The festive season is now upon us with Halloween well and truly over. It won’t be long until your sweating that you haven’t bought enough or fretting because it’s creeping up too fast. Why not avoid the high street frenzy and indulge in the real joy of Christmas with Europe’s most beautiful markets.
The Mirror on Sunday has compiled a list but I’ve decided to change it ever so slightly to include a few of my favourites.
This is considered a real winter wonderland in the festive months. The largest in the city are held in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These markets are traditional wooden huts selling everything you can imagine as well as traditional Czech beers like Pilsner to keep you hydrated whilst you shop. They even open on Christmas day and New Years Day.
To me, London is simply beautiful at this time of year. From the real life reindeers in Harrods to the mulled wine and mince pie stalls that are jotted around the famous streets of the capitol. Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a treasure trove of stalls selling personalised gifts, art and leather and what feels like more bars and restaurants than Soho which offer specialist beers and traditional feasts. They also host the largest ice rink in the UK which includes live music from up and coming bands and DJ’s in the London music scene.
Almost every neighbourhood in Munich has its own market with all having different themes. Some based around the Christmas story others set in Medieval times. They also host the ‘Bright Pink Gay Market’. Expect Stunning decorations, carol singers and live nativity plays. Pay a trip to one of the famous Bavaria Hofbrauhaus for a unique bar experience.
With its medieval squares and cobbled streets, Estonia is one of the favourite places to visit this Crimbo. The market itself is small but a visit to Santa’s house to post your letter as well as the ice rink and professional snow sculptures who work whilst you wander, there is something for everyone.
The Austrian tradition of Christmas markets dates right back to 1298 when they were granted privilege of holding a market in December. It is now world famous. The typical Viennese markets involves children making candles and cookies in the streets whilst adults take full advantage of the coffee culture that Vienna has to offer.
With its gingerbread like chalets donned with twinkling lights and its spectators wheel this market is held at the Grand Place. This is more than suitable for a short break and will only set you back approximately £99 per person for 2 nights. The shops open late right through to January.
This gift fair runs every year at Brighton’s Racecourse. It has traditional market stalls and there is an opportunity to take part in wine and food sampling. Traditional Chutneys being the main attraction. There is also loads for kids like gift making and face painting. Brighton is home to the most beautiful ice rink in the South East set in the Royal Pavilion with its own rink side bar and kitchen. Why not beat the cold and pop into Jamie Oliver’s cafe for a bowl of homemade soup.
Probably the most traditional out of all the markets. This Christmas adventure spans over the different islands, most of which feature ice skating and live sculpture making. The most popular is set in Gamla Stan in the old town but for something a little different take a boat to Kansen or Djurgarden for an unforgettable experience.
Held in the historic Broad Street this market is based on a German Theme. It houses over 40 typical wooden shacks and sells everything from Christmas decorations to homemade cheese and herbal remedies. This is the perfect location for literary obsessive’s like me. Take in the atmosphere whist drinking a hot half with a good book.
This wee gem is less than 2 hours from St Pancras on the Eurostar. This French marvel does a Christmas market with a very modern twist. Wooden chalets line the streets selling traditional food and wine and a large Ferris wheel located in the main square is perfect for people watching. Santa also makes an appearance on the Saturday before Christmas. Be warned though because this was voted the busiest market in December, attracting over 1 million visitors each year.