OK, so we’ve only gone and said the C-Word. But that’s only because there are so many wonderful Christmas markets around at Christmas and we wanted to share them with you. Those little wooden chalets will soon be popping up, filled with exquisite handmade gifts and decorations, and we’ve picked out 7 of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Plus some great hotels to suit a range of budgets.
Fancy a weekend in Copenhagen? Or Brussels? Or maybe you just want to hop on the train for a day of shopping in beautiful Bath? Now’s the perfect time to book your festive trip to get those presents, stock up on gingerbread or warm up on some mulled wine. Those little wooden chalets will soon be popping up, filled with exquisite handmade gifts and decorations, and we’ve picked out 7 of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Plus some great hotels to suit a range of budgets.
In this beautiful city you’ll find lots of small markets dotted around, but the two city central markets attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and are the most spectacular.
Each year, Vörösmarty Square is transformed into a festive wonder. Visitors can browse over 100 stands offering unique Christmas-themed arts and crafts, a great place to pick up unique gifts. Exhibitions, live entertainment, food and wine are all part of the festivities. You can smell the scent of traditional delicious honey cookies, roasted meats, fried sausages and home-made strudels. Plus you’ll see a giant Advent calendar on the facade of the glamorous Gerbeaud building. Each day, between December 1st and 23rd a new window is opened in the calendar, accompanied by light and music shows. Children’s programmes include artisan courses and puppet shows.
When: 8 Nov 2019 – 1 Jan 2020
From Advent to New Year, the square in front of Budapest’s grandest cathedral, gives home to a charming Christmas fair (also known as Advent by the Basilica). There’s an ice-rink in the middle, surrounded by stands selling Christmas-themed arts and crafts, mulled wine, pálinka, fried sausages and other tasty treats. Advent candles are lit each Sunday.
When: 27 Nov – 2 Jan 2020
Stay at the Hotel Central Basilica for easy access to the Christmas Fair. The hotel is a short walk from Deak Ferenc Ter Station, and is close to local bars and eateries. Basilica features a restaurant and a bar where guests are able to unwind after a busy day shopping. The Hungarian State Opera House, Chain Bridge and Hungarian Parliament Building are also within walking distance.
Prague, Czech Republic
The festive atmosphere of medieval central Prague makes the Christmas Market at Old Town Square very popular with visitors and locals alike. You’ll find lots of yummy treats and warm drinks to help you get into the Christmas spirit. Look forward to barbecued pork, muffins, mead and other traditional Czech specialities. Plus delightful wood-carved toys, decorations and glassware. And look for Christmas carols, sung by various performers every day.
When: 30 Nov 2019 – 6 Jan 2020
Stay right in the heart of Prague, near the Christmas Market at the stunning 5-star Old Town Square Hotel. It offers modern interiors with designer furnishings. Guests benefit from complimentary access to The M Spa located in the sister hotel The Emblem. The spacious rooms are equipped with free WIFI, satellite TV, slippers and bathrobes. The bathrooms are fitted with Phillipe Starck equipment and they have heated floors. Guests can also enjoy local and international cuisine offered at the on-site restaurant. As well as live jazz or blues music every night, and breakfast is served in your room.
The aroma of Christmas delights and hot punch create a delightful festive atmosphere in Vienna’s prettiest squares. One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent”, which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. The trees surrounding the City Hall park are decorated with beautiful lights and decorations. And you’ll find gifts and sweets, as well as a carousel and fun workshops for kids.
When: 16 Nov – 24 Dec 2019
Newly designed boutique hotel The Harmonie Vienna (BW Premier Collection), is centrally, yet quietly located in the authentic Serviten Quarter off the beaten tourist tracks. Enjoy the lively and authentic neighborhood with trendy restaurants, bars and boutiques. The Ringstrasse and its iconic buildings are within walking distance, as is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Tram and subway stations are also located very close to the hotel.
If you prefer something a little closer to home, the award-winning Bath Christmas Market has 150 twinkling chalets, spread out across Bath’s picturesque Georgian streets. From unique homeware to personalised presents, decorations, handcrafted jewellery and more, you’re guaranteed to find something special for your loved ones. Grab a delicious burger or hog roast, caramelised nuts and aromatic mulled wine to keep you toasty while you browse.
When: 16 Nov – 24 Dec 2019
Set in beautiful gardens, 5-star Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel is just a 10 minute walk from Bath Abbey and the centre of Bath. With fountains, ponds and a terrace, the hotel also has a spa with a swimming pool, outdoor hot tub and fitness centre. The award-winning Vellore Restaurant is set in the former ballroom of the grand property, and serves an innovative British menu and world wine list. The Alfresco Restaurant and Terrace offers fruity cocktails and wonderful views.
With its 2.5 million visitors, Winter Wonders is the unmissable end-of-year event, which dons its festive costume and pulls out all the stops. With its magical lights, fun activities, unique gifts, life-size manger and ice rink, it’s clear to see why this is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe. You might even see the real Santa Claus and a Smurf or 2!
When: 30 Nov 2019 – 7 Jan 2020
The recently renovated Pillows Grand Hotel Place Rouppe is located in the heart of Brussels, just a short walk to the Grand Place. Guests can enjoy all-day dining services in The Living and experience Pillows’ table d’hôte with a daily changing chef’s menu. The hotel’s 43 rooms take a modern approach to design, and feature king size or twin beds, Nespresso coffee machine, a walk-in shower, a smart HD TV and a wireless sound system.
The cobbled streets and squares are scented with mulled wine and roasted almonds, and the trees are sparkling with fairy lights. The epicentre of all things twinkly is Tivoli, where little wooden huts sell homemade Christmas gifts and seasonal food. Visit Santa Claus in his cozy Christmas bazaar and feel the tingle in your stomach on the Christmas rides. Watch the Tivoli Youth Guard’s illuminated parades march by. You’ll also hear both Christmas classics and new music playing in Tivoli’s Halls for a truly festive experience.
When: 16 Nov 2019 – 5 Jan 2020
Situated by the Copenhagen Canal, the Tivoli Hotel is 10 minutes’ walk from Copenhagen Central Station. It provides free WiFi, 3 popular restaurants onsite, along with an indoor pool and large fitness centre. There are also 2 sky bars known for their impressive panoramic views. Tivoli Gardens, Town Hall Square, the Meatpacking District and a variety of other city attractions are also within walking distance.
One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe, it is now set up in the heart of the Grande Île, a UNESCO world heritage site. Experience a true sensory journey and wander around the 300 wooden chalets set up in the historic centre. With its majestic Great Christmas Tree with a dress of lights, and its sparkling illuminated streets, Strasbourg takes you into an enchanted and richly decorated city that will entertain both young and old.
When: 22 Nov – 30 Dec 2019
A stay at the stunning 4-star Le Bouclier d’Or places you in the heart of Strasbourg, within a 10-minute walk of Covered Bridge and Strasbourg Cathedral. This 16th Century building features antique furniture, free WiFi and a wellness centre.