Christmas is soon approaching and markets are aplenty. Fancy a few days away for baked goods, a little mulled wine and some gift buying, but not sure which city is right for you? I’ve put together a list of some of the best winter city breaks across Europe to make the festive season as merry as possible!
With its stunning thermal baths, vibrant nightlife and friendly locals, it’s no wonder Budapest is a popular tourist destination all year round. But between November 8th to January 1st the city is transformed into a winter wonderland, with the two main markets covering Vorosmarty Square and Basilica – only 10 minutes apart! Most UK airports fly direct at an average of 2h 30, and cost around £100 for return flights.
Perhaps one of the most stunning European destinations, Vienna becomes even more magical from mid-November to late December. As pictured, “Vienna Magic of Advent” turns the City Hall Square into a fairytale of gingerbread and gifts. The average cost of a beer is €4, and most of the markets are accessible by foot, so you can save money on transportation too!
Being one of the most traditional markets in Germany, Dresden is an experience you don’t want to miss. Its decorations are magnificent, featuring the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid, and their products are all handmade, focusing on woodwork and pottery. The name Striezelmarkt stems from a sweet delicacy you may know better as ‘German Christmas Cake’. Flying from London will take under 2hrs and for around £30 for a return flight, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal (forgive the pun).
Taking only 2hrs by Eurostar, Brussels is the perfect destination for either a weekend getaway or a really adventurous day trip! The markets span across Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons, ensuring the city turns into a winter wonderland. Although make sure you don’t arrive on a diet, the markets are filled with waffles, glühwein and chocolate…you’ve been warned!
From 22nd November until 30th December, Strasbourg will be hosting one of the oldest and most beautiful markets in France. The whole town is taken over by the magic of Christmas, featuring lights and garlands around every corner. Stalls are positioned around the city centre selling everything from snacks to stocking fillers. Make sure you try a Bredele – you can thank me later!
If you are lucky enough to venture abroad this festive season, remember that whilst travelling within the EU is currently unaffected, Brexit negotiations may change things for us. For the most up to date information check out the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s advice.