by Sam Leaver-
7 December 2018
by Sam Leaver-
7 December 2018
There’s nothing like a Christmas market to get you in the festive spirit, and Europe is home to some of the world’s best.
With less than two weeks to go until the big day we take a look at 9 marvellous markets that you need to add to your Christmas wish list…
This French city is home to one of the oldest Christmas markets with the first one taking place in 1570. Head to Place Kleber to catch a glimpse of the ‘Great Christmas Tree’ which stands at a staggering 98ft. The whole city is immersed in Christmas with the market being spread across more than 10 locations across the city and more than 300 stalls.
Austria’s capital held their first Christmas market in 1298 and today it is one of the most traditional Christmas markets that you’ll find in Europe. You can wander around the 151 stalls or if you fancy yourself as the next Torvill or Dean make a dart for the huge outdoor ice rink. If you would like to try something a little different there is an area of the rink dedicated to curling.
Prague has two main Christmas markets in the city, one in the Old Town Square and another in Wenceslas Square – but they’re only a 5 minute walk from each-other. Explore Wenceslas Square first and then make sure you beat the crowds to catch the lighting of the main tree in the Old Town Square (this takes place at dusk every day). The Christmas markets in the Czech capital are open every day over the festive period, even Christmas Day!
If you’re dreaming of a White Christmas, Krakow is a city that normally delivers. You’ll also get a more all-round Christmas shopping experience with stalls selling cheap antiques and weird and wonderful bric-a-brac. If you’re looking for a souvenir grab a hand painted bauble or local specialities such as spiced nuts or boiled candies.
In December Copenhagen’s Tivoli really comes into its own with fairground rides and an abundance of market stalls. The park is a great festive location with three different light shows as well as traditional pixie bands playing festive songs all around the site. If you’re lucky enough to be spending Christmas or New Year here head for the Tivoli Gardens for one of the Christmas firework displays.
The pick of the German Christmas markets has to be Gendarmenmarkt, which is surrounded by imposing architecture such as Deutscher Dom and Französischer Dom. There is no better place to feast on delicious German sausage and warm mulled wine. Stick around for the nightly concerts which range from jazz to carol signers.
The Winter Wonders is a festival with more than 200 chalets selling food, Belgian beer and crafts. The market is spread out across the city with ice skating, a Ferris wheel, light shows and a huge Christmas tree. If you have never been to Brussels before we suggest booking onto one of the guided tours and you’ll be sure to get the full experience.
Head to Stockholm for a very traditional Christmas market. One of the best in Europe is held every weekend in Skansen open-air museum. There are plenty of vendors selling Swedish handcrafts, traditional sausages, spices, smoked turkey and candles – with regular demonstrations and opportunities to make your own decorations. Skansen is also home to a small zoo with Nordic animals including reindeer which will help get you into the festive spirit.
Our final Christmas market is a little closer to home with the largest German Christmas Market outside of Germany/Austria. Birmingham’s Christmas market boasts more than 120 stalls selling anything and everything from jewellery to handmade toys. Take a short walk to Centenary Square where you will find the Christmas Craft Market with 30 stalls selling local British beers, sausages and work by local artists – it’s one not to be missed.
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