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  • The best Christmas markets to visit in 2011



    Christmas is not yet round the corner, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not already time to prepare, especially if you have a pre-Christmas outing in mind.

    If you are always in a pickle when it comes to buying presents, here’s a fun way to take get the chore done and have some fun while at it (and maybe even pick up some goodies for yourself): go to a Christmas market! Large and lavish Christmas markets are the norm in cities where Christmas celebrations are taken particularly seriously, and since most Christmas markets start well before Christmas, you can easily load up on the gifts well in advance, while you’re having a short beginning-of-winter-break. So here are some of the best Christmas markets to visit in 2011.

    Vienna, Austria

    Vienna is among the first cities in Europe to get infused with the Christmas spirit, and it’s market is one of the most atmospheric you can find anywhere. The Viennese Christkindlmarkt is held in the Rathusplatz, in front of the beautiful Rathaus, the city’s city council cum mayor’s seat. Millions of people come to the market every year, so it’s bound to be crowded, but don’t leave without tasting the mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

    Budapest, Hungary

    Budapest, photo by John

    Budapest has a habit of dressing itself in bombastically sparkling decorations in winter, and the heart of the Christmas glitter is Vörösmarty, one of the most historic, touristy and glamorous parts of the Hungarian capital. The market brings together artisans from all over Europe, and a lot of hearty Hungarian food, sweets and strong brandy.

    New York, USA

    Around Christmas, the Christmas market is the cherry on top of the already enchanting Big Apple, with twinkling, colorful lights creating a magical atmosphere and the sound of carols clearly audible over the chatter of the crowd. The Holiday Market at Colombus Circle is packed with stalls offering gifts that range from kitsch to truly original, from every part of the world.

    Sapporo, Japan

    Sapporo, photo by Miki Yoshihito

    In Sapporo, one of the snowiest cities in Japan, Christmas is a big deal. Although only in its first decade, this Christmas market can easily compete with any of its older counterparts.

    Stalls sell gifts, arts and crafts, decorations and street food of both Asian and European variety. In addition to the buyables, there are tons of Christmas-themed events to attend.

    Stockholm, Sweden

    Stockholm’s amazing old town area is the site of one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, held every year for almost a century. Although the market is not that huge, it sells an incredible variety of Swedish, from handicrafts to foods and mulled wine.

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    Comments on The best Christmas markets to visit in 2011

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    Camper Glamis wrote on September 21, 2011:

    Just the thought of Christmas makes me want to put up our Christmas tree, hang decorations everywhere and play Christmas songs. I love going Christmas shopping as well. And I love getting Christmas presents! Who doesn’t?! LOL! I hope our community opens the Christmas market sooner. :)

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