Top 10 European Christmas Markets 2018

Top 10 European Christmas Markets 2018

Mr ESLT and I love a Christmas market. In fact, this year we are hitting three – Manchester, Amsterdam and Leuven. For us, nothing screams Christmas more than a bratwurst in a bun and steaming hot mulled wine served in a boot. If it’s winter and there are wooden stalls and Christmas carols playing, you can guarantee we will have either been, it’ll be on our wish list or maybe we’ll actually be there. Mr ESLT and I have been together for 12 years this Christmas. Over those 12 years, we have always taken a winter/Christmas break which has always included a trip to the Christmas market, if there is one of course. Most we have loved, a few we have been disappointed by, but all we have enjoyed and have aided us to get in the Christmas spirit (or at least drink a Christmas spirit!)

Mr ESLT at Frankfurt Christmas Market, Germany

Maybe you love Christmas markets as much as we do, want to take a trip this year and are currently on the hunt for a last minute deal? Maybe you’ve never actually visited a Christmas market before and have decided that this is the year? Therefore, we have put together this list of 10 top 3 night European Christmas market breaks and links to some great deals. Together with links to 3 and 4-star hotels if flights are not needed and links to activities in the cities should you want to do some sightseeing as well.

Berlin, Germany

I’m going to start the list with one of the big hitters – Berlin. I was lucky enough to spend New Year in Berlin 3 years ago and got to experience the Christmas markets in all their glory. There are estimated to be over 50 Christmas markets in Berlin, therefore you will be spoilt for choice. Because there are so many, the likelihood is that you will not get around them all. One of the biggest is Berliner Weihnachtszeit in front of Roten Rathaus near Alexanderplatz. It has many stalls and is hard to miss with its huge Ferris wheel. However, my favourite is definitely the Weihnachtszauber at Gendarmenmarkt. There is a €1 entrance fee but it is well worth it as it has loads of stalls, many selling unique gifts and food. Also, forget the Brandenburg Gate on New Year’s Eve, Gendarmenmarkt is the place to head.

Deal: 3 Nts Berlin Christmas Market Break inc. Flights from £187pp

Hotel Only (3*): Hotel-Pension Ingeborg, West Berlin from £171

Hotel Only (4*): Golden Tulip Berlin Hotel Hamburg, Tiergarten from £217

Other Things To Do In The City:

Nuremberg, Germany

Having visited Nuremberg last summer, we are desperate to return for the Christmas markets. Everyone we have spoken to about them has said how magical they are and if other German markets are anything to go by – then we believe it wholeheartedly. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is held in the Hauptmarkt, the main square in the Old Town area of the city. If the delights on offer on the stalls aren’t enough for you, not to worry, there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars in. German beer is a favourite of ours and you will find plenty of places to sample it in Nuremberg together with a couple of the local delicacies – Nuremberg sausages and Nuremberg Lebkuchen – both of which are delicious. If you can tear yourself away from the market, a trip to the castle is highly recommended.

Deal: 3 Nts Nuremberg Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £215pp

Hotel Only (3*): Franconia City Hotel, Nuremberg Old Town from £322

Hotel Only (4*): Select Hotel Erlangen, Erlangen from £171

Other Things To Do In The City:

Dusseldorf, Germany

Dusseldorf Christmas markets were the first German Christmas markets we visited, a decade ago and I remember vividly. I loved everything about them from the smell of sausages in the air to the hot mulled wine, together with the sites and sounds of all the Christmas stalls, decorations and rides for the children. The main market is located in the Marktplatz (market square) and although we tried, we simply could not get around the 200 stalls. There are other markets dotted across the city including “Engelchenmarkt” (“Little Angel Market”) on Heinrich-Heine-Platz, “Sternchenmarkt” (“Little Star Market”) at Stadtbrückchen and Christmas Market on Flinger Straße. All of which are slightly different and offer different things, however, all wonderful and guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy.

Deal: 3 Nts Dusseldorf Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £172pp

Hotel Only (3*): Novum Hotel Koe Dusseldorf, Friedrichstadt from £173

Hotel Only (4*): Mercure Hotel Düsseldorf Süd, Hassels from £146

Other Things To Do In The City:

Cologne, Germany

Cologne has had the reputation of having the best Christmas Markets for a long time. Therefore, we had to visit. We actually took a day trip, via train from Dusseldorf. The journey took just over 30 minutes and was well worth it. Cologne itself had always appealed because of its cathedral (we love religious building architecture) so the added bonus of the Christmas markets, made the trip a no-brainer. It would have been nice to experience the markets after dark as they always seem more magical when they are lit up, but hey-ho our daytime wander was still great. Again there are many markets in the city, the largest is the Cathedral Christmas market, which as the name suggests is in the shadow of the cathedral. Others include Angel’s Market in the City (Neumarkt) and Harbour Market.

Deal: 3 Nts Cologne Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £150pp

Hotel Only (3*): Hotel Garni Schäfer, Frechen from £160

Hotel Only (4*): Hotel Park Consul Köln, Muelheim from £216

Other Things To Do In The City:

Brussels, Belgium

The Christmas markets in Brussels where a complete surprise. Having visited Bruges Christmas market (if you can call 10 stalls all selling roughly the same thing a Christmas market) previously, we had prepared ourselves for something very similar – how wrong were we? The Christmas market (Winter Wonders) spans the Grand Place and around the Bourse, the Place de la Monnaie, the Place Sainte-Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons. There are over 200 stalls, Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and ice rink – it really does live up to its name. The Grand Place is also home to daily (every hour from 5 pm to 10 pm) sound and light shows, which were a highlight of our visit to Brussels. A smaller sound and light show can be found at St Catherine’s church, although the timings seem to be more on a more ad-hoc basis.

