Winter delights in Vienna

Vienna in the run-up to Christmas is a city of nostalgia and romance, concerts and nativity displays, and Christmas markets. Classics include the Christmas market in front of City Hall, the one on Freyung, the markets at Spittelberg, Am Hof, in front of Karlskirche, and the Christmas market at Schoenbrunn Palace. Arts and crafts are offered as personal Christmas gifts, while mulled wine and hot chestnuts warm the hearts of Viennese and visitors alike.

New Year's Eve in Vienna: at the turn of the year music and entertainment can also be enjoyed open-air. Champagne and snacks are served at refreshment stalls along the New Year's Eve Trail, which winds its way through the streets and lanes of Vienna's historic center. December also marks the beginning of the ball season with the Imperial Ball at the magnificent Imperial Palace on December 31. (www.kaiserball.com)

Advent in Salzburg

It’s very Christmassy in Salzburg! Advent is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful seasons in Salzburg.

The tradition and ambiance of Salzburg Christmas Market  round the Salzburg Cathedral make an ideal setting off the season – the delicious scent of mulled wine wafts around booths adorned with precious, decorative, old and new items, performances of choirs and children’s groups lure a crowd of visitors year after year.  

Hellbrunner Adventzauber  - A romantic courtyard around Hellbrunn Palace, a path lined by torches and an oversized Advent calendar are part of the Magic of Advent. Children enjoy a ride in a sled drawn by real reindeer. 

The Salzburg Advent Singing in the Great Festival Hall 

Year after year nearly 200 participants make sure the Salzburg Advent Singing lives up to its outstanding reputation – featuring musicians, singers and actors from Salzburg’s region to become a perfect combination of tradition and zeitgeist. Classic/modern stage design, impressive lighting, newly interpreted folk music and elaborate lyrics augmented a new Advent Singing format.

Visit also the smaller markets on Mirabell Square, in the Sterngarten, St. Peter’s monastery or at Hohensalzburg Fortress!

Christmas in Prague

  There are numerous special Christmas events organized throughout the city. Exhibitions, concerts in churches and concert halls, advent music festivals, fund raisers, special programs for children – something for everybody. A Czech Christmas cannot be complete without the Czech teacher and composer Jan Jakub Ryba’s (1765–1815) Christmas Mass with folk and pastoral elements Hey, Master. 

Christmas markets in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square offer a traditional festive atmosphere. Visitors will have a chance to experience Czech traditions, bands and products. Products on sale include exclusive Christmas items, e.g. Christmas ornaments, candleholders, mistletoe and wreaths. The Old Town Square Stage will feature children’s choirs as well as pop singers. Christmas markets start four weeks before Christmas and end the beginning of January.

Nativity Scenes originated from medieval paintings depicting the birth of baby Jesus. The oldest mention of an exhibited nativity scene in the Czech lands is from 1562. Although they were initially displayed in churches, nativity scenes gradually spread into the homes of people and villages as well. 

At Christmas, nativity scenes are exhibited in many Prague churches and other places. Some of them are quite unique, for example the ginger nativity scene in St Mathew church or the largest strawy nativity scene in the Museum of Charles Bridge. 

 Munich is Magical in Winter

Winter travel to Munich offers low seasonal rates, sparse crowds, fun winter festivities, and the surrounding Alps in snowy white. Book a deal which includes air, hotel and car or rail pass, and design your own itinerary.

December: Christmas markets glow, and the Winter Tollwood Festival fills the Oktoberfest grounds Nov. 25 – Dec. 31. The „Ice Magic“ skating rink‘s in a lovely public square, Karlsplatz.  January to March: During Fasching (Mardi Gras) Jan. 7 – Feb. 24, the city jumps with parties, followed immediately by Strong Beer Season Feb. 26 - March 29.

Munich has sports for every taste. Skin dive, swim, ice skate, jog and run in the Olympic Village. Dare the exciting climbing expedition on the Olympic Village roof (until November 8). Or visit the top of the Olympic Tower all year for a grand view of the Alps.

Outdoor activities also beckon in the beautiful English Garden. And various Munich sightseeing tours are offered on bikes. Ski / snowboard excursions depart Munich for the Alps.

Stay settled in your hotel, and take day trips. Over 50 ski resorts are within 1.5 hours travel time from Munich, with Alpine and cross-country skiing and tobogganing. 

