From the middle of November until Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into a maze of Christmas markets.
With over 20 to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice, but one of the best Christmas markets in Vienna is the traditional ‘Vienna Magic of Advent’ in the City Hall Square, closely followed by the cultural Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace.
Wherever your feet take you, expect traditional handicrafts, mulled wine, handmade Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and workshops, and plenty of Austrian Christmas cheer!
Throughout December, Amsterdam’s already popular markets transform from a place to buy food and souvenirs into warm and cosy pop-ups selling handmade gifts, stroopwafels oozing with caramel and warming glasses of glühwein.
While the markets here are some of the best Christmas markets in the world to buy handmade gifts, that’s not all the city has to offer at Christmastime. Try your hand at ice-skating, enjoy live music and sample seasonal treats amongst thousands of glittering fairy-lights in the Museumplein sqaure.
Come December, Hamburg transforms into a scene from a Christmas fairy tale.
With over 30 Christmas markets to choose from, from the enchanting market at Bergedorf castle to the elegant white stalls of the Jungfernstieg promenade, the city is decked out with so many beautifully decorated stalls, you’ll easily be able to complete your Christmas shopping in one!
Take a well-deserved break along the city’s many waterways, canals and rivers. The reflection of the city’s sparkling festive lights make December one of the most wonderful times to soak up the spectacular views.
Antwerp is home to just one Christmas market, but what it lacks in quantity it certainly makes up for in size!
Spread over several different squares in the historic city centre, Antwerp’s Christmas Market is made up of over 100 stalls, selling waffles, smoutebollen, and of course, plenty of Belgian chocolate!
When you’ve finished buying gifts, you can ice-skate, ri de on the huge Ferris wheel and admire the city from above, or soak up some history with a tour around Antwerp’s museums.
A city steeped in myths and legends, Krakow has a faint mystical air to it, aided by the epic grandeur of its medieval architecture and fairytale buildings.
Easily one of the best Christmas markets in the world, Krakow’s annual fair in the main market square is a tradition that dates back to before WW2.
Half of Rynek Główny square will fill with rustic wooden stalls selling all kinds of folk art and Christmas keepsakes, while food vendors dish up steaming hot food. Keep yourself warm with the hot mulled wine (grzaniec) dispensed from enormous barrels nearby!
Sometimes you don’t have to venture too far from home to find a magical Christmas market.
For those of you living down south, Leeds Castle in Kent is a picturesque place to do much of your Christmas shopping. Rising majestically from two islands and surrounded by water, the castle is celebrating its 900th anniversary this year.
Stroll through 500 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens, shopping for seasonal gifts, toys and decorations while treating yourself to festive food and drink. You can also listen to live music, enjoy a fairground ride on the Victorian carousel or take a trip on the big wheel for a spectacular view of the Castle.
One of the Peak District’s most famous tourist attractions, Chatsworth House was built in the 16th century and hosts one of the most popular Christmas markets in the region.
With a different theme each year, the beautiful stately home is surrounded by over 100 stalls selling mulled cider, German beer and unique, homemade gifts. When you’re not shopping, exlpore the elaborately decorated house and wander through the 105 acre gardens – not forgetting to sample plenty of pancakes, mince pies and homemade fudge as you go.
Venice is magical at Christmastime, with everything from the city’s ornate architecture to the gondolas adorned with twinkling Christmas lights.
For the three weeks leading up to Christmas, the sqaure of Campo Santo Stefano is transformed into a Christmas village, filled to the brim with craftsmen and food producers, selling their wares in little wooden cabins.
Unlike most Christmas fairs, this market is filled entirely with local products, from Venetian glassware and carnival masks to regional food specialities. When you’ve finished shopping, be sure to hang around for the late-night concerts that fill the square.
Ljbuljana, Slovenia’s capital city, might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of the best Christmas markets in the world.
Tucked away from the typical tourist trail, and with the magic of beautiful Lake Bled nearby, its the city’s authentic charm, blanket of snow and age-old Christmas traditions which make it particularly special at Christmastime.
Warm yourself up with a cup of aromatic tea and browse the city’s green stalls to find unique and reasonably priced gifts for loved ones back home. The Christmas markets are also accompanied by a programme of festive events, held daily in the nearby streets and squares throughout December.
The Christmas market in Rouen may not be the most famous in France, but the historic city’s Gothic cathedral provides a magical backdrop for its 70+ wooden Christmas chalets.
Perfect if you fancy a slightly more relaxed Christmas market break, Roeun’s picturesque markets are also well suited to those looking to spend a special few days by the river Seine.
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