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4 Of The Best Christmas Markets

Sidestep the long queues and the glare of department store lights this festive season. Instead, head abroad for a more traditional Christmas shopping spree…

Twinkling fairylights, steaming mugs of mulled wine, a light dusting of snow… it’s all a bit more inviting than a soulless shopping centre that’s bursting at the seams isn’t it?

And that’s the kind of Christmas card scene you can step into if you head to one of these festive markets…

Santa ClausLapland

You’d expect Father Christmas’ homeland to have a pretty spectacular Christmas market, and you’d be right. Right up in Finland’s northernmost climes, Lapland – or, more specifically, Rovaniemi – is home to the Santa Claus Village, which is open most days all year round. Head here and you can stock up on the likes of traditional wooden drinking cups (begging to be filled with mulled wine), unusual nick-nacks like gold nuggets, and rugs and slippers made from reindeer skin.

The added bonus is you get to spend time with Father Christmas himself. And if kids want to remind him what presents they want, they can always post their Yuletide wish list at Santa’s Post Office – if they haven’t emailed it already, that is…

Prague

You half expect to see Harry Potter swooping among the Hogwarts-style buildings in Prague’s Old Town Square, which plays host to one of the city’s biggest markets. The other biggie is in Wenceslas Square.

Crunch your way through the snow at either one (if the weather’s playing ball, that is) and you’ll find wooden huts selling stocking fillers like tiny glass figurines, bobbin lace and hand-carved wooden puppets with noses that’d put Pinocchio to shame.

Keep your hands warm with a steaming cup of svařené vino – hot Czech red wine. It tastes as rich and fruity as it smells. And, of course, there’ll be a big selection of beers on offer – this country produces some of the best in the world. Look out for Budvar, the original Budweiser.  Find out more about our Prague city breaks.

The markets are open until 8th January.

ViennaVienna

With the city’s reputation for grand opera and imposing imperial buildings, you’d expect Vienna to have a Christmas market in a regal setting – and it doesn’t disappoint. Right in front of the Baroque Schönbrunn Palace is a huge market, with stallholders proudly displaying everything from ornate decorations to hand-made jewellery. Chances are there’ll be some singers adding a bit of drama, too. After Christmas, it transforms itself into a New Year market – less Santa and more handicrafts – so you can pop over and spend some of the money you got from granny.

Head to Rathausplatz Square, meanwhile, and you’ll soon clock a gigantic advent wreath that’s 12 metres wide. It stands guard over a mishmash of stalls brimming with things like sugared fruits that make perfect finger-fodder when you’re slumped in front of the telly come 25th December. Plus, you can buy woolly hats in myriad colours that’ll keep you snug in the snow. Look out for the little wooden houses and toys, too – they make great decorations.

While you’re in the Austrian capital, it’s worth having a ride on the giant Ferris wheel – you’ll see the whole city lit up for Christmas.  Why not consider a city break to Austria.

BerlinBerlin

When it comes to sheer variety, Berlin beats them all. Come December, Germany’s capital is home to around 60 markets. They’re pretty easy to find – just follow your nose. You’ll smell bratwurst sausages sizzling on hot coals, apples baking with cinnamon, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The hot chocolate’s pretty hard to resist, too.

For the biggest and best, head to Charlottenburg Castle – it’s all lit up in coloured lights, which makes it looks really magical. And at the Gendarmenmarkt Market, you can pick up traditional German handicrafts like flax embroidery and stone carvings.

Other good take-homes include cosy lambskin shoes that leave Ugg boots in the shade in the tootsie-toasting stakes, and lebkuchen, a kind of gingerbread invented by Medieval German monks.

Have you been to a Christmas market? Can you give us any top pressie tips? Let us know below.

