopping by my blog! my sister lived in berlin for the past five years so i definitely know what you're coming from with the german magical. LOVED your post and absolutely agree, wonderful "meeting" a fellow francophile :) happy new year!