With the festive season coming up very soon, cities around Europe will be preparing for an influx of visitors wishing to experience the winter atmosphere and indulge in traditional local delights and activities at the traditional Christmas Markets. Alongside drinking the necessary mulled wine and singing carols, tourists can be able to purchase themed and home produced goods in the markets to take home as valuable souvenirs.
Due to the cold temperatures and unfavourable weather conditions, travelling to Europe during the winter months can be very affordable. With the Christmas Markets getting increasingly popular in many cities, they pull in global travellers regularly and provide authentic seasonal experiences. Tempted for a Christmas Market break this year as a solo trip or in a group? Here are some suggestions.
Voted twice as Europe’s Best Christmas Market, Zagreb is definitely one city to consider receiving a great festive experience. Known as Advent, this time of the year marks the preparations for the Christmas celebrations in the city. One of the festive traditions is the lighting of symbolic colourful candles which is done each Sunday during Advent. The other traditional events along with the festive experiences will give visitors a lovely time spent in Croatia.
Dates: December 2nd 2017 – January 7th 2018
Location: Jelačić Square, New Zagreb and Upper Town
The northern UK city continues to pull in great numbers of visitors wanting to enjoy a diverse Christmas Market experience. Over 300 stalls will be wonderfully decorated and display global cuisines, yuletide gifts and international drinks. You can opt to drink some beer and wine from Germany and France or sample traditional Hungarian and Spanish dishes. For UK residents, it’s worth checking out the markets in Manchester during the winter.
Dates: November 10th 2017 – December 21st 2017
Location: Several locations including Albert Square, St Ann’s Square, Exchange Street and New Cathedral Street
This German city is a favourite alternative during the festive season. Cheap to fly to compared to Berlin and Munich, Cologne’s Christmas Market fever is felt throughout the city as the public streets and tourist hotspots are beautifully decorated. Scents of cinnamon biscuits, baked apples and mulled wine will easily entice wandering tourists to visit the markets and explore. Cologne will be sure to come alive as Christmas comes into town.
Dates: November 27th 2017 – December 23rd 2017
Location: downtown Cologne
As a previous recipient of European’s Best Christmas Market twice, Strasbourg maintains its position as one of the favoured cities to visit during the festive season. Known as the capital of Christmas in France, the city continues to hold one of the oldest Christmas Markets, the Christkindelsmärik since its inception in 1570. With hundreds of stalls sprawled around the city centre and attracting millions of visitors a year, Strasbourg continues to maintain the Alsatian tradition that makes its Christmas fairs unique.
Dates: November 25th 2017 – December 24th 2017
Location: Several locations including Place Broglie, Place Kléber, Place Benjamin-Zix and Place du Marché-aux-poissons
The popular Hungarian capital will host the Advent Fair based at the Basilica, which will present an amazing centre point for visitors to experience the Christmas settings. The Christmas Markets within the city begin early compared to other European destinations, giving tourists enough time to enjoy the festive surroundings, enjoy the concerts and 3D visual experiences and appreciate the Hungarian craftmanship of goods being sold. Every evening during the Advent Fair, the Basilica will illuminate with beautiful lights, providing a remarkable glow in the city centre.
Dates: Several dates between November 2017 – January 2018
Location: Basilica and Vorosmarty Square
It does get bitterly cold in this Polish city however the sights of the Christmas Market in the Rynek will warm visitors with glee and happiness. The enormous market square in the centre of the Old Town is the ideal site for many stalls and stages to be set up and present a lovely Christmas atmosphere. From traditional products to appetising delights, the Christmas Market in Krakow will be sure to give something for all ages to enjoy and a lovely festive time.
Dates: November 24th 2017 – December 26th 2017
Location: The Rynek
The Austrian capital will offer many Christmas fairs within the city so tourists and locals are spoilt for choice. The Viennese Christmas Market is a popular option due to its setting based in front of City Hall. The beautiful backdrop gives off a lovely charm and glamour. Other markets are located in several areas around Vienna including Maria-Theresien Platz and Belverdere Palace. The selection of Vienna Christmas Markets will certainly give visitors a great choice of handcrafted goods and culinary treats and the opportunity to get involved in the festive activities.
Dates: Several dates between November 2017 – January 2018
Location: Several locations including City Hall, Belverdere Palace, Schönbrunn Palace and Maria-Theresien Platz
Prague, Czech Republic
The Advent theme is also adopted in the Czech capital city. With its distinctive medieval environment, Prague certainly gives a different Christmas experience for visitors and locals. The fairs based at the Old Town Square are a firm favourite for travellers with the city goes into full on festive flow with articulate decorations at known hotspots. Christmas Markets are also held at other tourist attractions including Wenceslas Square and St George’s Basilica at Prague Castle. A wide range of handicrafts including wooden toys, ceramics and embroidered fabrics can be bought as well as sampling local Czech drinks and foods.
Dates: December 2nd 2017 – January 6th 2018
Location: Several locations including Old Town Square, St George’s Basilica and Wenceslas Square
Many travel agents and airlines including British Airways, Expedia, Lastminute.com and easyJet are offering some great Christmas Market deals to these destinations. You can even bag a serious bargain if you book through discount agents such as Groupon or Wowcher. There are ample options for you to have an enjoyable Christmas Market experience in 2017.