The Best of Europe's Christmas Markets

Melissa Hirst

Begin the festive season with a memorable visit to one of Europe's spectacular Christmas markets. Starting late November, pretty market stalls filled to the brim with festive gifts and traditional decorations adorn cities across Europe. The aroma of mulled wine and cinnamon fills the air, along with various gastronomic delights from the outdoor stalls. If you’re looking for unique gifts and want to experience a traditional European festive market, then get a group of family or friends together and start planning today; there are plenty of Christmas markets to choose from with many of the low-cost and scheduled airlines offering great value flights. Eurostar also offers direct routes to Paris, Lille and Brussels. We’ve put together a selection of our favourite European Christmas markets to inspire you!

Lille, France

The pretty city of Lille is a perfect choice for those seeking a Christmas Market close to home, with easy access by train. This medieval city with its blend of French and Flemish culture has quaint cobbled streets with over 50 Christmas market stalls in the Place Rihour. The iconic, illuminated ferris wheel is definitely worth a ride, for its wonderful and romantic views!

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Stuttgart, Germany 

Considered one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, Stuttgart festive market takes centre stage beneath the stunning backdrop of the Old Palace. Stuttgart is a fantastic choice for those wishing to combine several markets whilst in the country by including Ludwigsburg and Esslingen.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and often referred to as the ‘city of a hundred spires’. Enjoy strolling through the city, soaking up the contrasting styles of old and modern as you explore the Old Town. From early December, Wenceslas Square has an abundance of festive stalls for you to stroll around, you can also listen to Christmas carols and soak up the festivities.

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Krakow, Poland

The Christmas Market in Krakow takes place in Rynek Central Square. Wrap up warm and enjoy strolling through the historic streets and admiring the city’s gothic architecture. Try the local food, soak up the atmosphere and warm yourself in the cold winter air with a glass of mulled wine or perhaps a cherry vodka!

Budapest, Hungary

Hungary’s capital offers fascinating history, culture and sightseeing so we recommend allowing yourself at least three nights to fully experience Budapest. Vorosmarty Square, in the heart of the Pest side of the city, is the main market area and hosts over 100 stalls selling a huge variety of unique gifts and goodies. While you’re there, sample a delicious traditional ‘Chimney Cake’ (kurtoskalacs), a roll of sweet pastry – it has to be tasted to be believed!

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Basel, Switzerland 

Located on the Rhine River, the medieval Swiss city of Basel dates back to the 18th century and boasts impressive architecture. The Christmas market is the perfect place to stroll through whilst enjoying a traditional warm gluhwein! Basel is home to the largest Christmas market in Switzerland and due to the city’s close proximity to the French and Germans borders, it is easy to head to neighbouring traditional markets such as Freiburg and Colmar.

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Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm has one of the most famous and longest-running festive markets in Europe. It takes place each year in Stortorget Square, close to the Royal Palace. This beautiful setting boasts an array of market stalls selling local handcrafted gifts, mulled wine as well as the traditional Smörgåsbord.

 

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**