10 of the best Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest has long been considered one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, with the Advent Feast at the Basilica and the market at Vorosmarty Square. The square is right in the heart of the city and is the city’s oldest Christmas market with plenty of food stalls, handicraft shops and free concerts. The Basilica offers delicious food stalls and gorgeous craft shops along with Christmas laser projections on the Basilica itself and an ice-skating rink that circles around a grand Christmas tree

Vienna, Austria

Vienna becomes a magical city sparkling with fairy lights and joyful markets spread out through the narrow streets at this most wonderful time of year. Their Christmas markets overflow with traditional wooden toys and artisanal handicrafts, coupled with the aroma of roasted chestnuts and freshly-baked pretzels. The popular ‘Vienna Christmas Dream’ can be found in front of the City hall with a festive skating rink and Ferris wheel.

Brussels, Belgium

The European capital embraces its Winter Wonders theme, with participants dressed in festive costume, skating rink, magical lights and Christmas markets bursting with treasures and delights to tempt even the most gourmet taste buds. The Grand Place Christmas tree is ranked among the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe.

Don’t forget to add the Brussels Chocolate Tasting Tour to your trip!

Salzburg, Austria

Traditional Christmas cheer is in abundance in the pretty hometown of Mozart, where you can enjoy sparkling renditions of ‘Silent Night’ in its birthplace. Wander through the fairy-tale Christmas markets with stalls filled with handmade crafts and the tempting fragrance of baked apples with sprinklings of Christmas carols. The origins of Christmas market in Cathedral Square go back to 1491, making it the oldest market in Salzburg. About 90 minutes away is the lakeside St Wolfgang Christmas market which is entirely lit by candles.

Berlin, Germany

Enjoy a Christmas market with a more modern interpretation of the tradition. You will be spoiled for choice with over 80 Christmas markets to choose from; including Spandau; the biggest, and the pretty Weihnachtszauber in the magnificent Gendarmenmarkt Square. The Winterwald offers magical Christmas scenes with an old-fashioned carousel and a small railway. If you visit the market in front of Charlottenburg Palace don’t forget to take a tour of the palace or explore the beautiful gardens. The Winter World on Potsdamer Platz holds more activities for the adventure bound with plenty of winter sports to sample including tobogganing, curling and ice-skating.

Bath, UK

Bath’s Christmas market has been regularly voted one of the most popular events in the UK and among the best Christmas markets in Europe. Bath’s cobbled streets are transformed in pretty markets that spill along the streets with 200-plus stalls selling local products from snug wooden chalets strung with twinkling lights. The crypt of St. Michael’s Church is turned into a fairy-tale grotto with free storytelling sessions for younger visitors. If you are staying a little longer you may consider day trips to Stonehenge and Roman Baths.

Prague, Czech Republic

Pretty Prague is Instagram perfect for the festive season with a varied choice of open-air concerts, Christmas markets and traditional nativity scenes. The market is filled with wooden stalls selling traditional Czech blown glass balls, hand-embroidered tablecloths, wooden toys and the aroma of Czech Christmas cookies and hot roasted chestnuts. Enjoy a glass of grog (rum, water, lemon and sugar) with the locals or head to Wenceslas Square to marvel at the beautiful Christmas tree.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Best for: wooden toys and foodie treats
The beautifully decorated alleys of the city are filled with traditional Christmas markets for the festive period. The markets stalls sell traditional wooden toys and pretty Christmas decorations. Once you have enjoyed sampling the local goodies including sausages, pancakes and delicious sweet treats take a spin on the ice rink beneath the twinkling lights. As you stroll through the markets you will be treated to renditions of folk songs and dances.

Cologne, Germany

Colognes Christmas markets attracts millions of visitors every year and it is easy to see why! The city is beautifully decorated and the Christmas tree is ranked among the most beautiful in Europe. There are several differently themed Christmas markets to choose from in Cologne, each filled with handmade gifts and delicious food on sale in their quaintly designed huts. The most famous is situated in front of the famous Cologne Cathedral with up to 150 stands.

Edinburgh, UK

The compact city of Edinburgh is a joy to visit at Christmas time with festive cheer in abundance and plenty of activities to occupy everyone. Enjoy a panoramic view of the city with a trip on the Big Wheel, indulge your taste buds with plenty of stalls offering international and local cuisine or enjoy a magic Harry Potter themed Christmas. There are other interesting tours available such as Winter Windows and the 24 Doors of Advent.

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