The Top Five European Destinations for Christmas Markets
Christmas is coming, and sometimes a festive break is just what you need to fully enjoy the sparkling magic of the season of mistletoe and mince pies. Although the temperature drops during the festive period, the atmosphere heats right up with mulled wine, hot chocolate and twinkling lights aglow. Considering a trip to one of the fantastic Christmas market destinations that Europe has to offer? Read on for our top five picks.
For many, the Christmas markets of Vienna are considered the very best in Europe. And it’s no wonder given their long history. The Austrian capital’s markets date back to 1298 when King Albert I granted Vienna's citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or ‘Krippenmarkt’. Nowadays, there are over 20 official Advent markets selling a vast array of mouth-watering treats as well as seasonal gifts. In our humble opinion, there’s no better place on the continent to do your Christmas shopping.
The Hungarian capital has long been famed for its magical markets, the oldest of which can found on Vorosmarty Squarein the heart of this ancient city. The best way to find it? Follow your nose! You can smell the enticing scent of traditional honey cookies and cinnamon from a distance. No visitor to the square will fail to be charmed by the lights, carols and copious amounts of Christmas cheer, and if you’re looking for a unique gift, the stalls stock a dazzling selection of beautifully produced handicrafts. For real festive atmosphere, the Christmas markets of Budapest are among the best in the world.
Located in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, the Christmas markets of Prague are extremely festive, offering a stunning selection of artisanal produce – from hand-crafted wooden toys to glassware, jewellery and embroidered lace. Peruse the stalls with a glass of mulled wine or a Czech beer in your hand and afterwards admire the magnificent Christmas tree, ablaze with lights and located in the Old Town Square.
Germany really knows how to do a Christmas market and you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to the capital. There are over 60 such markets scattered across the city – all of which offer an awesome assortment of local goods to buy and a fun-filled festive atmosphere with lights, trees and music. Feeling hungry after all that shopping? Indulge in a hearty bratwurst – a type of German sausage. You’ll find this and other seasonal delicacies at the Christmas market at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
You won’t be able to miss the market in Lille - just look for the Ferris Wheel! The giant wheel is the centrepiece of the northern French city’s dazzling Christmas market, which takes place in the picturesque Place Rhiour town square each year. Picture rows and rows of fantastic wooden stalls, where you’ll find everything from local art to handcrafted wooden toys. Afterwards, indulge in some traditional French cuisine – and maybe even a glass of champagne. It is Christmas after all!
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