Tag: Germany (page 1 of 4)

12 Magical Christmas Markets Around The World

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

By: Juliette Koronkiewicz, TWIP

Every year, in many cities around the world, Christmas markets open and people flock to watch carolers, events, tree lightings and shop for everyone on their Christmas list. You can’t help but feel the spirit of the holidays when walking into these winter wonderlands of sparkling Christmas trees, savory scents, and sweet treats. Visiting one or some of these 12 Christmas Markets is the perfect way to get yourself into the holiday spirit.

Striezelmarkt – Dresden, Germany: November 29 – December 24, 2017

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Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest Christmas market and this year will mark the 583rd anniversary of this historical Christmas display. Locals visit this market every year to stock up on festive foods and Christmas shop. Amongst the many market stalls are popular woodcraft from the Erz Mountains, beautiful hand-made tinsels, winter accessories, hand-made candles and more. Dresden Stollen Festival is one of the most popular main events during this month-long Christmas market. A visit to Dresden Christmas Market isn’t complete without tasting some of its famous stollen; a traditional German Christmas fruit and nut bread.

Budapest Christmas Fair – Budapest, Hungary: Nov 10, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017

Photo courtesy of budapestchristmas.com

The Christmas market on St. Stephen’s Square is the newest market in Budapest and right in front of the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. Opened for the first time in 2011, the market has beautiful decorations, stalls filled with handmade gifts to cross people off your shopping list, and delicious food. Did we forget to mention you can also go ice skating? You can view the illuminating St. Stephen’s Basilica while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink. Every day, on the hour, between 4.30pm and 10pm, you can see the Basilica’s facade turn into a stunning visual Christmas narrative. This market is known for its beautiful lights in the evenings, which makes you feel as if you are in the middle of a magical Christmas wonderland.

Tivoli Gardens’ Christmas Market – Copenhagen, Denmark: November 18 – December 31st

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Every year, the Tivoli Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. Up to one million lights are activated to create Christmas in Tivoli. The Tivoli Christmas Market has been running since 1994 and attracts more than a million visitors each year. During your visit, you will find mouth watering food and drinks, thanks to the mulled wine and apple pancakes, and you can discover everything from beautiful knitwear to Christmas ornaments and crafts. While at Tivoli, don’t forget to ride the Pixie Train and the Music Carousel.  

Christkindlesmarik – Strasbourg, France: November 24th – December 30th

Photo courtesy of flickriver.com/photos/davidad64

Known as the “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg is home to Christkindlesmarik, France’s oldest and most popular holiday market. Christkindelsmarik comprises twelve markets which are organized by products such as food, decorations and handmade crafts. Place Kléber holds the piece de resistance: a giant Christmas tree with shimmering ornaments and lights. Visitors will find 60 small wooden huts in Place Kléber, where different organizations take donations and explain their charitable mission. In keeping with holiday spirit, many visitors leave gifts by the Christmas tree for those in need. With its famous Christmas Tree, illuminations, unique wooden chalets, bredele cakes and hot wine, there’s always magic in the air at Strasbourg’s Christmas Market.

Christkindlmarket – Chicago, USA: November 17th – December 24th

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Christkindlmarket Chicago is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. You will find German and European tradition mixed with international flair and local charm when you visit. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved, that people from all over the world come to visit. Any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without this  Chicago tradition. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, and holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination to get in the holiday spirit.

The Old Town Market (Skansen) – Stockholm, Sweden: November 19th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of lifeoftrends.com

The Old Town Christmas Market has it‘s origin in the medieval markets at Stockholm in 1837 and has been an ongoing tradition. With more than 40 stalls to explore, you will find a lot of Swedish Christmas specialities such as Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, smoked reindeer, elk meat, handmade knitted caps, candy floss, glögg (mulled wine), a range of Swedish handicrafts and decorative arts of high-quality workmanship and so much more. The vendors renting the stalls are all entrepreneurs and are selected to give you a wide range of traditional Swedish products, with a focus on handicraft and unique items for a truly authentic Swedish Christmas experience.

Christmas Markets – Manchester, England: November 10th – December 21st

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Launched in 1999 as just a single site in St. Ann’s Square, Manchester’s Christmas Markets are now a sprawling and hugely popular festive attraction. Over 300 stalls and chalets spread across the city centre offers delicious international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts. You can taste traditional bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.

