Amsterdam, The Netherlands
There is plenty in Amsterdam to get everyone in the festive mood. If you fancy a spot of ice skating look no further than the Ice Village Amsterdam located around the Museumplein. Featuring a Christmas market and an ice-skating rink there will plenty of festive fun had by all. If Christmas lights are more your thing then head to the Amsterdam Light Festival. Take in the twinkling, bright lights on the illuminated walkway and then make your way to the Amsterdamse Winterparade where you shop till you drop amongst the market stalls, indulge in some mulled wine at the beer hall, warm up in the jacuzzi or take in the city sights from the Ferris wheel.
The picturesque city of Bruges is well known for its Christmas market and is a firm favourite with many who are looking for a festive break. The market runs from the 22nd November to the 2nd of January. Expect warm cups of hot chocolate, plenty of stalls featuring fine crafts and festive treats and an ice rink you won’t be able to resist. If all of that isn’t enough for you, the city itself is one of Europe’s most preserved cities. Wander down the cobbled medieval streets with twinkling fairy lights and you can feel the magic of Christmas in the air.
Look no further for old-style charm than Krakow. Wander the city’s famous Christmas market in Rynek central square and marvel at the baroque and gothic architecture the city has on offer. Spend your time exploring the many stalls, trying out the festive food on offer or indulging in a glass of mulled wine or cherry vodka! Stalls feature local crafts, jewellery and plenty of festive trinkets. When you’re not filling up on all that good food and drink, why not listen to one of the many Christmas carol concerts available on the city streets? You’ll be in the festive spirit in no time.
We couldn’t have a list of Christmas markets and not include one from Germany! Munich’s Christmas market is held from the 27th November to Christmas Eve. Located in St Mary’s Square in the centre of the city, it offers the perfect starting point for some festive fun. Explore the many stalls featuring German crafts, festive food and plenty of steins and bratwursts. Enjoy festive advent music performed live every night from 5:30 pm. Explore Germany’s biggest manger market in Neuhauser Strasse. Here you will discover a variety of mangers all complete with figurines of the three kings bringing gifts. Indulge in some kletzbrot, which is a bread made with nuts, fruits and honey and Fatschnkindl, which is pastry in the shape of baby Jesus in the manger.
Vienna is already one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, so throw in twinkling Christmas lights, wooden chalets and plenty of mulled wine and you have found your festive paradise. The square at city hall is turned into a winter wonderland traditionally called the Vienna Magic of Advent. Enjoy plenty of festive food and drink, take a ride on the carousel and shop at one of the many stalls offering local crafts.
There’s also another Christmas market in front of the famous Schonbrunn Palace, which is the perfect romantic setting for any Christmas getaway. It also transforms into a new year market in January so you can keep the festivities going.
The capital of Latvia offers a Christmas market that won’t break the bank. Explore the festive markets on Doma and Liviu Square and indulge in mulled wine, roasted almonds and gingerbread. Market stalls offer plenty of festive foods, crafts and winter woollies, perfect for bracing the Baltic winter.
When you think of Christmas markets in Spain your mind conjures images of Barcelona, Seville or Madrid, but why not try Grenada? This small city celebrates Christmas in a big way. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, the city offers a Christmas market running from December 2nd to January 6th. Set in the central Plaza Bib-Rambla, the stalls feature festive sweets, toys and gifts, there is also plenty of Moroccan tea and spice stalls. You can also incorporate skiing in with this Christmas market trip, as the nearby mountains of the Sierra Nevada offer the best skiing in Spain.
Tallinn’s Christmas market is located in the Town Hall Square. The city’s Christmas tree has been displayed in this square since 1441, making it Europe’s first-ever Christmas tree display. Explore many arts and crafts at the market, tuck into some Estonian festive treats such as sour cabbage or black pudding, or just sample some of the old-time classics like gingerbread and mulled wine. The real star of the show is, of course, St Nick, who has his own grotto in the market.
Basel is home to the largest Christmas market in Switzerland. Located in the city centre on Barfusserplatz and Munsterplatz you will have over 160 stalls to explore. Indulge in festive treats such as waffles, mulled wine, gingerbread or grilled sausage or pick out any last-minute Christmas gifts from the fine crafts and jewellery on offer.
The capital of Ukraine isn’t often somewhere that comes to mind when you think of Christmas markets, but the city turns into a winter wonderland every Christmas boasting twenty-two miles of market to explore. Start off in St Sophia’s Square to see the Christmas tree decorated with toys, have a ride on the carousel and listen to some Christmas carols. Other areas to explore include the Expocentre, Mariinsky Park, Spivoche Pole and Poshtova Square. Stop at the many stalls along the way and indulge in some much-needed mulled wine to keep the chill at bay. Look out for the Santa Claus wearing a blue suit, who will hand out presents to the children as they pass by.
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