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Best Christmas markets you must visit

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Best Christmas markets you must visit

Brussels, Belgium

If you want to turn your back on the grey skies and end-of-year blues, then come and enjoy an enchanted winter in Brussels! As the days get shorter, the city centre's countless illuminations twinkle delightfully through the darkness, warming up both hearts and hands. You can marvel at the magical Christmas market, the Winter Wonders giant Ferris wheel and many more. Let yourself be swept away by the magic of the giant Christmas tree and the sound and light show on the world's most beautiful square. Find that perfect Christmas present, spend the evenings snug and warm in the city's cosy cafés. There's everything you need to make your Christmas holidays in Brussels unforgettable.

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Wrocław, Poland 

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Wrocław hosts one of Poland's best and largest Christmas markets, stretching across two sides of Wrocław's market square, creating a festive atmosphere in the heart of the city. The fair features 'Bajkowy Lasek' (Fairy Tale Forest), where animated characters convey fairy tales to wide-eyed children, while their parents slip off to grab a glass of mulled wine and grilled ‘oscypek’ (sheep cheese from the Polish mountains). The vicinity of the Dwarf House features an illuminated sleigh with magic presents, Santa and many more. The Christmas Windmill in the Fairytale Wood, the Dwarf House itself and the Fireplace House in the northern frontage of the Market Square serve mulled wine, hot chocolate and other hot drinks and beverages. Yum! Finally, don't forget that there is also a mailbox by the Christmas tree where all letters and postcards will be sent all the way to Santa Claus.

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Maastricht, Netherlands

All year round, Maastricht is a wonderful city with that lovely, warm atmosphere. However, around Christmas, the city takes on that extra spellbinding edge. Under the slogan of "Magical Maastricht", the city goes into full Christmas mode. During Magical Maastricht, the historic inner city lits up in spectacular fashion. You can see the chandeliers at Plein 1992 and Markt squares and follow the special light path across the river Meuse via Sint Servaasbrug bridge and the Hoge Brug. And be sure to stop to admire the light animation of the 200 mistletoes in the trees on Onze Lieve Vrouweplein square. The beautiful lighting ties all the squares and streets together and puts the convivial Christmas atmosphere at the centre of things. So go ahead, visit the Christmas market, go skating on the ice rink on Vrijthof square and see the sea of lights from the top of the Ferris wheel. 

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Würzburg, Germany

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Würzburg Christmas Market: is located in the heart of Würzburg's Old Town one of Germany’s most picturesque and enchanting Christmas Markets. It may be small but attracts thousands of visitors every year. The Christmas market tradition dates back to the early 19th century. The historic market square with its Gothic Chapel of St Mary and its abundance of Baroque architecture provide a scenic backdrop for over 100 wooden stalls. Go ahead and choose from handmade holiday decorations ranging from artful glass, straw, pewter and pottery to wooden toys.

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 Edinburgh, Scotland 

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And finally, our very own Edinburgh! If you missed any of the European destinations there's plenty going on in Scotland's capital to celebrate. Just go and tumble into a magical winter wonderland in the centre of our fairytale city. Edinburgh's market brings Christmas and Hogmanay together in a magical explosion of twinkling lights, enchanting sounds, mouth-watering flavours and lots of fun and laughter.

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In addition to the Princess Street Gardens fun, the west end of George Street is being transformed into a magical winter wonderland this year. The Ice Adventure is an immersive walk-through arctic installation, filled with spellbinding sculptures guaranteed to take your breath away.

You can take a tour of Scotland with life-like sculptures of Vikings, fairies and Kelpies, Highland cows, eagles and Dolly the Sheep, Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots and Greyfriars Bobby. Look carefully, and you may also catch a glimpse of the elusive Loch Ness Monster!

Once you've explored the ice sculpture extravaganza, warm up with a dram at the ice bar.

Please note: markets are open from 10am - 10pm. Markets open at 1pm on 18 November, close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed 25 December, open 12pm 26 December and 1 January.