Dresden  

Dresden’s already rich museum landscape is set to become even more attractive.  The Albertinum, home to Dresden’s Museum of Modern Art, has undergone several years of restoration and conversion work. It  accommodates the New Masters Gallery (Galerie Neue Meister) and the sculpture collection. Everyone involved with the project is excited about the prospect of seeing these fine works of art return to their renovated surroundings. The 450-year-old landmark building has been extended in a rather unusual fashion: hovering at a height of 12 metres above the inner courtyard of the Albertinum are repositories and workshops for the State Art Collections (Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden). By enclosing the atrium in this way, the building has acquired a central space that can be used either as a foyer or as an area for temporary exhibitions. This ‘Ark for Art’ was designed by the Berlin-based Staab Architekten partnership.  In the month of December, Dresden traditionally transforms itself into a scene from a Christmas card. The biggest and oldest of the numerous Christmas markets in the city is the Dresdner Striezelmarkt held on the Old Market Square (Altmarkt). January’s Semper Opera Ball is not to be missed by anyone who loves old-time ballroom dancing. It is held in the magnificent setting of one of Europe’s top concert venues, the Semperoper Dresden. 

Berlin at autumn and wintertime

Also in the autumn and winter months Berlin attracts an international public because of its cultural diversity and extraordinary events. Over 180 Berlin Museums are dedicated to preserving history, art and knowledge. Together, they form a unique museum landscape that has, at its heart, the world famous Museum Island. This museum ensemble was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

On October 16, 2009 the Museum Island celebrated the reopening of the Neues Museum. The refurbished Neues Museum houses amongst others the world-famous Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection and the Museum for Pre- and Early History. Now for the first time in 70 years, all five museums on Berlin’s Museum Island will once again be open to the public. 

WinterMagic Berlin • October to January 

Festively decorated boulevards with endless shopping possibilities, remarkable winter attractions, culinary consumptions and Berlin´s legendary nightlife make Berlin´s WinterMagic matchless. There are special Christmas markets with attractions like mobile ice skating rinks and toboggan runs.

Welcome to Partyslava!

For many Bratislavans, the opening of the city’s annual Christmas market is the true beginning of the holiday season. This year’s market opens on November 27. It is located on the Main Square; its 107 stands will serve food and sell handmade folk products to locals and foreigners alike until December 23. The traditional delicacies on offer include e.g. roasted pork or chicken in a bun topped with grilled onion and mustard or potato crepes stuffed with goose fat. 

The annual Open Cellar’s Day, put on by the Small Carpathian Wine Route Association, is scheduled for November 20 and 21. Ticket holders are entitled to visit as many as they wish of the hundreds of wine cellars around Bratislava. They can taste as much wine as they want. The Open Cellars Day is one of the best times to visit these cellars to soak up the atmosphere and to find the vintner at home and in a hospitable mood. 

If you book ahead, you can combine your wine pilgrimage with a visit to a restaurant in the nearby villages of Grob, which are famous for their goose, a local delicacy. Every foreigner in Slovakia for more than a few weeks owes it to themselves to try it at least once. 

On New Year’s Eve, enjoy a fantastic show on various stages spread throughout Bratislava city center. Live concerts and an open-air disco are complemented at midnight by a fantastic firework show and light effects along the banks of the Danube. Welcome to the biggest party of the city. Welcome to “Partyslava”.

Budapest in Winter

Christmas in Budapest is so friendly and intimate. You can also be part of this experience between 20 November and 29 December in Budapest. The biggest outdoor event of the winter season, which awaits the visitors one month long at the Vörösmarty square, with tradition holding artisan gifts and adornments, folk music, mulled wine, pumpkin dumbos, trumpet milk loaf, children playground, Santa Claus, Musical Advent Calendar, and a beautiful concert of piano artist Szilvia Kárászy. 

More musts in December in Budapest

New Years Opera Gala in the Opera House

’Music-Wine’ Gala Concert by the 100 Gipsy Violins

Operetta Ship on New Years Eve

Budapest Spring Festival in March

Year after year the arrival of the spring is brought to Europe by the Budapest Spring Festival.  Apart from the rich musical choice, unique exhibitions, excellent dance shows and busy festival atmosphere await visitors in the charming Hungarian capital in March.

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