It’s that time of year when I start planning a break away. I hate the wet drizzle of the winter months, and the lure of foreign shores where the weather is usually warmer starts calling me. This year though, in a move that has taken my husband a little by surprise, I’ve ditched the equatorial climes for something a little different. We’re going to head for Munich and its century old Christmas Market instead.
Christmas markets have always fascinated me. I love the idea of quaint cobbled town squares all brightly lit with flickering fairy lights and 40ft high trees. I like the idea of maybe, just maybe, catching a glimpse of real snow instead of that stuff we spray on shop windows every year and then scrape off again in January. I’m not too bothered by seeing Santa, but the tantalizing aromas of cinnamon and mulled wine certainly get me excited.
This trip is actually my birthday present from my husband. Those of you who know me will also know that my birthday is in January, so I’ve had plenty of time to get everything planned. The hardest part was deciding where to go. There are so many markets dotted around Europe that narrowing it down became a bit of a challenge, but with cheap flights on offer to Munich I decided that Germany was the way to go. Not to mention that spending less on travel will be leaving me with more to spend at the market. Munich is a fabulous place, and somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit. I actually wanted to go over for Oktoberkest, but since my husband detests beer I didn’t think I’d ever get there. To be fair, he doesn’t much like shopping either, but I guess he thinks it’s the lesser of two evils.
Munich is actually a bit of a Mecca for shopping at this time of year, and they actually have eight different Christmas markets to choose from. The most famous, the Christkindl market takes place in the old town square, Marienplatz. It’s by far the most popular with tourists, and the stalls that line the square around the impressive tree have all manner of delicious foods and wines to sell. There are Bavarian costumes on display and carol singing by gospel choirs, jugglers and mime artists and loads more (according to their website), so it’s certainly going to beat Christmas shopping online this year!
If you do decide to visit a Christmas market then there are a few things you should be aware of in advance. There are cheap tickets available to fly to most popular destinations, especially in Europe, but do remember to check your luggage allowance and upgrade if necessary. There would be nothing worse than spending a fortune on fabulous handmade presents and then having to pay extra to get them home. Also, if you plan on bringing back local alcohols or beverages, you’ll need to pay for hold luggage and not just carry-on since large volumes of liquids aren’t allowed on planes. Remember to check the dates the Christmas markets are running before you book your flights, because it’s not unheard of for some to start after Christmas day and run into January instead. And finally, if you’re looking for accommodation close to the main markets to avoid lengthy walks back to the hotel with your gifts, you need to book in advance. Otherwise you’ll probably find they’ll be booked very early indeed, leaving you settling in on the outskirts of town.
I’m looking forward to my trip and I’ll post back on here to tell you all about it in December. Have any of you been to a Christmas market before?