There is nothing quite as special as visiting a Christmas market, it certainly helps to get me into the festive spirit – even if I do mainly spend all of my money on hot chocolates and food, lots and lots of food.
The hustle and bustle, the music, decorations and of course the beautiful handmade gifts are also a lure for me, without the kids in tow obviously otherwise I would need to remortgage before I got home again.
I have visited many in the UK over the years, however, I really do want to go further afield and visit some of the European Christmas markets making a weekend of it in the process, yes I know any excuse for a few days away from the kids – maybe I should take them with me but with a strict spending budget.
My top 5 must-visit European Christmas Markets are:
Salzburg is somewhere I have actually visited prior to having the children for a friends wedding. A stunning location which I fell in love with and over the Christmas period there’s actually a high chance of seeing a white Christmas.
Salzburg is located in the Northern Alps. The festive markets have been present in the Austrian city since the 15th century and the largest is held on Cathedral Square. Here you will hear choirs performing outside the Cathedral. The Salzburg Christmas Market in Cathedral Square runs this year from November 22 2018 – December 26th 2019.
Prague, Czech Republic
The Prague Christmas Markets will be open from December 1, 2018 – January 6, 2019.
You’ll more than likely know the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” but do you actually know who and what it refers to? Good King Wenceslas tells the story of a Bohemian King going on a journey and braving the harsh winter weather to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen (December 26th, the second day of Christmas). The legend is based on the historical Saint Wenceslas I, Duke of Bohemia.
Prague is the birthplace of the ‘Good King Wenceslaus’ with the square being named after the Czech patron saint. There are two main Christmas markets in Prague, this and the second which is located in the Old Town Square. Smaller ones are dotted around too.
As well as mulled wine, there are still plenty of opportunities to drink Czech beers and try klobása, which is a barbecued sausage you will find sold amongst the stalls or trdelník, a sweet cylindrical pastry. Bohemian crafts are sold beneath the gigantic gleaming Christmas tree next to St. Nicholas Church with a stable with real animals close-by too, I know my kids would adorn seeing that.
In Berlin at Christmas time you are never far away from:
- Wonderful food
- Exciting nightlife
- Gorgeous Christmas markets.
By the end of November, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas markets to visit so it may be worth looking at overnight opens such as Serviced Apartments in Berlin to fit a few of them in.
The biggest Christmas market is the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market. Under the shadow of the TV Tower, the entirety of Alexanderplatz is covered in stalls with potters, blacksmiths and glassblowers displaying their work. In the centre of the market, you will find Europe’s largest Christmas pyramid with over 5,000 lights.
The Alexanderplatz Christmas Market will run from November 26 – December 26, 2018.
Ireland is somewhere I really want to return to, I spent a very enjoyable weekend here for my hen weekend – well what I can actually remember of it. Most of it is rather fuzzy so I would love to revisit to fill in the gaps and see afresh without the Guinness this time.
There’s something magical about Belfast at Christmastime. From the occasional snowfall to the always-packed pubs – there is a sight to behold around every corner of the Northern Irish capital.
The annual Belfast Christmas Market is one I really want to visit – Here you can treat yourself to many lovely tasty treats from cheese and olives, bratwurst, Belgian chocolates and French tarts. It is a perfect destination for the kids as Santa has his very own grotto located within the market, the Belfast Christmas Market will run from November 17 – December 22, 2018.
Budapest is a food lovers dream – think winter warming food and this is the place to be, from Goulash – a Hungarian speciality which is a meat stew with vegetables and noodles, this is often served in a bowl made from bread which you can eat once you’ve finished the stew.
The Budapest Christmas Fair combines traditional food and dancing with live music. It’s based in the central Pest district and is made up of over 150 stalls. Unlike many markets, there is a panel of adjudicators are on-hand who help to ensure all products sold in the market are traditionally handmade.
The Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market runs from November 9, 2018 – January 1, 2019.
Are you a fan of Christmas markets? Which would you add to my must visit wish list?
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