Lorna Hogg looks at Christmas markets packages on offer this year
When it comes to traditional Christmas Markets, Prague and Krakow are always amongst top choices. Along with unspoiled architecture with fairylit stalls, hot spicy snacks, artisan crafts and carols, there is the possibility of a snow sprinkled break. With value deals for under €200, it’s hardly surprising Irish visitors return – and return. Prague is offered by Click & Go, with a 3 night trip, 4 star hotel 2 adults sharing, B&B double room, with return flights for €199 PPS in December. Krakow is available from €159pp, 3 nights, 2 adults share, 3 star apartments, December dates. Click & Go also have good deals to Vienna, Berlin and Budapest.
Vienna oozes style – from Demel’s lavish Christmas window confectionery displays, to traditional coffee shops, concerts, shopping and fiacre rides, so you’ll never be bored here. Pick gifts from 150 stalls in markets spread throughout this atmospheric city. Add in some inclusive sightseeing with Travel Department’s deals for Vienna in Nov/Dec. A 3 night break, B&B in a 4 star hotel, plus an inclusive visit to the Schonbrunn Palace, starts from €399 PPS, including flights, excursions, accomodation and taxes. Travel Department also offers several other destinations, including KRAKOW, departing on 29th November, with 4 nights at a three star hotel, for €399. Once there, you can enjoy an inclusive full city walking tour and plus a visit to the famous Wieliczka Salt Mines. Cost from €399, flights included, plus accomodation and excursions. http://www.traveldepartment.ie Tel. 01 637 1650
If you’re looking for a value break, but to a more unusual destination, how about Amsterdam or Munich? lowcostholidays offers good deals to both – Munich on 12th December, 4 star hotel from €260 PP, B&B. Enjoy market traditions dating back the fifteenth century, with gingerbread and sugar plums and almonds, and admire beautiful artisan crystal and artisan wooden gifts. The Amsterdam break also departs on 12th December, with 4 star hotel, 2 nights acccomodation and return flights from Dublin, from €156 B&B. Once there, you can enjoy the traditional market in the atmospheric Leidesplein and Rembrandsplein. Alternately, take the short train ride to picture postcard Haarlem, complete with canal and windmill, and which holds a Dickens Market, starting from 12th – 13th December. Lowcostholidays also has a good choice of other destinations, including Prague Vienna and Budapest. www.lowcostholidays.ie Tel. 01 4853835
Why not combine a Christmas Markets with a late holiday break, on an organised tour or a river cruise? Sunway has some excellent escorted Christmas market tours, combining beautiful cities with the chance to admire and buy the local craft in festive surroundings. The 8 day German Christmas markets escorted tour by luxury coach through the scenery around the Rhine, Black Forest, Bavarian Alps, takes in Frankfurt, Rothenburg, Nuremberg, Erfurt, Dresden and Leipzig, plus Berlin. With plenty of `insider moments’ this comprehensive tour is available in November and December from €1569 PP.
Sunway also offers a luxury 7 night river cruise, Christmas on the Rhine, on the luxurious Ama Certo. Board at Basel to take in cities such as Strasbourg, Heidelberg and the superb Christmas market destination, Cologne, en route to Amsterdam. Departures – 14th December, including flights from Ireland, transfers, de luxe accomodation, tours, fine dining with beer and wine included at meals, themed dinners plus entertainment. Prices from €1997, PPS. www.sunway.ie/rivercruise/ Tel. 01 231 1868. www.sunway.ie/escorted-tours
There’s style and luxury, – and then there’s Uniworld Boutique cruising, known for the comfort of the vessels, the standard of inclusive escorted local trips, on-board accomodation and fine dining. With such style, the only surprise is the value of this 8 day European holidays markets cruise, on the River Princess. Departing Vienna on 15th December from €1485PP (flights extra.) It’s an all inclusive cruise in the lap of luxury – superb dining, inclusive fine wines, beverages, transfers and lectures on board, plus trips and entertainment. You will take in the Vienna markets, encounter fairytale villages and conclude in the ancient and beautiful Nuremburg, deep in Bavaria and famed for its market.