Christmas markets

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5 Handpicked Christmas Market Breaks With 4-Star Hotels From €194pp

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Choose one of my handpicked Christmas market breaks to Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin or Krakow, from only €194!

 

Some cities are best seen in winter and Christmas market breaks provide the best excuse to visit. Market stalls have the perfect stocking fillers, aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine waft through the crisp cold air, and if you are lucky you might even catch a Christmas concert. Many markets open late November and stay open until the New Year so you can choose a pre or post Christmas break.

christmas market breaks

I have searched the web to bring you some of my favourite Christmas market breaks, so hopefully there will be a break here to suit you. All 4-star hotels are highly rated on Tripadvisor and all breaks are for three nights. If you want to travel at a different time, or for longer or shorter duration, just click on the links below and edit the search to suit your requirements.
 

 

 

Prague, 10th December, 3 Nights, €208pp

christmas market breaks

Prague’s Christmas markets are the perfect picture postcard. The old town square, Charles bridge and Prague’s famous castle are all magically illuminated – it is a stunning sight to behold. The old town square and Wenceslas Square are transformed with market stalls selling local hand crafts, traditional hearty food and plenty of mulled wine.
 

 

 
Enjoy school choirs performing in traditional costumes, or better still go to a classical concert. Housed in ancient churches and grand concert halls around the city, it will add a touch of style to your Christmas market break. Prague’s markets are open from 30th November to 6th January.
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin on Thursday the 10th of December and enjoy a three-night stay at the 4-star Art Hotel for only €208 – with breakfast included! This hotel offers free amendments before the 5th of December and a €10 deposit secures a booking. The Art Hotel is highly rated on Tripadvisor and was awarded a Certificate of Excellence.

View flights here €130pp

View hotel here €78pp
 

 

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Budapest, 5th December, 3 Nights, €294pp

Budapest Christmas market

Budapest has several Christmas markets, but Vörösmarty Square is the most popular. Gerbeaud House is transformed into an enormous Advent Calendar and a new window opens daily at 5pm. Street artists perform, Santa makes an appearance and there are plenty of places to relax and take it all in.
 

 

 
St Stephen’s Basilica, is lit up at night time and resembles a Disney like castle – it is spectacular. Take time to visit the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue, which are all UNESCO world heritage sites. Most markets open from 22nd November until 1st January. 
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Budapest on the 5th December and enjoy a three-night stay in the 4-star La Prima Fashion Hotel, with breakfast included for just €294pp. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor, this is a great choice to explore all that Budapest has to offer.

View flights here €142pp

View hotel here €152pp
 

 

 

Berlin, 6th December, 3 Nights, €199

Christmas market breaks in Berlin

Berlin has a staggering 50 Christmas markets! Winter World at Potsdamer Platz offers ice skating and tobogganing and is perfect for families, while Alexanderplatz and Charlottenburg have traditional wooden stalls and beer houses. Most open late November but some close before New Year. For a full list of Christmas market dates click here. Don’t miss the Spandau market where rock concerts are usually held every Friday and there are over 500 stalls.
 

 

 
Try to make time to see some of Berlin’s top sights too, the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate – the list is endless. 

Read my city guide to Berlin here.
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Berlin on the 6th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in the highly rated Heckers Hotel for only €199 per person. This hotel receives excellent reviews on Tripadvisor and is superbly located to explore this vibrant city. This hotel rate also allows for free cancellation. 

View flights here €96pp

View hotel here €103pp
 

 

 

Krakow, 8th December, 3 Nights, €194!

christmas market breaks in Krakow

The old town of Krakow has Europe’s largest market square, and is packed with market stalls selling local hand crafts and tasty food. The city comes alive at night time with live bands playing in trendy basement clubs.
 

 

 
Krakow is a great choice for a city break at any time of year. The historical centre is very easy to navigate and I loved its relaxed vibe. Take time to visit the stunning Wawel castle, walk through the Jewish quarter to see Oscar Schindler’s factory, and if you can bear it, visit nearby Auschwitz . Krakow’s Christmas Market is open from the 27th November until 26th December.
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin to Krakow on the 8th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in the highly rated Ostoya Palace Hotel. Centrally located with great reviews on Tripadvisor, this is superb value to enjoy a Christmas market break in Krakow.  

View flights here €113pp

View hotel here €81pp
 

 

 

Vienna, 11th December, 3 Nights, €279pp

christmas market breaks

Christmas markets in Vienna have been a tradition since 1298. Would you believe there are over 20 different markets here? International choir singers perform free of charge and the Christmas atmosphere is truly magical. The Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall is the most popular and even offers a specific children’s area, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies and decorations.  
 

 

 
Vienna’s markets start a little earlier than most but most close on the 26th of December– see more here.  
 

