Foliage covered wooden huts, the scent of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and all the melted Nutella. Yep you’ve got it, Christmas markets are on their way and boy does Europe know how to put on a show! So grab a scarf, mittens and a bag to fill up with decorations and get exploring some of Europe’s most enchanting offerings. We’ll meet you in the beer tent…
1. Vilnius, Lithuania
With its medieval layout, baroque cityscape, and cobblestone streets, the heart of Lithuania’s capital city, Vilnius, charms in any season of the year. But with a dusting of snow across the medieval castles, Vilnius is all the more stunning, especially when viewed from the 22nd floor from the town’s coveted Skybar. We can’t explain the locals love for Frank Zappa, but during the winter months – this laid back city is a truly enchanting wonderland.
2. Budapest, Hungary
Summer in Budapest gets all the love, but the winter should not be overlooked. The town is covered in snow, fairy lights and Christmas decorations. Take yourself on a treasure hunt around the markets on Vörösmarty Square, with a glass of forralt bor, you’ll start to think you are in some kind of fairy tale.
3. Bremen, Germany
Bremen is the spiritual home of the festive Christmas cheer and there is nowhere better to experience heart-warming, hand-holding ‘Christmassey’ moments fuelled by alcohol and sausages. The streets are littered with taverns and open fires, entertainers and jugglers and the wintry air is filled with cinnamon and freshly baked bread.
4. Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg is home to one of Sweden’s largest Christmas markets Liseberg. With its melange of ancient markets, cobbled streets and burgeoning art scene, Gothenburg is most alluring during the winter months. Despite the short supply of daylight, the city is awash with more than five million fairly lights over Christmas, and Rudolph is dashing all over town. It’s a wonderful, must do experience that will be sure to get you into the festive spirit.
5. Strasbourg, France
With a Christkindelsmärik that dates back to 1570, Strasbourg is home to the oldest Christmas market in France, and plays host to over 2 million tourists each year. Unlike the Parisian markets, the focus is on the Alsace holiday traditions, so instead of Santa Clause hats and electronic toys, you get a more down-to-earth feel, with a focus on hand-made ornaments, local foods and drinks, and churches playing Christmas carols.