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Because you can't spend all day every day journeying around IgoUgo, editors round up the highlights: members' notable trips, newest reviews, favorite destinations, contests, and more. Have a question or idea? Let us know!

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The 12 Days of Christmas Markets

The 12 Days of Christmas Markets Photo

Photo by onesundaymorning

Posted on December 3, 2011 in Trip Ideas

Christmas markets are an old world tradition, German and Austrian in origin and dating back to the Middle Ages. (In fact, as Bloomberg News recently reported, “the first Christmas tree was documented 600 years ago” in Germany.) Also known as Christkindlmarkt or Weihnachtsmarkt, they’re really a one-stop shop for enjoying the season with gifts, clothes, toys and food and drink. Beer and mulled wine (Glühwein) are available to keep your spirits merry and bright! These markets attract millions of tourists and locals each year. Dresden claims the oldest market from 1434 and Strasbourg, France close behind from 1570.

In lieu of flying reindeer and a trip around the world, we are fortunate that our IgoUgo members have shared their Christmas market travels. Here are 12 of their favorites.

Manchester, England

“They seem to get bigger and better all the time. And quite frankly they are brilliant. The arrival of the Christmas markets at the start of December is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year among Mancunians.” -- from Liam Hetherington

Photo by MichaelJM

Frankfurt, Germany

“Most people head directly for the food stalls. The range of food can be astonishing. At the Frankfurt market sausages are a perennial favorite but you can also buy Dutch poffertjes, waffles, pancakes , Rebkuchen (potato pancakes with applesauce), soups, goose, pretzels – the list is endless. The drink of choice is Glühwein – hot wine with spices.” -- from becks

Photo by becks

Munich, Germany

“With thousands of tiny white lights, a huge Christmas tree, the smell of roasting chestnuts and freshly made gingerbread, this market with its colorful stalls takes place at Munich’s centrally located square, Marienplatz, near the city’s Town Hall and Glockenspiel.” -- from AnythngArt

Photo by flyingscot4

Nürnberg, Germany

”I cannot recommend a better experience for the family during Christmas in Germany than to take in one of their many Christmas festivals and the Nürnberg festival is the most celebrated one. The entire city is in the holiday spirit… where you can smell Christmas in the air. Roasted chestnuts, gingerbread and mulled wine linger together with grilled bratwurst and other specialties for a potpourri that entices the senses.” -- from mh75

Photo by flyingscot4

Rothenburg, Germany

“The Christmas Market was as could be expected much smaller than what we found in Munich and Frankfurt but still had a wide selection of food and drink and trinkets on sale. The main focus is the huge Christmas tree in the Market Square and along some of the narrow alleys towards the square in front of St Jakob’s Church.” -- from becks

Photo by flyingscot4

Berlin, Germany

“There is no denying that the Germans are the best at hosting Christmas markets and being Germany's capital city, Berlin has something to prove - can it be the best? After visiting this last Christmas, I have to say that they can be proud.” -- from dkm1981

Photo by dkm1981

Stuttgart, Germany

“The Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market) in Stuttgart is found all around the Schlossplatz area. Whether enjoying a glass of Glühwein, a Dampfnudel, or a sausage, whilst browsing the vendors, it is a fun area to explore in the weeks before Christmas.” -- from EsslingerBrian

Photo by EsslingerBrian

Lille, France

“In a neighbouring square the Christmas Wheel turned majestically and for 3 euros you could view the whole town from on high, and at its foot was a delightfully laid out Santa’s grotto. This together with the Christmas tunes being played over the public address system almost guaranteed we were entering into the Christmas Spirit.” -- from MichaelJM

Photo by Debbietje

Prague, Czech Republic

“The big Christmas tree and decorations are impressive, especially at night. And the mouth watering smells from the food stalls are worth the visit alone, most notably the 'Prague ham' which is carved from the burning pig when you order it!” -- from willbarker25

Photo by michaelhudson

Edinburgh, Scotland

“One of my favourite parts of the city during the holidays, and the thing that I think lends it the most holiday cheer is the Traditional German Christmas Market….At night the view of the market alongside the Winter Wonderland in Princes Street Gardens and the giant Edinburgh Wheel near the Scott Monument is impossible to miss, and even harder to resist.” -- from Red Mezz

Photo by maxpro

Geneva, Switzerland

“I was excited about the market and all of the little chalet-type stalls filled with traditional woodworking, Christmas candy and treats, other treasures and, of course, mulled wine.” -- from girlfromals

Photo by girlfromals

Brussels, Belgium

“The Christmas tree market is like a maze for children to skip through or get lost in. Illuminated hunting scenes top regal facades, and colorful restaurants add a little red to the cleaned stone backdrop of palatial structures. Brussels’ Grand Place is where the majestic mingles with visions of plenty.” -- from kilouden

Photo by Debbietje

Check out more Christmas Markets at IgoUgo:
Seven Magical Christmas Markets of Bavaria
10 European Christmas Markets to Shop This Season

Posted by Nik’sMom (Terre Grilli)

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