Where better to get into the yuletide spirit than at a traditional Christmas market? We’ve found some of the most beautiful and original across Europe so you can kick-start your shopping and soak in the sights at the same time.
St. Gallen Christmas Market, Sankt Gallen
During the Christmas season, St. Gallen in Switzerland is known as ‘the City of Stars’, as seven hundred star-shaped lights twinkle above the historic city centre. At this UNESCO world heritage site, you can get your culture fix whilst admiring the beautiful chalet-style stalls, Swiss crafts and homemade local specialities. Follow the St. Gallen Panoramic Trail, winding your way through the streets of the Old Town and Abbey Precinct. The view of the surrounding landscapes and snow crunching under your feet will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Christmas card scene, and is sure to pull in all the likes on your Insta feed.
30 Nov – 23 Dec; times vary
Prague Christmas Market, Prague
Beautiful Prague has more to offer than stag-dos and cheap beer. The Christmas market in the medieval centre is much loved by locals and is guaranteed to leave you feeling festive. This Christmas market is foodie heaven; try traditional Czech specialities such as sugar-coated trdelník cake and roasted Prague ham, washed down with a warm glass of delicious honey wine known as medovina, or sweetly scented svařák mulled wine. Prague is the place to find unique Christmas gifts, such as traditional hand-made puppets, painted glass baubles and beautiful Czech crystal sculptures, so be sure to pay for that extra luggage allowance!
2 Dec – 6 Jan
Vienna Schönbrunn – Vienna, Austria
Vienna’s Schönbrunn market is one for the romantics, who needs Paris? Held in front of the magnificent neo-classical Schönbrunn palace, the impressive architecture reflects the quality of the market, which sells authentic artisan products from Austria and neighbouring countries. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Victorian-style sweets, or take some home for presents if there are any left! Don’t miss Austrian delicacies such as kaiserschmarm, fluffy shredded pancakes, and bauerngröstl, a popular winter dish made from beef and potatoes. If you’re feeling the post-Christmas blues, this market is for you as the festivities continue until the New Year.
18 Nov-1 Jan; times vary
Skansen Christmas Market, Stockholm
Fancy your chances of seeing some real snow that actually settles this Christmas? Then head to chilly Stockholm where chances of a white Christmas are high. Skansen is Stockholm’s oldest Christmas market, it’s been held every year without fail since 1903. Go see traditional craftsmen doing their thing in the Town Quarter, or have a crack at making your own Christmas decorations in one of the workshops – surely a hit gift for your nan. You’re going to need to warm up after a day of exploring, and what better way than by joining the Swedes in some festive dancing around the Christmas tree in Bollnäs square? If dancing isn’t your thing, get cosy by one of the bonfires in the square and enjoy the live music.
The last weekend of November and the first three weekends of December; 10am-4pm.
Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire
Get festive without having to board a plane this Christmas at the Waddesdon Manor Christmas market, complete with alpine style wooden chalets. Sip on mulled wine or hot chocolate and soak in the atmosphere. Peruse the artisan crafts and unique Christmas decorations for sale, stopping occasionally (or frequently) for snacks. The unique part of this Christmas market is the light show that’s projected onto the manor at sunset, the famous gardens, and willow lantern walk. It’s the perfect day out for the whole family.
15 Nov-10 Dec, Wed-Sun, 11am-6pm