As the days get shorter and colder traditional Christmas markets light up the streets and squares of most European cities, bringing a festive mood and offering crafts, mulled wine and gingerbread. Business travel doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom though. During this festive season why not combine your business travel with a trip to one of Europe’s glistening, cinnamon infused Christmas markets. Get ahead of the game with your Christmas shopping or simply enjoy a wander around, absorbing some seasonal cheer.
Photo: Ralf Schedlbauer | Nürnberg pressearchiv
Dating back to 1628, Nuremberg’s Christmas market is a genuine way to get in the spirit of the holiday season. At Hauptmarkt, beat-off the cold weather with a glass of Glühwein, perhaps while munching on spicy grilled sausages. If you have a sweet tooth, take a bite of the famous Lebkuchen (Nuremberg gingerbread). They come in every size and with different coatings like chocolate, strawberry and sugar. As a souvenir, take home a handmade Nuremberg prune men; a perky figure made of prune, representing piano players, pastors or even the devil!
Photo: Prague City Tourism
The history-filled streets of Prague welcome a magical Christmas market, stretching from the medieval Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square. The brightly decorated stalls sell traditional Czech marionettes for the little ones, and handmade jewellery, and glassware for the grownups. Indulge yourself with mouth-watering treats: from honeyed gingerbread to vánocvka (a braided pastry studded with raisins), and vosí hnízda (nutty cookies heavy with rum called wasps nests).
Photo: Christophe Hamm | Strasbourg Tourist Office
Since 1570, the capital of the Alsace region has been home of the famous Christkindelsmärik, the oldest Christmas market in France. With about 300 wooden huts, the market spreads out over 12 locations within the illuminated city center, but it’s at the Cathedral Square where the magic sets in. Overlooked by the majestic gothic cathedral, you’ll find crafts, food, mulled wine and the traditional Alsatian Christmas decorations.
Photo: Anders Bøgild | Copenhagen Media Center
Copenhagen adds some Scandinavian elegancy to the traditional holiday atmosphere. Spend the evening at the glowing Tivoli Gardens where Santa Claus will welcome you to fun rides and the Christmas market – what better way to spend your evening after board room meetings and UV lighting! In addition to handmade crafts, sweets and hot drinks, the whole of Tivoli is decorated with a myriad of fairy lights.
Photo: Eric Danhier | Brussels International Tourism & Congress
The Brussels Christmas market is a world-famous, monumental attraction, which brings thousands of tourists and locals every year. With merry-go-rounds, a ferris wheel, ice-skating rink and a 2-kilometer trail of stalls offering gifts and treats, it isn’t a surprise that the market takes the name of Winter Wonders. A magnificent 21-meters spruce tree reigns at the wonderful Grand-Place whilst a spectacle of Christmas lights brighten ups the dark cold nights, the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the office.
Top photo: Ralf Schedlbauer | Nürnberg pressearchiv