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Must see in Warsaw

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Must see in Warsaw

Walk around the old Town Market Square and definitely go to see the Royal Castle

The Old Town market square dates back to the 13th century where it used to be the centre of Warsaw’s public life, hosting political speeches and executions. The buildings around it were wooden at the time, but what we can see nowadays dates back the 15th century, although it was almost completely destroyed during the two World Wars and rebuild afterwards. Today the market square offers a wide range of good restaurants and cocktail bars as well as street art and souvenirs. Once on the market square, you can also visit the Literature Museum and the Historical Museum of Warsaw. Warsaw’s Royal Castle, was reconstructed in the 1980s after World War II bombing. It used to serve as the residence of the royalty between the 16th and 18th centuries, and since the last century it has been functioning as a gallery.

One you are there you MUST try pierogi (Polish dumplings) and the Polish beer. Just be careful, the beer is strong :)

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Located on the former site of the Warsaw Ghetto in the Muranów district, the museum celebrates the history and heritage of the Jewish community in Poland. Designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki, the modern glass, copper and concrete building houses a 43,000 sq ft permanent exhibition space with multimedia displays including reconstructed parts of historical Jewish synagogues, an interactive 3D model of Kracow and its Jewish neighbourhood of Kazimierz and a Holocaust gallery. There is also a kosher restaurant and café on-site.

Warsaw Rising Museum

The museum commemorates the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (in which over 150,000 civilians were killed). A multi-level interactive exhibition features everything from photographs, recordings and videos revealing everyday life before, during and after the uprising, and a replica of the Liberator B-24J bomber used by the Allies for relief flights. There is also a recreation of basement sewer tunnels used by the resistance to move around the city. You can watch a 3D movie of Warsaw destroyed by the uprising, and visit an observation tower at the top of the building with panoramic views of the city. It's one of the most eye opening, horrifying and incredible experiences of your life.

Royal Łazienki Park

Warsaw encompasses over 20,000 hectares of parks and other green areas. Some of them are uniquely historical, offering an insight into Poland’s monarchical past and its rich Baroque architecture, whilst others are dedicated to creating an opportunity to relax by hiking, bike riding, roller-skating or even skiing. If you want to get to know Warsaw away from the busy urban life and skyscrapers, visit the parks!

The Royal Lazienki Park is the biggest and most beautiful park in the city, and one that bears the most significance and is so diverse. It was designed in the 17th century in the Baroque style and is home to a number of palaces (such as the Palace on the water), an amphitheater, and several orangeries. If you are visiting Warsaw in the summer, you may want to stop by to participate in the free-entrance Chopin music concert cycle entitled ‘Chopin’s concerts’. Also, each Saturday morning the park hosts free yoga and meditation classes.

Palace of Culture and Science

No building in Warsaw produces such divided opinions as the Palace of Culture and Science. Given as a ‘gift’ to the Polish capital by Stalin, the Palace was intended to be a building ‘for the people,’ but was despised by many Poles as the most ostentatious symbol of Russian ruling. As the tallest building in Warsaw, it dominated the city’s skyline for decades, and nowadays provides a striking visual comparison between historical and modern Poland – sitting in between increasing numbers of sleek, silver skyscrapers. Containing theaters, conference rooms and Warsaw’s highest viewing platform, the Palace provides visitors with a unique chance to experience Stalin’s visualizations of the city.

If you are visiting the Palace then you must go to the top to see the city panorama.

Vistula River Bank

In recent years the river bank has become the heart of Warsaw’s summer nightlife, attracting crowds of tourists and locals. During the day it’s a perfect spot for cycling, skateboarding and simply relaxing on the grass by the water. The adjacent district of Powiśle on the left side of the river is also worth exploring, as it offers many great restaurants, bars and shops.

Multimedia Fountain Park

The park has been a popular sight for visitors and locals since its opening several years ago. The display comes to life throughout the summer months, providing a cooling, open space to sit during the daytime. Summer evenings are when the display comes into its prime, the fountains are lit up in an enticing display of colors and lights for an audience that comes from across the city to watch. To check times please visit their webpage. Sadly there is no English version but you can figure it out (or use google translate :) The best ones are on Friday and Saturday at 9.30pm. If you click on 'Lokalizacja' you will see where it's being held. 

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