Christmas markets are all about celebrating everything traditional, and many people believe that Christmas simply isn’t Christmas without a visit to a market. This tradition began in Germany, but it has now spread all over Europe, and most big cities will have their own Christmas markets for visitors to enjoy. Last year over four million Brits jetted abroad during the Christmas season, and this year many of them are set to return to the fabulous Christmas markets held throughout Europe.
If you’re intrigued, and considering jetting to Europe this winter, keep reading for a list of the best Christmas markets.
Located at Marienplatz, and named Christkindlmarkt, Munich’s festive market is held between the 27th November and 24th December 2014. Dating back to the 14th century, it is the oldest Christmas market in the city, one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, and also one of the most traditional. Bavarian style Christmas shopping is an experience you will remember forever, and the wooden toys and straw decorations will transport everyone back to their childhoods. With lots of mulled wine and baked apples on offer, foodies will be just as impressed with this market as everyone else. Visitors to Munich will be able to listen to traditional carols, which are sung from the balcony of Munich’s town hall, and inside the hall itself, children will be able to bake festive cookies, or have fun with arts and crafts. And, after enjoying the market itself, you can head to the world famous Hofbräuhaus for a beer or three!
Accommodation in Munich can be found relatively easily, though looking for a hotel close by to Marienplatz is recommended.
Open from the 6th December to the 4th January, the Nice Christmas market is held in the city’s central square. The setting is truly magical. Over 50 wooden chalets will showcase crafts related to the Christmas season, an enchanted fir forest will feature events during the festivities, and a large ice skating rink is the perfect place to have some fun no matter how old you are. The historical buildings of the old town, the pine trees dusted in artificial snow, and the breathtaking views from the Ferris wheel will put everyone immediately into the Christmas spirit. Seasonal music can be heard throughout the market, and during the afternoons live concerts can be enjoyed. And, unlike other Christmas markets, Nice isn’t crowded so you won’t be jostling with others to see what’s on offer in the stalls.
Visit Wimdu.co.uk for a selection of apartments in Nice this Christmas.
Belfast Christmas market is held between the 15th November and the 21st December. It is a ten year old market, which originally started out with just a few stalls, but has now transformed into a large celebration with over 90 stalls and traditional German festivities. Starting at 12 noon each day, the event is hosted in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. A variety of food and drinks are on offer, and savvy shoppers will find lots of great ideas for Christmas presents. Everything from hand painted pottery and crystals, to wooden toys and handbags can be found. A Santa’s grotto is being set up, which will be open from 11am-6pm Saturday – Wednesday, and 11am – 7pm on Thursdays and Friday. And, as a special treat for children, a Santa’s post box is available, where children can post their letters to good Old Saint Nick himself. Those who post letters before the 17th December will receive a personalised reply.
Check out Booking.com for a selection of hotels in the vicinity of Belfast City Hall.
Copenhagen is a city that goes all out for Christmas, so you can expect big things this December! There are lots of markets held during the festive season in Copenhagen, but one of the best is held in the Tivoli Gardens from the 15th November to the 4th January. 2014 will be the 21st anniversary of this market, and visitors will find fairground rides, an Alpine village (along with an Alp Express), fireworks, and Father Christmas himself! Every year the Copenhagen Christmas market has a new theme, however with 2013’s Nordic theme being really popular, the organisers have decided to stick with it again for 2014. And, with over 50 stalls, amusement rides, a miniature pixie land, and all the ‘fairytale romance’ of Hans Christian Anderson, what more could you want from a Christmas market? The Copenhagen Christmas Market is open from 11am – 11pm daily.
Apartments in Copenhagen do book up fast, so compare the prices via a holiday lettings website, such as http://www.wimdu.co.uk/copenhagen as soon as you can.
Described by the Independent as a ‘smorgasbord of festive fun’, the Gothenburg Christmas market, is the largest in Sweden, and a fantastic place to visit this December. The market is held between the 15th November and the 29th December, and is a marvellous combination of contemporary design and traditional Swedish fare. With over 70 stalls decked out in the traditional red and white Christmas colours, hundreds of thousands of lights, and typical Swedish delicacies, the Gothenburg market is the place to be. The cobbled streets surrounding the market lend themselves perfectly to the atmosphere, and the cafes serve some amazing Christmas fare including delicious gingerbread! Aside from buying some amazing Christmas gifts, venture out of your comfort zone a little and try some reindeer meat or some delicious smoked sausage!
Hotels in Gothenburg can be found for as little as £37 per night. Check out Trip Advisor for a selection of the best.
Whichever Christmas market you choose to visit, try and book your tickets early. Apartments can still be found on the links above, and flights are still available to most places during the month of December – sites like SkyScanner should help you find the best prices for your chosen dates.