Ho-ho-ho! There is still more than a month to go, but Christmas is waiting out there! Here we offer you some of the best European Christmas markets that worth visiting in 2018. The sooner you plan your winter journey, the better your experience will be! Most markets are opening at the end of November, so don’t think too much, and let the Christmas spirit come on in!
From November 30 until January 6
Winter Wonders is held in the centre of Brussles. The brightly lit markets cover the Grand-Place, the Bourse, the Place de la Monnaie, the Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons. There are more than 200 chalets offering every Christmas gift you could imagine. You can find everything, from arts and crafts items to food and drink. There is also a fairground, an ice rink, a huge Christmas tree, and a magical sound and light show. Our advice: Don’t forget to try the big variety of authentic Belgian Waffles!
From November 26 until December 23
The most impressive market takes place underneath the glow of the Cologne Cathedral. Taking the Christmas Market Express train is the perfect way to take a tour through the pretty streets of Cologne, stopping off at the different markets along the way. If you want to have fun, go to Papa Joe’s bar, a 1920’s style saloon bar situated in the Old Town. There is a jukebox that plays Christmas carols performed by two genius life sized-puppet men with an accordion and a tuba.
Prague, Czech Republic
From December 1 until January 6
Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, cosidered to be two of the most magical Christmas markets in Czech Republic, are both based in the capital city of Prague. At the Old Town Square you can find colourful baroque buildings and gothic churches. At the Wenceslas Square you will be amazed by medieval church domes and a magnificent castle dating from the 9th century. You can enjoy carol concerts, traditional Czech crafts and Czech treats like delicious Trdelníks (hot rolled sugar and cinnamon-coated cake cooked over a grill). It goes without saying that you should not miss refreshing yourself with a glass or two of mulled wine or Czech beer.
From November 23 until December 30
Strasbourg is officially known as the ‘Capital of Christmas’ since it holds the oldest Christmas market in France – Marché de Noël – which dates back from 1570. Today, it comprises of over 300 stalls spread across 12 locations, with the heart of the action taking place in front of the picturesque Strasbourg Cathedral in the Grande Île quarter. The Christmas Tree at Place Kléber is always the star of the show, and often the backdrop to millions of selfies. You will be impressed by the pretty wooden chalets, bredele cakes and hot wine. You can buy traditional decorations, plenty of Alsatian food, such as pretzels and spiced bread, or head to the book market and the Belgian village.
From November 17 until December 24
The Christmas markets in Vienna are claimed to date back to 1298 – even earlier than those in Strasbourg! There are around 20 Christmas markets located all over the city. The streets are packed with romance, nostalgia, tradition and Christmas cheer. The Viennese Christmas Market taking place in front of City Hall, it has everything, from reindeer rides to an ice rink. You will find delicious food and mulled wine, live music and entertainment everywhere you go. The most romantic of the Viennese markets, however, is held in front of the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace. The façade is lit up and has around 60 stalls, offering traditional craft goods and food. There is a giant Christmas tree as well and you can find delicacies such as strawberries covered in chocolate, cookies, and gingerbread.
From November 27 until January 2
What makes the Christmas markets in Budapest particularly unique is their desire to preserve authentic Hungarian folk art and traditions, with their wooden chalets packed with quality handmade items. The Basilica Christmas market takes place right in front of the impressive St Stephen’s Basilica and is home to handcrafted gift stalls and a skating rink. On Vorosmarty Square you can find another market with stalls, packed with hungarian delicacies such as roasted chestnuts, chimney cake (kürtőskalács – dough wrapped around a pole, baked, coated in sugar and cinnamon) and a big bowl of goulash served in a hollowed-out bread roll.
From December 14 until January 5
Are you already cold enough? Then visiting the Navideño Mercado de Artesanía de Sevilla will really warm you up. The market has nearly 80 stalls selling traditional Andalusian handcrafted goods (think ceramics, jewelry, wooden toys and more). It is located in the trendy Alameda de Hercules neighbourhood, with a thriving late-night crowds and bars. Swap the turkey for chorizo, and the Christmas pudding for tasty churros. We promise you will not regret!