04 December 2017
From wandering quaint cobblestone streets adorned with festive lights to sampling sizzling sausages and apple strudel, there is something magical about experiencing Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you are travelling by river, road or rail we can help you plan your most memorable Christmas holiday ever. We have explored Europe’s most enchanting cities to bring you some of the best Christmas markets we recommend visiting to celebrate the festive season.
For the ultimate Christmas market discovery, join the thousands of locals and tourists alike who flock to Cologne for the annual market stalls. Perched on Germany’s Rhine River, the city of Cologne is a gorgeous twinkling backdrop to the celebrations that run from late November in the lead up to Christmas. There are seven remarkable markets to experience with a favourite being the gothic Cathedral Market. You will be impressed seeing the largest Christmas tree as you wander the stalls looking at delicate hand-blown glass ornaments. Warm up in the crisp winter air with a mug of gluhwein (mulled wine) as you stroll to the sound of merry Christmas carol performances nearby.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Where elaborate decorations meet medieval gothic buildings – experiencing Christmas in the beautiful city of Prague is a feast for the senses. There are four central markets to explore with the Old Town Square Market being a highlight to your visit, complete with a nativity scene and giant Christmas tree. Enjoy performances by folk bands and choirs, as you sip on hot citrus wines. Prague is home to arguably the best beer in the world which warrants a visit into a quaint tavern to sample one of the craft ales. Venture across the world-famous Charles Bridge and visit impressive Hradcany Castle as you weave around this city so rich in history.
Set on the Danube River, Budapest is a city that truly sparkles during the festive season. Visit iconic city sights including Heroes Square, Fisherman’s Bastion and St Stephen’s Basilica illuminated with colourful Christmas lights. Wander the markets sampling sweet Hungarian pastries, search for one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones and enjoy the sound of folk music as the streets come alive with celebrations.
With the scent of roasting chestnuts filling the air you will fall in love with Vienna’s yuletide markets including the popular ‘Christkindlmarkt’. With over 20 markets in Vienna, the array of Viennese culinary treats available will see you snack (or feast!) on minced pies, gingerbread, waffles and baked potatoes as you explore. What a glorious time of year to see the iconic Schönbrunn Palace and the grand State Opera House with the decorated trees and twinkling lights adding to the grandeur of Vienna’s fabulous buildings.
Like an image of a fairytale snow globe, if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas experience the romance of a winter holiday in Copenhagen. It is impossible not to get swept away with the spirit of Christmas visiting the famous Tivoli Gardens filled with market stalls as well as Santa Claus and reindeer in a true Nordic Christmas atmosphere that will be memorable for the whole family. Perhaps put on a pair of skates and join in the fun skating on the ice rink at Frederiksberg Runddel. Be sure to sample the traditional Christmas liquorice and sweet local schnapps as you explore this stylish, contemporary and captivating city. We recommend taking in the glistening winter landscape of Scandinavia and travelling by train with Rail Plus for a seamless journey into Copenhagen.
To find out more about these European cities and many more contact Travel Counsellors. We are passionate about helping you plan your perfect winter wonderland discovery.