The Christmas season is coming and you can almost smell the mulled wine, the faint hint of pine trees, and the enticing aromas of roasted almonds and handmade mince pies. But are you bored of giving the same dull socks, pants and pyjamas for Christmas? Why not get into the festive season and find inspiration for this year’s gifts by visiting a Christmas market – they are scattered all across Europe so whether you want to travel far afield or closer to home, there’s bound to be one to suit!
1) The Christmas market at Gedächtniskirche Kaiser Wilhelm in Berlin could easily qualify as the most popular of the traditional Christmas markets, if you judge markets on quantity alone it has 50 across the city every year. Unsurprisingly, Germany, the original host of the Christmas market, has some of the best in Europe, and almost one in every city. The markets in Cologne, Nuremberg and Frankfurt are particularly famous and well worth the trip! The Berlin market is the biggest and most popular market; they receive on average 2 million visitors each year. They travel from far and wide to purchase the handcrafted jewellery, glass decorations and artwork on sale as well as to indulge in the more clichéd seasonal pleasures such as chestnuts and mulled wine – it’s a good excuse to drink wine in the day! This particular market takes place on the 24th Nov to 1st January so get planning today.
2) You might think that Barcelona is only good in the summer time for the beach weather, but if you travel further into the centre you will find Fira de Santa Llúcia, the magical fair holds over 300 stalls selling all manners of crafted items. The market dates back to 1786 where they sold mistletoe, poinsettias and home grown Christmas trees. If shopping isn’t your ideal relaxing break then there is plenty for the kids to do, with a nativity scene contest, musical parades and even a life-size version of the nativity scene on Placa Sant Jaume square!
3) Vienna holds an annual ‘Christkindlmarkt’ which dates back to 1294, the doors open early on the 17th November and the Rathausplatz gets transformed into a winter wonderland that will take your breath away. There are over 150 stalls outside the Gothic City Hall, all laden with handmade decorations, sweet treats and even pottery! The market also has a festive advent music concert that is performed everyday at 4:30 – with a glass of mulled wine in hand it truly is magical, don’t miss out!
4) If you fancy somewhere closer to home then head down to London, England, for the Southbank Christmas market, November 15th to December 24th, by far the most elegant and classy event across Europe. With a variety of wooden chalets filled with festive wine, food, and handmade crafts it truly gives a luxurious feel.
5) The Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy, is the heart of all winter magic, the vibrant market attracts thousands of visitors a year flocking to this cultural metropolis to wander the streets of Rome’s iconic Baroque Square, with elaborative nativity scenes, delicious food and handmade seasonal gifts. From 26th November to 6th January you can take your children to meet Father Christmas and the Christmas witch, they can be found throughout the market stalls with interactive games for the children to play, keeping them busy while you shop till you drop.
Wherever you plan on going to mark the festivities then make sure you have everything prepared and your routes are planned, tickets are booked, your Luton airport transfers are reserved, your Luton airport app (to make sure you hear about any news on your flight first!) and your packing is done – it will be chilly wherever you go so wrap up warm!