Six beautiful city destinations for a great pre-Christmas break

Want to get into the festive spirit a little differently this year? Why not take a magical mini-break in one of these charming cities?

Sit back and relax

The Basel Christmas market (28/11/19 – 23/12/19) manages to break two records: it is both the largest Christmas market in Switzerland and home to the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe. And you can enjoy the first mulled wine of the night right on your doorstep: our Motel One in Basel actually has its own ‘Glühwein’ stand right in front of the hotel! Or you can explore the city by tram – from 1 December, the Christmas ‘Drämmli’ will once again be making its rounds in Basel city centre for a total of 11 afternoons.

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Let there be light!

Come winter, the city of canals undergoes a huge transformation – but it doesn’t look any less beautiful. With numerous Christmas market stalls throughout the city, you won’t have to go far to find tasty sweet treats like ‘poffertjes’ (little Dutch pancakes), ‘oliebollen’ (Dutch doughnuts) and hot chocolate. A real highlight here is the Amsterdam Light Festival (28/11/19 – 19/01/20), with its beautiful light installations all over the city. We think the best way to experience the festival is by night, during a relaxing canal boat ride. You can also skate on the canals when they freeze over – guaranteed to be a ‘cool’ experience!

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Satisfy your sweet tooth

The Dresden Striezelmarkt is officially ‘Germany’s oldest verified Christmas market’. From 27 November to 24 December 2019, it will be open to visitors for its 585th Christmas. There’s the fairytale house, the world’s tallest Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid, and the famous ‘Stollenfest’ on 7 December, a centuries-old tradition in which the ‘royal baker’ and the Dresden ‘Stollenmädchen’ (stollen girl) cut into a giant stollen. There’s so much to see – and to eat!

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A journey through time

Located right at the heart of the city and directly between both of our hotels in Princes Street Gardens, the European Christmas Market is a colourful treasure trove of all things Christmas, featuring a Ferris wheel, an ice rink and Santa’s grotto. If you’d rather get away from the hustle and bustle, you can explore the old town surrounding Edinburgh Castle and enjoy its fairytale medieval atmosphere. Find gifts in a host of charming little boutiques offering traditional Scottish souvenirs – from whisky to wool (Grassmarket & Cockburn Street). On Princes Street, over on the ‘new’ side of the city, you’ll find a tempting range of shops, fashion chains and designer labels (George Street). You’ll be spoilt for choice!

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If Santa was sporty...

Did you know...? Poland’s capital is one of the few cities in the world with its own ski slope, the Górka Szczęśliwicka, right at its centre, including a chairlift and a drag lift (ski equipment can be rented on site). There are also several ice rinks in the city, where you can show off your skating skills (usually for free!) in some truly picturesque locations, such as in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, between the skyscrapers around Plac Europejski or in the Old Town Market Place, surrounded by beautiful historic buildings. Afterwards, you can enjoy a well-deserved snack, like some sweet gingerbread, or even a hearty winter meal, such as the traditional beetroot soup with dumplings.

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Something for everyone

Guests at our hotel will have Linz’s main Christmas market (on the central square) right on their doorstep – but the city also has a whole host of other markets to explore: the Kathrein market, the Advent market, the Truffle market, the market at the Wärmepol and the ‘Kekserlmarkt’ (filled with baked goods). You can find an overview here. Handmade trinkets meet culinary specialities, with a whole programme of exciting attractions to boot. Discover Ice Magic, a Christmas wonderland in the Volksgarten made from pure ice, or the ‘Musical Advent Calendar’ in the Brucknerhaus concert hall, which celebrates each day of Advent with a free concert. Or why not take a boat ride along the Danube and gaze at the illuminated city from the water?

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