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European Christmas markets

Lights, trees ... & traditional gifts

Escaped from the pre-Christmas mayhem this year? Travelling on the road and realised, that maybe, just maybe, you miss home a little bit? Wishing that you were in the middle of screaming, fighting relatives and a big Christmas lunch, or better yet, smack-bang in the middle of pre-Christmas panic?

However you do celebrate the Christmas season at home, if you’re travelling in Europe during the merry season, you’re sure to be captured by the romantic lanterns, the mulled wine and the handmade decorations. It’s Christmas market season in Europe – brave the cold outside and make sure that you make time to check out the twinkling lights. You might even come across Santa getting his last minute gifts.

So even if you’re not back home until after Christmas, you’re sure to find something unique to take back home as presents. If not, there’s the twinkling lights, open-air ice rinks, mulled wine and all sorts of seasonal treats (think candied apples, apricot brandy and sugared almonds!). It’s just something about that crisp winter air and warm mulled wine that’s sure to get your festive spirits going.

Try some of these markets for your Christmas shopping with a difference.

Germany – best known for its annual Christmas markets all over.
Try Nuremburg (December 6 – 23) for the most famous and some great gingerbread men; Dresden (November 29 – December 24) for the oldest Christmas markets in Europe and traditional crafts; Munich (December 1 – 23) for a Christmas tree in Mannenplatz covered with over 2,500 candles.

Sweden, Gothenburg. November 15 – December 23

Christmas markets held at the largest amusement park in Northern Europe. You’ll find over 700 Christmas trees and a huge ice-skating rink.

Netherlands, Valkenburg. November 21 – December 21

Christmas Caves Markets for that something extra special. Duck your head and check out the candle-lit tunnels for atmosphere!

UK, Belfast. November 22 – December 19

For something different. International food stalls at the Christmas Continental Markets.

Belgium, Leige. November 29 – December 30

An entire Christmas Village. Maybe you’ll find Santa here?

Hungary, Budapest. December 1 – 24

At Vorsmarty Square, you’ll find a giant-sized Advent calendar, in a building!

Czech Republic, Prague. December 2 – January 1

Held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Traditional handicrafts, hot food and warm drinks. Best of all, puppets and a mini zoo!

Italy, Rome. December 8 – January 6

Under the golden lights of Piazza Navona, you’ll find traditional crafts, decorations and sweet things.

Denmark, Copenhagen. Until December 30

Also at an amusement park, you’ll find over 750,000 Christmas lights twinkling.

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