From drinking mulled wine and munching on German sausages, to splashing out on tacky Christmas decorations and skating across the ice, Xmas markets can be a great way to get the whole family into the festive spirit. Despite being a time-old tradition of Christmas celebrations all over the world, Christmas markets are still just as popular today as they were when they first began in the early 17th Century – perhaps even more so!
With this in mind, I’ve asked five top travel bloggers to reveal their ultimate destination for Xmas markets in Europe:
There are too many other Xmas markets to mention here. Overall, Berlin offers you an international vibe and lots of food options, with lots of traditional Christmas markets.
– Olga Maria, Dreams in Heels
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Berlin, consider Capri by Fraser Berlin.
Prague, Czech Republic
While wintery Prague has no shortage of Xmas markets, the ones in the city centre can become a little overcrowded at times. Instead of going here, I highly recommend that you visit the Christmas market at Náměstí Míru (Square of Peace) in Prague’s popular Vinohrady district.
The Christmas market lies right by the St. Ludmila Cathedral, which provides a stunning backdrop. Add a Christmas tree, a little nativity scene and endless rows of vending stalls lining the paths leading to the middle of the Square, and you have a lovely neighbourhood market!
The Náměstí Míru Christmas market is largely popular among locals, so you don’t have to limit your mingle to other tourists as is often the case at the Old Town Square.
Don’t forget to warm your hands and belly with mulled wine or hot mead, and buy something to eat too. Just be aware that Trdlo (Trdelník) – the famous ‘chimney cake’ – is in no way a traditional Czech specialty.
– Veronika, Travel Geekery
There’s no other European city like London at Christmas time! The city lights up with over 25 different Christmas markets popping up around the city.
One of the best and biggest is, in fact, Winter Wonderland. The Xmas markets are situated within Hyde Park, with over 200 Bavarian-style wooden chalets offering all the festive food, mulled wine and Christmas gifts you could ever need. There’s lots to do here besides marvelling at the beautiful Christmas markets. You can ice skate at the largest ice rink in London, attend a Christmas show or, if you’re a thrill seeker, go on one of the many carnival rides within the park.
If you come to London at Christmas time, make sure you visit Winter Wonderland. It’s free to enter and will no doubt knock your Christmas socks off! Other great Christmas markets around London include Southbank, Leicester Square and London Bridge City.
– Anita, AnitaHendrieka.com
One of the most unique Christmas markets in Europe is the Gemeentegrot Christmas market located in Valkenburg. This market in the south of the Netherlands takes place each winter within two caves, the Velvet Cave and the Municipal Cave. These caves have a long history starting as far back as the Romans, but today you can browse the beautiful stalls, admire the carvings along the many passages, and sip on Glühwein.
In addition to shopping, you’ll be able to learn about the fascinating history during World War II and the medieval ages while walking around the Velvet Caves, which sit under the ruins of Valkenburg castle.
Due to Valkenburg’s unique location, you’ll find the best of Dutch, German, and Belgian food in the markets, although a stroopwafel is always delicious! Beyond the caves, Valkenburg was named the best Christmas city in Europe for 2018 as the festive spirit extends to the shops in the city centre. Due to the Christmas cheer and decorations all over this historic city, it’s easy to see why Valkenburg draws visitors from all around the world.
– Karen, WanderlustingK
I love cities where there is one main Christmas market to explore. My favourite in Central Europe is the Bratislava Christmas market, which I visited when I made a day trip from Vienna to Bratislava The Christmas market in Bratislava is located in two adjoining places: in the Main Square and Hviezdoslav Square.
Like other Xmas markets in Europe, you’ll find all kinds of Christmas goodies for sale, like cookies, ornaments, and delicious smoked meats. However, I found the prices in Bratislava to be far more competitive than in other Central European countries. You’ll also find the traditional Christmas market fair, like mulled wine and goose. Beyond the typical glühwein, however, you can find a baby punch for people looking for non-alcoholic beverages, as well as a ‘turbo punch’ which has the addition of absinthe. This one is not for the faint of heart!
If you go, make sure to stay and explore more of the city. Bratislava is blessed with absolutely stunning architecture. You’ll get a taste from the market, but wander about on your own a little bit, too!
– Stephanie, History Fan Girl
Where are your favourite Xmas markets? Share your thoughts below. Don’t forget to pin this post for future reference!