Christkindlmarkt Salzburg – Salzburg, Austria: November 23rd – December 26th

Photo courtesy of christkindlmarkt.co.at

Experience the incredible old Austrian tradition and find the most wonderful Christmas presents for your loved ones at Salzburg’s Christmas Market! Salzburg’s Christmas market located around the cathedral of Salzburg at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, is mentioned in history as far back as the 15th century. When you visit Salzburg, you enter a stage for countless cultural events, lovingly fostered tradition and living customs. With snow often turning the city into an atmospheric winter wonderland, the many Christmas markets add to the seasonal feeling and make Salzburg one of the most romantic cities in Austria.

Plaisirs d’Hiver – Brussels, Belgium: November 24th – December 31st

Photo courtesy of theculturetrip.com

There’s no better way to get into the Christmas mood than spending some time at Brussels’ Plaisirs d’Hiver, coined as “Europe’s most original Christmas market.” There are Baroque merry-go-rounds, a 200 foot-long ice rink, a big wheel and over 240 stalls selling gifts, and warming food and drink fit for those crispy wintery days. Indulge with the delicious flavors of the local sugary doughnuts while observing the 18,000 lights illuminating the Ferris wheel, decorations, and music while taking in the holiday atmosphere.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market – Edinburgh, Scotland: November 17th – January 7th

Photo courtesy of webstore.ncl.ac.uk

The traditional and romantic Christmas Market in the heart of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor. These festive markets are a popular highlight of Edinburgh’s Christmas.  Find traditional crafts at the Scottish Market on George Street. Pick up unique gifts and goods at the European Market in the Mound Precinct, or choose presents for the little ones in the Children’s Market, part of Santa Land at Princes Street Gardens. You can enjoy panoramic views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel, spin around on the charming carousel in East Princes Street Gardens, brave a twirl on the 60-meter-high Star Flyer or just enjoy delicious food and drink.

Toronto Christmas Market  – Toronto, Canada: November 16th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

Discover Old World charm with modern-day holiday attractions at The Toronto Christmas Market. The market features festive lighting and décor, musical performances from carolers and Bavarian brass bands. Warm up with beer, mulled wine, or hot rum drinks at the market’s beer gardens and hospitality lounges. Browse through local, handcrafted products and check out the market’s giant Christmas tree. If you love caroling, join in on the World Caroling Challenge on December 15th and sing some of your favorite Christmas tunes!

Old Town and Wenceslas Square Christmas Market – Prague, Czech Republic: December 2nd – January 6th

Photo courtesy of theodysseyonline.com

If you want an unforgettable experience, you need to experience Christmas in Prague!  The unique atmosphere of the medieval central Prague makes the Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square very popular. The variety of food and beverages sold at the market is very generous. Visitors may look forward to traditional Czech food and drink like barbecued pork, blood sausages, Czech muffins, conkers, beer, mulled wine, mead and other typical gastronomical specialties from Old Czech cuisine. You can find gifts for everyone on your list with a variety of wood-carved toys, glass-workwear, blacksmith´s ware or confectionery.

The 9 Best New Year’s Eve Parties on the Planet

By: Natalie Austin, TWIP

New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the most anticipated nights of the year and New York isn’t the only city that knows how to do it right. Cities around the globe offer experiences unique to their location and can provide for some of the year’s most unforgettable moments. Here are the top New Year’s celebrations around the globe.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor

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Situated on a gorgeous harbor, Sydney offers a New Year’s Eve for those who are looking to spend it nautically. As one of the first capital cities to ring in the New Year, Sydney does this holiday the best. Complete with waterfront restaurants for lavish dinners, lighted boat parades, and yacht parties, to view a most spectacular fireworks show.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovakia

Photo Courtesy of travelandleisure.com

If you’re looking for an unpretentious and quaint affair, Bratislava, Slovakia is the perfect party destination for New Year’s. The soiree hosts around 10,000 people each year with open air dance parties, a fireworks show over the Danube River, and local bands and dance groups to entertain. Old Town is divided into a “concert zone” and a “party zone” so goers can choose their desired atmosphere, or get a taste of both.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio

Photo Courtesy of aboutbrasil.com

Bringing the Carnival flavor with traditional costumes and dance performances, New Year’s Eve comes in as a close second in Brazil’s most vibrant city. Each year the Copacabana Beach is lined with music installations and drum spectaculars, with patrons decked out in white, symbolizing luck in the coming year. At the end of the evening, it is traditional for locals to cleanse themselves in the ocean and cast flowers into the water with the belief that if they don’t return, your wishes for the new year will be granted.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin

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With the reputation as one best nightlife cities in Europe, it is no wonder why Berlin makes this list. Countless clubs throughout the city host parties lasting through the night, some lasting for over 12 hours. Over one million people flock to Berlin to fill “party mile” through the city, lined with food and drink tents, music stages and of course a breathtaking fireworks show.

