Some of us like to jet of to warmer climes when winter approaches whereas some of us like to bask in the chilly weather, the warm fires and getting wrapped up in our cosiest woollies. With Christmas fast approaching it’s the perfect opportunity to sample some of Europe’s best Christmas markets and pick up some cheesy souvenirs! The mulled wine, hot mince pies, roasted chestnuts…what could be better? Here’s a run-down of some of the best Christmas markets to visit this winter.
When we think of the traditional Christmas market, Germany comes top of the list. The market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche is the largest of these and draws in around 2 million visitors every year. The market runs from the 24th November – 1st January and visitors can expect everything from handmade decorations and artwork as well as the mulled wine and roasted chestnuts that we all love.
Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt is a market which has been running for around 700 years and to this day continues to offer a magical Christmas atmosphere. Pick up some of the natural beeswax candles or the delicious crescent-shaped biscuits called vanillekipferl.
Budapest is a beautiful city to visit at any time of the year, but at Christmas Budapest comes alive with a variety of traditional celebrations. Expect to find authentic Hungarian cuisine alongside folk dances, carol singing and nativity scenes.
The Christmas market in Copenhagen is worth it for the location. Set in Tivoli Gardens, the market comes alive with nearly 4 miles of sparkling lights – a true winter wonderland. The artful hanging of the lights is thanks to Tiffany’s head designer and definitely makes a stunning impression.
The market at Strasbourg is France’s oldest Christmas market, having being running for 441 years. The market shows no signs of slowing down as visitors flock for delights such as mulled wine and local specialities like bredele (cookies) and Flammekeuche (thin pizza with bacon, onions, and crème fraîche). Overlooked by Notre Dame Cathedral, it’s a truly beautiful Christmas setting.
Filled with Baroque architecture, Prague makes for the perfect Christmas setting. Here you’ll find concerts and stalls selling all sorts of handmade items, from wooden toys to bobbin lace to hand-cut crystal. Don’t forget the annual lighting of the huge Christmas tree which dominates the festivities.
Christmas markets usually hold connotations of being wrapped up head to toe and keeping warm with a hot mulled wine. With this in mind, Barcelona might not be the first place you think of when choosing your Christmas market. However, while it may not be as cold as other destinations, the Fira de Santa Llucia in Barcelona compensates with its 300 stalls and extensive indoor market. Plus, they definitely know how to party!
There’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than by heading to a Christmas market. You’re likely to find cheesy Christmas carols and mulled wine by the fire wherever you decide to visit but you’ll probably find that each country has its own specialty which makes it just a little bit different!