Travel: Hop onto Santa’s Sleigh with Insight Vacations This Christmas
Munich Christmas Market
Dreaming of a white Christmas in this tropical heat? This December, Insight Vacations invites you to escape Singapore’s year-round sun and join in the Christmas spirit on its latest range of Europe tours to world-famous medieval Christmas markets. Instead of the usual tourist hotspots like Paris and Rome, lose yourself in the magical holiday celebrations of Germany and Eastern Europe. These huge bazaars in medieval European towns lend a surreal old-world charm to the holiday celebrations.
Traveller Ms Fiona Lim, who visited a selection of the most famous markets on the Vienna, Prague and Budapest With Christmas Markets tour operated by Insight Vacations, shares, “Coming from Asia, the concept of Christmas markets is a novelty to me since Christmas is very much a commercialised event here. The sights, sounds and smells of a traditional market in a winter setting are part of an intangible experience that we cannot find here.”
In Munich, holiday festivities have been held at Marienplatz since the 14th century, the highlight of which is the beautiful glockenspiel performance. The steaming Weißwurst (white sausage) is a local specialty, and goes excellently with warm Glühwein (glow wine). Less commonly known is the alternative Schwabing Christmas Market, a congregation of artists furthering their pursuits while increasing awareness of social issues through stage performances.
Nuremberg beckons with the Christkindlesmarkt, home of the Christmas Angel. Each year, it opens with a solemn prologue recited by the flaxen-haired Angel, a young girl chosen to represent Nuremberg for the festive season. For those with a sweet-tooth, a drool-worthy variety of Bavarian cakes and tortes will also be on display.
At Rothenburg-ob-der Tauber, time seems to have stopped in the Middle Ages. Remaining curiously untouched by the ravages of the centuries, stall owners in the Reiterlesmarkt ply their wares against a backdrop of snow-topped medieval roofs, offering everything from handmade cuckoo clocks to teddy bears. These make wonderful gifts for the festive season.
If Western or Central Europe is too conventional for your travel boots, explore their Eastern neighbours instead on the Vienna, Prague and Budapest with Christmas Markets tour. Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, retains many of its centuries-old historical monuments. Stroll through cobbled streets and enjoy spectacular views over the city and its majestic castles. In the month of December, tourists and locals will mingle at the Old Town Square to join in the merrymaking. An enormous Christmas tree will be erected in the centre of the square, adorned with Christmas ornaments and brightly lit by strings of lights.
Fiona remembers, “The stalls were built like traditional log-houses and bustling with people and activity. I remember feeling like I was in a magical winter wonderland and Santa could possibly just appear with Rudolph riding his sleigh.” And Fiona didn’t forget to fill her stockings with the local goodies on sale, such as Bohemian Crystal and classic wooden toys.
“There’s something special about Europe in the winter months and one of the finest ways to discover Europe is when it is in its Autumnal hues or blanketed in snow. It is delightful shopping at the famous and colourful Christmas Markets during the festive months of late November and December,” said Ms Sheryl Lim, Regional Director of Asia, Insight Vacations.
There is no better time to take advantage of up to 32 per cent discounts off summer rates, plus a further 7.5 per cent off if you book before 26 August this year, and an additional 5 per cent off if you book in a group of 5 to 8 people. With the massive discounts, you can whisk your loved ones to a fabulous holiday or gather friends to shop up a storm before the new year kicks in.
Insight Vacations’ signature quality, unrivalled value and impeccable service help create Christmas holiday memories that last a lifetime. For more information, please contact +65 6338 7338 (Singapore), email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or check it online at www.insightvacations.com.
Tours with Christmas Markets on the itinerary are:
7 Days Vienna, Prague & Budapest with Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1375 per person. Departures are available on 2, 9, 16 and 22 December 2012.
8 Days German Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1685 per person. Departures are available on 27 November, as well as 2, 4, 9, 11 and 16 December 2012.
9 Days Winter Wonderland with Christmas Markets – Priced from US$1785 per person. Departures are available from 1, 3, 5, 8, 10 and 12 December 2012.
Prices quoted are for land tours only (airfares not included) and on a twin-sharing room basis.