THE BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETS AROUND EUROPE
Budapest’s biggest Christmas market is held in the gorgeously renovated Vörösmarty Square, just a few minutes from the Danube. Running from November 9 to January 1, it’s the perfect place to pick up local handicrafts as well as sample a delicious dish or two. Make sure to try töki pompos (Hungarian-style pizza). When you’re not exploring the market, unwind in the Széchenyi Baths and enjoy a classical concert at St. Stephen’s Basilica.
Visit Vienna’s winter wonderland
From the Christmas village at Belvedere Palace to the Christmas market by the sumptuous city hall, Vienna is brimming with festivities. Grab a mug of gluhwein in one hand and a buttery pastry in the other and listen to international choirs perform across the city. Because you can never get enough of good pastries or classical music, enjoy a mouthwatering strudel tasting at Schönbrunn Palace and a world-famous Four Seasons concert at Karlskirche.
Christmas carols and ancient traditions in Salzburg
The pretty hometown of Mozart and the Sound of Music comes into its own at Christmas, with snow-sprinkled versions of ‘Silent Night’ (the carol was written and first performed nearby) and market stalls that look much as they did when they were first set up way back in the 15th century. The focus here is on quality over quantity, so expect hand-knitted socks rather than novelty candles for stocking fillers at this winter wonderland.
Shop ’til you drop in Prague
Prague’s magical Christmas markets with its beautifully designed wooden chalets take place on the major squares – Old Town square, Republic square, Wenceslas square or Peace square. They lay out plenty of exciting foodie items, handmade craft gifts and the most delicious warming drinks such as hot chocolate or spiced mulled wines. You will find great gift ideas as there is a vast selection of Christmas decorations, toys, jewelry, winter clothing and accessories. It is also a great alternative to the usual Christmas shopping experience. If you stroll around the city markets, you are sure to get in the festive spirit.
Experience Strasbourg’s iconic market
France’s oldest and biggest Christmas market turns this exquisitely pretty city into something quite extraordinary. Once you’ve marveled at the Christmassy scene in front of the towering cathedral, browse the 100 or so stalls in Place Broglie before tasting Alsatian delicacies in the market in Place du Marché-aux-Poissons. Strasbourg also holds the OFF Market, a socially responsible way to celebrate the season, with second-hand stalls and fair-trade products.