How many times have you pictured a tableau of the white winter wonderland? Have you always longed to share a traditional European festive mealwith a loved one beside a blazing fireplace? This December, Insight Vacations shares the Christmas spirit with you with its latest range of European tours to world-famous medieval Christmas markets.
Instead of the usual tourist hotspots like Paris and Rome, lose yourself in the magical Christmas markets of Germany and Eastern Europe. These huge bazaars in medieval European towns lend a surreal old-world charm to the holidays.
Fairytale snow scenes are featured on Christmas cards year after year. Each depiction is far from the look and feel of the year end festivities we have experienced in our region. In your dreams, did it glow with the warm, blinking orange decorative lights on pine trees glistening with snow? Have you ever wanted to make a snowman, a snow angel or even get into a snowball fight?
Traveller, Ms Fiona Lim had visited and done all these on her Vienna, Prague and Budapest With Christmas Markets tour operated by Insight Vacations and this is what she discovered, “Coming from Asia, the concept of Christmas markets is a novelty to me since Christmas is very much a commercialised event here. The sights, sounds and smells of a traditional market in a winter setting are part of an intangible experience that we cannot find here.”
German Christmas markets are a sight to behold, most notably those in Munich, Nuremberg and Rothenburg-ob-der Tauber. More than one Christmas market can be found in Munich, each catering to different preferences.
The Christmas Market tours are not all about shopping. Holiday-makers can marvel at the rich cultures and enjoy authentic local fare while on tour. Travellers can savour local favourites like steaming bratwurst or Weißwurst (white sausage), a specialty of Munich, accompanied with warm Glühwein (glow wine). If you have a sweet-tooth, the variety of Bavarian cakes and tortes are sure to make you drool.
The tour around the city of Munich will take you to the Olympic Stadium, university, and Victory Arch. Then, you will join the crowd watching the Glockenspiel performance at the Marienplatz. This is also where the Christmas festivities have been traditionally held since the 14th century.
Plunge right into a winter wonderland at Rothenburg-ob-der Tauber, a town with distinct character on the Romantic Road in Bavaria. Time seems to have stopped in this city that has been mostly untouched throughout the ages. Against the backdrop of snow-topped medieval roofs, many stall-owners in the Reiterlesmarkt ply their wares ranging from handmade cuckoo clocks to teddy bears.
Nuremberg beckons with its world-famous Christkindlesmarkt, home of the Christmas Angel. Each year, the Christkindlesmarkt opens with a prologue recited by the Christmas Angel, a young girl chosen to represent Nuremberg for the festive season.
If Western or Central Europe is too conventional for your travel boots, journey to enchanting Prague and Budapest on the Vienna, Prague and Budapest with Christmas Markets tour. Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, retains many of its centuries-old historical monuments. Stroll through cobbled streets and enjoy spectacular views over the city and its majestic castles. In the month of December, tourists and locals will mingle at the Old Town Square to join in the merrymaking. An enormous Christmas tree will be erected in the centre of the square, adorned with Christmas ornaments and brightly lit by strings of lights.
Fiona remembers, “The stalls were built like traditional log-houses and bustling with people and activity. I remember feeling like I was in a magical winter wonderland and Santa could possibly just appear with Rudolph riding his sleigh.” And Fiona didn’t forget to fill her stockings with the local goodies on sale, such as Bohemian Crystal and classic wooden toys.
“There’s something special about Europe in the winter months and one of the finest ways to discover Europe is when it is in its Autumnal hues or blanketed in snow. It is delightful shopping at the famous and colourful Christmas Markets during the festive months of late November and December,” said Ms Sheryl Lim, Regional Director of Asia, Insight Vacations.
Great offers for you and your loved ones
There is no better time to take advantage of up to 32% discounts off summer rates, plus a further 7.5% off if you book before 26 August this year, and an additional 5% off if you book in a group of 5 to 8 people. With the massive discounts, you can whisk your loved ones to a fabulous holiday or gather friends to shop up a storm before the new year kicks in.
Insight Vacations’ signature quality, unrivalled value and impeccable service help create Christmas holiday memories that last a lifetime. For more information, please contact +65 6338 7338 (Singapore), email: [email protected], or check it online at www.insightvacations.com.
Travel and pricing information
7 Days Vienna, Prague & Budapest with Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1375 per person. Departures are available on 2, 9, 16 and 22 December 2012.
8 Days German Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1685 per person. Departures are available on 27 November, as well as 2, 4, 9, 11 and 16 December 2012.
9 Days Winter Wonderland with Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1785 per person. Departures are available from 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 December 2012.
Prices quoted are for land tours only (airfares not included) and on a twin-sharing room basis.