Posts Tagged 'Berlin'

Deck the Halls with International Christmas Markets!

Now that Halloween is over it’s time to look forward to the next celebration.  Although Thanksgiving is a couple weeks away, most people already have Christmas on their minds. In Europe, instead of a turkey feast at the end of November, cities transform into Christmas Markets. This festive tradition originated in Austria and Germany and now takes place all over the world. What better way to enjoy the holiday spirit than seeing a city decorated with Christmas lights, warm cider, and other fun treats! Here are a few of the best.

Austria

Vienna has dazzled visitors with its holiday markets since 1294. From Schönbrunn Palace to City Hall, the city hosts more than 25 markets. Lose yourself to the aromas of candied fruits, cotton candy and other delicacies like Christmas punch and roasted chestnuts.  Also special to Vienna, pony rides, express Christmas trains, and fairytale displays.  The best part is that this wonderland is free to explore – unless of course you indulge in some holiday treats.  Vienna’s not the only Christmas market around, you can also check out Innsbruck, Graz, and Salzburg.

Brussels Winter Wonderland

Brussels Winter Wonderland

Belgium

How do warm cider, Belgian waffles, and ice-skating sound? Not too bad, huh? Belgium’s capital city has got you covered. Each winter Brussel’s Place Sainte Catherine transforms into a winter wonderland. Vendors set up dozens of stalls offering holiday toys, clothing, trains, and of course Belgian waffles and fries. The ice-skating rink brings out the child in everyone! From November 27th until early January, Brussels will display a dazzling array of festive lights and one of the biggest Christmas trees you’ll ever see. Live music keeps you entertained for hours as you wait for Pere Noel to stop by. A small word of caution- bundle up or you’ll freeze! Traveling around Belgium? You’ll find other great Christmas Markets in Antwerp, Brugge, and Ghent.

France

A Christmas in France is like no other. Christmas markets, known as marché de noel, highlight most French cities during late November and December. In addition to festive lights and holiday treats, you’ll find great deals on delicious wine, liquor, and the traditional Stollen holiday bread. Easily take the Eurostar to Paris or Lille for a day trip or a weekend getaway. Other popular Christmas markets around France include Lyon, Strasbourg, Tours, and Mulhouse.

Bavarian Christmas Markets are Priceless

Bavarian Christmas Markets are Priceless

Germany

Forget about the cold and explore the Rhine and Moselle valleys, which provide an idyllic setting for a romantic Christmas Market break. At these trendy Christmas Markets, the aromas of cinnamon, gingerbread will grab your senses, while locally produced wine and beer will capture your taste buds. You’re in for a treat no matter where you go. Berlin alone boasts more than 50 grand markets. The Christmas markets in Trier, Koblenz and Mainz are notably famous and quite large. If you’re looking for a small town atmosphere check out Bernkastel-Kues, Cochem, Rüdesheim, Worms, Speyer and Ahrweiler.

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International Hostels Serve Up Halloween Fun

Halloween brings out the freaks and geeks in all of us. This doesn’t change when we travel or study abroad. Staying in a hostel? Great! Hostels love celebrations, especially Halloween. Balmers Hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland decks its lobby with ghoulish treats and competitions, while hostels in France cover themselves in spider webs and flying witches. Don’t forget the drink specials. You can travel to the ends of the earth and still enjoy your favorite holiday treats.

Aboriginal Hostel– Budapest, Hungary

Terror Leaves its Mark on Budapest

Terror Leaves its Mark on Budapest

A great find in downtown Budapest, Aboriginal Hostel offers free WIFI, laundry, breakfast, and entertainment. Go cave diving or get recommendations for other incredible adventures. Just for Halloween, try some homemade Turkish “Witches Brew,” tasty cookies, and plenty of drinks to keep the energy flowing. Spend a night out with your roommates on the city’s popular Andrassy Avenue. Don’t miss the House of Terror.  Located in the former headquarters of the Nazi and Communist secret police, the museum showcases the grim history of the two governments with photos and relics from former labor camp prisoners. Creepy.

Generator Hostel– London, England or Berlin, Germany

London’s largest hostel, Generator, celebrates Halloween like no other. Enjoy cheap beds, cheap drinks and plenty of fun. Spend fright night at the hostel bar. Dress in your favorite costume and receive free drinks at the bar-turned-haunted mansion. Listen to popular DJs and dance until the wee hours. It’s not for the faint of heart.

If you’re headed to Eastern Europe, hit up the Generator Hostel in Berlin. Share a stein or two as you celebrate Halloween. Don’t miss the Superhero party on October 30th or the ghoulish midnight happy hour on Halloween night. The bar will rock both nights with famous karaoke and live DJs.

The Globetrotter Inn– Edinburgh, Scotland

A Little Halloween Fun

Get Caught up in the Web of Excitement

From its haunted houses to countless dark alleys, Edinburgh has plenty of chilling experiences for Halloween. The Globetrotter Inn turns the spooky factor up a notch with a big Halloween bash at its 24-hour on-site bar.  For an extra scare, visit the Edinburgh Dungeon to unravel the city’s history of witch-hunters, grave robbers, prolific murderers and executioners.

Loki Hostel– Mancora, Peru

Hit the beach this Halloween! Loki del Mar in Màncora is the newest addition to the Loki Hostel chain. Having found success in Lima, Cusco and La Paz, this new beach setting invites visitors to surf, body board, or kayak. You might want to save your costume for the after-party!

Nathan’s Villa Hostel– Krakow, Poland

No curfew. No lockout. No checkout time. Big Halloween Party. Take advantage of the eerie sights around Nathan’s Villa Hostel. Check out the historical Dragon’s Den, Auschwitz Concentration Camp, or Remuh Cemetery in Kazimierz. Cap off the night by competing for “Best Halloween Costume” and enjoying free punch at the hostel bar. The party will bounce well into the night…and early morning.


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