 

 
Fly from Dublin on the 11th of December and enjoy a three-night stay in one of Vienna’s most popular hotels, the Zeitgeist Vienna Hauptbahnhof Zeitgeist Hotel. Rated as excellent on Tripadvisor this hotel will ensure a memorable stay in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

View flights here €104pp

View hotel here €175
 

 

 

Looking for more inspiration for Christmas market breaks? 

 

Read: Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Market Breaks 

 

This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.
 

 

 
Sarah

 

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City BreaksEurope

Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Markets

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Pottering around wooden market stalls, listening to carol singing and sipping mulled wine in crisp December air – visiting Christmas markets is a great way to kick off the festive season. But which one should you choose?

 
My top tip if you are visiting any of Europe’s Christmas markets is – watch your dates! Although some markets are open earlier, the majority do not not open until the last weekend of November. There is not much point booking Prague for the 22nd of November if the market doesn’t open until the 30th… All of these favourites are chosen with accessibility in mind, so there are direct flights from Ireland to all of the cities below. Check out my list of Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets and get planning…

Krakow | Berlin | Cologne | Budapest | Prague

Copenhagen | Vienna | Rome | Barcelona | Brussels

 

 

 

Krakow 

Krakow has one of Europes top Christmas markets

Home to Europe’s largest market square, Krakow is an an excellent choice for a Christmas market break. The massive square in the centre of the old town comes alive with hundreds of market stalls. Visit Wawel castle, the fascinating Jewish quarter, and if you are feeling up to it you can take a day trip to nearby Auschwitz. The Christmas Market is open from 27th of November to the 26th of December.

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Berlin

Berlin Christmas Markets

Believe it or not, Berlin has over 50 different Christmas markets to choose from. The Winter World at Potsdamer Platz has super activities including ice skating and tobogganing, and is great fun destination. The traditional Christmas Markets at Alexanderplatz and Charlottenburg house wooden stalls and beer houses. All three are open from the 23rd November to the 29th December. And last but not least, the market in Spandau has over 500 stalls at weekends, with rock concerts every Friday – this closes on the 22nd of December. See more here.
 

 

 
Suffice to say Berlin has a market to cover all tastes! Of course with so many other sights to see and some great nightlife, Berlin is a great city to visit at anytime.

Read my city guide to Berlin here.

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Cologne

Cologne Christmas Markets

Cologne has been one of the most popular destinations for Christmas markets for many years now. Many choose to visit the large market near the Cathedral which offers live music and an ice skating rink.
 

 

 
However, there are several other Christmas markets in Cologne including a specific LGBT Christmas Avenue market, which has a great party atmosphere and lots of stage events. All are open from 23rd November to 23rd December.

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Budapest

Budapest Christmas markets

Like many other cities Budapest offers several Christmas markets – the most popular is in Vörösmarty Square. Gerbeaud House is transformed into a giant Advent Calendar and each day a new window opens at 5pm. There are many street performances and Santa Claus programs, and lots of places to chill out and watch them.
 

 

 
At night time visit the market at St Stephen’s Basilica, the whole area is lit up like something from a Disney movie. Most Christmas markets do not open until 22nd November, but they many remain open until 1st January – this makes Budapest ideal for a post Christmas market break too.  See more here.

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Prague

Prague Christmas markets

Prague is the picture postcard of Christmas markets. With the old town square, Charles bridge and its famous castle all magically lit up, it is a stunning sight to see. Both the old town square and Wenceslas Square are transformed with market stalls offering local decorations, traditional hearty food and of course plenty of mulled wine.
 

 

 
You can enjoy the school choirs performing in traditional costumes or better still go to a classical concert. Housed in ancient churches and grand concert halls around the city, it will round off your weekend break in style. Markets are open from 30th November to 6th January, see more here.

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Copenhagen

Copenhagen Christmas markets

 

Copenhagen’s most popular market is at Tivoli Gardens, and it attracts over 1 million people each year. This winter wonderland comes with reindeer rides, rollercoasters and of course the traditional market stalls. The Nyhavn Christmas market is open from 8th November to 23rd December, while Tivoli Gardens opens from the 16th November to 5th January.
 

 

 
Copenhagen is also popular for a post Christmas break, where you can enjoy some fantastic entertainment and firework displays. See more here.  

Read: My guide to Copenhagen here

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Vienna

europes best christmas markets

Christmas markets in Vienna have been a tradition since 1298. Would you believe there are over 20 different markets here? There are international choir singers performing free of charge and the Christmas atmosphere is truly magical.
 

 

 
The Viennese Christmas Market  in front of the City Hall is the most popular and even offers a specific children’s area, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies and decorations. Vienna’s Christmas markets start at various times, but most run from 15th November until 26th December – see more here.  

