The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

A December holiday is one of my favourites. It is guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit and allows you to embrace the colder months instead of wishing the winter away.

This is my guide to the best Christmas markets in Europe and the most magical locations to stop you from getting your tinsel in a tangle when booking a festive city break.

Berlin

Why Berlin?

This is actually the first place I visited abroad to experience Christmas markets. The appeal with Berlin is the amount of different markets they have which are all so diverse.

The best bits

The stand out market for me was The Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt. This very traditional market is a little bit of magic. It is in the historical market square with the beautiful buildings as a backdrop which already makes it one of the prettiest locations. The market is full of handmade products and there are live performances so with the sound of a choir singing and the smell of mulled wine, you are really going to get into the Christmas spirit. This is the only market we encountered with an entry fee of €1, but it hardly breaks the bank and is well worth it.

Another market we really enjoyed was the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market which has the very traditional looking stalls, a ferris wheel, lots of food options and an ice-rink.

Other things to do

Berlin is full of history and famous architecture which are definitely worth exploring.

If you are looking to grab a few drinks in the evening, Bar Tausend is a speakeasy bar hidden under a bridge with an unmarked door but is pretty spectacular inside. A couple of minutes away is Berliner Republik which is a stock market bar where you can grab cheap pints but probably won’t remember much the next day.

Visit from 25th November- 31st December

Brussels

Why Brussels?

Belgium is a popular festive destination, but Brussels is a LOT more affordable than places like Bruges but you can still enjoy the frites, the chocolate and of course the beer. One of my favourite things about visiting Brussels was that I was able to travel there and back by Eurostar. SO much easier than flying, more relaxing and you don’t need to stress about your luggage weight.

The best bits

The Grand Place is so beautiful. It is full of stunning buildings and has a hugeeeee Christmas tree. Not only is she a beaut during the day, but at night there is a light show where all the buildings are illuminated to music.

If you want to get that picturesque birds-eye view of the markets you often seen online, ride on the ferris wheel.

Other things to do

During the day you can visit Mini Europe and the Atomium if you fancy a break from hot chocolate and mulled wine. If you are looking for a bar in the evening, Delirium Cafe has the biggest selection of beer you will EVER see (including gluten free ones apparently which I need to investigate).

You can also make most of Belgium by getting a half hour train to Ghent or an hour train to Bruges and explore their Christmas markets too.

Visit from 29th November 2019- 5th January 2020

Vienna

Why Vienna?

Arguably my favourite Christmas Market experience in Europe although it’s hard to pinpoint why apart from saying you really feel Christmas magic in the air! There are lots of different markets which have very different backdrops, atmospheres but are all enjoyable and beautiful giving you the most diverse Christmas market experience out of all the places I’ve visited.

The best bits

It is hard to choose a best bit as wherever you go you feel like you are immersed in a winter wonderland (I mean the real deal, not the Hyde Park variety). But the two most memorable Christmas markets for me were the Vienna Magic of Advent which is in City Hall Square where every inch of the the space is transformed into a festive utopia and in complete contrast, there’s the more peaceful and humble market outside Schönbrunn Palace which looks like a postcard with the most beautiful backdrop.

Other things to do

The famous Cafe Central is definitely worth a visit. You will most likely have to queue to go in, but it goes surprisingly quickly. The interior is stunning and you can indulge in all manner of sweet delights including apple strudel of course.

Visit from 16th November- 24th December 2019

Prague

Why Prague?

The best bits

This medieval city with its gothic buildings makes it feel as though it was made for Christmas. It is also the cheapest of all the destinations (non of which are that pricey tbh) which means you can have double the amount of Czech beer/mulled wine right?

You won’t go hungry in Prague. Their famous chimney cake (for those who can eat gluten) is one of their foodie highlights but for my fellow coeliacs/gf friends, there was a stall entirely dedicated to gluten free. It served up small round light pieces of dough (looked like a hollow doughnut, kind of tasted a bit like a Yorkshire pudding in the best way possible) and these could either be made sweet with chocolate, jams etc or savoury with their locally sourced slow cooked beef. SO GOOD.

I would also really recommend their hot honey wine for anyone who has got a sweet tooth. We liked it so much we bought a bottle home!

Other things to do

Prague’s historical landmarks are SO beautiful. Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, St Vitus Cathedral are just a few of them. In the evening make the most of the super fun (and cheap) nightlife.

For any gluten free pals defo check out Alriso Risotteria Italiana for the best lasagne as crowned by my GLUTEN-EATING boyfriend. Who said gf can’t be delicious?

Visit from 30th November 2019- 6th January 2020

Keep an eye out for updates in the future as your gal loves a December holiday.

Where is your favourite European city break?

Marcella x

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