Across the cities of Europe, the season of Christmas markets is fast approaching and whether you like Glühwein or glögg, there are festive delights in every country. Traditional markets capture the joviality and warmth of Christmas and there is nowhere better to enjoy mulled wine with friends.
Even better, each country, has a Christmas market that reflects their own culture, so if you want to getaway over Christmas, choose a place that sells chocolate and wurst outdoors.
Edinburgh European Christmas Market
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
When: 21 November 2014 to 4th January 2015
Why: Stretching out alongside the Scott Monument and Princes Street Gardens, the Edinburgh European Christmas Market is a romantic experience and offers visitors unforgettable views of Edinburgh Castle, international street food and artisan chocolate stalls.
Buy: Edinburgh will get pretty cold over Christmas, so keep warm by drinking some mulled wine, or if you’re feeling especially brave, have a wee dram to keep your spirits up.
Stay: Dorms are available at The Hostel Edinburgh from only €14 a night.
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Where: London, England
When: 11 November 2014 to 4 January 2015
Why: Situated on the River Thames, the popular festive market is a cosy and romantic experience for Londoners and has snug wooden chalets selling chocolate and mulled wine. Stretching along the river, you can wander past some of London’s most iconic landmarks and experience the best of the city while hanging out with friends.
Buy: If you’re feeling hungry and want to impress your friends then why not splash out on a lobster mac ‘n’ cheese?
Stay: Dorms are available at RestUp London from only €22 a night.
Where: Strasbourg, France
When: 24 November 2014 – 24 December 2014
Why: Strasbourg Christmas Market is the oldest in France and dates back to 1570. With its spectacular light displays, locally prepared food and half-timbered houses, the French festive market was voted the “Best Christmas Market in Europe” last year. Strasbourg takes the yuletide season very seriously and it’s a wonderful place to try some “vin chaud” (mulled wine), Christmas cakes, biscuits and gingerbread.
Buy: Strasbourg’s gingerbread is a seasonal treat, but if you want a local souvenir then buy a wooden stalk (the symbol of the city).
Stay: Rooms are available at Hotel Couvent Du Franciscain from only €41 a night.
Prague Christmas Markets
Where: Prague, Czech Republic
When: 29 November 2014 – 11 January 2015
Why: Situated in the heart of Prague’s Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Prague’s Christmas markets offer some of Europe’s finest urban scenery. Prague is a beautiful city to explore on foot and their Christmas markets serve traditional Czech food such as barbecued pork, muffins, beer, mulled wine and mead.
Buy: Prague will be freezing over winter, so wrap up warm and down some of their legendary beer.
Stay: Dorms are available at Miss Sophie’s Hostel from only €11 a night.*
*5% discount for HostelsClub.com Membership Card holders (2 nights minimum) and 5% discount for 10 or more guests (2 nights minimum).
Krakow Christmas Market
Where: Krakow, Poland
When: 21 Nov 2014 – 22 Dec 2014
Why: If you’re looking for a ‘white Christmas’ then Krakow is the best place to go. Wonderfully located in the medieval old town, the Krakow Christmas market is a traditionally snowy and homely experience. The Rynek provides the setting for Krakow’s Christmas Market and is filled with festive wooden stalls offering pretzels, chocolate and roasted chestnuts.
Buy: The obwarzanki (Cracovian bagel) is a popular local choice over Christmas.
Stay: Dorms are available at Pink Panther’s Hostel from €9 a night.*
*10% discount for HostelsClub.com Membership Card holders
Where: Munich, Germany
When: 27 November 2014 – 24 December 2014
Why: Munich’s premiere festive event overflows from Marienplatz out towards the city’s famous cathedral and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Overseen by Munich’s tallest Christmas tree, the Christkindlmarkt is the largest and oldest of Christmas markets in Germany. Ringing with Alpine music and glistening with lights, attending the Munich Christmas Market is a wonderful way to explore Munich at its most festive.
Buy: Glögg (spiced wine) will keep your feet and hands toasty while visiting this market.
Stay: Dorms are available at A&O München Hackerbrücke from €15 a night.*
15% discount for HostelsClub.com Membership Card holders (3 nights minimum).
Where: Vienna, Austria
When: 15 November 2014 – 24 December 2014
Why: The Viennese Christmas Market transforms Austria’s prettiest squares into a Winter Wonderland. Soaring with visitors and baking smells, the Rathausplatz becomes a magical fairytale land over Christmas. Surrounded by Alpine trees, the 150 wooden stands serve traditional Austrian sweets, chocolates and hot drinks.
Buy: Glühwein is sweet, warm mulled wine and is perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit.
Stay: Dorms are available at Hostel Hütteldorf from €12 a night.*
*10% discount for HostelsClub.com Membership Card holders (2 nights minimum) and 10% discount for 20 or more guests.