2018 European Christmas Markets

Christmas markets have been around since the Middles Ages and have become increasingly popular over the last few years. And there is nothing like a short city break to one of the many beautiful European Christmas markets, with the sweet smell of mulled wine and twinkly lights, to get you into the festive spirit.

Berlin, Germany

26 November to 26 December 2018

The Germans certainly know how to do Christmas markets and Berlin, Germany’s capital is no exception. The city hosts some 60 Christmas markets and with so many markets to choose from you are sure to find some wonderful festive presents. The Alexanderplatz is a great place to soak up the Christmas spirit with stalls of potters, blacksmiths and glass blowers all displaying their work.

The Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is one of the more classic Berlin Christmas markets located between the impressive buildings of The Deutscher Dom, the Konzerthaus and the Franzozische Friedrihstadtkirche. Winter World on Potsdamer Platz is the perfect place for both adults and children as the city centre is transformed into a vast winter wonderland with Europe’s biggest toboggan run.

Zagreb, Croatia

01 December 2018 to 06 January 2019

Croatia’s capital city has been voted Best Christmas Market for the last two years by European Best Destinations and Zagreb has a lot to offer during the Advent season. The Ban Josip Jelačić square in the city hosts a huge Christmas tree and the fountain is transformed into a fantastic light display. With a merry Christmas tram, musical bands, ice sculptures and an enormous skating rink, there is something for everyone in Zagreb.

Prague, Czech Republic

01 December 2018 to 06 January 2018

With a medieval backdrop of Gothic churches and colourful baroque buildings, the heart of Prague’s main Christmas market takes place in the Old Town Square, where a huge Christmas tree, imported each year from the Krkonoše Mountains in the north is draped in lights. Wenceslas Square also hosts a Christmas market and there are smaller markets throughout the city. Visitors can make the most of the culinary delights Czech food has to offer, especially the tasty klobása, (barbecued sausage), Pražská Šunka (Prague ham) and the cinnamon rolls called Trdelník.

Colmar, France

23 November to 30 December 2018

Colmar’s Christmas market is world famous and was voted 2nd Best Christmas Market in Europe in 2017. The ambience of the Old Town and the historic setting is decorated like a fairy tale during the festive period with illuminations linking the city’s five traditional Christmas markets. Each market constitutes of a mini-village with its host of passionate and local artisans and gastronomic delights.

Vienna, Austria

17 November to 24 December 2018

Christmas markets in Vienna are a long-standing tradition and one that dates back as far as the 13th century. Vienna is home to one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world, with more than a dozen markets. Visit the most famous Christmas market, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz which is set in front of the neo-Gothic City Hall. Or visit the Advent market by the Karlskirche where you will find regional artistic crafts or the market at the Schönbrunn Palace, ranked top as the Vienneses’ favourite Christmas market.

Budapest, Hungary

27 November 2018 to 02 January 2019

The annual Christmas markets in Budapest are becoming more and more popular. The most famous one is located at Vörösmarty Tér in the centre of the city where you will find traditional Hungarian handicraft and lots of delicious food including the traditional chimney cake with cinnamon. The newest Christmas market can be found in front of the St Stephens Basilica which opened in 2011 and now features an ice-skating rink for children and each night the Basilica is illuminated with a spectacular light show.

Strasbourg, France

23 November to 24 December 2018

Strasbourg’s Christmas market held in the cathedral square has been around since 1570 and is one of the oldest in Europe. And although Strasbourg is a relevantly small town it hosts 11 Christmas markets in total. The whole town is decorated with elaborate illuminations which are strung across the cobbled streets and comes to life in late afternoon, as the shop windows are lit up, decorations twinkle and Christmas carols drift out from the churches.

Tallinn, Estonia

24 November 2018 to 06 January 2019

Tallinn’s Christmas market is held in the centre of this medieval town at the Town Hall Square where Estonia’s largest Christmas tree can be found. The star of the market is the Christmas tree and has been set up in the square since 1441, making it the first Christmas tree to be put on display in Europe. The market is full of handicraft gifts and festive treats including traditional Estonian Christmas classics such as black pudding and sour cabbage. And to really get into the Christmas spirit, a blanket of snow has fallen annually on the market since it started in 2001.

Christmas Market Airport Parking

If you are flying off for a little festive cheer before Christmas, don’t struggle back on the airport parking bus with all the Christmas presents you bought. Take the stress out of your airport parking, by being met outside the terminal building by an I Love meet and greet driver who will even help you load those presents into your boot.

By Sarah Anglim at 21 Nov 2018

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