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The best Christmas market city breaks in Europe
One of the best things about late November and December is getting into the festive spirit, and we can’t think of a better way to embrace the season than shopping for unique Christmas gifts on a European city break, somewhere with a fabulous festive market. We’ve chosen our must-visit Europe Christmas markets for 2023, with some continuing into early January if you want to keep the festive feels going.
Berlin, November 27th to December 31st 2023
Normally on the Gendarmenmarkt, but held on Bebelplatz this year between the Berlin State Opera and St. Hedwig's Cathedral, WeihnachtsZauber is our favourite among Berlin’s Christmas markets. We rate it for its ambiance and its tented artisan village, with local wood carvers and other craftspeople showing off their skills. There are also bewitching performances by jugglers, fire eaters, and musicians, and traditional German dishes served in a heated restaurant area. Other top sights to see in Berlin are Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie.
Kraków, November 24th 2023 to January 1st 2024
This southern Polish city oozes character all year round, with its well-preserved medieval core and Jewish Quarter to explore. But it’s especially charming at this time of year when its main square, Rynek Główny, is taken over by market stalls, street performances, folklore shows, and live regional music. Sample Polish treats such as Grzaniec (local mulled wine) and crispy pork knuckle, and don’t miss the famous Christmas Crib Contest dating back to the early 19th century.
Prague, December 2nd 2023 to January 6th 2024
Of all the Czech capital’s Christmas markets, the one in the Old Town Square stands out for its spectacular cathedral views. As well as snapping up local crafts, you can feast on national specialties such as roast pork, gingerbread, hot mead, and Trdelník (a kind of cake wrapped around a stick, topped with sugar and walnuts) while listening to carols and other live music. The castle, cathedral, and Charles Bridge are also unmissable.
Vienna, November 11th to December 26th 2023
The Austrian capital has several Christmas markets, the best of which is the traditional ‘Vienna Magic of Advent’ event in City Hall Square, accessed via a candlelit archway. Here, you will also find the city’s best rink, Vienna Ice World, with its trail through the gorgeously illuminated City Hall Park. Don’t miss the multi-level carousel, reindeer train, and nativity scene trail, in addition to all the crafts and food stalls. Plus the year-round sights such as Schönbrunn Palace and the cultural venues of the MuseumsQuartier.
Edinburgh, November 17th 2023 to January 6th 2024
One of the most popular markets in Europe sees Princes Street Gardens transformed into a wonderland with the Big Wheel with city views, the magical 'Santa Train', classic funfair rides such as a helter-skelter, and enticing stalls. Other highlights include an illuminated walkway with Edinburgh Castle and Old Town views, and installations such as Edinburgh’s Nativity Scene. Other must-sees range from the National Museum of Scotland to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
To book your Christmas city break to a destination with a great festive market, call your Travel Counsellor today.
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