Deal: 3 Nts Brussels Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £164pp

Hotel Only (3*): Be&Be Sablon 13, Quartier du Sablon – Zavelwijk from £219

Hotel Only (4*): Hotel Hubert Grand-Place, Quartier du Centre – Centrumwijk from £278

Other Things To Do In The City:

Budapest, Hungary

We love Budapest but again it is one of those cities that we have only visited during the summer months and would love to return to during winter. And again, it is a city that people rave about its Christmas markets. The Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square in the heart of the city is the oldest in Budapest and bursting with stalls selling handmade gifts which are perfect Christmas presents for loved ones, together with numerous food stalls selling cinnamon pastries (Kurtoskalacs – Chimney Cake), sausages, mulled wine, grilled vegetables and street snacks like Lángos and dödölle (potato dumplings). If you can’t indulge at Christmas when can you? Budapest itself is a fantastic city with loads to see and do so if you do decide to visit for the Christmas markets try and factor in some time for sightseeing too.

Deal: 3 Nts Budapest Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £165pp

Hotel Only (3*): BPM – Comfy Stay Bajcsy, Terezvaros from £104

Hotel Only (4*): Senator Apartments Budapest, Erzsebetvaros from £165

Other Things To Do In The City:

Salzburg, Austria

Having recently returned from Salzburg, I can categorically confirm that the city would not be out of place as the setting for a fairytale. As it was our first visit to Austria, I have high hopes for return visits to see a lot more of the country. With that being said I can only imagine how magical the Christmas markets in Salzburg are. The main Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) in the in the heart of Salzburg’s World Heritage-listed Old City which dates back as far as the 15th century, making it one of the world’s oldest Advent markets is located at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress and around the Cathedral of Salzburg. The market sells many of the usual Christmas market things – Christmas tree decorations and wooden gifts together with a number of Austrian food specialities and of course delicious hot mulled wine.

Deal: 3 Nts Salzburg Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £210pp

Hotel Only (3*): Apartments Wolf Dietrich, City Centre Salzburg, £570

Hotel Only (4*): NH Salzburg City, City Centre Salzburg from £488

Other Things To Do In The City:

Prague, Czech Republic

Another great city and one that is reasonably priced is Prague. I took Mr ESLT to Prague for his birthday almost a decade ago. It has been a city that we have both wanted to return to since. As the trip to Prague will not break the bank, it’ll leave you more to spend at the markets. The main markets are at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square which are only 5 minutes walk from one another. They are open until the end of the first week of January meaning even if you can’t make the trip before Christmas, you still have the chance to experience them between Christmas and over and into the New Year. Smaller Christmas markets can be found at Republic Square, at Havel’s Market on Kampa Island together with on the square in front of St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle, therefore plenty of choice.

Deal: 3 Nts Prague Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £183pp

Hotel Only (3*): Boris’ apartments Old Town Square, Prague 1 from £204

Hotel Only (4*): Bohemia Apartments Prague Old Town, Prague 1 from 275

Other Things To Do In The City:

Warsaw, Poland

Having only visited Poland once (Gdansk at the beginning of the year) we’re always on the lookout for great deals so we can return as soon as possible. There are loads of cities on our list and top, at the moment at least, is Warsaw. Having visited Poland in the winter we know how cold it is, therefore if you are planning on making the trip, remember to wrap up warm and even prepare for snow. Warsaw has a mix of traditional and modern Christmas markets. The traditional ones include the Christmas Market in the Warsaw Old Town (Barbakan), Vis à Vis Wilanów in Southern Warsaw and Arkadia shopping centre. The modern ones include the Slow Weekend (8th – 9th December 2018) in the industrial building in Minska 65 offering fashion and accessories, natural cosmetics and local food from Polish brands.

Deal: 3 Nts Warsaw Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £145pp

Hotel Only (3*): Mish Mash Old Town, Old Town from £97

Hotel Only (4*): P&O Apartments Old Town, Old Town from £172

Other Things To Do In The City:

Tallin, Estonia

Last on the list but certainly, not least is Tallin. Having visited it’s neighbouring country Latvia during the winter 11 years ago, we would love to explore more of the Baltic counties. Therefore, having never been to Tallin or Estonia at all, a visit is high on our list, especially for the Christmas market. Again, Tallin’s Christmas market is open into the new year giving extra opportunity to visit. The main market is located in the Town Hall Square and has been held there every year since 1441. With over half a million people visiting each year, it just proves how popular it is. Not only will you find numerous stalls selling all the usual stuff, but also a full cultural program including shows by local dance troops, choirs and theatre groups. Making the Christmas market a great place for all the family to visit together.

Deal: 3 Nts Tallin Christmas Market Break Inc. Flights from £212pp

Hotel Only (3*): Meriton Old Town Garden Hotel, Old Town from £156

Hotel Only (4*): Oldhouse Apartments, Old Town from £190

Other Things To Do In The City:

 

All deals including flights depart from London on 14th December and return on 17th December 2018.

Hotels (city centre location) are the total price for a 3-night stay (double room) from 14th December until 17th December 2018.

All prices correct at time of publishing (however if you’re lucky you may be able to snap up a Black Friday deal!

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2 Comments

  1. Nov 26, 2018 / 6:50 am

    You didn’t mention Birmingham. Have you been there. It was small but fun when we lived there 15 years ago. But i hear it has expanded over a large area of the city centre now.

    • Eat Sleep Love Travel
      Author
      Nov 28, 2018 / 7:46 pm

      We actually have never visited Birmingham Christmas market which is terrible really as we have good friends that live close by and they say it’s great (as far as British Christmas markets go). Hopefully, we can visit next year and see if it lives up to the hype 🙂