November 22, 2011 17:07 ET

Swap Sun for Sparkling Lights With's Top 10 Christmas Markets

As the School Holidays Approach, It's Time to Escape to a Real Christmas Hideaway This Season

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Nov 22, 2011) - With just 32 days left and counting, the magic of Christmas is just around the corner, so are the school holidays. Why not swap the beach for a winter wonderland where you can experience the spirit of Christmas in all its authenticity in the world's Top 10 Christmas Markets for Aussies.

Stunning cities brimming with bratwurst, mulled wine and the smell of waffles serve up sparkling lights and other wintery sights for an unforgettable experience., the online leader in travel deals comparison, has just the list to rival Santa's with its Top 10 Christmas Markets.

"Christmas markets are a great way to experience the true magic of the season. They smell like a Dickensian Christmas with spiced gingerbread and mulled wine and are packed with activities that the whole family or fun-loving singles can enjoy," says Oonagh Shiel, Site Editor for

"It's also an opportunity to Christmas shop for unique items you literally won't find anywhere else, where you can also enjoy the atmosphere and escape the stress of overcrowded shopping malls," adds Shiel.

Here we preview five of the ten best Christmas markets around the world:


Opened only five years ago, Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland in London gets bigger and better every year with more rides, more entertaining acts and more Christmas goodies to enjoy. Upon entering, visitors are immediately enchanted by the aroma of sweet, baking waffles, hot chocolate, mulled wine and all kinds of other seasonal warmers. However, food isn't the only thing on the menu here. London's Christmas market houses the UK's biggest outdoor ice-rink, a giant observation wheel, and literally hundreds of stalls packed with special treats from Germany, among other places. Additional entertainment includes the famous Zippo Christmas Circus and Cirque Extreme, London's biggest selection of rides and Santa Land where visitors can head to Santa's workshop, ride the Santa express or sit on Santa's lap. Dates: 18th November 2011 through 3 January 2012.


Paris is famous for its markets whatever the season, but Christmas in the City of Lights is particularly glittery and full of magic. Mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and regional specialities characterise the season's celebrations and are featured in each of the city's ten Christmas markets. However, the largest of all the markets inside the city is stunningly situated on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and runs all the way to the equally beautiful Place de la Concorde. A huge number of stalls, ice skating and delicacies from Alsace are just a few of the wonderful things this romantic market has to offer. Dates: 19th November 2011 through 2nd January 2012.


Strasbourg's Christmas market takes pride of place in front of the sublime, towering Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. It's the largest and oldest Christmas market in France. For more than 400 years the city has welcomed visitors to its Christkindelsmarik. Beautifully made Christmas decorations, Nativity figurines and traditional delicacies (spiced bread, mulled wine and foie gras) fill the stalls. Each year, a different country is celebrated and in 2011 it's Switzerland's turn. Place Gutenberg will host a Swiss market selling delicacies from that country and there will be concerts, dancing and exhibitions from its cantons too. Dates: 26 November to 31 December.


Dublin's Docklands turn German for 20 days in November and December. German traders display their wares alongside their Irish counterparts. The air is filled with the scent of roasting nuts, mulled wine, eggnog and sizzling bratwurst. The Irish love to party and a feature of this market is the full programme of musical entertainment with story tellers, carol singers and bands. Santa turns up at weekends to chat to the visitors and dispense a few sweets to the young and young at heart. Dates: 2-22 December.


The Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz starts earlier than most, in mid November, and is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe. Almost 200 stalls dominate the square, selling traditional decorations and hand-crafted gifts as well as scrumptious, melt-in-the-mouth Viennese pastries and Weihnachtspunsch (a spiced punch). Dates: 12 November to 24 December. Those in favour of a smaller (some say, more cultured) market can head to courtyard of the baroque Schðnbrunn Palace between 19 November and 26 December.

For the full Top 10 Christmas Markets for Aussies, visit

To search and compare flight prices to these or any other destination, visit

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