One thing I love about Christmas is all the European Christmas Markets. I have been to a couple of different ones but there are so many amazing European markets and many cities have more than just one Christmas market. Some of the best Christmas markets and most well-known ones are the German Christmas market, the Bath Christmas market, the Vienna Christmas market, the Winchester Christmas market, and the Brussels Christmas markets. So, I asked some other travel writers where they think the best Christmas Markets in Europe are and this was is what they said. I hope you get to enjoy Christmas in Europe and the Xmas markets there.
Prague has a number of beautiful Christmas markets, but one stands out thanks to its location: the Prague Castle Christmas Market. That’s right, it’s located within the Prague Castle!
If you’re looking for more of an intimate Prague Christmas market experience, this one is your best pick. Even though the Prague castle is the largest castle complex in the world, still the area where the markets can be held is quite limited.
The individual stalls selling the usual mix of mulled wine and hot mead, Trdlo or Trdelník (a chimney cake that’s not original to the Czech Republic despite the marketing claims), grilled sausages, wooden products, and gift items can be found throughout the Christmas festival markets.
It’s however mainly about the environment. Enclosed by charming buildings, just by the majestic St. Vitus Cathedral, is simply one of the most special locations there is.
If you’re lucky, you might hear the local Prague Castle Guards Choir perform at the small stage of the Christmas market singing Christmas carols.
Please note that you need to go through security frames to get to the castle complex. Sometimes lines form, but I’ve never had to on wintery evenings.
Written by Veronika Primm of TravelGeekery. Follow her on Facebook.
The city of Béthune is located in northern France, less than an hour’s drive south-east f Calais. Lille, the location of the nearest Eurostar station, is approximately 38 kilometers north-east of Béthune. If you are taking the train, you can also visit Lille Christmas Market.
Since the mid-1990s, when Béthune held its first‘marché de Noël’, the seasonal event has evolved into one of the most popular Christmas markets in the region. It is held on the cobbled square around the city’s freestanding stone tower, which dates from the 14th century and counts among one the 56 belfries of France and Belgium that are collectively listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Bethune Christmas market has approximately 40 stalls in wooden chalets covered in Christmas decorations. They serve regional delicacies such as snails roasted in their shells with butter and garlic, dishes featuring foie gras, and cheeses from the local Pas de Calais department. A version of mulled wine, vin chaud, is served at stalls and there’s also a selection of local beers to choose from. Maybe it would be better to enjoy a session of ice skating. There is an ice rink at the center of the market. Go for a skate before sinking any of those drinks.
Béthune Christmas market and the town itself has a pleasant and inviting atmosphere and makes a good alternative to Europe’s larger Christmas markets.
Budapest Hungary Christmas Market
The Christmas season is looming and what is a better way to spend this happy time than visiting the festive and vibrant Budapest Christmas Markets? This city has so many Christmas markets, some tour companies offer a Christmas market tour.
The capital of Hungary is considered one of the cheapest and most beautiful destinations to spend Christmas in Europe. The city has two main centrally located marketplaces that are attracting several thousands of visitors each year. The Budapest Christmas markets open from the beginning to the middle of November and last until the 1st of January.
The older, more popular, and definitely more traditional one is the Vorosmarty Square Christmas market. It is located right in the heart of the city center. You will see there more than one hundred stalls that line up the streets, offering various crafts, food, wine tasting, and even concerts. Bright and colorful Christmas lights adorn all the stalls and Christmas trees along the way. What makes the Christmas Market in Vorosmarty Square truly appealing is its effort to preserve traditional Hungarian craftsmanship and products. If you want to experience a truly Hungarian and jolly Christmas, then the market in Vorosmarty is for you.
For a more festive vibe and bigger open space with a wonderful view of the grand St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest’s downtown, head to Szt. Itzvan Square for the Budapest Basilica Christmas Market. In addition to stalls that offer Hungarian food, drinks, and crafts, the square has a 200 square meter ice rink that not only kids will enjoy skating on. Light shows and Christmas laser projections on the Basilica are fun attractions as well.
