Top 10 Christmas Market Destinations in Europe

Sabrina Jillah
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What better way to get into the festive spirit than to go to a Christmas Market – wooden chalets, fairy lights, music and mulled wine. Sound good? There are plenty all around the UK, but if you fancy making a holiday of it, why not go to a Christmas Market in Europe?
Here’s our roundup of 10 European Christmas Markets.
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1.       Innsbruck - Austria
From 26 Nov to 24 Dec 
With 700 stars twinkling over St Gallen in December, this is the romantic Christmas market. Cheerfully decorated stalls line the narrow streets, where there’s barley broth and merry-go-rounds, mulled wine, mulled beer and loads of traditional goods.

2.       Vienna – Austria
From 12 Nov to 24 Dec 
There are quite a few Christmas markets in Vienna, with the tradition going back to the 13th century. Head to the City Hall where there are more than 150 stalls in front of it. Imagine scents of candied fruits and candy floss, hot chestnuts and mulled wine.

3.      Lille – France
From 18 Nov to 30 Dec
With its combination of French and Flemish culture, Lille is an enticing blend of both cultures well and a gourmet's delight. Best of all, you can be there in as little as 80 minutes with the Eurostar.

4.       Strasbourg – France
From  25 Nov to 31 Dec
Voted “Best Christmas Market in Europe” for the past two years, Strasbourg is the oldest Christmas market in France, going back to 1570. It is also the largest Christmas market in Europe, with 300 cottages spread over 12 sites, in a traditional Alsatian Christmas theme.

5.       Hamburg – Germany
From  21 Nov to 23 Dec 
There’s something for everyone in Hamburg where there are 15 different markets. The prettiest is at Hamburg Town Hall (Rathausmarkt), where you will find all sorts of handcrafted goods, as well as Christmas parades and Santa with his reindeers.

6.       Stuttgart – Germany
From 23 Nov to 23 Dec
One of Germany's oldest and largest Christmas markets, the main Stuttgart market is held beneath the stunning Old Palace. Inside the palace the festivities continue as you meander through the stalls of the Renaissance inner courtyard.  And Stuttgart is a fantastic destination, providing easy access to other must-see markets. Only 20km away are the famous Ludwigsburg (north) and Esslingen (south-east) Christmas markets.

7.       Worms – Germany
From 21 Nov to 23 Dec
An hour south of Frankfurt and with a claim to be “Germany’s oldest city”, Worms proves that small really is beautiful. The action is on and around the market square. Ice skaters show off their skills on the temporary rink, while children get to enjoy the experience of real animals in the “living manger” – and clamour to see Father Christmas.

8.       Cologne – Germany
From 21 Nov to 23 Dec 
The city of Cologne with its imposing gothic Kölner Dom cathedral is a stunning backdrop for its not one but seven Christmas markets. Once you've had your fill of the shopping and food stalls - why not take a trip along the Rhine; sample Kölsch beer or take refuge in the Chocolate Museum.

9.       Bologna – Italy
From 20 Nov 16 to 6 Jan 
Though smaller than Germany's showstoppers, Italy has several Christmas markets to enjoy. Bologna's Fiera di Natale runs from late November through to early January, by the San Pietro Cathedral, while the Fiera di Santa Lucia in the Chiesa dei Servi (23 November—1 January) marks the countdown to Christmas, when fairy-lit landmarks such as the Asinelli Tower illuminate the city. Both fairs sell ornate Christmas decorations, dark chocolate-dipped citrus peel, roasted nuts and carved wooden figurines.

10.   Stockholm – Sweden
From 23 Nov – 23 Dec 
Christmas Markets or Advent markets in Sweden are popular with locals and tourists alike. For a genuine Stockholm Christmas, the Old Town’s Christmas market is a must. Wander around the stalls selling Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, reindeer meat, glögg (Swedish for mulled wine), and a wide range of Swedish handicrafts and other gifts.

Of course this list is not exhaustive, there are plenty more in Europe. We hope this has given you a little taste of Christmas – we’re hungry just pulling this list together!

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