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Rome

Rome Christmas Markets

Rome may not offer markets on the same scale as some of it’s European counterparts, but that does not make it any less attractive. The Piazza Navona houses the annual Christmas market with traditional stalls and souvenirs. It is open from 8th December to 6th January, making it a good choice for a post Christmas break too. Santa makes regular appearances and there is a carousel to complete the festival atmosphere.
 

 

 
However, it is the magical crib displays and nativity scenes in numerous churches, that make Rome very special at Christmas time. What better time to visit the Vatican and the beauty of Rome.  

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Barcelona

Barcelona Christmas markets

Another market that dates back many years is Barcelona’s Fira de Santa Llucia market. Dating from 1786 this once traditional market now has over 300 stalls selling everything from Christmas trees to Spanish tapas.
 

 

 
From the 26th November to 23rd December you can buy handcrafted Christmas decorations and enjoy plenty of festive cheer. There are elaborate crib displays and plenty of live entertainment for the whole family. Barcelona is also a great city for high street shopping too, you could easily do all your Christmas shopping in one weekend.

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Brussels

Brussels Christmas Markets

Brussels is becoming increasingly popular with visitors at Christmas time. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland with over 240 market stalls. It also offers tobogganing, ice skating and a massive Ferris wheel, covered in lights. The Christmas market is open from 27th November to 3rd January, so Brussels is also a great option for post Christmas break.

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Please note that all dates are correct at time of issue, but may change.  Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is makde, but at no additional charge to you.

 

Like this post? You might like my best alternative Christmas market breaks.

 

 

Sarah

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The Best Cities for Christmas Shopping Breaks

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Christmas shopping is always a good excuse for a getaway. You can even justify the cost of the trip, by the savings you make! From London to New York, Berlin to Barcelona, check out five of the best cities for Christmas shopping breaks and get planning!

 

London

London is one of the best cities for Christmas shopping and with great flight options from all Irish airports, you can fly over on Saturday morning, come home Sunday night and still have two full days shopping! With sterling low against the euro there has never been a better time to hit Oxford Street!
 

 

 
Oxford Street is over 2km in length, and has all the top high street stores, including Primark’s flagship store. It is also home to John Lewis (famous for its amazing Christmas adds) and Selfridges, both of which are worth going for their window displays alone. I also think it is nice to shop in places that we don’t have here in Ireland, at least there will be some unique gifts under the tree!
 

 

 
Covent Garden is a must for quirky souvenirs and trendy boutiques and Bond Street is the best for designer shopping. If the weather is against you, don’t worry, you can always pop into Westfield Shopping Centre. One of Europe’s largest shopping malls, this has 250 shops and 70 places to dine! Of course no visit to London would be complete without a trip to Harrods in Knightsbridge. 

Top 5 cities for Christmas shopping 
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Rome

Unlike some of Europe’s big shopping cities, Rome isn’t full of department stores. One of the great things I love are the boutiques. The Via del Corso has most of the familiar high street stores, but don’t neglect the side streets! You will find lots of Italian shoe shops, jewellery and clothing, at very reasonable prices and with different stock to what you will find at home.
 

 

 
Make sure you visit the Via Condotti too, you will see all the top designers here including Prada, Fendi, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. If you are not in a position to purchase, don’t worry, it is worth going to window shop. Many shops still close at lunchtime from 1pm-3pm, so it’s the perfect city to enjoy some nice Italian food over a leisurely lunch. Save the sight seeing for night time when Rome’s remarkable buildings are illuminated for the Christmas season.
 
Rome Christmas Market
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New York

Without a doubt, New York is one of the world’s best cities for Christmas shopping. Watching the tree at Rockefeller centre illuminated with the ice skating rink in front, it is magical. I love wandering through Central Park in winter time and ogling at the window displays in Macys and Bloomingdales.
 

 

 
Plan to spend at least a half day in Macys, check out the bargains in Chinatown and visit the designer shops on Fifth Avenue. Early risers will enjoy Century 21 (opens from 7.30am) and the 24 hour Apple store. If you have time, take the trip to the outlets at Woodbury Common or Jersey Gardens.<

Top 5 cities for Christmas shopping

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Read: My Top 25 Things to do in New York
 

 

 

Barcelona

Contrary to what you might think, Barcelona is a great choice for Christmas shopping, it is home to over 35,000 shops! The pedestrianised Las Ramblas is one of the world’s most iconic streets. Witnessing the street artists perform and stopping for some tapas along the way, is all part of the Barcelona shopping experience.
 

