As winter approaches, everyone's looking for the best Christmas markets to visit in the world where you can eat German hot dogs, go ice skating and buy some festive trinkets or baubles for your Christmas trees. Nothing quite says “Christmas” like a magical Christmas market in Europe. Whether you go to a market for Christmas gift ideas, the mulled wine or the general festive atmosphere and twinkly fairy lights, Christmas markets are a warm and fuzzy way to help you to get into the Christmas spirit.
Europe is home to some amazing ones which is why it’s so worth taking a weekend trip to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe this winter. Christmas markets have been growing in popularity and quality of experience all over the world, so here are some of the best ones:
Gendarmenmarkt is an authentic Christmas market in the city’s most central district, Mitte . Thanks to its location, it’s of the most atmospheric markets in the city, located between three beautiful and rather significant buildings (The Deutscher Dom, The Konzerthaus and the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche). The market itself is classic and cosy with magical star-topped tents and high quality food that you sometimes struggle to find in some Christmas markets across Europe. As well as your standard hot dogs, here foodies will get something extra special and unique due to the market’s Berlin/French crossover. Think goose legs, apple strudel, sugared pancakes and other melt-in-the-mouth Christmas delicacies like currywurst, waffles and hot chocolate.
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Almost any city worth visiting in the UK has a cosy Christmas market. And let’s be honest, Christmas time in England is pretty hard to beat, whether you’re celebrating in a countryside town or in the heart of a buzzing city like London or Manchester. A Christmas market coach tour can take you to either one city or a number of cities with some of the county’s best Christmas markets. Our favourite Christmas markets in the UK are in Bath, Cardiff and London. Why not stay in our Bath hostel for a couple of nights throughout the festive period and pay a visit to the Christmas market, explore the Roman Baths, indulge in afternoon tea and try the famous Bath Bun!
Paris - France
Paris proudly boasts an array of Christmas markets, offering markets at La Defence – one of Paris’s newest neighbourhoods, or the more traditional areas like Saint-Germain-Des-Pres, Place Saint-Sulpice, the Champs-Elysees and the Trocadero (near the Eiffel Tower). Whether you are looking for some beautiful artisan gifts or Christmas decorations, melt in the mouth gingerbread, or Christmas roasts, there is something for everyone - and there’s plenty for the kids to enjoy as well. With huge Christmas trees, carol singing and dancing, local food and drinks and carousels, there is no way that you won’t get into the Christmas spirit.
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If you’re after a selection of some of the world’s best Christmas markets, look no further than London. Whether you are looking for the lights and dazzle of Winter Wonderland set in Hyde Park, the rustic and artisan Christmas market on the Southbank, or, a firm favourite amongst Christmas market connoisseurs – Greenwich market’s offering of an array of stocking fillers, original craftwork, seasonal food and Christmassy music, you won’t be disappointed.
Other Christmas markets in London can be found at Leicester Square, Westfield, Kingston, and Tower Bridge, and for an alternative to the traditional Christmas markets, how about a wander around the Zero Waste Christmas Market in Shoreditch?
Bruges - Belgium
Bruges’ Christmas market is another popular choice amongst those who love a festive treat. Offering not only the traditional Christmas market experience, but you also get a magical ice rink to help you to feel really Christmassy. The traditional city of Bruges is already a stunning setting for Christmas, and a sprinkling of Christmas magic transforms it into a true Christmas wonderland.
The stalls are based around the cobbled streets of the Market Square and the ice rink at Simon Stevinplein, where you will find an abundance of stalls, bursting with artisan tree decorations, sweets and of course, mulled wine and warm drinks to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Prague – Czech Republic
The Christmas markets in Prague are located in the traditional Old Town Square and the Wenceslas Square as well as some other smaller locations. The markets selling a whole manner of wintry crafts and Christmas gifts and decorations. The tempting smell of traditional Christmas food and drink lingers in the air and the atmosphere is truly magical, traditional and, frankly, perfect.
Set against a backdrop of Prague’s breath-taking scenery and Christmas carols, it doesn’t get much more festive than this.
Edinburgh - Scotland
One of our favourites in Europe. Edinburgh’s Christmas market is set in the East Princes Street Gardens and it’s part of the Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations in the run up to the Scottish New Year. Although not guaranteed to have snow, the market is genuine, cosy and offers you everything that you would want from one, including German cakes, sausages, beer and pastries as well as local art and crafts. Perfect for not only getting you in the festive mood but also offering inspiration for gift ideas.
The Christmas market in Edinburgh is even called the ‘Frankfurt Traditional Market’ – a nod to its roots and the respect that it has for them.
Visiting a Christmas market – no matter where it is, is the perfect way to kick start your Christmas and help you get that festive feeling. Regardless of whether you prefer to stay in the UK or travel the world, you can be sure to get some breath-taking crafts, delectable eats and heart-warming drinks.
So, pack your hat and scarf, your walking shoes and plenty of festive cheer to get your Christmas off to the best start possible.