Travel and Vacations

10 of the most beautiful European Christmas markets

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Christmas Markets

With its gorgeous medieval towns and traditional festivities no one does Christmas markets quite as well as Europe. So if you’re looking for presents, a magical atmosphere or goblets of gluhwein, then book your flights, sort out your travel insurance and head out to one of these beautiful European Christmas markets…

Bremen, Germany

bremen christmas market

Bremen is a medieval city that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairytale book, so it’s not surprising that it consistently rates as hosting one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world. With over 170 gorgeously decorated stalls, traditional handicrafts and torch-lit taverns set against the backdrop of a picturesque market square, the whole atmosphere is pretty special. Head down to the river waterfront to find snow-topped chalets serving up mulled wine and hearty German fayre and an advent calendar style attraction where each day a door is opened to reveal a new surprise.

Edinburgh, Scotland

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Edinburgh is a city that never does anything by halves, so as well as Hogmanay also add the Christmas market to your seasonal wish list. This year the city plays host to three markets; a traditional Scottish market, a children’s market and the main German style market to be held at the East Princes Street Gardens. You can ice skate, have a romantic ride on the big wheel and happily lose yourself in the Christmas tree maze. As well as all the usual Christmas market trappings also expect a series of seasonal events including a Santa Train, a fun run, and a suitably cultured Christmas theatre.

Colmar, France

Colmar christmas market

The picturesque half-timbered French town makes the perfect backdrop to a Christmas market. It may not be the most famous but it’s easily one of the most beautiful with fairytale-esque décor, traditional gifts and an attractive outdoor ice rink. The market is spread across five squares and has a reputation of being the most illuminated market in France with glowing garlands and thousands of twinkling lights. A very family orientated affair, children also have their very own market complete with wooden toys, clowns and plenty of gingerbread.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague Christmas market

Prague is a famously beautiful city and come December, the city is turned into a winter wonderland setting. The largest markets are held in Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square – both are equally well lit with a folklore theme and stalls selling handmade crafts like glassware, jewellery, lace, candles, ornaments, and wooden toys. Also expect a carol concerts, a gigantic Christmas tree and nativity animal stable where your children can pet the resident farm animals.

Cologne, Germany

Cologne Christmas market

Cologne is one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe, but it’s famous for a reason. Attracting over 2 million visitors a year there are seven Christmas markets in total, all within walking distance from one another. The best is located just outside Cologne’s beautiful gothic Cathedral. The half-timber stalls, the outdoor ice rink and the floating market are all shadowed by pretty narrow-gabled houses – just a few of the reasons why this market is so popular.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli Gardens Christmas

Tivoli Gardens are like a fairytale all year round so at Christmas you can expect the cute factor ranked up several notches. Thousands of fairy lights of all colours surround you through the whole park and the smell of mulled wine and apple pancakes fills the air. Expect a Nordic theme with Scandinavian traditions, Danish dishes and reindeer to add to the Christmas feel.

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges Christmas market

Everyone’s favourite romantic city easily deserves a place on the list. December is when the Belgian city becomes even more magical with beautifully lit buildings and Christmas markets centred around a large outdoor ice rink. Head for the cobbled main square for most of the action; here you’ll find around 30 wooden huts selling traditional gifts, fine festive foods and of course those world famous chocolates.

Innsbruck, Austria

Innsbruck Christmas market

The snow-topped mountains and tall colourful buildings of the city make it a worthy host for a beautiful Christmas market. There are six markets in total, one of the best being the Old Town Christmas market. Here you can view the famous Golden Roof, surrounded by ancient history as you sip your warming traditional Glühwein. There are plenty of ornaments, crafts, and other Christmas gift ideas, and for the children, daily Fairytale performances at the Theatre Wagon. Indulge in traditional Kiachln doughnuts as you look down on the market from the viewing platform, or just wander among the 70 stalls taking in the atmosphere.

Budapest, Hungary

budapest-christmas-fair

The Budapest Christmas market is known both for its beauty and for being a great place to grab a bargain. The main market is held in Vörösmarty Square which hosts over 100 wooden stalls. Here visitors can listen to live music as they buy hand crafted products such as candles, clothing and Christmas decorations. Also snack on traditional Hungarian dishes like goulash and stuffed cabbage, and watch out for the Gerbeaud House – a giant Advent Calendar, where windows open at 5pm to reveal the day’s work of contemporary art.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Christmas market

Another Christmas market that enjoys worldwide fame is held in the Austrian capital. There are actually around 25 markets in total and the oldest is the December Market that dates all the way back to 1294. Over 200 stalls are packed with gifts, hot food and the aroma of Christmas punch and roasted chestnuts waft around Vienna’s grand streets. Another highlight is the Rathaus Christmas Market which offers traditional local Christmas dishes, a large decorated tree to gaze at and a giant advent calendar of windows displayed at the town hall.

