With Christmas rapidly approaching, you may be wondering what to do during this time of year. Especially when you are loath to leave the house, and would rather just stay indoors burrowed in your blanket, watching seasonal movies. If you have some travelling money to spare, why not take a short holiday to see one or two Christmas markets? Tis the season, after all, as it’s the only month of the year when you can walk around stalls serving up mulled wine, gingerbread, garlands, baubles, and so much more.
For one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, within reasonable distance of the UK, look no further than Strasbourg, eastern France. Held annually from the last week of November until the end of December, this market that dates to 1570 is considered the oldest in France and one of the oldest in Europe. What makes it unique is that, as the city was once part of what we now call Germany, the Christmas traditions are much more unique than in other French cities. Strasbourg’s market is also different from others because each year it welcomes a different country as a guest participant. This year, it’s Iceland’s turn.
At this market, you can sample the local sweet delicacies, such as zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), makrone (macaroons), and varieties of bredele (Christmas biscuits) like butterbredele and anisbredele.
Unmissable during this time of year is also the 30 metre tall Christmas tree towering over Place Kleber.
If you want to cross the pond for the magical Christmas spirit, Montreal, Canada is the place to be. Although much, much younger than its European counterparts (it’s just two years old!) Montreal’s Grand Christmas Market is set to rival them. Over 60 stalls are present, offering everything from handmade crafts such as jewellery and beanies to keep you warm, to taffy on the snow, traditional Canadian pastries known as BeaverTails, organic beers and wines, and so much more.
For the Christmassy feel right at home, you can get to Birmingham in a 3 hour train ride from Newcastle. The city is host to the Frankfurt Christmas Market, known as the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Austria or Germany. Like all other markets, a variety of things are on sale, from warming drinks to handmade toys and jewellery, perfect for last minute gifts. And, of course, what makes the train ride worth it is the singing moose, Chris.