Yuletide is the most amazing time of the year and Europe has Christmas markets aplenty. Go for the cheer, festive food, log fires and homemade trinkets
Offering some of the most beautiful markets in the country, Wroclaw becomes a real-life fairy tale during the holiday season.
The three-level fairytale house, Plac Solny, has an observation deck and a small tower with an illuminated clock.
Here you can heat up by the fireplace and drink hot beverages.
On 23 December, there is a Christmas Carol Singers Parade and on the 24 December, there’s an eve supper next to the Christmas tree on Wroclaw’s Market Square.
Where: Ryneck, Wroclaw
When: 3 December – 30 December
TIP: Don’t forget to taste the delicious chimney cake, decorated with your choice of topping!
Voted Europe’s best Christmas market is 2016, 2017 and 2018, Zagreb takes the holiday season very seriously.
Throughout the city there is advent fun, with scheduling that includes choirs, music and dancing. From sausages, schnaps bars and mulled wine, Tomislav Square is probably the most famous advent feature.
It is also here you can buy hot drinks galore and cinnamon doughnuts.
Ice skating is on another level and caters for all abilities – from a friendly small rink to hardcore outer routes for those who can skate for more than five minutes without falling over.
Another great place to visit is Maksimir, next to the Dinamo football stadium. Situated in the forest, you can take a gentle stroll past hundreds of trees lit up or take a ride on Santa’s sleigh. A truly magical experience.
Where: King Tomislav Square, Strossmayer Square, Zrinjevac, Central Ban Jelačić Square, Bogovićeva Street and Strossmayer Promenade
When: 30 November – 7 January
TIP: Visit Grič Tunnel, which is a pedestrian tunnel located in the city centre and an old bomb shelter. At Christmas, the tunnel comes alive with hanging decorations and festivities. Note during this time, the tunnel operates a one-way route.
TIP: If ice skating at Tomislav Square, it’s important to note that there are time slots and it’s best to pre-book tickets. Saturday night is super busy, with Sunday morning less crowded.
TIP: Take a trip on the city’s funicular (the smallest in the world) for Lotrščak Tower plateau, which offers great views of the city. Strossmayer Promenade is the best place for panoramic views of Zagreb.
The city has large and small markets that open around mid-November. Arguably the most popular market is the city central Vorosmarty Square, which is also Budapest’s oldest market, after it opened in 1998. Here you can find traditional foods, free concerts and handcrafted goods.
If feeling chilly, jump into the Szechenyi Baths to enjoy the hot spring pools. The facility as two open air thermal pools and 15 indoor pools. The baths are open at Christmas.
Every year from early December, visitors can enjoy the special Christmas Streetcar ride in some of the city’s scenic routes. Click here for the schedule.
The Budapest Nutcracker Ballet is the regular winter show in the Hungarian State Opera House.
Where: Vorosmarty Square
When: 8 November – 1 January
TIP: Why not visit the Christmas Fair at Basilica, which starts later in November than the Vorosmarty Square market.
TIP: Fisherman’s Bastion – the looking tower and terrace – provides a perfect winter view of the city.
TIP: Budapest offers a Christmas market tour and wine tasting experience, which costs €48 per adult. Click here for more information.
The city has lots to offer for those who believe in the spirit of Christmas. Højbro Square’s market, located in the bustling shopping pedestrian street, Strøget, offers 280,000 sparking Christmas lights, decorated trees and secret pixies and reindeer.
At Odd Fellow Palæet’s market taste the mulled wine and the traditional, Danish “æbleskiver”.
The city’s number one market – Tivoli Gardens – is a favourite among locals.
Embrace your daring side by going on the roller coaster or enjoy the more relaxing wheel.
With lots of Danish Christmas ‘hygge’, the historic gardens come alive with wooden houses, elves and a snow-filled landscape.
Where: Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V
When: 16 Nov – 5 January. 130DKK per adult
TIP: After buying a ticket, you will get a wrist band. The ticket is for one entry only, meaning you cannot come and go.
TIP: A Tivoli Pass gives the holder free access to Tivoli in all Tivoli’s seasons; including Winter, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. You can get your Tivoli Pass on your mobile by downloading the Tivoli App from either Google Play or the App Store.
Have an enchanting Christmas by visiting the city’s Christmas Village in the beautiful surroundings of Parc des Bastions.
Located in the center of town, the market offers traditional crafts and Christmas handicrafts.
Stretching over 8,000 square meters, the village consists of traditional wooden cabins selling local food in a traditional Swiss setting.
Enjoy the cheese fondue or raclette or a lobster roll.
The most traditional-style Christmas market is on Rue du Mont-Blanc.
Where: Parc des Bastions
When: 4-31 December
TIP: Venture to Chillon Castle set along the lake to see how the festive period was celebrated throughout history. A ticket costs 15 CHF per adult.
The Ukrainian capital city of Kiev offers a magnificent festive treat and celebrates St Nicholas Day on 19 December.
The most popular market is located at St Sophia Square, next to the marvelous cathedral, has a tall Christmas tree, which is decorated with toys and decorations. The whole square is illuminated by 22 miles of sparkling lights.
The historical Kontraktova Ploscha market showcases pretty rows of wooden houses selling various local delights, handmade goods and warm wine.
TIP: The country’s main Christmas tree brought from the Carpathians forest is erected on 19 December at St Sophia’s Square. Turn up at 5pm to see the lights get switched on.
TIP: The Pyrohiv Museum of Folk Architecture organises a Christmas celebration with samples of dishes, dancing and singing.
Where: St Sophia Square
When: Orthodox Christmas end of December – middle of January
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