Travel By Numbers: Christmas markets
Ben Ross calculates the appeal of traditional festive shopping in Europe
Saturday 14 November 2009
The number of Eurostar trains running from St Pancras to Lille next Saturday, 21 November. The 80-minute journey makes the city's Christmas market an ideal day-trip destination for festive shoppers. Return weekend fares start at £55. eurostar.com
The year Dresden played host to Germany's first ever Christmas market. Originally the markets were held in front of local churches to entice those attending a service to buy local products. Now they're big business, with thousands held annually. This year's Dresden market runs from 26 November to 24 December. dresden.de
The number of stalls that will form Bath Christmas Market this year. Running from 26 November to 6 December, the market can be found in the area between Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths. Each stall offers handmade gifts, decorations or traditional Christmas food – and there will also be a full programme of Christmas carol services to add to the festive atmosphere. If you're travelling to the city by train, Bath Spa station is just five minutes' walk away.
The height in metres of the Hafelekar Peak, accessed via the Hungerburgbahn funicular railway (above) from Innsbruck, which opened in 2007. Last stop on the funicular line is Hungerburg, where the Panorama Christmas market offers traditional goodies along with views of the capital of the Austrian Tyrol. From there the panorama gondola will take you to the top of Hafelekar itself. innsbruck-tourism.at
The weight in kilos of the ice used during Bruges' annual Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, this year held from 20 November 2009 to 10 January 2010. This canal-side city in Flemish Flanders also runs Christmas markets from 20 November 2009 to 3 January 2010. Inntravel is offering two nights' B&B at the four-star Hotel Aragon, including return Eurostar journeys from London St Pancras to Brussels and connections to Bruges from £258 per person (between 24 November and 31 December). inntravel.co.uk
The price in pounds of a three-night winter shopping break offered by Regent Holidays in the Hungarian capital. The 11th Budapest Christmas market will be held in Vorosmarty Square (below) from 29 November to 23 December. Price includes B&B accommodation at the three-star Hotel Sisi, a Danube river cruise and BA flights from Heathrow (departures from 20 November to 23 December).
The height in metres of Himmelskibet or "Sky Ship", the world's tallest carousel, in Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen. This city-centre amusement park is impressive enough, but the gardens also play host to a Christmas market – this year from 20 November to 30 December. Aside from the decorated stalls, you can visit Nissekobing, or "Pixieville", a huge indoor Christmas town containing hundreds of mechanical pixies, as well as watching a spectacular light show on the Tivoli lake.
The duration in days of this year's Tallinn Christmas market. The Estonian capital is hosting its eighth Christmas market from 29 November 2009 to 7 January 2010 and expects to receive up to 200,000 visitors to its Town Hall Square. Here possible purchases include home-made candles, sauerkraut and hand-sewn quilts. Cresta Holidays is offering two nights' B&B at the four-star Scandic Palace, including Estonian Air flights from Gatwick from £309 per person (departures until 27 Dec). crestaholidays.co.uk
The approximate number of people who visit Nuremberg's Christmas market each year. At 5.30pm on 27 November, a "Christmas Angel" will open the market of around 180 wooden stalls under red-and-white awnings. Air Berlin is offering flights from Stansted to Nuremberg from £144 return. airberlin.com
The Traveller's Guide to Christmas Markets, comprehensively revised, updated and expanded, is now available online at independent.co.uk/xmarkets
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