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Christmas markets have been around for centuries.  Today they are as popular as ever with millions of people flocking to European destinations during December.  Their appeal is timeless and a wonderful way to get some Christmas spirit in traditional surroundings.   The beautiful lights and decorations amid historic landmarks, colourful stalls, music, and array of food and drink are sure to please those of all ages.

 

You may decide to take advantage of a cheap airfare and treat yourself to a city break, ride the Eurostar, or take the car.  Whichever way you choose to go, be sure to have your travel insurance and vehicle breakdown cover in place. If you fancy some ice skating or winter sports, then it would be wise to add winter sports cover, visit: ski insurance.
 
There are far too many Christmas Markets throughout Europe for us to list here, so we have just included a few to get you going so that you can do your own research and choose a destination. Be sure to check the dates before going as they may vary from year to year.  

 

 

Berlin, Germany

Buzzing Berlin is a magical place to be at any time, but especially during the festive season.  It hosts literally dozens of Christmas markets in different locations throughout the city from the end of November to mid-December.  Why not explore them all!  Wend your way through the fairy lights and stalls at the popular market outside Charlottenburg Castle and move on to Potsdamer Platz.  Kids and kidults alike are sure to have fun at the Sony Centre and Legoland Discovery Centre.  You might pick up some unusual Christmas crafts and gifts but also some more unusual art pieces as well as modern and antique jewellery.  

 

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, but especially so in December when the Christmas markets are on and the stalls and street vendors sell their unique gifts and crafts.  It could just solve your gift problems for those hard-to-buy-for people or why not pick up some unusual stocking-stuffers. You could join in with the ice-skaters or just watch and enjoy the spirit of the season.

 

Cologne, Germany

There are many Christmas markets to choose from in the beautiful city of Cologne from late November through Christmas.  Cologne always delights with an array of brightly lit stalls, decorations and activities.  Why not take a break from shopping and go ice-skating or watch the street musicians while warming yourself with some Glühwein.

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

You would expect to find lots of fairytale Christmas markets in and around Copenhagen and you will not be disappointed!  Visit the traditional market held in the famous Tivoli Gardens where the Christmas lights transform it into a true winter wonderland.  The lake becomes an ice rink for family fun and you can warm yourself up afterwards with some Danish mulled wine or Glögg.   While you are there, why not visit the wonderful Christmas market in Malmo, Sweden, which is only about half an hour away.

 

Dresden, Germany

Dresden is host to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany which starts in late November and runs through until Christmas. The old-fashioned ambience is contagious with stalls selling traditional crafts and wares.  Dresden is famous for its Stollen cake (a delicious sweet fruitcake with a dusting of icing sugar) and one of the highlights of the season is the Stollen Festival held in December. 

Lille, France

Lille is also easily accessible via Eurostar and a magical place to visit.  Their Christmas market runs for longer than many others, opening mid-November right through to Christmas.  The Christmas magic begins at Place Rihour with the many festive stalls, lights, food and drink.  A giant Ferris wheel will keep the children happy, as well as a visit with Santa. 

 

Munich, Germany

The heart of the old town of Munich is where you will find the main Christmas market, as well as a beautiful Christmas tree.  Take your time and enjoy the stalls, local food and drinks, as well as entertainment with bands and choirs.  Enjoy a mug of Glühwein and you will soon be in the mood for Christmas celebrations!  

 

Paris, France

Who could resist the spell that romantic Paris casts, especially at Christmas.  Known as the ‘City of Lights’ all year-round, it really lives up to its name during the festive season.  The Christmas markets are normally open from the end of November through Christmas.  The Eurostar will whisk you there almost as fast as Santa and his reindeer!

Why not explore the many markets throughout the city, as well the main ones at Boulevard St. Germain and Place Saint-Sulpice.  

 

Prague, Czech Republic

The beautiful Czech capital is a great place for a quick city break where you might just pick up the perfect gifts, stocking stuffers, and decorations.   The Christmas markets are normally open from the end of November through January 1st.  It is a great place to unwind and get into the Christmas spirit.

 

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg boasts the oldest Christmas market in France - the famous Christkindelsmärik – where you can stroll and shop for unusual arts, crafts and Christmas decorations.  There are also Christmas concerts, an ice skating rink, and you won’t be able to miss the huge Christmas tree in Place Kléber! The Christmas market is held from the end of November through early January.  

 

Vienna, Austria

Vienna’s Christmas Market, or ‘Christkindlmarkte’ is one of the most popular in Europe.  There are many markets throughout the city, which are normally open from the end of November right up until Christmas.  The largest markets are normally outside the Vienna City Hall and at the Spittelberg.  Browse the pretty little Christmassy huts, packed with interesting gifts, crafts and foods, and if it gets chilly, warm up with a glass of traditional, hot Glühwein.