 

 
Spanish brands like Zara, Desigual and Custo have flagship stores around Passeig de Gracia and Diagonal Mar, and prices are about 20% lower than in Ireland. If you are looking for some trendy boutiques, head for the Gothic quarter, and you will find some cool tapas bars here to stop for lunch too.
 
cities for christmas shopping
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Berlin

A Christmas market break seems like the perfect way to see some of Europe’s top cities, while enjoying the festivities. There are so many cities to choose from, Budapest, Prague, Krakow or Vienna are amongst the favourites. However, Berlin has 50 different markets – staggering isn’t it? Enjoy some mulled wine and carol singers, as you shop the market stalls for hand made trinkets.
 

 

 
Of course Berlin now rivals Paris and Rome in the  shopping stakes, so make sure you check out Kurfurstendamm, Berlin’s longest boulevard, which is lined with high street stores and designer shops. With one of Europe’s largest selection of Christmas markets as well as top high street and designer shops, Berlin is one of Europe’s best cities for Christmas shopping. For more tips and tricks on visiting Berlin, check out my city guide to Berlin here.
 
Top 5 cities for Christmas shopping
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Like Christmas market breaks? See Europe’s top 10 Christmas markets here.

Like City breaks? See my best city break destinations here

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert

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Christmas Market Break in Berlin, Flights & 4* Hotel, 7th December, €195!

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

A Christmas market break in Berlin is a great way to kick start the festive season.  

 

There are over 50 Christmas markets in Berlin so I think it is fair to say if Berlin doesn’t get you into the spirit of Christmas, nothing will! Enjoy shopping for local hand crafts while sipping some mulled wine at the traditional Charlottenburg Castle market. Listen to some gospel singers at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church market while gazing at the 20 meter high Christmas tree. Take in a Christmas Rock concert at the Spandau Old Town market where over 400 stands combine to bring you one of Berlin’s largest markets.

Berlin, Christmas Markets by The Travel Expert
 

 

 
If you are looking for something a little different from your Christmas market break in Berlin, check out the Winter wonderland in Potsdamer Platz. The market in the Sony Centre’s 4000 square meter event area is sure to please. If you are feeling adventurous you can try Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run or ice skate on the 500 meter open air rink!

Christmas market break in Berlin
 

 

 
Of course the beauty of Berlin is that it’s one of Europe’s top culture capitals. You can choose from over 175 museums, marvel at the murals on the Berlin Wall, pass through Checkpoint Charlie and watch the sun go down over the Brandenburg gate. Berlin is a city that just has to be explored, for more tips and advice on discovering this fantastic city, check out my blog on Berlin here.


 

 

 
Fly from Dublin on Saturday the 7th of December and enjoy a Christmas market break in Berlin for only €185! Spend two nights in the highly rated 4* Select Hotel Berlin Checkpoint Charlie which is superbly located to enjoy all that Berlin has to offer. You are within walking distance of the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. Click on the links below to select flights and hotels separately. I have priced this based on a two night weekend stay departing the 7th of December but you can change dates or duration to suit your requirements.
 

 

 
View flights here €98pp

View hotel here  €97pp

 

Prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change. Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

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The Best Alternative Christmas Markets – Take a Trip to a Winter Wonderland!

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Christmas Markets offer a truly unique experience full of colourful stalls, intoxicating aromas and an unforgettable ambiance. I have compiled a list of some of the best alternative Christmas markets in 2019 to help you get your festive juices flowing.

 

You may have already seen my post on Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Markets, well with this article I wanted to cast the net a bit wider. There are many other fantastic destinations across Europe that deserve our love and attention. So why not give yourself yourself a festive treat this year and take a peek at my best alternative Christmas markets for 2019.

Zurich | Hamburg | Riga | Salzburg | Strasbourg

alternative christmas markets

 

 

Zurich

This Swiss city is the perfect Christmas market destination for both adults and children alike. Zurich transforms into a winter wonderland in the run up to Christmas. There are multiple Christmas markets to choose from, with the most famous being at the Zurich Opera House, Zurich Old Town and Zurich Main Station also. A particular highlight for me is at the Zurich Main Station where every year a Christmas tree glistens with 7,000 Swarkovski diamonds. The dates for these markets vary, with the earliest starting on the 23rd of November. Most will run right up to the 23rd or 24th of December.

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Hamburg

Hamburg is one of my favourite cities, regardless of the time of year. There is however, something a little bit extra special about the Hamburg Christmas Markets. Taking a stroll along the river Elbe at this time of year is nothing short of enchanting. The Germans know how to do a Christmas market the right way. A mug of Glühwein is nearly a rite of passage for anyone looking to have an authentic Christmas market experience. The City Hall Christmas market takes place from the 26th of November until the 23rd of December. Again though, there are other festive options all across the city.

