Christmas markets are great to visit. Not only do they offer amazing food, and a great shopping opportunity, they have a fantastic Christmas atmosphere that is guaranteed to make you feel festive. There are so many amazing markets across the UK and the rest of Europe, which means you can combine your Christmas shopping with some travel. Here are some of our top European Christmas Market picks:
1. Vienna, Austria
The capital of Austria first held a Christmas market in 1298 and now has over a dozen of different events to choose from across the city. The main market to try is the Viennese Christmas market “Vienna Magic of Advent” which takes place in front of the Rathaus (Cityhall). This glorious, fairy-tale like market has over 150 stalls offering goodies from local sausages to hand made crafts. It features a huge ice-skating rink as well as a classic nativity scene. It is a great market for those seeking a traditional experience.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has two main Christmas markets which are about 5 minutes away from each other. One is set in Old Town Square and the other in Wencelas Square which allows you can explore both of them easily in the same day. They are open throughout December and even open on Christmas Day itself, giving you plenty of time to enjoy them.
3. Gendarmenmarkt Berlin, Germany
Berlin is extremely popular during the build-up to Christmas, and the Gendarmenmarkt is a large reason for this. Traditional wooden huts adorn the street providing a range of amazing gifts, local food and warming glühwein. There are also concerts every night in a range of styles allowing you to enjoy some festive Christmas songs whilst you browse.
4. Lincoln, UK
Set in the historic Cathedral city of Lincoln, this Christmas market is one of the oldest and most popular markets in the UK. Over 250 stalls surround the beautiful historic quarter of the city so you can enjoy this festive market with the stunning backdrop of Lincoln Castle and Cathedral. The Victorian-themed stalls teamed with a thousand years of historical buildings make you feel like you have transported back in time whilst you explore the amazing range of homemade crafts, festive food and warming mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
5. Brussels, Belgium
The Winter Wonders Christmas market in Brussels has more than 200 chalet-style huts that serve mulled wine, local beers and the famous Belgium waffles. The market runs from the end of November to the beginning of January giving you plenty of time to enjoy this amazing market. Some people adorn traditional festive costumes which adds to the amazing festive feel. The market also features an ice-skating rink as well as a huge Christmas tree and the whole scene is lit with magical Christmas lights.
6. Budapest, Hungary
The Budapest Christmas Fair is the oldest Christmas market in the capital and has led it to be the most popular as well. With a view of the grandest cathedral in the city, it is impossible not to feel festive whilst exploring this market full of local delicacies and lovely gifts. Ice skating also takes place in a central ring that surrounds the giant Christmas tree centrepiece. The market is completed by the Jolly Christmas Tram that travels through the city centre, carrying Santa and his elves which is a joy for small and big kids alike.
7. Zagreb, Croatia
The award-winning Advent in Zagreb continues to grow in popularity. From ice skating, street food stalls, bars, music stages and ice sculptures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
8. Tallinn, Estonia
A winter grotto, choir performances, handmade gifts and local Estonian cuisine are just some of the reasons why this Christmas market has people flocking from all over the world. The combination of amazing stalls, historic buildings and local delicacies helps create the ultimate festive atmosphere. One of the main parts of the market is the Christmas tree in the Town Hall square. This has been tradition since 1441 and is believed to be one of the first Christmas trees displayed in Europe.
9. Birmingham, UK
This city boasts, “the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany and Austria.” Victoria Square transforms into a Christmas market with over 180 stalls and in 2018 they welcomed 5.5 million visitors. Shop for beautiful Christmas decorations, handcrafted toys and jewellery, eat amazing food and visit the ice rink or big wheel to top off your visit.
These Christmas markets not only provide you with that lovely festive feeling, they provide a chance to buy unique presents and transform the build-up of Christmas into a great experience.