If you’re thinking of going away for a magical Christmas in Europe, you might be a little overwhelmed by the choice of places to go. Lots of cities throughout Europe are completely transformed for the festive season, but not every destination has world class Christmas markets.
If you want to go on the trip of a lifetime this Christmas, it’s the markets that will really make or break your holiday. They offer an unbeatable festive atmosphere, Christmas gifts and warming winter foods. These are some of the best Christmas markets to visit in Europe:
Nuremberg hosts its annual Christmas market, Christkindlesmarkt during Advent. It may be a mouthful to say, but this market is packed full of all things festive. The opening ceremony takes place on the Friday before the first Sunday in Advent, being 25th November 2016, and it’s not to be missed.
Wander around the market and take in the Christmas scents including rum punch, roasted almonds, gingerbread and, of course, mulled wine. The market is held in the square in the old town, where you will find 200 stalls filled with Christmas joy. Nuremberg’s Medieval architecture only adds to the atmosphere and traditional feel of the markets here.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam might not be the first place that springs to mind, but hear us out. Amsterdam has over 26 Christmas markets, with the most popular being Leidseplein which runs from 13th November 2016 to 10th January 2017, and Museumplein, held from 21st November 2016 to 28th February 2017. Christmas in Amsterdam is made even more special if you’re lucky enough to catch sight of the Northern lights dazzling over the city’s canals.
Bruges is well-known worldwide for having epic Christmas markets and a buzzing festive spirit. This year the Christmas markets start on 25th November 2016. Find the stalls in the Market Square selling goods such as wooden toys, chocolates, jewellery, leather goods and mouth-watering winter food and drink.
In the words of Harry, from the film ‘In Bruges’, ‘It’s a fairytale town, isn’t it? How can all those canals and bridges and cobbled streets and those churches, all that beautiful fairytale stuff, not be somebody’s thing?’
Germany really steps it up when it comes to Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception. From Stollen cake and cinnamon biscuits, to beer and mulled wine, your taste buds will be in festive heaven.
Cologne has a grand total of seven Christmas markets, selling handmade lacework, jewellery, honey, candles and colourful Christmas decorations. Make sure you head to the Alter Markt, located in front of the Old Town Hall, from 21st November 2016, where you can see the largest Christmas tree in Germany.
The first of Vienna’s Christmas markets begins on 12th November, with most running from mid-November to Christmas. There are roughly ten markets with over 150 different stalls in the main area outside the neo-Gothic City Hall. The markets in the beautiful square sell all sorts of quirky things including traditional sweet treats, leather clothing, woolly hats, miniature wooden houses and puppets. Vienna has Christmas markets in its blood, with the tradition going back to the 13th century.
Of course the oldest Christmas market in Europe had to make our list. Strasbourg hosts very traditional Christmas markets, featuring half-timbered houses with festive decor lining the cobbled streets. There are 11 different themed areas to uncover in this real-life winter wonderland. Running from 25th November to 31st December 2016, Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik topped the European Best Destinations ‘Best Christmas Market’ list two years in a row, and we can see why.