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Best Alternative Christmas Markets - christmas market break in Vienna
 

 

Riga

Riga’s reputation as a top city break destination grows rapidly with each passing year. The European Capital of Culture from 2014 has now become one of Europe’s most fashionable cities. Riga’s Christmas Markets don’t break the mould and there is even evidence that shows the first ever Christmas tree was erected here in 1510. The scent of Gingerbread and cinnamon dominates the air and the quaint buildings will fill you up with festive joy.  Sample the splendour of one of the best Christmas markets of the last few years from the 1st of December until the 6th of January.

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Salzburg

The enchanting chiming of bells will leave you smiling from ear to ear. Salzburg’s beauty comes to life during the winter season. The hilly landscapes will give you a chance to enjoy a romantic panoramic. In the city itself, the Salzburg Christmas market has something for all the family. The market stalls selling ornaments, traditional festive food and toys are a joy to walk around. The likelihood of seeing some snow is also quite high, which only adds to the magic of the experience. This year the market runs from the 22nd of November to the 26th of December.

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View over beautiful Salzburg in Wintertime
 

 

Strasbourg

What French Christmas is complete without sampling some raclette and fondue. Dishes which are synonymous with French culture will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. They also set you up perfectly for an evening of ambling in and out of Christmas market stalls. There’s nothing more relaxing than an evening enjoying music and wine with a loved one in the stunning city of Strasbourg. The Strasbourg Christmas market runs from the 23rd of November until the 30th of December, giving you plenty of chance to visit “The Capital of Christmas” in 2019

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There is no shortage of wonderful, winter experiences to be had across Europe. Whether it’s a romantic break with your partner or a family getaway to remember, I hope this list of what I think are the best alternative Christmas markets for 2019 will help inspire you to sample the magic for yourself.

 

By Martin McKenna – The Travel Expert Team

 

 

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Christmas Market Break in Vienna, Flights & 4 Star Hotel, 3 Nights, €358!

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Oh Vienna………. Is there a better city to enjoy a Christmas market break? I doubt it!  With the introduction of direct flights via the Ryanair website, a Christmas market break in Vienna is more affordable than ever!

 

Christmas markets in Vienna have been a tradition since 1298. Would you believe there are over 20 different markets in Vienna! Vienna’s pretty squares are transformed into Christmas markets and international choir singers perform free of charge.  Aromas of mulled wine and hot cinnamon pastries fill the air, which adds to the magical Christmas atmosphere. The Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall , “Vienna Magic of Advent” is the most popular, where the square resembles a fairytale land. and even offers a specific children’s area, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies and decorations and enjoy a carousel ride. Market sellers have an array of local products, Christmas decorations and tasty dishes. Another market you can’t miss is  is the Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace which is converted into a New Year’s market after Christmas. Vienna’s markets start a little earlier than most and run from the 17th of November so if you want to travel a little earlier, just edit the search in the links below.

christmas market break in Vienna

You will be staying at the 4* Hotel Schani Wien which is highly rated on tripadvisor and was awarded a certificate of excellence. Opened in 2015, this modern hotel is only 100 meters from the main train station and there is a tram stop right outside the door to bring you to City Hall and all the Christmas markets.  There is free WiFi available throughout the hotel and there is a bar on-site where you can relax after a day at the markets. If you fancy heading into the city centre, it is only minutes away by tram.

Christmas market break in Vienna

Fly from Dublin to Vienna on Friday the 7th of December and enjoy a three night stay at the 4* Hotel Schani Wien hotel for only €358! This is great value to see one of Europe’s most beautiful cities at Christmas time.

 

Click here to book flights: €129 per person

Click here to book hotel: €229 per person

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. Please note some of my best travel deals include affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made.

 

Sarah

 

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3 Christmas Market Breaks, Budapest, Berlin or Krakow, 3 Nights, €199 or Less!

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Some cities are best seen in winter. Christmas decorations are everywhere, market stalls sell the perfect stocking fillers and aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine waft through the crisp cold air. Of course winter time offers the best value too! Take your pick from my Christmas market breaks – all €189 or less!

 

Budapest

Budapest has several Christmas markets with Vörösmarty Square, being the most popular. Gerbeaud House is transformed into an enormous Advent Calendar and a new window opens daily at 5pm. Street artists perform, Santa makes an appearance and there are plenty of places to relax and take it all in. St Stephen’s Basilica, is lit up at night time and resembles a Disney like castle – it’s quite spectacular!  Most markets are open from the 27th of November to the 2nd of January but Vörösmarty Square opens from the 11th of November. Take time to visit the Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue which are all UNESCO world heritage sites!

Christmas market breaks

Fly from Dublin to Budapest on the 11th of December and enjoy a three night stay in the centrally located Agape apartments for only €198 per person.

Click here for more details.