Hong Kong, China  

Hong Kong

Photo Courtesy of hongkongnewyearseve.com

China is famous for some of the most unique and bizarre New Year’s traditions, which is why it is a perfect place to welcome the new year. With extravagant parties along the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon or bars in the Lan Kwai Fong district, Hong Kong knows just how to throw a NYE blowout. You can even watch a replica Times Square Ball Drop in the city center. Just like other New Year’s traditions, the firework show is a must-see and can be watched by boat in the Victoria Harbor.

Valparaiso, Chile

Chile

Photo Courtesy ofajansalperen.com

One of the most extravagant New Year’s celebrations on the planet is no other than the cultural capital of Chile, Valparaiso. This three-day festival hosts a world renowned fireworks show, with fireworks launched from 17 different points along the coast.  Parties are hosted along the beach to take in the show and most of them go until the sun comes up.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland

Photo Courtesy of www.traveller.com.au

Another smaller scale NYE can be celebrated in the exotic Reykjavik, a large community party thrown by locals. Beginning at 6pm, bonfires are held throughout the city to symbolize the burning away of the year’s troubles. Gatherings a complete with heaving drinking, folk songs and people dressed as elves and trolls. The party goes through 5am, when locals line up for hotdogs and then head to the hot springs to warm up from an evening outside.  Despite being a frigid location, Reykjavik is the perfect destination to really party like a local this holiday.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland

Photo Courtesy of planeteu.com

Edinburgh is hands down one of New Year Eve’s best destination as it is home to a remarkable three-day festival. The event kicks off with a torchlight procession, followed by city-wide festivities like outdoor concerts and a traditional Celtic party. While fireworks show is a standard NYE tradition, this display takes place with the magnificent Edinburgh Castle as its backdrop. On New Year’s day, Holyrood Park hosts a competitive dog sledding race and the River Forth hosts an ice-cold water plunge.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna

Photo Courtesy of event-carnival.com

Vienna is home to both sophisticated events and smaller scale parties, providing a little something for everything on NYE. Those who love the finer things can attend one of its many balls where guests are dressed to the nines. For those who prefer a more local experience, head to the city center, Silvesterpfad for traditional hot mulled wine and toffee apples. Visitors can also opt for a dinner party cruise along the Danube River.

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Casie Tennin from A Wandering Casiedilla.

Current city: Granada, Spain

Age: 25

Total countries visited: I’ve been to 21 countries and counting!

What makes you interesting: Well, here’s a few interesting fun facts about me. Despite my non-latina background, I have an irrational love for everything latin, from the food, the dancing, the language and the men! I have a fear of living in the same city for more than one year, I can eat a spoonful of wasabi without blinking an eye, and I have two different sized feet.

What brands do you love: I’m not a brands kind of girl. If it looks pretty and I have enough money in my wallet, I’ll take it! Although, I’m addicted to Skyscanner and check daily cheap flights everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day.

What have you learned about yourself during your travels: Before I started traveling, I had a fear of being alone. Eating in a restaurant alone, going to the movies alone, getting ice cream alone. Once I took that first leap and started traveling solo, I realized that I actually love being alone! There’s nothing like exploring a new city by yourself. When I’m wandering on my own, I absorb my surroundings more; from the architecture and storefronts, to the people, sounds and smells. Secondly, I’ve also realized I really prefer life without a smartphone! When I travel, I generally don’t get an international data plan. When there’s wifi, cool, but when there’s none, it’s just me, myself and the world. No Facebook notifications, no Whatsapp dings, and no “I should really be Snapchatting this” feelings. Just me and my surroundings!

What item will you never leave home without: Necklaces! I have a small compartment in my suitcase dedicated solely to my necklace collection. My secret to travel fashion: You can wear the same shirt 5 days in a row, but it’ll look completely different every day with a different necklace! That everyday black sweater just got a lot more exciting.

Describe your most unique or funniest travel experience: I drank coffee in a cave with Senegalese cave men in Granada. Granada has a cave “barrio”, or neighborhood, where an entire community of Senegalese immigrants reside. I was hiking through the cave barrio, and started talking with one of the Senegalese men. He seemed really nice, and well, thanks to my spirit of adventure (sorry mom) I accepted his offer into his cave. It was me, an Estonian guy from my hostel, and 8 Senegalese cavemen drinking coffee made from a clay pot.

