Best Christmas markets in Europe 2019
Wrap up warm, embrace the winter chill and get in the festive spirit with a trip to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Seek out local seasonal traditions and unusual gifts, tuck into tasty street food and enjoy the festivities these great Christmas markets have to offer.
Looking to plan a perfect Christmas market trip? Here are some of our favourites:
Prague looks like a fairy tale all year round with its UNESCO World Heritage Site castle, Baroque skyline and magnificent St Vitus Cathedral. But it's wintertime when the city is at its most magical. Surrounding the huge decorated Christmas tree in the Old Town Square are market stalls and wooden huts selling warm honey wine called medovina and delicious treats like barbecued klobasa sausages and sugar-coated spit-cakes called trdelnik. If that's notenough, there's also a market in Wenceslas Square, five minutes' walk away. Prague's markets start in late November and end in January, and are great places to pick up Christmas decorations hand-painted with festive winter scenes.
Open-air Christmas markets originated in Germany, at Bautzen in Saxony in 1384. They were first used to sell meat, but later began to trade in other wares and trinkets. Now, 650 years later, Christmas markets are still popular throughout the country, and Nuremberg’s Christkindlmarkt is one of the best. Sip on mulled wine, nibble roasted almonds and enjoy traditional songs from choirs, and don't forget to try the original Nuremberg bratwurst, which has been a firm festival favourite
for hundreds of years.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tivoli Gardens are beautiful any time of year but, as the days draw in, they're transformed into a winter wonderland, with a real igloo, more than 1000 Christmas trees and thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights. Located in the centre of Copenhagen, Tivoli Gardens do not just offer a Christmas market for you to enjoy. There is also an ice rink and musical light shows over its lake. Even when the temperature drops below 0°C, you can enjoy the theme park rides, including the oldest operational wooden roller-coaster in the world. Just make sure you wrap up warm!
If you don’t want to travel too far, Birmingham’s Frankfurt Market is the largest outdoor market in the UK. Birmingham is twinned with Frankfurt, and honours its sister city's traditions each year at Christmas with stalls selling crafts and German favourites like bratwurst, pretzels and glühwein, as well as German craft beer. It’s hard to miss Birmingham’s festive market as it’s so large. It starts on New Street, near the railway station, and continues through the city to Victoria Square. This authentic market starts on 7 November and runs until 23 December.
With its striking modern buildings, green parks and snow-covered cobbled streets, Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is one of the best places to visit in winter. Lights are hung up around the city and lead to Senate Square, where approximately 120 market stalls fill the space and create a fun, festive atmosphere. You can enjoy ice skating, shopping for traditional trinkets and sampling delicious food. Warm up from the freezing temperatures with a glass of traditional spiced wine called glögi -- this festive hot wine is sprinkled with almonds and raisins, and also contains a glug of vodka.
If you’re inspired to travel this winter, take a look at these great city-break deals so you too can experience some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.