 

Berlin

Berlin has a staggering 50 Christmas markets to choose from with some starting in early November so it’s a great choice for anyone who can’t travel in December. Winter World at Potsdamer Platz offers ice skating and tobogganing and is perfect for families.  Alexanderplatz and Charlottenburg have traditional wooden stalls and beer houses and open late November. Don’t miss the Spandau market where rock concerts every Friday and there are over 500 stalls! Try to make time to see some of Berlin’s top sights too, the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate – the list is endless. For more info on Berlin, read my blog here.

Christmas market breaks

Fly from Dublin to Berlin on the 14th of December and enjoy a three night stay in the Ivbergs Hotel Charlottenburg for only €189 per person.

Click here for more details.

 

Krakow

The old town of Krakow has Europe’s largest market square, and is the picture postcard of Christmas markets. This enormous square is full with market stalls selling local hand crafts and hearty food, and is full of Christmas cheer. The city comes alive at night time with live bands playing in trendy basement clubs. Take time to visit the stunning Wawel castle, walk through the Jewish quarter to see Oscar Schindler’s factory and if you can bear it, visit nearby Auschwitz . Krakow’s Christmas Market is open from the 27th of November to the 23rd of December.

Christmas Markets Weekend in Krakow by The Travel Expert

Fly from Dublin to Krakow on the 6th of December and enjoy a three night stay in the centrally located Leone apartments for only €199 per person.

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So the only problem now is, which one of my Christmas market breaks will you choose?  Please note that if the above dates don’t suit, check DEALFINDER to find the best possible prices for the dates you want to go.
  
Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. This post was sponsored by ClickandGo.com but all views, as always, are my own 🙂
Sarah

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In The Media

Staycations and Short Breaks on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show

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As the summer draws to a close why not grab a last minute getaway. I have city breaks in Madrid, Lisbon and Rome, and Irish breaks in Kilkee, Belfast, Enniscorthy, Enniskerry and Westport. Here are my recommendations for staycations and short breaks as discussed on RTE’s Marian Finucane Show this morning.

The Travel Expert, Sarah Slattery on RTE's Marian Finucane ShowFollow me on facebook

August break to Madrid

Late August is always a good time to get a deal and this year is no exception. Kids are ready to go back to school and those looking for a September break tend to overlook late August, when in fact, prices are much lower. ClickandGo.com have matched the low airfares with some good city breaks. I like this deal to Madrid, it combines sightseeing, sun and shopping all in one! You can take a tour of the Royal Palace and shop till you drop on the Gran Via – one of Europe’s finest shopping streets. Madrid is also home to Europe’s largest Penneys so there is shopping here for everyone! There is over 3,000 restaurants, so its safe to say it’s a foodie destination and there is enough bars and clubs to satisfy any night-owls. Fly with Aer Lingus and enjoy a three night stay in the four star Via Castellana hotel for only €240 on the 28th of August. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Lisbon break with river cruise in September

Although the Algarve is one of our most popular holiday choices, the capital, Lisbon is often overlooked. You can choose to go for a holiday (which I did) and stay in one of the beach resorts, or take a city break and stay in Lisbon itself. Temperatures rarely get higher than 25 degrees in Summer and lower than 14 degrees in Winter so it is a great choice for city break. The old style trams are the best way to get around the city and there are numerous sights to see, including The Belem Tower (defence tower), the Castelo de Sáo Jorge  and the Cristo Rei, which is a large statue of Christ that you can climb and see great views of the city. There are some great restaurants, cafes and music clubs, all very reasonably priced. I went with my kids and there was lots for them to do too. The Aquarium is Europe’s largest and well worth a visit. If you have time take the train to the ancient city of Sintra and some of the nice beach resorts along the coast. Theholidayshop.ie are offering a three night break in a central four star hotel from €339 on the 25th of September. They are also including a free river cruise too. Click here for more details.
short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Cheese & Wine Tasting Weekend in Rome in November

Rome is a great city break destination at any time of year, but personally I think it’s better to go in the winter time, as it’s less crowded. There is so much to see in Rome it doesn’t matter how many times you go, you will always find something new to discover. I found a great deal on travalue.ie where they offer a FREE cheese and wine tasting evening, when you book a two night stay. The price for flights and a two night stay in the popular three star Galileo hotel in November is only €199 per person. They also have offers in September and October from €326 per person. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Christmas Market Breaks in December

Christmas markets are very much back in vogue. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have added extra capacity to many cities throughout the winter with lots of low priced airfares available. I like Berlin as it has over 50 markets to choose from and something to appeal to everyone. Sip some mulled wine while enjoying Christmas carols at the traditional markets of Charlottenburg Castle or enjoy one of the Christmas Rock concerts at the Spandau Old Town market. Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run and ice rink are at the lively Potsdamer Platz market, so there is plenty of choice for everyone. For more info on Europe’s top Christmas markets read my blog here. The price for flights with Aer Lingus and a three night stay in the 4* Park Inn by Radisson Alexanderplatz is only €249 on the 7th of December. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane


City Breaks

For those who wish to stay closer to home, there are plenty of options here in Ireland.