Article Source : http://www.globalgrasshopper.com/destinations/europe/10-beautiful-european-christmas-markets/

San Francisco Bay Area

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San Francisco tours are just incomplete without you enjoying the Winter Birding spots of the Bay area. The rich wetlands of Bay Trail is something that is never to be missed if you are a nature lover, keep your cameras loaded as you are sure to enjoy many picture perfect moments of  San Francisco. Be sure to use a camera with a long lens to shoot the ducks, egrets and other marshland birds in their most active self as you might not want to disturb their seclusion in any way.

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We will have to take all possible measures to avoid any disturbance created to these birds. Visitors are advised to stay away from causing any harassment to the birds as they will have to pay fines for violating the Migratory Birds act that safeguards the wellness of these birds.

One of the hot winter birding spots in San Francisco is the Arrowhead Marsh of Oakland where you can find migrating ducks and shore birds. Next in the list is the Coyote Hills Regional Park where visitors are allowed a fascinating boardwalk and trails through the marshlands.

sanfrancisco

There is Crissy Field marshland that stands as a spectacular example of habitation restoration where people can enjoy bird watching through East Beach parking area or from the Crissy Field Center. The Don Edwards refuge that is found along the Pacific Flyway is a network of parks. The entire area is about 30,000 acres of marsh, salt water ponds, shorelines and mud flats that acts as a home for a wide species of shorebirds and waterfowl.

Article Source :  http://travelling-around-the-earth.blogspot.in/2012/03/hot-winter-birding-spots-by-san.html

Buenos Aires is Culturally Rich and Capital of Argentina

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Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and a large, sprawling metropolis that is home to over 12 million people. It is, unsurprisingly, the largest city in Argentina, but it is also covers a large area forming the second-largest metropolitan city in South America, after Sao Paulo in Brazil. Influenced by early European settlers (largely from Italy) it is often referred to as the “Paris of South America” due to its nightlife and historically-elegant buildings. The city is located on the southern bank of the Rio de la Plata (or River Plate) delta.

Buenos-Aires-Argentina

Since the beginning of the 20th century Buenos Aires has undergone continual re-development resulting in the loss of many of its original and beautiful buildings of importance. However, there are still some elegant examples of architecture from the early 1900s particularly from the affluent period between the 1920’s and 30’s, when Argentina as a world economic power. Like Santiago, the city centre has maintained its original lay out since its foundation and more recently the old dock area has been completely re-developed into a spacious, modern, commercial sector of hotels, offices and fashionable restaurants.

Buenos Aires is culturally rich and home to the Teatro Colon – an internationally-rated opera house as well as a number of symphony orchestras and choirs. There are a number of museums offering exhibits of varying types: fine arts, decorative arts, modern arts and even sacred art; and homes of recognized cultural icons that have been preserved for public viewing. There are hundreds of book stores and cultural associations and the city has the largest concentration of working theatres in South America, in which many a Tango show is performed.

Among the attractions that Buenos Aires has to offer are the football matches at the famous Boca Stadium, Tango shows, city cultural tours and out-of-city excursions to any number of estancias. For the visitor, one particular location of interest in Buenos Aires is: San Telmo (cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, street performers and tango dancers). One of the more affluent areas is that of Recoleta where there are up-market boutique stores, top hotels and restaurants.

Buenos Aires City

Buenos Aires as Honeymoon Destination

The province and capital city Buenos Aires in the country of Argentina is a perfect hotspot for honeymoon lovers. Explore the Recoleta Cemetery and must see a play in the Colon Theatre. Stroll in the streets with your loved one or have a coffee time. A walk in the beautiful parks or gardens creates a love around atmosphere. Enjoy the local dishes with luxury amenities in top city resorts and don’t forget to buy few souvenirs for your sweetheart. Enjoy the bustling nightlife of the city. Couples find it a real fun to visit.

If you hope to visit this beautiful, up-and-coming city soon, dealing with these small inconveniences is worth it! The artistic treasures, the delicious food, the music, and the nightlife make visiting Buenos Aires truly special. Don t let the great Buenos Aires coin shortage stop you. You do need to plan to spend extra time locating coins for many of your simpler purchases and exchanges. If you are entering the city from other parts of Argentina, get a bag of coins, and take them with you! You may end up being more popular than you’ve ever been before!