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Christmas Markets: The Best of Europe

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Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…to Europe! The continent’s got some of the best Christmas markets on earth, and with’s cheap train tickets, flights and hotel bookings you can get there without spending too much stocking money.

Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, Prague

What could be more Christmassy than drinking mulled wine in Wenceslas Square? The heart of one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals is a haven for Yuletide spirit, and you’ll get two Christmas markets for the price of one. The other one’s in the Old Town, which is a maze of beautiful cobbled streets and medieval buildings. At night, the lights in the ancient city are beautiful. One for the Jimmy Stewart in all of us.


Fira de Santa Lucia, Barcelona

Barcelona’s legendary Christmas market has been going strong for almost 250 years. It’s full of Yuletide staples like craft cuckoo clocks and woven Advent calendars: but it’s more famous for the bizarre Catalan tradition of the pooing man, or caganer. He’s the most popular figurine on sale at the Fira de Santa Lucia, and he does exactly what he says he does. Fancy making a bloke with his trousers round his ankles the centrepiece of your festive table? You know where to go. Weird.


Tivoli, Copenhagen

Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens transform into a genuine winter wonderland in the middle of November – and with snow practically guaranteed, the atmosphere is a delight. If you get fed up trundling round the stalls, you can get your kicks at the theme park, which boasts rollercoasters and an ice rink. Book your European rail tickets with and you’ll get the best of the Santa’s grottoes for a lot less.


Four Markets, Vienna

Vienna comes into its own during the winter. From early November through New Year, the city’s thronged with tourists and locals mixing it up with Gluhwein and Christmas eats. Sample the Austrian cookies, which are spiced with cinnamon and ginger – some even have a hint of vanilla. And take a tour of the four major Christmas markets: the Rathausplatz, the Spittelberg markt, the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt and the Schonbrunn. If art’s your thing, the Altwiener is the one for you. For a hit of proper Christmas cheer, Spittelberg is where it’s at.



Berlin’s so full of Christmas cheer it’s almost impossible to know where to start. The Kaiser Wilhelm Markt is the one that gets the most visitors, so it’s the logical one to go to: but do make sure you hunt around for some of the smaller ones too. You’ve got more than 50 to choose from, ranging from full-on mulled wine and mince pie affairs to alternative arty markets. The city receives an influx of around 2 million Christmas tourists between November and January, so make sure you get your hotel booking in early.

Europe’s got such a lot to offer around Christmas time, it’s impossible to see and do it all. Start with the guide to the best markets on the continent, and crank up that festive feeling!

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