Xmas Markets in Europe: Travel Blogger’s Top Picks

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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:

Berlin, Germany

I always look forward to the holiday season, so living in Berlin, Germany was a real treat. For me, Berlin is one of the best European cities to truly experience traditional, enchanting Christmas markets and this is why I enjoy sharing tips for visiting Berlin during the holidays.
In Berlin, even the style of Christmas markets vary: everything from funky/hipster to very traditional, grand or simple. Some are more focused on food, and others on local designers crafts. I personally love the Gendarmenmarkt best! It’s a great atmosphere in a landmark square. First, there’s the architecture. You can look around to see the famous Konzerthaus, the Deutscher Dom (German church) and Französischer Dom (French church). Secondly, in the centre of the square stands a monumental statue of Germany’s renowned poet, Friedrich Schiller. I love this cosy, cute market!
Among my other favourite Xmas markets are Alexanderplatz, with the Berlin TV tower behind for ambience, and the Klunkerkranich Christmas market, which is a rooftop bar on top of a shopping mall. The views are amazing!

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.

Berlin Xmas Market

Credit: DreamsInHeels.com

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

Prague Xmas Market

Credit: TravelGeekery.com

London, UK

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 

London's Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and Xmas Market

Credit: IMG

Valkenburg, Netherlands

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

Valkenburg Xmas Market

Credit: Karen, WanderlustingK.com

Bratislava, Slovakia

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

Bratislava Xmas Market in Slovakia

Credit: Stephanie, History Fan Girl

Where are your favourite Xmas markets? Share your thoughts below. Don’t forget to pin this post for future reference!

 

Europe's Best Christmas markets to visit during the holidays, including cities like Berlin, London, Prague, Bratislava and Valkenburg. #ChristmasMarkets #Christmas #Xmas #XmasMarkets The Best Christmas Markets in Europe to visit during the holidays, including cities like Berlin, London, Prague, Bratislava and Valkenburg. #ChristmasMarkets #Christmas #Xmas #XmasMarkets

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18 Comments

  1. December 13, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    I’ve only ever been to Winter Wonderland in London, I’d much rather go and try one of the continental ones, maybe one year! Mich x

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:12 am

      I haven’t been to the London one yet, I do love London at Christmas though!

  2. December 13, 2018 / 10:41 pm

    What some amazing sounding Christmas markets. There is something special about finding a good market just before Christmas, I used to love the Birmingham one but it seems to have gone downhill the past couple of years which is a shame.

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:10 am

      Aww that’s a shame. Cardiff’s Christmas market is bigger than ever this year, there are loads more stalls than usual which is great to see.

  3. December 13, 2018 / 11:41 pm

    I love the one in Vienna and Salzburg. I also love London at Christmas time – but never again Winter Wonderland!

    • December 14, 2018 / 1:09 am

      London is one of my favourite places at Christmas time. I haven’t been to the Winter Wonderland before – what didn’t you enjoy about it?

  4. December 14, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Oh some great picks. I’ve been to a small one in Copenhagen before, otherwise just ones in London x

    • December 14, 2018 / 12:49 pm

      Same, I haven’t been to a great deal either but I am going to turn that around next year.

  5. December 14, 2018 / 11:41 am

    I would love to go to a Christmas market, we were looking into going to one last year but never managed to get to one x

    • December 14, 2018 / 12:48 pm

      I have been to the Cardiff one this year and it’s much bigger than usual but next year, I’m hoping to go to the markets in London and Bath.

  6. December 14, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    I absolutely love visiting our local Christmas market. It really gets me in the festive spirit and I love looking at all the beautiful stalls, picking up unique gifts (and enjoying the yummy food lol!). I would love to visit some of the markets you have mentioned above one year!

    • December 16, 2018 / 3:28 pm

      Me too. I love picking out traditional Christmas ornaments and baubles 🙂

  7. ChelseaMamma
    December 15, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    Hubby is desperate to visit Berlin and I would love to visit during their Christmas markets

    • December 16, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      I’d love to go to the Berlin Christmas market too – I really like German Xmas markets.

  8. December 16, 2018 / 11:24 am

    It’s my dream to visit a Christmas market. They look amazing

    • December 16, 2018 / 3:26 pm

      I’ve been to a few in the UK but it would be a real treat to go to one in Europe one year!

  9. December 17, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    I love Christmas Markets, I would love to go to some others across the globe x

    • December 18, 2018 / 12:38 pm

      I’d love to experience some of the European Xmas markets too!