Discover Europe’s Finest Christmas Markets
Winter Cheer At A Typical European Christmas Market
Sip mulled wine, go ice-skating and enjoy some traditional Christmas market shopping whilst on a European mini-break this December.
Picture the scene of a European city’s Old Town with an open-air ice rink and giant Christmas tree in the middle of its main square, which is twinkling with fairy lights and lined with several dozen wooden huts and stalls selling regional produce. Locals sing Christmas carols and there is a faint smell of mulled wine, chestnuts and perhaps even German sausages in the air. This is the scene of a European Christmas market, of which there are hundreds that take place between mid-November and the end of December each year on the continent. Here are some of the finest Christmas markets that Europe has to offer.
Strasbourg Christmas Market
France’s oldest Christmas market in the capital of Alsace has been around since 1570. Strasbourg Christmas market contains over 300 stalls selling all manner of local produce from French delicacies and fine wines, to winter knits and sheepskin shoes. The most famous part of the market is situated outside of the Strasbourg Cathedral. Each year a different country is invited to showcase their own national Christmas traditions.
Ljubljana Christmas Market
The capital of Slovenia hosts a beautiful Christmas market alongside the Ljubljanica river. Tourists can spend the day meandering back and forth across the Tromostovje, or Triple Bridges, sampling mulled wine and purchasing all sorts of authentic crafts and Christmas knick-knacks.
Aachen Christmas Market
Germany is synonymous with Christmas markets and the town of Aachen in western Germany offers a spectacular experience. You could visit the Aachen Christmas market to view the lights alone, as the main squares around the Town Hall are transformed into an illumination paradise. However, the colourful stalls offer the usual traditional wares and gifts, with something for everyone. It is worth noting that Aachen is the nearest Christmas market to the UK and those travelling from London by train can reach it in under 4 hours.
Brussels Christmas Market
This relatively new market with a strong green policy was set up in 2000 and takes place along a 2km illuminated trail of stalls. An open-air ice rink and a Ferris wheel both grace the square at Marche aux Poissons whilst the light and sound display known as the ‘Son et Lumiere’ is projected onto the Grand-Place. Children will love the merry-go-rounds and street entertainment such as carol singers and marching bands.
Salzburg Christmas Market
Salzburg is one of the most picturesque cities in the whole of Europe, so it will come as no surprise that its Christmas market is extremely enchanting. Angels in white and gold robes walk through the market on the four Saturdays before Christmas, and various Salzburg choirs sing traditional music in the streets. The stalls are decked out with Christmas cookies, tree decorations and seasonal arts and crafts.
It’s not too late to book a mini-break with some single travel insurance for a trip to one of these markets to stock up on traditional European gifts for your friends and family this Christmas. You can choose to go as part of a package coach or ferry trip, or just make your own way there using a budget airline or even by Eurostar.