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MARITIM Hotels’ top five Christmas markets for 2014

When you think of Christmas Markets, one country always comes to mind: Germany.  Wonderfully festive, German Christmas Markets are authentic with atmospheric squares decorated with fairy lights and pretty stalls selling hand-made gifts, crafts and toys, Christmas decorations plus spiced mulled wine and speciality foods.

As Germany’s largest privately owned hotel operator, MARITIM Hotels is well placed to highlight the country’s top five Christmas Markets for 2014.

1.    Dresden – best for history and heritage The oldest Christmas Market in Germany, dating back to 1434.  Known as Striezelmarkt, this Christmas Market is renowned for its festive charm, with stalls filled with traditional hand-made crafts and culinary delights, including sweet delicacy Dresden Christstollen.  A winter wonderland, the focal point of the Dresden Christmas Market is the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid (with a height of 14m) and the world’s biggest nut cracker, while the highlight is the Stollen Festival.

2.    Nuremberg – best for families Festive fun is at the heart of the Nuremberg Christmas Market.  The Kinderweihnacht, or Children’s Market, is perfect for families, featuring an old-fashioned carousel, Ferris wheel, steam train and Nativity trail.  Traditional music fills the air, creating the perfect atmosphere for Christmas shopping.  Authenticity is paramount; the 200 stalls provide a selection of hand-crafted toys and favourite German foods including Nuremberg sausage, spicy gingerbread, sweets and ‘plum people’ (small figures made from prunes).

3.    Berlin – best unique experience This historic and cosmopolitan city hosts a spectacular Christmas Market every year.  With over 60 markets scattered across the city, incorporating romance, nostalgia and tradition, there is something for everyone.  For a truly memorable Christmas Market experience, the Gendarmenmarkt boasts culinary temptations from some of the country’s top chefs as well as showcasing Germany’s top talent including jugglers, acrobats, fire artists, choirs, dance groups and musicians.

4.    Ulm – best undiscovered Ulm Christmas Market is a hidden gem.  The setting is breath-taking with hundreds of beautifully decorated stalls filling Munsterplatz Square which is framed by the dramatic backdrop of Ulm Minster, the world’s tallest church tower.  The aroma of roasted almonds fills the air and trumpets play amidst the stalls, which provide an array of authentic gifts, including Ulm’s famous Steiff teddy bears, and traditional German culinary delights.

5.    Munich – best alternative One visit is just not enough to the Munich Christmas Market.  The city’s Bavarian heritage is clear to see with stalls boasting traditional wood carvings and exquisite glassware from the Bavarian Forest.  Music lovers delight in the alpine Christmas concert performed daily from the balcony of Munich’s Town Hall and children enjoy fun-filled hours at cooking as well as arts and crafts workshops.  With a fantastic ethnic Christmas festival, the gay-friendly Pink Christmas Market plus ice skating and stalls at the airport before you depart; Munich offers an amazing alternative Christmas Market experience.

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