TOP 5 EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS TO VISIT THIS YEAR

By NH | 17:59

As Christmas time approaches, many are searching for that next trip to take that will add even more cheer to this special holiday. Are you one of those? Our proposal for this year is to visit one (or some) of our favourite Christmas markets found in Europe, some of which are well known and others a bit off the beaten path.

Follow us to Winter Wonderland, we promise it will be filled with traditional delights for the senses, mugs of delicious mulled wine and some very unique Christmas decorations!

Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg (Germany)

Our first stop takes us to one of the World’s most famous Christmas Markets, and Germany’s largest. It takes place every year in Hauptmarkt, the central square of the magical and medieval city of Nuremberg, which gets even more beautiful as the sun sets. The market is large enough to handle the crowds that come here to enjoy the festive atmosphere, gingerbread and all.

Make sure to dress warm and ready yourself to discover beautiful decorations and ornaments, including the wonderfully peculiar Prune Men, the infinite variety of Christmas biscuits, Nuremberg bratwurst (a recipe that’s over 700 years old), pretzels and, of course, Glühwein!

When: November 25th to December 24th
Times: Daily from 10:00am to 09:00pm
Where to stay: NH Collection Nürnberg City
Closest Airport: Airport Nürnberg

 

Striezelmarkt, Dresden (Germany)

As one of Germany’s oldest Christmas markets, the Striezelmarkt is very traditional. It takes place every year, since 1434, on the old cobblestoned Altmarkt square. Over 200 amazingly decorated stalls and thousands of colourful Christmas lights welcome the visitors along with puppet shows and other performances that will be the delight for both children and adults.

Make sure you save a bit of your travel budget! You’ll be thankful later when you see the traditional decorations and craft gifts displayed in the beautiful fairytale themed stalls.

Our personal advice? Look for the famous Dresden Stollen cake, sausages, potato cakes, chocolate apples and the traditional mulled wine.

When: November 24th to December 24th
Times: Daily from 10:00am to 09:00pm
Where to stay: NH Collection Dresden Altmarkt
Closest Airport: Dresden International Airport

 

Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market, Vienna (Austria)

Our next stop in magical Christmas Markets brings us to Austria. Right outside the Grand Palace in Vienna, the Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market is smaller than the Christmas Market located in Vienna’s Town Hall Square, but yet we find it fascinating.

Why? The visitor will find a jaw-dropping assortment of stalls with handcrafted decorations, toys and beautiful art and folkloric items at reasonable prices. Live music, Christmas lights and the wonderful foods, such as Kaiserschmarm and Bauerngröstl, give the market a very festive mood!Plus, here you’ll find a wide variety of mulled wines to sip (or gulp, depending how cold you are.)

Our tip: the Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market is known for releasing a limited edition of Christmas mugs each year. If you want one, look for it at the Visitors Booth by the market’s entrance!

When: November 19th to December 26th
Times: Daily from 10:00am to 09:00pm
Where to stay: NH Collection Wien Zentrum
Closest Airport: Vienna International Airport 

Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival, Budapest (Hungary)

Our next destination is Hungary where the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival await you. This fantastic Christmas Market is located in the Vorosmarty Square and one could say that it really feels just as Christmas should feel; lots of people, traditional, toned down nostalgic lighting, and lots of wine and traditional foods.

Unfamiliar with the Hungarian cuisine? Just wander around the stalls and try some of the delicacies that Hungary takes pride in and are eager for visitors to try; chicken goulash, sour kraut, fried polenta, apple and kirsch strudel, cherry grog and rum hot chocolate…

And of course, you can’t leave without trying a chimney cake, called Kurtoskalac, a bread spiral rolled in cinnamon, sugar, cocoa or coconut flakes. Delicious!

When: November 11th to January 6th
Times: From 10am to 22pm, Christmas Eve until 18pm
Where to stay: NH Budapest City
Closest Airport: Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport

 

Santa Lucia Christmas Market, Bologna (Italy)

 

And last but not least, follow us to Italy and the beautiful Bologna, home to the oldest University in the world. One of the reasons to visit this romantic and historical city is its unforgettable Christmas Market. During this time of the year, the porticos (arched, covered walkways) that line the city like veins are decorated with fairy lights, red and green garlands. It is under the portico of Santa Maria dei Servi that the traditional market of Santa Lucia (or Fiera di Santa Lucia) takes place since the 18th century.

An interesting tradition in Bologna is the unique figures they create for the Nativity Scene, one of the most important Christmas symbols in Italy. The Bolognese nativity scene also includes unfamiliar characters, one known as the Sleeping Man and the another known as La Meraviglia, a woman caught in a moment of overwhelmed enlightenment.

Don’t leave without trying some Torrone, a Christmas nougat made of almonds and honey!

When: November 20th to December 26th
Times: Daily from 9.30 to 20:00
Where to stay: NH Bologna de la Gare
Closest Airport: Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport

There is nothing better than Europe at Christmas, there something special about visiting the markets with beautiful architecture in the background, historic traditions shared with visitors, and delicious aromas dancing in the air. Ready for a memorable winter break?

 

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