Describe the last time you tried something new: I’m currently writing to you from Germany. Today, I was cooked deer at a German friend’s house, and well, I had to eat it.

What are your travel rituals: Well, first thing I do when I arrive to a city is wander without a map. I like to see where the streets take me, what kind of people I observe, what kind of eateries I pass. The next morning, I like to do a free-walking tour to get a little deeper perspective on the city and see what neighborhoods I want to re-visit on my own. Once back on my own, I stop in as many little stores, restaurants and cafes to talk with the store owners and the locals. They always have the best insight into the city! And sometimes, they’ll even invite you around with them.

What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food! Some might call me a “culinary tourist.” My way to get to know a city is by eating my way through it! While I generally stay in low budget hostels, search for the cheapest flight and always ride public transportation, I will never hesitate to splurge on a good meal. This doesn’t mean I seek out the “fancy” places. Rather, I like to find the most local, authentic, non-touristy places to get a real foodie “experience.”  

Next travel destination: Paris!

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage

Current city: Berlin, Germany

Age: 35

Total countries visited: 58

What makes you interesting: My partner Simon and I have been traveling full-time for six and a half years and have no plans to stop. We fund our travels with our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage, and our travel expense tracker app, Trail Wallet.

What brands do you love: Apple (we travel with Macs, iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch, and we make iPhone apps!), Tortuga and Osprey for backpacks, Bluffs for men’s travel trousers, and Lush for solid shampoo bars.

What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food! We love searching out the best vegetarian food on our travels, whether it’s a cactus taco on the streets of Mexico or a gourmet vegan meal in San Francisco.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having someone to experience magical moments with.

What do you put in your carry-on baggage: We travel with just one carry-on backpack each so they contain almost everything we own. I travel with a MacBook Air, Olympus OMD-EM5 camera, iPhone, Kindle Paperwhite, about 10 items of clothing and two pairs of shoes. Simon carries our toiletries but we don’t take much—Lush shampoo bar, toothpaste, solid deodorant, and once-a-day suncream, all in bottles under 100 ml.

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Train. Flying is always a cramped experience and I get travel sick on buses. Trains are usually comfortable, spacious, and take you right to the center of a city. Once we reach our destination, especially in Southeast Asia, we love renting a scooter to explore locally. It’s cheap, gives us lots of freedom, and is a great way to see the countryside.

What is your most favorite travel memory: One of our favorite places in the world is Greenpalms Homestay in the lush green backwaters of Kerala, India. Our host was a kind, gentle man called Thomas who each day would take us out to explore the village and meet the local people. One particularly magical moment came after a late night visit to a toddy shop to drink the local coconut sap brew. When we were returning to the homestay by canoe, Thomas and his friend sang us a capella Indian folk songs under the stars. It was the perfect moment in a beautiful place and brought tears to our eyes.

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: India. We loved it there, but it is a challenging destination and completely different from anywhere else. We found the trick is to take it slowly and treat yourself to a nice hotel every now and then to give yourself a break.

Next travel destination: We’re visiting friends and family in England on a short visit, and then will be traveling around Europe by train to France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.

TWIPPER OF THE WEEK

Twipper of the Week: Annika from The Midnight Blue Elephant

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Current city: Hamburg, Germany

Age: 37

Total countries visited: I don’t count countries.

What makes you interesting: Who said I was interesting? You would have to ask my lovely friends and family who like to hang out with me, but apparently I am funny for a German.

What brands do you love: Apple, Emirates, Intrepid, Kiehl’s, De Cecco and Champagne of all brands.

What’s your TravanalityEqual parts Epicurean, Purist, Soulager and Urbanite.

What is the most interesting food you have ever tried and where: A tarantula leg in Cambodia. I only ate it because the ‘princess’ of our group wanted to try it and I didn’t want to be left out.

What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food and diving excursions.

What are your travel rituals: I used to eat McDonald’s before every flight from New York to Germany when I lived there. Luckily there is no McDonald’s at my current airport so I quit that ritual. Now I’d say always trying to get to the airport super early but managing to run late, aisle seat, face spritz and a really nice hotel for my first night in a new destination.

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Probably Lapland. I couldn’t believe there was actual reindeer running around in front of me and there could be so much snow in one place.

If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: Following the travels of Margaret Mead in the South Pacific.

Next travel destination: Sri Lanka!

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