We may be well out of sunglasses season in the UK but we believe the snow, sparkles and spices of Christmas may JUST be worth. If you really want to go all out this year, we’re at hand, as usual, with the top Christmas markets in Europe this festive season.
November 26-December 24
Boasting Germany’s oldest Christmas market, Dresden has lost none of its winter charm since 1434 when the tradition first took off. The market is famed for it’s traditional, handmade crafts, as well as their Christmas cake ‘Dresden Christstollen’, originally known as ‘Striezel’, lending to the traditional name of the market, Striezelmarkt’. From hand-blown tree ornaments, to intricately decorated gingerbread, to detailed Christmas pyramids, you’re sure to find any stocking filler you could dream of, and much more. In fact. Dresden market is home to the world’s tallest pyramid at 14 metres tall, as well as the world’s biggest nutcracker – it just goes to show that the German’s really do know how to do Christmas.
London (Winter Wonderland)
20 November – 3 January
Arguably the most highly anticipated Christmas event in the UK, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland may be a modern incarnation of the traditional festive market, you’re sure to be offered every Christmas themed activity you could imagine. Hyde Park plays host to, to name just a few attractions, to the UK’s largest skating rink, a ‘Magical Ice Kingdom’ with real ice and snow and kept at a temperature of -8°C (sure to enchant young children with a penchant for Disney’s ‘Frozen’), an ice bar, traditional Christmas market stalls and every fairground rides you could want. Whether you’re looking for a family friendly event for the kids, or a more adult excursion to get merry with mulled wine, Winter Wonderland has what you’re looking for.Prague
28 November – 6 January
Open daily, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day, you’re definitely not going to be left with no advent adventures in the Prague markets. This market features everything you would wish from a Christmas market, and more; alongside the handmade crafts and traditional food, you can get your hands on famous Czech beers, listen to carols performed by traditionally dressed school children, and for the younger patrons, the Old Town Square has a stable where children can stroke sheep, goats and donkeys – just like a nativity scene.
14 November – 3 January
In our opinion, the Tivoli Gardens Christmas market in Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen, as well as one of the longest running. With fairy lights sprinkled over every surface available like fallen stars, the scenery truly is magical. In addition to the illuminations, Copenhagen also features a fireworks festival, running from 25 to 27 December and from 31 December to 3 January, as well as the ‘Pixie Band’ playing throughout the Gardens, and a 100 person choir. 60 stalls selling all the Christmas market essentials, as well as a plethora of ride and games makes for a beautiful experience for the whole family in Copenhagen.Strasbourg
27 November – 24 December
It looks like we may have save the best for last. First hosted in 1570, the then called ‘Christkindelsmarik” (market of the Infant Jesus), is another of the oldest in Europe. The market is also one of the largest in Europe, with 300 stalls spread over 12 areas of the city, and was voted the best Christmas market in Europe for the second year running this year. The proclaimed ‘Capital of Christmas’ is illuminated by miles of fairy lights, with its centerpiece being the Great Christmas Tree – a tradition dating back to 1605.
Every year at the market there is a guest country village, with this years events featuring Luxembourg, and there are over 500 events to get stuck into over the course of the month.
How will you be getting into the Christmas spirit this year?