The Best Christmas Markets In Europe
Santa’s Sleigh is nearly here, and with it are the Christmas markets. Stocking everything from delicious winter warmers to handmade trinkets perfect as gifts, a visit makes a great day out. With Columbus Insurance reporting the huge rise in festive season holidays, here’s our round-up of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Located in the heart of the Midlands, Birmingham’s annual German market is the largest outside of continental Europe, so there’s plenty of things to see and do. Enjoy Bavarian beer and Bratwurst in Victoria Square, or grab a mulled cider and some locally made crafts in Centenary Square. The Craft market is fantastic for Christmas grocery shopping too, with many butchers offering festive sausages take home and cook. Kids will love a skate around the ice rink, too.
The beautiful old town of Innsbruck is home to six picture-perfect Christmas markets every year. With the alps in the background, you can enjoy a wander around Medieval architecture, enjoying live carol performances and delicious scents. Grab a mug of Glühwein and shop for some traditionally made crafts, including cards and jewellery; or take the kids to the Family market for a ride on the carousel and visit to the petting zoo.
Dresden’s Striezelmarkt is the oldest Christmas market in Germany, first held in 1434. Nowadays it’s held in the city square, surrounded by several other themed markets, full of traditional Christmas toys and gifts. Highlights include the Pulsnitz gingerbread and beautifully delicate Plauen filigree lace, as well as live baking demos – great for perfecting a stollen recipe.
The Christmas market in Budapest is unlike any in Europe, with entertainment including laser shows, exhibitions by local artists, and tours in the ‘Christmas Light Tram’ which transports you through the highlights of the city. There are frequent organ concerts in St Peter’s Basilica, and the honey cookies make excellent presents for friends back home, if you can manage to save some.
Home to six excellent Christmas markets, Stockholm makes a perfect winter getaway. Foodies should make straight for the stalls at Old Town to grab some delicious reindeer and elk dishes, smoked sausages, and sweets, washed down with a hearty glass of glögg. Meanwhile, present shopping can be done at the Konstfack market, with all sorts of treats created by students and graduates of the art school, and be sure to spend an evening in at the Filmstaden, known as ‘Sweden’s Hollywood’.