All eyes on the north’s magical markets
IF YOU are heading to colder climes then the Christmas markets are a must. They’re a winning mix of craft stalls and food sellers, slotted into city-centre squares, amid the tinsel rustle of December.
They offer a chance to buy quirky gifts – wooden toys, tree trinkets – while leavening the process with a mug of glühwein or a mustarddrowned bratwurst. And they are also, of course, an excuse for travel to urban hotspots across Europe – or even further afield…
Though tradition seems to demand it, a Christmas market does not have to be staged in a former Eastern Bloc square.
Madrid (esmadrid.com) offers a Latin variation on the theme with an annual flurry of stalls in the Plaza Mayor – the rectangular space which, with its elegant three-storey buildings on each side ( and the modern cafés that lurk under its cloisters), has been the heart of the Spanish capital since 1576. (nycgo.com), where Manhattan is festooned with festive markets in the run-up to December 25.
Two of the best are held in Columbus Circle (at the south-western corner of Central Park) and at Union Square (see urbanspacenyc.com for details on both).
ELABORATE DISPLAYS: The Frankfurt Christmas market after its official opening this week.
SCENIC SQUARE: Place Vendôme, next to the Louvre in Paris, is all decked out in Christmas decorations as the festive season gets underway.