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5 of the best European Christmas markets to visit this year

Fairy lights, Christmas trees, mulled wine and the smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire are just a handful of the reasons why an annual visit to a Christmas market is the perfect trip away to get you in to the seasonal spirit. The UK and Europe showcase some of the best Christmas markets in the world, so why not take advantage of what is right on your doorstep or turn it in to a festive weekend trip with the whole family.

 

(1) Prague

At the top of our list, it’s the Christmas market in the old town square in Prague. Accompanied with a dip in temperature this time of year, this market is picture perfect with its abundance of authentic wooden chalets selling locally made gifts, twinkling fairy lights at every turn and the enormous Christmas tree on display in the very centre that is sure to get you inspired for what’s to come.

This market is great for picking up last-minute gifts for your loved ones or just enjoying the scenery and the experience it has to offer.There is also a smaller version of this market in Wenceslas Square that is only a 10 -minute walk away which means more time to enjoy the Christmas spirit, rather than getting from A to B. This city just loves Christmas, and we do too!

 

(2) Bruges

Embrace the seasonal cheer by spending some time at the Bruges Christmas market this year. This beautiful medieval city offers cosy cobbled streets, gingerbread style houses and a yuletide aroma that fills the streets, making Bruges a charming place to visit this time of year.

Forget about sticking to your diet if you decide to visit, the food here is simply amazing. Waffles, freshly made Chocolate and oozing cheesy dishes are a local food staple and heaven on a plate for foodies alike to enjoy. The main market is in Grote Markt however there is a smaller second just a stones throw away, but with the vast amounts of chocolatiers and cafes serving warming beverages and food, the short walk may take a little longer than you expect!

 

(3) Frankfurt

Frankfurt has one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Europe which has been open since 1393!

Visitors to this market a few hundred years ago would meet friends for hours to chat while shopping for their loved ones Christmas presents, and that still hasn’t changed today. It is a traditional winter market full of festivities which includes carol singers, church bells ringing and an historical merry-go-round which is decorated with wooden carved horses.

The market attracts over a staggering 3 million visitors per year with over 200 stalls to keep them occupied selling classic and authentic gifts such as rocking horses, wooden toys, Christmas decorations as well as specialities like mulled wine, gingerbread and roasted chestnuts.

The Frankfurt market has also organised the traditional German markets in a number of British cities including Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham and Bristol so it is definitely worth looking in to visiting one of these spots too. Perfect if you want an authentic market but can’t make it all the way to Frankfurt!

 

(4) Budapest

Budapest is wildly known for its tourist hotspots such as the Museum of Fine Arts but not so much its thriving Christmas markets dotted around the city which take place every year. Although there are several to choose from, the one that makes our list is the newest founded which opened in 2011 which is located in-front of St Stephen’s Basilica.

This quaint Christmas market offers beautiful architectural scenery and fun for all the family which includes a small ice rink at the centre of the market.There is a larger market in Vorosmarty Square which is just 700m away. You can purchase mostly the same items at both of these places but the fascinating light display in the evenings make the market in St Stephens Basilica feel like you are truly stepping in to something magical and is a ‘must see’ if visiting Budapest whilst the Christmas markets are open.

 

 

(5) Vilnius – Lithuania

 Lastly but by no means least, the Christmas Market in Vilnius, Lithuania is similar to a scene of that from a fairy tale.

Vilnius offers one of the most luxurious yet overlooked and underrated European Christmas markets out there. There are multiple markets spread across the town which can be found in City Hall Square, the old Cathedral Square and in the Bernardinai gardens.

In Vilnius, the winter holiday is celebrated for 5 weeks with a chain of events offering a variety of festivities and Christmas surprises for both adults and children. One special holiday tradition is the Vilnius Christmas Train, which circles the town of Vilnius showcasing the sights and smells of what Christmas is to them. It is truly something spectacular and great for the kids. This shouldn’t be missed.

Whichever Christmas market you decide to visit this year, it’s important not to forget to buy your travel insurance. Our travel insurance policies include cover for cancellation, missed departure, lost or damaged baggage, medical expenses and more. Get your quote today here.

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