Red7 , July 19, 2016
If you’re in need of a pre-Christmas getaway with your best mates, there is no better way to spend a chilly winter weekend than strolling through one of Europe’s hottest Christmas markets. Enjoy the scent of cinnamon swirling through the air as you discover warm eats and delicious festive treats that will put you in the festive spirit in no time.
Head to Germany for the ultimate Christmas market experience. Among the many stunning cities lit up with fairy lights each December, Cologne and Munich are two of the most vibrant cities for finding unique gifts and delicious festive cuisine.
Your Christmas shopping list won’t feel like such a chore when you’re delving into a pile of bratwurst at one of Cologne’s seven Christmas markets.
Attracting more than 2 million visitors each winter, Cologne’s Markets are packed with all the liveliness you could ask for in one of Europe’s busiest winter markets. Weave your way from the Cologne Cathedral Market to the Alter Markt in the heart of the Old Town. From there, visit the new Cologne Harbour Christmas Market. There you will find an abundance of culinary delights from around the world. You’ll also be able to watch stage performances to fill you and your friends with festive cheer (not to mention beer!).
Not sure where to start? Book your very own guide to take you around Cologne’s hottest Christmas Markets from 21 November to 23 December 2016. Your personal guide who will show you everything you need to know to have an unforgettable time in this stunning city.
Where to stay
Located in the city’s lively university quarter, Cologne’s Elite hotel is just a short walk from market central. Enjoy a buffet breakfast before exploring this amazing city and its Christmas markets.
A&0 Neumarkt is located in the beautiful Cologne Mauritiusviertel district. This hostel offers modern rooms and a lobby bar where you can enjoy a stein of Cologne’s finest beer while deciding where to shop first!
The Meininger Hotel and Hostel offers great value for money. Situated in the student quarter on the left bank of the River Rhine, the Meininger Hotel is an ideal base for xmas shopping trips.
Affectionately called the ‘Original’ Christmas Market, the Munich Christmas Market (from 25 November until 24 December 2016) is the oldest in the country with its origins dating back to the 14th century!
For German culture, delicious beer and lively St. Nick charm, head to St. Mary’s Square in the centre of the city. There you will find a giant Christmas tree decked out in stunning lights filling the square with the magic of winter. If you happen to be passing through in the evening at 5.30, you’ll be able to hear carols being performed from the balcony of the Town Hall.
Munich is also home to Germany’s largest manger market in Neuhauser Strasse, where nativity scenes are flooded by atmospheric lantern light. Once you’ve had your fill of nativity scenes and steaming cups of mulled wine, visit Theresienwiese, for the Tollwood winter festival. Home of the Oktoberfest, this square is famous for its lively concerts, ethnic cuisine and energetic party atmosphere.
Where to stay
Andra Hotel is a superb three-star hotel in the heart of Munich. Close to the Munich Central Station, this hotel is perfectly suited for groups looking to explore Munich and its surrounding areas.
For a quiet place to rest your head after a long day of scouring the markets, book your group into the Dolomit Hotel. Because of this hotel’s soundproofed rooms, you’ll enjoy a calm sanctuary in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this Bavarian city.
Or if a hostel is what you’re after, check out the Meininger Hotel München City Center. This charming hostel is perfectly situated in the world famous Theresienwiese. The hotel also offers delicious buffet breakfast in the morning, as well as lunch and dinner during the day. You can also enjoy a wide variety of drinks in the hotel bar and a range of indoor activities.
Visit Prague in winter from 3 December 2016 through 4 January 2017 for an exquisite Christmas experience. Must-see xmas markets are held in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (just a short walk from one to the other). You’ll also discover smaller markets throughout the city including Havel’s Market in Republic Square.
After exploring the city, wander down the snowy alley ways on your way to a warm, dimly lit bar for that much-needed goblet of mulled wine. If you’re up for a bar crawl, why not try out a Cocktail Crawl? The perfect activity for showing your best friends a great time out! Your guide will take you on a 3 hour tour of the best cocktail clubs in town.
Where to stay
Situated in a quiet part of Prague, Hotel Otakar is just a 10 minute tram ride away from Wenceslas Square, one of the most vibrant areas of the city. Occupying an elegant Art Nouveau building which was once a famous spa, it offers modern facilities and a lot of charm. It has a sauna and a 24 hour lobby bar so you can grab a drink any time of the day or night. The neighbourhood has lots of shops and restaurants for if you want to stay local. Alternatively buy a three-day tram ticket and see everything this gorgeous city has on offer.
For a bit more space, why not check into an apartment? Dotted around the city centre, apartments sleep up to 10 guests, so you and your crew can hang out in a central space.
Or if you fancy a more luxurious weekend away, the Ambassador Zlata Husa in Prague is a 5 star hotel situated on Wenceslas Square. With beautifully furnished rooms, a Thai and Wellness club, the hotel provides guests with a tranquil experience. Plus there are also superb restaurants on site serving both Czech and international cuisine so you can dine in the comfort of your hotel. There is also a casino on site, which is a great place to start or finish a big night out in the city.
Krakow’s Christmas market (20 November through 22 December 2016) takes place every year on the city’s central square, Rynek Glowney, located in the Old Town. Treat yourself to edible souvenirs including local heart-shaped gingerbreads covered with colourful icing. If you’re in town on the first Thursday in December, catch the main attraction of the market – the annual competition for the best model nativity scene, a local tradition that has been going since 1937.
Once you’ve found all the stocking fillers you need, warm your cockles with Polish vodka in one of the Old Town’s best watering holes. The city boasts a fantastic array of pubs and bars often found in subterranean cellars where you can enjoy a pint or two of piwo (beer).
Where to stay
Book 3 star accommodation for your group at Hotel Alef, located in the Old Town just a 10 minute walk from the main square. Get lucky with a room on the upper floor, where you’ll be treated to panoramic views of historic Wawel Hill. Or if your friends are in need of a common area to hang out in before a night of clubbing, why not book into apartment accommodation. With apartments dotted around the new and old town you’ll find the perfect place to call home for the weekend.
Want to scope out a Christmas market a little closer to home? Each year Birmingham is transformed into Santa’s grotto as it welcomes the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Held this year from 17 November to 22 December, the Birmingham Christmas market is the largest in the UK, making it the perfect place to enjoy a wintery weekend away with your gang.
Wash down schnitzels, bratwursts and pretzels with weissbeer and mulled cider. With over 180 stalls to peruse, you’re sure to find loads of great presents to stack beneath the Christmas tree.
Where to stay
Stay in Jurys Inn, a stylish hotel in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. Located on Broad Street, the hub of night life in Birmingham, Jurys Inn boasts 445 rooms from standard double through to superior rooms. The hotel has everything to keep you happy during your visit. Enjoy free WiFi, an all-day Costa, a bar and restaurant The Grill.
Indulge in the Cobden Hotel for a more relaxing atmosphere. Situated just a mile outside of Birmingham City Centre, this hotel is walking distance from the entertainment district of Broad Street. There are many leisure and beauty opportunities available and a 12 metre swimming pool to help you relax, making your winter weekend away feel truly magical.
Whether planning a Hen, Stag or Group holiday, visiting a Christmas market is the perfect way to get in the festive spirit this winter. Discover more ideas about where to take your mates and additional hotel options in each destination by chatting with one of our Red7 Group Travel Gurus today on 01273 872200 or https://www.redsevenleisure.co.uk/contact-us/