Are you a Christmassy person?

I don’t even know if that question is grammatically correct, but you know what I mean! Whatever your religious persuasion, there’s no denying that this time  of year generates its own kind of atmosphere which you either love or hate. My wife is one of those people that loves this time of year. She loves everything about it — the mince pies, traditional turkey and ham dinners with brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce;  decorating Christmas trees;  all the bric-a-brac and accoutrements that accompany the season of goodwill, not to mention the present buying, roaring fires and general bonhomie that pervades the few weeks leading up to the actual feast day itself.

If any of the above imagery resonates with you, then you are probably a prime candidate for experiencing a Christmas market. Christmas, as you probably know, is a relatively modern invention and is largely German in origin so it’s no coincidence that some of the best Christmas markets are to be found in Germany with Cologne probably being the granddaddy of them all — not least because of the backdrop that is Cologne cathedral. Berlin and Munich also figure pretty prominently in that department too!

Of course, you don’t need to confine yourself to Germany. Several other cities also host some brilliant Christmas markets, the most notable of which is probably Vienna — again, like Cologne, set against the backdrop of the cities’ main cathedral. You might also want to check out Prague and for something slightly more exotic — Tallinn. The Estonian capital is a stunningly beautiful city and like Prague, looks like it was built purposely just to appear in some stylized Christmas card.

If your budget doesn’t extend to travelling overseas then you could do worse than visit Waterford this year where the city fathers have just launched their new Winterval festival which is already gaining plaudits from far afield. Conversely, if you’ve recently won the lotto, there’s always Lapland!

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