Dating back to the 13th Century, Vienna is home to multiple Christmas markets across the city. With around 20 or so festive markets to see, you will be spoilt for choice! The largest are Rathausplatz, Schönbrunn, Belvedere and Resselpark. Rathausplatz has a spectacular neo gothic town hall illuminating the markets below. Meanwhile if you’re near Belvedere Palace, make a little stop to try the tasty Glühwein (mulled wine) and Austrian delicacy Sachertorte, a delicious chocolate cake! If you are looking for a quieter atmosphere, the Old Viennese Christmas market is the place to be, especially if you are eager to try apfel strudel or maroni (chestnuts) without the bustling crowds.
Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square is where you will find the biggest Christmas markets and are only a 10 minute walk from each other! Petty theft is a problem in major tourist areas in Prague, so stay vigilant and carry few valuable items. More petite markets can be found by the castle and on Kampa Island. The market at Old Town Square offers a unique music and light ceremony on the Christmas tree, which is repeated throughout the night, as well as daily carol singing! You will have plenty of opportunity to taste Czech beers, as well as Klobása (a barbecued sausage) and Trdelník (a sweet chimney cake). If you fancy buying bohemian crafts or visiting animals in a stable, Prague is the place to be!
The Bavarian capital has a mind blowing 24 markets! The main Christmas market in Munich is Marienplatz, but you will also find stalls along Neuhauser Straße, Kaufingerstraße, as well as lots of other places around the city. Medieval market Wittlesbacherplatz encapsulates the atmosphere of some of Europe’s original markets with traders dressed in costume and traditional mead, whilst Feuerzangebowle is served in traditional banquet styled goblets. You can also get into a festive party mood by watching the performances at the Tollwood Winterfestival at Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest celebrations also take place. However, there may be increased security in place over the festive period in Germany, due to historical terror attacks.
For 5 festive fun field weeks, Brussels hosts Belgium’s biggest Christmas market, covering a 2km stretch from Grand Place to Place Sainte Catherine. Winter Wonders receives 2.5 million visitors each year! Brussels comes stocked with lots of Christmas cheer and festive fun. It is home to more than 250 gingerbread style chalets, a ferris wheel, an enormous Christmas tree, brass bands, performing arts, ice sculptures and an ice rink. It even has a famous sound and light display projected across Grand Place. Getting there is quick and easy with Eurostar, direct from St Pancras International. It takes only 2 hours, so it’s perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. However, security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice during the festive period, so follow the instructions of Belgian authorities. However, be aware that Police have asked the public not to comment on police operations on social media.
If you have ever been to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay you will know that the Christmas period is when the Scottish capital looks extra picturesque. The Edinburgh Christmas market runs for six weeks in the East Princes St Gardens. The market is the perfect place for those wanting to relive their Christmas childhood memories, with an Elf Workshop hidden in the Christmas trees maze, a carousel and an oval ice rink! Meanwhile, those wanting to roam the stalls that snake down the hill side will be encompassed by a number of perfect stocking fillers, Christmas spiced aromas and edible delights. I recommend the pulled pork baps! Only a short train ride away from Newcastle, Edinburghs festive markets are perfect for students wanting to take a day trip.
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