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If you are looking for something extra special this winter then a trip to one of France, Belgium or Germany's Christmas markets is the perfect way to kick start the Christmas season.
Get a taste of all things traditional with the various food stalls and buy your loved ones unique and beautiful Christmas gifts as you browse the stalls. For those who are looking for a little more fun the ice rinks and Big Wheels will entice you to release your inner child or simply sit back and watch as your children skate, laugh and enjoy!
Every winter the heart of Brussels is transformed into a ‘Winter Wonderland’ featuring a magical Christmas market, illuminated Big Wheel, street activities, even a skating rink! Europe’s most original Christmas market features approximately 240 wooden chalets around the Bourse (Stock Exchange), Place Sainte Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons (fish market), are simply bursting with Christmas ornaments, hand crafted items and other delicious seasonal treats.
The 200 foot-long skating rink* lies at the end of the walk-route, in Marché aux Poissons square. Choirs, processions, troupes of wandering artists, bands and concerts complete the wonderful, authentic holiday ambiance.
Bruges Christmas Market and Ice Rink offers festive fun for the whole family with seasonal treats and lots to see and do. It's become one of the most poular destinations for tourists and locals alike and continues to grow in popularity.
When: 22 November 2013 to 02 January 2014
Where: Christmas Market & Ice Rink, Market Square (Grote Markt) and Simon Stevinplein
Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:30 - 22:00 and on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 - 23:00
Why not take in the Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival while you're visiting? It's a spectacle to behold and something not to be missed if you are looking for something a little different to the norm but still in keeping with the Christmas theme. This year Bruges is proud to announce a world first: its own unique interpretation of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Don't miss it! More information »
When: 22 of November 2013 until the 06 January 2014 at Stationplein.
Where: Railway Station Square - 8000 Bruges
Open: 10:00 - 19:00 daily (including Christmas Day & New Years Day), Tel: 0032 50 200 465
Winter Moments with Flowers 2013
If you are looking for a winter trip with a difference then look no further than the beautiful Bruges “Winter Moments”. Enjoy vast arrays of stunning floral decorations, be inspired to make your own cosy festive table and behold the beautiful decorative “wannahaves”. This year’s theme is Winter Wonderland and features: Learningfirst-hand how to create centre-pieces, bouquets, garlands, Christmas baubles, hanging-baskets and wreaths. The Bruges conservatoire will treat all guests to musical interludes, spoken word recitals and dance performances. No fewer than 20 master florists will present their latest winter arrangements. The ‘Best florist of Belgium’ Tom Nackaerts, of Young Amadeus in Leuven, will present dazzling decorations using Gerbera and Amaryllis.Frederiek Van Pamel will produce a festive green and red floral landscape
When: 22 November – 01 December 2013
Where: Held at the Oud Sint Jans Hospital, Mariastraat, 8000 Brugge T +32 (0)14 28 60 80 Reservations necessary.
Open:10:00 – 18:00. Admission € 12, Children up to 14 admitted free of charge.
Imagine wooden chalets filled with wonderful Christmas treats and gifts, the scent of baked doughnuts and crepes filling the air and the laughter of children and families enjoying the thrills of The Big Wheel in the market square. If this scenario appeals to your imagination then get yourself to Lille Christmas market this Winter. The quaint and traditional market complete with an 18' high Christmas tree has lots to offer and the ambience of this beautiful French town will certainly get you feeling festive.
The city of Cologne offers a total of seven Christmas Markets so there are plenty to choose from!. Among them are the four biggest Christmas Markets located at the Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Market, on the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz. Every year these fabulous festive events attract almost 2 million visitors so be amongst them this year, you're sure to tick a few gifts off the list!The newest market is the Cologne Harbour Christmas Market which is spectacularly showcased by picturesque surroundings. Located near to a medieval Malakoff-Tower, Swing Bridge and Cologne’s popular Chocolate Museum, the historical harbour is a sensational location for a perfect Christmas Market. Also well worth a visit is the Stadtgarten Christmas Market, a fairly large Christmas Market, located on the edge of Cologne's oldest park. The Stadtgarten Christmas Market is more relaxed and has a lovely village feel to it, apart from the traditional local food, arts & crafts, this market is a great choice for children's entertainment or any one young at heart and has a wonderful atmosphere.
P&O Ferries invite you to sail with them and experience these festive delights for yourself! With various great sailing offers available there is no reason to miss this unique, seasonal event with all the family whether you choose the The Grand Place of Brussels or the ice rink of Bruges market there is a Christmas experience to suit all your shopping and sightseeing needs.
*All shops and Ice-Rink will be closed on Christmas day. There are several smaller Christmas markets in Bruges which also have shops and are open every day. Ice Skating Prices: Entrance with or without skates Є6.00 Times: Main Market Square 10.30am-8pm Ice Rink 10.30am - 8pm Simon Stevin Square 10.30am – 8pm Friday and Saturday 10.30am – 8pm.
From November 29 2013 to January 5 2014 The Grand Place is a stunning site worth visiting this time of year, with its nightly light show. The Place Saint-Catherine is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with 240 Christmas Chalets lining the square. Ferry wheel, choirs, artists, concerts and ice-skating rink complete the holiday ambiance.
Christmas in Bruges has everything you could ever dream of to start the festive season. On the Bruges market square an ice-rink will be built and surrounding it will be lots of cute and quaint shops where you can buy anything from Christmas gifts and trinkets to clothing as well as all sorts of traditional food, snacks and drinks. If you need something tom warm you up as you browse then the traditional and tasty Ghluwein (a sweet, spicy wine, specially made to drink warm) will be served and is the perfect touch to your Christmas experience! Shops are even open on Sunday during Christmas and New Year season.
Every year in the run up to Christmas the city of Cologne is wrapped up in Christmas magic. When the Christmas markets in Cologne open their gates on the last Monday before Advent, millions of visitors from around the world delight at the goods on sale at the quaintly designed huts (or "Buden").
Any duration from Dover to Calais with car and up to 9 passengers from just £35 each way (inc web discount, all taxes & surcharges).
Bruges is a must see city in Europe, known as the Venice of the North, historically well-preserved. Walking through the city streets there is an abundance of medieval culture to appreciate and a warm, friendly atmosphere to be soaked up. Making Bruges a must for tourists looking for history and culture.
Along with the sightseeing that Bruges has to offer the city also boasts a number of restaurants, coffee bars and countless confectioners making endless supplies of their famed chocolate 'Brugsch Swaentje' (Bruges Swan). The wealth of museums is a striking image of Bruges' stirring history. The city is also home to contemporary culture such as the new Concert Hall - one of the most prominent music complexes in Flanders.