While attending the Christmas markets in Budapest, visitors can also join masses, light candles, listen to astounding concerts, and be part of the many activities set for adults and children
Many people say Germany has the best Christmas markets and the moment my eyes alit on Hamburg I was entranced. Maybe it was the architecture that makes the buildings look like Victorian cakes, the shimmering lights along the canals, or the Christmas decor of the Neuer Wall shopping district wrapping the street like ribbons adorning a Christmas parcel. It was all so aesthetically pleasing, so elegant. Then we saw the white stalls of the Christmas market laid out at the nape of Alster Lake like a sparkling diamond necklace. The lights shimmering on the water drew us in like moths to a flame.
There was something so regal and tranquil about the White Christmas Market in Hamburg. It was simply a serene Christmas atmosphere.
Like most Christmas markets, the Hamburg Christmas markets boast fine food. Everything from flame-broiled bratwurst, grilled sausages, hams, currywurst, and fischbrötchen, a fish sandwich served with pickled or fried fish, onions, and sauerkraut.
And Germans like their sweets and have a plethora of yummy treats to choose from. Fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar, marzipan, gingerbread, marshmallow cremes dipped in chocolate, and mini pancakes with a wide assortment of fillings like Nutella, butter, sugar, marzipan, cherries, Grand Marnier, and Amaretto, to name just a few.
Wash your food down with glühwein, mulled red wine with mit schuss, or with a shot of rum or some other liquor. It really warms you up!
Hamburg is one of my favorite and one of the best Christmas markets in Germany because of the feeling it evoked in me. I can still feel the peacefulness today when my mind wanders back to our visit. And really, isn’t that what the season and Christmas spirit is about? A time to reflect, to spend time with loved ones, and to enjoy the bounty of a peaceful feeling. I hope that you visit the Hamburg White Christmas Market one day. Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Written by Shelley Jarvis of Niche Travel Design. Follow her on Facebook.
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Belfast Christmas Market has been running for years and it has transformed into the most magical Northern Ireland Christmas market, especially for food lovers. With over 90 stalls and expanding every year, it offers everything including local gifts, a vintage Helter Skelter and the best bar in all of Belfast: Laverys. But what makes it really special is the amazing food on offer.
Going to Belfast city Christmas market will take you on a tour of the world’s best cuisine. It’s organized in a circle style, so when you enter, head left and experience everything such as delicious French Potatoes au Gratin, Christmas dinner in a Yorkshire pudding, fudge in over 30 flavors, Spanish paella, Belgian waffles, churros and, for the more adventurous, wild boar and kangaroo burgers.
Whatever food you’ve been dreaming of, this market will have it. After you’ve filled your belly and shopped at all the amazing stalls, you can finish your magical evening with a pint of local Guinness with live traditional Irish music at the pop-up Lavery’s Bar.
Written by Cazzy Magennis of Dream Big, Travel Far. Read more about Belfast.
Tübingen, Germany Christmas Market
I just love the Christmas market, ChocolART in Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. This Christmas fair is the biggest chocolate festival in all of Europe and it’s in one of the cutest towns in Europe as well. Tübingen is a quaint university town with a gorgeous old town where the German market takes place. Stalls serve up every form of chocolate you can think of, from spicy chocolates to truffles, Italian sweets, hot chocolate, chocolate liqueurs, and even vegan chocolate! It also has an international element with vendors selling sweets from the African continent, and the Italian section with sweets, and of course, lots of German chocolate. It usually only takes place over one weekend per year. This year it is the second weekend of December, beginning on Thursday and ending on Sunday. It runs at the same time as the Tübingen Christmas market. This is an incredibly popular market, so get ready to share it with lots of other people.
If you’d like to try to see it without the crowds, get there early on Thursday, but be sure to stay late to see the buildings light up with decorations. To get there, the best way is either to drive or to take the train from Stuttgart. The train takes about an hour and goes directly to Central Station. From there it’s an easy 10-minute walk to the old town, crossing over the famous bridge. This may be the best option as parking in Tubingen can be limited and the traffic getting into town can really build up due to the popularity of the market. However you get there and whenever you go, this unique market is a chocolate lover’s dream and probably the most delicious market in Germany!
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