It's that time of year... and for most of us; the arrival of snow, the temperatures dropping and preparing for all the celebrations December brings! Christmas markets are a quintessential December activity and destination! Being in the travel industry it's also something I plan my clients' trips around. People flock to the winter river cruises in Europe for all the various Christmas market visits! Various European cities are abuzz with visitors wanting to experience this holiday magic!
A few years ago I traveled to my first Christmas market in Maastricht, Netherlands. Having an early December birthday, my Dutch husband coordinated a visit there to celebrate my new year! A few things I suggest you experience at your first European Christmas market...
Taste the Local Food - In the Netherlands it's Oliebollen. A fried ball of ooey goodness, served with powdered sugar! On a cold December day it's the perfect treat and a staple at the Dutch Christmas markets.
Experience the Views - At the Maastricht Christmas market, the views from the ferris wheel in the evening were magical! Seeing the lights and the picturesque buildings from above was a gorgeous view of this European city!
Get Active - In the Netherlands, except for cycling - there is probably not a more typical Dutch activity than ice skating (you've seen the sea of orange on the speed skating podiums in the Olympics!). Bundle and lace up your skates!
Warm Up - Go inside the warming tent to mingle with the locals, sip a hot drink and soak up the festive atmosphere!
Meet the Locals - During dinner I met Sinterklaas... the Dutch version of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. The Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5, which also happens to be my birthday!
Even if you aren't traveling to a European Christmas market this year, I encourage you to visit one in your local city for a hearty dose of holiday spirit! It's one of my favorite travel experiences and can't wait to do it again!
Until the next adventure - bon voyage!