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32 Responses to “#YourBigDay – Dress Shopping With Jodie”

  1. kt2tk@hotmail.com' Brown

    Hi, my wife is coeliac and we r going to use the lounge with premium seats booking and wonder if there will b anything for her to eat, when we used another lounge they catered for her, so hopefully this will b ok forbhet

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello, Which airport are you travelling from? I’ll be able to see if I can provide you with the direct email for the Lounge to see if they can cater your wife’s needs. ^Daniel

  2. gharmon53@hotmail.com' Mrs Harmon

    Ref 1667568. We have booked a holiday to cancun, and we upgraded our seats to premier class, one of the advantages being we could pre book seats as we wanted to ensure we sat together. When I visited the website to manage our account and book seats according to the flight plan there were no seats available!!!! I contacted our travel company to ask for their assistance. They received a convoluted story about not wanting to release all seats on line ( I would like to know how many were in fact available ) however he did allocate seats that were not together and informed us that we could get them changed at the airport!!!! Silly question, but why would you not allocate seats together, this was a completely pointless exercise. You would be as well cancelling these seats and we will take our chances at the airport.

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello, I have checked your booking reference and can see that there are additional seats available but again these are not in locations which are located next to one another. I can see you have been assigned seats behind one another and are in more desirable locations. You can ask at the check in desk to see if they are able to reallocate your seating but I must add this isn’t guaranteed. ^Daniel

  3. k.p.schoe@hotmail.co.uk' Keighley schofield

    Hi, i have booked a holiday online with thomsons today (1/7/15), however as the payment was going through , it timed out and left me with no booking reference or booking confirmation!
    I have checked with my bank and they have confirmed that the transaction is pending. Could i please have booking confirmation or a refund so i can book the holiday again. Thanks.

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello, If you can email cares@thomson.co.uk with the details of your holiday a member of the team will be able to take a look into this for you. ^Daniel

  4. sharon.tomlinsonst@gmail.com' Sharon Tomlinson

    Hi, we are flying to Thailand in november and have booked premium,i know that the lounge is included but do we need to book a time slot ?

    Reply
    • daniel.oneill@thomson.co.uk' Daniel Oneill

      Hello Sharon, You will be able to use the lounge when check in opens for your flight on the day. This means you’ll be able to use the lounge 3 hours prior to travel. ^Daniel

  5. gillyw70@hotmail.com' P Clarke

    Booking ref 2111/415126
    The holiday was 26 May to 9 June and I still haven’t received my apd refund of £142, I’ve tried ringing your contact number but it goes on to say the office is closed and hangs up, even when I ring it between 8-5. Please can you advise when I can expect a refund, I was advised in April it would be soon and it’s 1st July today.
    Regards Paul Clarke

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi, I am sorry to hear you’ve not yet received your refund. I have looked at your booking and can see this is pending. I have now raised this and the refund has been actioned. Thank you for your patience. ^Gemma

  6. beachino@hotmail.com' scott geddes

    hi

    we are flyin to Salou with 2 kids on 05/09/2015. are we entitled to child air tax refund?

    Booking reference is 2666/570066, flight reference 4234537

    regards
    scott geddes

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Scott, Looking at your booking I cannot see this has been refunded. I will get this raised with the relevant team. Thank you for your continued patience. ^Gemma

  7. pennydiamond70@googlemail.com' Penny

    Hi I am looking for a contact number to discuss working as a Thomson Gold fly out singer? I’m finding it difficult to find a contact . I do a blondie tribute in the uk.
    Please check out my website
    Atomicblonde.co.uk
    I was on Harry hill stars in their eyes this year so please have a look
    Thank you
    Penny diamond

    Reply
  8. shopaholic.karen@hotmail.co.uk' Karen jones

    To David Burling ceo, dear sir we booked a cruise on 24/1/15, at your broughtonchesterretail park branch paid our deposit with Darren the so called cruise expert checked all the details and the left . We Checked our details on Saturday morning only to find that your employee had made a mistake and printed the wrong dates and times off and your branch manager has admitted it is Thompsons fault so we have lost our cruise and flights as we cannot fly on the dates your employee should have booked we have all the documents so where does that leave us are we to be compensated and also your branch manager said to us would we like to book a cruise for next year you can imagine how upset we are . I wonder if I put all this on social media what your customers about to book with Thompsons would think !! Your branch manager promise to ring us back after contacting head office we are still waiting he had not even been in touch with us please please will you sort out the terrible mistake your company has made we await your response.

