Are you planning a Christmas cruise, a Christmas getaway or a shopping trip this year? Looking for a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit? The German Christmas markets are a slam-dunk. There is no better place to live this wonderful season than Germany. And there's no better way to do it than with a Christmas tour that highlights traditional Christmas markets.
Germany for all intents and purposes invented Christmas. The Germans gave us the Christmas tree, the artisanal wood smoker, the Christmas chimes, the Christmas music and the traditional Christmas blown glass decorations.
However, the Christmas market was one of the Germans & # 39; best inventions. After that, even after centuries, Christmas markets are still little known outside of Europe. These wonderful markets dot the country from north to south from the end of November to the end of December. But with such a huge number to choose from, how do you choose the best?
Here are some key tips for finding the best German Christmas markets and the best Christmas tours:
Opt for the Old and the Traditional
Make sure your itinerary includes at least a few markets (also called Christkindlmarkt) that have a long local tradition. The Dresden Christmas Market and the Nuremberg Market are two of the oldest, dating back to the 14th century. These are among the best European Christmas markets, and any Christmas tour should include at least one of them. Others include Regensburg and Leipzig. Visit us online for more information on the wonderful story of these markets.
Visit the Nooks-and-Crannies for the best shopping.
Tourists tend to flock to well-known magnets like Heidelberg, Munich, Neuschwanstein and the sometimes-over-traveled romantic road. However, Christmas markets in Franconia, Thuringia and Saxony offer an excellent alternative. Try markets in cities like Bamberg, Lauscha, Quedlinburg, Kulmbach, Schneeberg and the Erzgebirge region. Many of these places are in areas where toys, folk art and Christmas decorations are made. The shopping is good. You buy local products, and the selection is often better.
Opt for a visit instead of traveling alone.
It is possible to visit Christmas markets by yourself, of course. But even if you are not normally the type of ride, think of a Christmas package. You will enjoy comfort, you will do more and you will not have to deal with hassles like weather, driving on the highway or trying to reach for towns and isolated villages on the train. or bus.
Choose a Christmas package that offers variety and lots of extras.
You will not want to do exactly the same thing every day, and you will want to visit more than one or two big cities. So be sure to choose a Christmas tour that offers great shopping, local traditions and a variety of activities . Do not miss the unique opportunities of any Christmas tour, such as the opportunity to meet artisans, to see special exhibitions, to savor gourmet dishes of the season or to attend local Christmas choir concerts.
Smaller, it's really better.
A German Christmas market is something you have to experiment with all your senses. Avoid registering for a large group if you are afraid of being taken from one place to another and want to be sure to see the nooks and crannies. Small group trips are often more flexible and rewarding. If you want to visit separate villas and other stops that large groups give and if you wish to have a guide who stands with you for the whole trip, a small group of tourists is usually the best choice .
There is no better place to celebrate Christmas than in the heart of Europe. And if you are planning a Christmas market tour, Germany is the first choice. Choose the right Christmas package for your needs and interests. Keep it small. And make sure your itinerary includes less visited places like the ones mentioned here. This way, you will surely have an unforgettable travel experience and you will return with a Christmas spirit to spare.
Tom Conrad owns and operates Heart of Europe Tours, LLC, and will lead this year's delightful Christmas Markets tour in Germany from December 1 to 9, 2010.