European Christmas Markets: How to Shop and Dine in Style this Winter

The Christmas season is probably the best thing about winter. As the days get shorter and the temperature plummets, we get to spend a month (or more) of the year’s darkest season thinking about presents, mulled wine, and cuddling up near a fire with family. A weekend getaway to Europe can make for an excellent break before Christmas, and also serve as a great chance to do your Christmas shopping at a range of incredible authentic Christmas markets around the world. Read on for our guide to the best Christmas markets across Europe this winter. 

The world’s oldest Christmas, dating back to 1570, this market in France is set against the backdrop of the old cathedral square, and boasts over 300 chalets along the square and surrounding streets. Funnily enough for the world’s oldest continuous Christmas market, the chalets and medieval town background give a timeless sense of Christmas good cheer. Keep an eye out for traditional Alsatian cuisine from the region, and for incredible illuminations. 

In Berlin you can find a huge Christmas market, with all the delights of a German market, from woodwork ornaments to artisanal candles and sweetmeats. Turkish delight and a host of other special gifts can be found in the stalls that set up in the city’s cobbled streets. As you explore the market keep an eye on the surrounding architecture, as this historic city can tell its history of division in many tiny ways if you know how to look. If you have time in the daytime it can also be worth visiting the incredible museum complex of the Museum Island, to see museums such as the incredible Egyptian Museum, one of the world’s most important collections of ancient Egyptian art and historical artefacts. 

In the Swedish capital you can find a unique national style of Christmas market. In Stortorget Square in the Old Town you can discover exciting local delicacies such as dry-cured reindeer meat, smoked sausage, and Nordic glogg, a particular Swedish take on mulled wine. Sweden has incredibly efficient public transport and a very high level of English across the population so navigating the city will be very straightforward and free of stress. 

While Budapest is famous for its hot springs as a beloved place to go in summer, in winter the Hungarian capital has a wonderful Christmas market which happens every year between the end of November and start of January in Vörösmarty Square. Since Central Europe can get very cold very quickly in winter, and Hungary, being part of the Finno-Ugric language family, is not an easy language to navigate a city in when you have just arrived. A convenient and quick way to get to your airport is through airport taxi transfer. Once you have arrived comfortably and safely at your hotel you will be better equipped to take stock, get a sense of the city, and go out to explore the Christmas market at your own leisure.

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