Europe’s best Christmas markets
The festive season is upon us, and with Christmas just around the corner, it is that time of year when we all need to start thinking about a gift to give our loved ones. Why don’t you make this year an extra special one and take your loved one, your family, to one of the many amazing Christmas markets around Europe?
There are many of them to choose from. You can wander through the markets, where you will be pulled into the Christmas spirit. You will be able to choose from local, handcrafted gifts, or you can enjoy some mouth-watering Christmas dishes and treats.
Whatever your preference and whether alone or with others, you are sure to enjoy the atmosphere. We will do a round-up of some of the oldest and best Christmas markets to choose from.
Strasbourg – France
Strasbourg in eastern France is where you will find one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. The first edition of this famous market took place in 1570 and is still going strong today. After 448 years, you can be assured they know what they are doing. If you attend this one, there are plenty of choices. Across 10 locations with 300 stalls, this is a Christmas market that takes more than one day to explore.
If you want to really indulge and enjoy, then we suggest a long weekend break. That way, you can take advantage of the festivities, pick up some new decorations for the tree at home try the local Alsatian wine.
This market’s special feature is the ‘guest country market’ and the colossus Christmas tree that puts the New York Rockefeller Centre effort to shame. The Christmas market opens on 21 November and ends on 23 December this year. Recommended hotels: Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Voco Strasbourg Centre – The Garden, Holiday Inn Express.
Viennese Christmas Market – Vienna – Austria
With the first market here appearing in 1928, Vienna has perfected all the magical elements that make up the perfect Christmas market. If it is your first time visiting a Christmas market, we strongly suggest going to the Viennese Christmas Market.
Located in front of the City Hall, the Viennese Market consists of over 150 stalls, with everything from boozy Christmas punch to tummy-pleasing Austrian sausages, the market also boasts an ice rink, reindeer rides for the kids (and adventurous adults, maybe) and, of course, the classic nativity scene for your delight. And if you are feeling sporty, perhaps give curling a go on the dedicated curling rink. This year, the event runs from 19th to 26th December. Recommended hotels: Spiess & Spiess, Bassena Wien Meser Prater, K + K Hotel Maria Theresia.
Medieval Town Square – Kraków – Poland
The Christmas market in Kraków is renowned as being one of the best. The main square (Rynek Główny) in Kraków is the biggest medieval square in Europe. Rich in history, it delivers the perfect setting for the Christmas market.
Here there are traditional wooden huts lined up, offering up plenty of hand-crafted gifts among other presents and decorations for the tree or house. Food is plenty. You will find traditional Polish Pierogi (dumplings), a national dish, great Polish sausage grilled in front of you and definitely some mulled wine or hot beer to wash it all down. This year, the event runs from 25 November until the 26th of December. Recommended hotels: Puro Hotel, Hotel Indigo, Qubus Hotel.
Old Town Square – Prague – Czech Republic
Here in Prague, there are two markets. There is the main market on the Old Town Square, and then another, just five minutes walk away, on Wenceslas Square. You can easily explore them both on a full-day excursion.
Each of the markets has the traditional wooden huts found in the Kraków market and other similar ones in Europe, but what makes the Czech market stand out are the treats. You can grab a klobása (Czech sausage) and then wash it all down with a Pilsner Urquell. Each year both markets are open from the start of the festive season, the end of November, right through to January 6th, including Christmas Day. Recommended hotels: The Grand Mark, Cosmopolitan, Michelangelo Grand Hotel.
Winter Wonders – Brussels – Belgium
You could call this a Christmas Market, or you could call it a Christmas Festival. I think the latter would be a better description. There are over 200 chalets serving everything you can imagine including, glühwein, Belgian beers and waffles.
The festival covers a huge area. Across, Bourse, Place de la Monnaie, Grand Place, Place Sainte Catherine and Marche aux Poissons. There is ice skating, a Ferris wheel, light shows galore and, as you would hope, a huge Christmas Tree. Every year it opens from 25th November to 1st January. Recommended hotels: Ramada by Wyndham Brussels Woluwe, Hotel Le Plaza, Vintage Hotel.
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