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Karen, I am sorry to hear this. Can you please provide me with your booking details so we can look into this and chase with your store. Can you send this through email to cares@thomson.co.uk Thank you. ^Gemma

  9. lynn-nash@hotmail.co.uk' Lynn Nash

    Would it be possible to advise me when the prices and availability of your villa holidays are ready to book for 2016

    Thank you for your help

    Lynn

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Lynn, Unfortunately a date has not been confirmed as of yet. ^Gemma

  10. cutepetal2005@hotmail.co.uk' Melissa bazeley

    Hi here are the complementary drinks as and when you want or is it just when the trolley goes by thanks

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Melissa, The drinks service on long haul economy cabin are complimentary. In the economy cabin there will be the 2 normal drinks/bar service and customers can have soft and alcoholic drinks from this cart. There will also be water services and then passengers can choose between tea, coffee, wine or water with the meal service too. If customers do require another drink aside from the bar services, they can go to the galley and as long as there is a member of staff that is free from doing other duties, they will be able to get another drink. Hope this answers your enquiry. Thank you ^Gemma

  11. jade.johns@live.com' Jade johns

    Hello. Do you do wedding at the blue lagoon princess ? We will be looking to get married September 2016.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • chantelle.sambrook@thomson.co.uk' Chantelle Sambrook

      Hi Jade, Unfortunately we do not offer Weddings at Blue Lagoon Princess. Please feel free to take a look at the gorgeous hotels we offer here – po.st/tavnbR.

  12. nigelsgamble@gmail.com' Nigel Gamble

    I have booked a holiday through you, booking ref, 3002367 departing this Saturday.

    I do not appear to have been refunded the air passenger duty I paid for my son who is aged 10.

    Please can you confirm when this will be done.

    Thank you

    Nigel Gamble

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Nigel, APD refunds are for all bookings that booked before the 08th December. Bookings that were made after this date were already adjusted to reflect the APD amount. ^Gemma

  13. robertstrbrts@aol.com' tracy roberts

    Can you please tell me is the suite princess still going to be adults only in june 2016 had a fantastic holiday there this june but heard a rumor that it might be going to be family hotel instead

    Reply
    • chantelle.sambrook@thomson.co.uk' Chantelle Sambrook

      Hi Tracy, Hotel Suite Princess in Gran Canaria will only remain adult’s-only until April 2016.

  14. tia@tiastreasures.net' Tia

    I am writing on behalf of myself Tia age 10, my Mum Lisa and a group of Friends who are fundraising to raise funds for a specialist wheelchair for a 4 year old local boy who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy which is a progressive disease with no cure therefore life expectancy is dramatically shortened.

    We will be holding various fundraising events over the next few months therefore we are looking for the support of local businesses who would kindly offer a prize for a Raffle or Tombola.

    We would be very grateful if you could support us in anyway.

    Thank you for taking the time to read.

    Love Tia
    x

    Reply
    • chantelle.sambrook@thomson.co.uk' Chantelle Sambrook

      Hi Tia, I’m sorry to advise, we can’t help with individual requests for support because we’re committed to partnerships with a number of charities through our fundraising programme. We support: Tommy’s, The Family Holiday Association and Born Free Foundation. In addition, Thomson Airways staff nominate a charity local to where they’re based, to help through collections on our flights. Nevertheless, we wish you the best with your fundraising.

  15. GAllen@educ.somerset.gov.uk' Mrs G Allen

    Looking for Christmas holiday in the carribbean , have to be back to work on 4.1.16.
    Ideally leave from Bristol/Exeter from 22.12.15 for 10 nights.

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi Mrs Allen, I am sorry but we are unable to provide prices due to fluctuation. Please visit our website http://www.thomson.co.uk for the latest prices and availability. Thank you ^Gemma

  16. freddiewoolland@msn.com' F Woolland

    I’ve just tried to check in for my flight tomorrow with my girlfriend. Flying from Gerona to London. We’ve been told repeatedly over the past hour that check in is not open yet. This is not a drama if we are able to check in at the airport tomorrow at no extra cost and can sit next to each other. Please acknowledge this message as confirmation that we have tried to check in but cannot on account of a faulty system. Thanks.

    Reply
    • gemma.walters@thomson.co.uk' Gemma Walters

      Hi, I am sorry for the delay in our response. Due to the recent incident in Tunisia we were prioritising these. We do hope you are having a wonderful holiday. ^Gemma

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