Today the countdown to Christmas starts for many, with the first window of our advent calendars opening up and most of us finally believing it is acceptable to start decorating our houses and playing Christmas songs. One destination that does the build up to the festivities like no other, is the city of Berlin. Famous for its ever-popular Christmas Markets, Berlin is undeniably an excellent choice to bring some Christmas cheer.
Starting with the obvious, the Christmas Markets are one of Berlin's biggest 'pulls' for this time of year and can certainly no more be considered to be an 'insider tip'. Still, you may not be aware of which markets to go to. Aside from the now world renowned Gendarmenmarkt, you'll be best served heading to Spandau's old town for a winter treat.
New York has the Rockefeller Center, Berlin has the Kurfürstendamm (or the Ku'damm for short). Yes, of course, we're referring to big and bold Christmas decorations. The Rockefeller Centre famously erects a huge Christmas Tree and lavishly decorates it every year, whereas Ku'damm dedicates almost an entire boulevard to their display.
Found in western Berlin, festive lights are everywhere you look. Running up and around a number of proud trees, lighting up titanic figures including Santa riding on one of his reindeer and the local favourites, Berlin's Buddy Bears. All of this, right outside the doors to all the shops you could ask for, making your Christmas shopping a little less stressful amongst the crowds. The spectacle is a true joy to behold, especially for the kids (and at night!) and will most certainly prove to be a memorable Christmas experience.
Berlin's lively Alexanderplatz should be on your list regardless on when you choose to visit, but head over for the holidays and you'll be welcomed by a plethora of activity with the most spectacular of fairgrounds coming to town. Perfect for kids, this funfair-come-market is understandably popular thanks to the ice skating rink, raffle ticket booths and the beacon of the gigantic Ferris Wheel which offers remarkable views of the surrounding area - day or night. Here, you'll also find a market to entertain the adults among you, as the children struggle to control their excitement over the festive cheer.