Christmas is a time when we all spend a lot of money but rather than relying on an Amazon wish-list or something equally uninspiring, why not visit a Christmas market where you'll find something unique and original for those you love the most. If you're thinking of staying in the UK for Christmas, you could visit Winter Wonderland in London or Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market or the Victorian Christmas Festival at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. If you're looking further afield, you'll open yourself up to some of the most historic markets in Europe.
Christmas markets are a big deal in Germany. In fact, Munich's Christmas market started the tradition when it first opened in the 14th century. Frankfurt's festive market opened in the same century but Dresden's Strietzelmarkt, which started in 1434, is considered the first true Christmas market. Today, Dresden's market remains one of the best. If you head there, keep an eye out for the traditional handcrafted nutcrackers while you enjoy Germany's classic stollen fruit loaf. If you're in Germany, you should also check out the Christmas market in Cologne. Its glittering wooden pavilions have the gothic Cologne Cathedral as a backdrop.
If you'd like to stay closer to home, head to France where you'll be able to attend markets in Paris and Caen. The Paris markets are among the best in the world and the best of these is held at Jardin des Tuileries. Each year, 15 million people visit the market where they shop for French artisan wares while eating crepes or waffles. Caen's Christmas Market, which takes over the Place Saint-Sauveur, is the other French market you have to attend. The stalls here have a more international flavour but you'll still find uniquely French gifts.
Unless you've very unlucky, it's normally snowing over the Christmas period in Sweden so this is an ideal location for anyone looking for an idyllic Christmas break. The Liseberg Christmas Market in Gothenburg is said to be the biggest in the country. Local hot and cold food and drink are on offer but the biggest attraction for children are the fairground rides, while parents will love the massive selection of Christmas decorations.
The Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market in Odense is just as magical as the famous fairy tales dreamt up storyteller. Once you've spent your money on Christmas decorations and festive food at the market, head to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum to end your trip. If you're in Copenhagen, head to the Højbro Plads Christmas Market where you'll find a beautiful Christmas village that's a treat for adults and children alike. The market's Father Christmas is available between 1 pm and 5 pm every day of the week except Monday.
- If you visit Stockholm, you can attend several Christmas markets as there’s one in Skansen Open Air Museum, another at Rosendal Palace and another at Gamla Stan.
- According to Tripadvisor reviews, the best Christmas market for mulled wine is found at Cologne.
What Do They Say on Other Sites
“Amazing place and amazing atmosphere, a lot of small shops where you can find a lot of interesting stuff.” (839tijanareviewing Frankfurt Christmas Market on Tripadvisor)
“Best Christmas event! We went to all of the markets in the city, and our favorite was next to the Cathedral.” (KELorVirginia reviewing Cologne Christmas Market on Tripadvisor)
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