We’ve found sugar, spice and everything nice in our pick of the finest European Christmas markets. From Croatian mulled wine and doughnuts to German cookies and Belgium’s gigantic Christmas trees, visit one of Europe’s finest markets for a festive treat.
1 Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia’s historic capital is the perfect place to visit over the festive period and has been receiving its presents early this year, having just been voted as Europe’s best Christmas market. Skate around its huge ice rink to the tune of brass bands before enjoying mulled wine and cinnamon donuts from one of its many traditional market stalls.
Plus, don’t miss out on joining the crowds for the annual release of thousands of lanterns that gently climb above the city’s ancient spires.
When: 26th November to 8th January. Click here for more.
2 Aachen, Germany
Just a four hour train journey from London, every year the delightful spa city of Aachen is transformed into a haven of festive sounds and aromas. Authentic and intimate, this German market, set around its UNESCO World Heritage listed cathedral, has been delighting visitors for the last thousand years.
If the cold gets a little much, warm your hands at the Elisa Fountain – which has the hottest running water in Northern Europe. Plus, make sure you try the Aachener Printen – a delicious local treat similar to gingerbread (its recipe is kept a well-guarded secret by the city’s resident bakers).
When: 18th November to 23rd December. Click here for more.
3 Vienna, Austria
With a history of celebrating the festive season that goes back centuries, this spectacular city has a range of fantastic Christmas markets. Full of grandeur, it’s hard to beat the hundreds of stalls that sit snugly on City Hall Square where you can fill your stockings with all manner of hand-crafted gifts. For a more secluded spot, wrap up warm and take a stroll through the light-bedecked trees of Rathauspark, where carol singers can be heard drifting through the crisp evening air.
When: 12th November to 24th December. Click here for more.
4 Stockholm, Sweden
With a lovely location in front of the impressive Nobel Museum and directly next to the Royal Palace, celebrate the season in true Scandinavian style within the streets of Old Town. Join the locals and glug Glögg whilst stopping by cute red-roofed stalls to feast on Pepparkakor, a delicious crispy cookie that tastes of Christmas.
Prices are surprisingly affordable for uniquely Swedish gifts such as pottery and jewellery, which are all hand-crafted by stall-owners.
When: 19th November to 23rd December. Click here to find out more.
5 Brussels, Belgium
An enchanting experience awaits any visitor to the Brussels’ Winter Wonders festival. Animating the heart of Brussels for five spectacular weeks every winter, the market features a huge Christmas tree that’s taller than most buildings stands sentinel over the two kilometres of wooden stalls that line the streets.
Add to this a thirty five meter toboggan slope, a big-wheel illuminated with eighteen thousand lights and some of the world’s finest chocolate and waffles, and you’re bound to have a Christmas experience that will live long in the memory.
When: November 25th to January 1st. To find out more, click here.
6 Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s Wenceslas Square has become home of all things Christmas. Here, you’ll find a seasonal market that is based in fairytale and folklore. A wonderland filled with horse carriage rides, daily concerts and a nativity style petting zoo, there’s something to suit every visitor.
The traditional seasonal foods are perfect for curious foodies, especially Trdelník – a hot, sugar-coated pastry served straight from the oven.
When: November 26th to January 1st. Click here to find out more.