 

August family break: Feather Down, Loop Head, Co Clare.

Recently I had the pleasure of glamping in Ireland’s first Feather Down tents. They have sites all over Europe and have only come to Ireland this year. They are in the grounds of a popular glamping site, Purecamping in Loophead. It is the perfect escape from a big city, you really switch off and it’s a great family experience. The ‘tents’ if you can call them that have 3 bedrooms, a private toilet, shower, stove and also a BBQ if you are lucky to get the weather. They still have availability in August, the price for a three night stay is €599 on the 12th or 19th of August. If you want a cheaper option the Purecamping furnished bell tents are pretty cool too and are priced at €75 per night. You can also choose an unfurnished tent from €35. No matter which option you choose you can avail of the excellent facilities on site, including yoga classes, sauna and a wood fired pizza oven. For more details, read my blog here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Spa breaks

The difference between Monart and other luxury hotels is that Monart is Ireland’s only destination Spa property. It offers a unique adults-only environment and is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. Monart was recently awarded ‘runner up best spa retreat worldwide’, by Conde Nast Traveller. It was also named as Ireland’s best destination spa for four years in a row. If you are looking for a spa break, there is no doubt – Monart is the best!  They have a three night midweek break from €329 per person, on the 29th of August, other dates are also available at a slightly higher price. This special offer includes breakfast each day plus dinner in their renowned restaurant on one evening. You will have unrestricted access to the thermal suite and they are also including a 30 minute spa treatment. Monart is situated on 100 acres – you will feel utterly relaxed here. For more details click here.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

If three nights seems too long, the Rainforest Spa in Enniskerry ( Wicklow) have an excellent offer for a one night stay at the Summerhill House Hotel You will receive a glass of bubbly and petit fours on arrival, an hours use of the spa facilities, a treatment of your choice ( see website for exact choices), breakfast and evening meal – and all for €129 mid week or €149 at the weekend, available in August. Click here for more details.

Operation Transformation at Hotel Westport

If you have over indulged during the summer months and want to get in shape for Christmas, then the Hotel Westport’s Operation Transformation package might be just what you need! You can choose a three day break from €199 or a five day break from €309 from the 9th of October. This four star family run hotel have been running this program, twice a year for four years and they have proved very popular. You will receive breakfast and dinner each day ( where light options are available) and you can join in the many aerobics and wellness classes that are provided free of charge. There is entertainment nightly and no single supplement – so it’s a great way to meet new people. There is no pressure to participate in all the activities, it is very much a laid back approach, in fact if you do not wish to be assessed, that’s fine too. If you fancy a night out in Westport, he hotel is located only five minutes from the centre. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

Belfast overnight with Game of Thrones Tour

For any Game of Thrones fans, this is a must! The 4* boutique hotel, Tara Lodge is offering an over night stay with breakfast, and an action packed day visiting filming locations across Northern Ireland. Start your journey along the Causeway Coastal route visiting famous sites from the show. Stop for lunch before visiting the Giants Causeway. The price is only £72 per person and it is still available in August. Weekends are busy but check out their website for more details. The Tara Lodge is rated number 1 of 45 Belfast hotels on tripadvisor and receives excellent reviews. It is a family run guesthouse / hotel and offers friendly service and excellent value. Click here for more details.

short breaks at home and abroad as discussed with marian finucane

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue but are subject to change. For my reviews and city break deals click here. To listen back to my chat with Marian, click HERE.

Sarah

travel deals

 

 

Best Travel DealsIn The Media

As Seen on TV3’s Sunday Am – 8th Nov 2015

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Here are my top picks for pre Christmas breaks as seen on TV3’s Sunday AM.

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Christmas Market Breaks

The winter price war between Aer Lingus and Ryanair means there is still great value in Christmas market breaks. The Irish Travel Agents Association has many advertised in their offers section, with packages to cities such as Prague, Krakow, Berlin for less than €200 with flights and hotel.

The Travel Expert offers a Copenhagen Christmas market break

I particularly like the Copenhagen Christmas market, it offers something different to the eastern European markets. Tivoli Gardens is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks and is situated right in the heart of the city. It is filled with over 500,000 fairy lights and decorated to look like a winter wonderland. There are light shows, concerts, fantastic restaurants and over 60 market stalls. You can take a spin on a rollercoaster or sip some mulled wine, while catching a top class concert. The market itself is the destination. Its also a great place to bring children, with lots of amusement rides for all ages and you can even combine it with a visit to Santa, who is on site! Note that the Tivoli Gardens market is open until the 2nd of January (most of the others are closed by Christmas Eve), so it is a ideal place for a post Christmas break too. ClickandGo are offering a great deal to Copenhagen in December, with Aer Lingus flights and two nights in a 4* Hotel for only €219. For more details click here.

 

Christmas Shopping Breaks To New York

Another holiday that has made a huge come back this year is the Christmas shopping break in New York. Despite the exchange rate there are still plenty of bargains to be found.

A Christmas shopping weekend in New York by The Travel Expert

 Century 21 department store (an American version of TK Maxx) is open from 730am so its an ideal place to start. Inevitably with the time difference you will find you are wide awake at 6 am the day after you arrive. Its also easier to find bargains when the store is neat and tidy – don’t try to go in the evening time, its like a jumble sale! Most of us love Macys and Bloomingdales and there are plenty of bargains to be found coming up to Christmas. My personal favourite is the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets. They have all the top designer clothes for a fraction of the price you would pay at home. It is also a really nice place to shop, like a massive Kildare village. Of course if you don’t want to venture outside of Manhattan you can always pick up the latest designer bag or jewellery on Canal Street for $20! For more details on shopping in New York, read my blog here.  The Christmas tree at Rockefeller centre is illuminated on the 2nd of December so I chose a package on the 4th of December. The price for flights and hotel for three nights is €695 per person, click here for more details.

 

Lapland

I went on a two night trip last year with my husband and two children and loved it. It was by far the best family holiday I have had, and one that I will never forget. It is not just about meeting the ‘real’ Santa, the whole experience is magical. The excitement starts from the minute you arrive at the airport to check in, the sign reads The North Pole, the excitement never goes away. There is entertainment on the short three hour flight and when you arrive at your log cabin in the snow, its like a winter wonderland. The trip included snowmobiling, husky & reindeer rides and a visit Santa’s post office and village. I would say to anyone to beg, borrow or steal to go, the memories will last a lifetime for you, and your children. For more information on my trip, read my blog here.

Sarah Slattery, The Travel Expert offers an over night trip to Lapland

Sunway have the largest number of flights with 8 operating between Dublin and Cork. The two night trips are full and there is very limited availability on the 1 night trips. Likewise Cantebury Travel’s two and three night trips are also full. The good news is that Falcon Holidays still have availability left on their day trips. Prices are from €639 for adults and €579 for children and there is availability on the 5th, 12th and 18th of December. I would recommend anyone who is planning for next year to book well in advance. Use it as a savings club perhaps, pay a small deposit and pay in monthly instalments.

Like what you see, click here to see my best travel deals:

 

Sarah
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Best Travel Deals

Best Travel Deals As Seen On TV3’s Sunday Am

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Check out my best travel deals as seen on TV3’s Sunday Am on the 20th of September 2015.

 

Christmas Market Breaks:

Christmas markets are very much back in vogue. Ryanair have added extra capacity to many cities throughout the winter with lots of low priced airfares available.  I chose Berlin as it has over 50 markets to choose from and something to appeal to everyone. Sip some mulled wine while enjoying Christmas carols at the traditional markets of Charlottenburg Castle or the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Check out one of the Christmas Rock concerts at the Spandau Old Town market or try Europe’s largest mobile toboggan run at the lively Potsdamer Platz market. For more info on Europe’s top Christmas markets read my blog here.

Fly from Dublin to Berlin on the 1st or 8th of December and spend three nights at the Mark Hotel for only €199. Click here for more details.

Christmas market in Berlin by The Travel Expert as seen on SundayAM TV3

Girls Weekend Away:

Marbella is a great choice for a girls weekend away. There is plenty of style and glamour with a beachfront location, what more could you ask for! Sip a cocktail in Sinatras and simply people watch or dance the night away in the many bars or night clubs. There are lots of great shops in the old town that wont break the bank or if you want to flash the cash, there is no better place with lots of designer shops in the port to tempt you.

Fly from Dublin on the 6th of May and stay at the 3* San Cristobal Hotel for three nights for only €219 per person. Click here for more details.

The-Travel-Expert-offer-on-Marbella as seen on TV3

Family Holiday to Florida:

Florida is THE bucket list destination for families. There are over twelve theme parks and four waterparks so it is an adventure as well as a holiday! Enjoy the magic of Disney and marvel at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Shop till you drop at the outlets or swim with the Dolphins at Discovery Cove. I have chosen the 3* Ramada Gateway Kissimmee Hotel which is close to Disney but also offers a free shuttle bus to all the other main parks.

Fly from Dublin on the 8th of June and spend two weeks here for only €2399 based on two adults and 2 children. Click here for more details.

Universal Studios, Florida by The Travel Expert as seen on TV3

 

Like what you see, click here to see more great travel deals:

 

Sarah
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