HomeAway travel expert
Ah, the magic of Christmas: when crowds of crazed, foaming-mouthed shoppers descend, en masse, into shopping centres – everywhere – in search of this year's must-have toy. Charming, right? But, by St. Nicholas' beard, all is not lost! Don't allow this year's Christmas shopping to dampen your spirits – Europe's many and varied Christmas markets can make shopping for Christmas, dare we say it, a genuine pleasure, what with their lights, local flare, and breathtaking range of artisan-crafted gifts. Not to mention opportunities to pause for a glass of mulled wine (or even mead!). Read on to find out how to make this Christmas your mellowest, and most memorable yet.
Indeed, adorned in lights and decorations, and with traditional music drifting through the air, there is perhaps no better time of year to tour Europe's capitals. And luckily, as Christmas markets occur out of high season, prices on both travel and accommodation can be low, allowing you to save more for your shopping budget. The only question left, then, is where to head? Let HomeAway (and your conscience, of course) be your guide, with our list of top Christmas market holiday destinations.
Top five destinations for European Christmas markets
Christmas markets: Prague
An unforgettable experience: the timeless, picturesque Czech capital hosts its Christmas market in its main square (whose name is a bit of a mouthful: Staroměstské náměstí). An early dusk means that for much of the afternoon, the city is lit by soft candle light, with Czech festival music and the mouth-watering scents of traditional foods like goulash, barbecued sausages and sweet pastries filling the air.
View holiday rentals in Prague
Christmas markets: Bruges
A Christmas market trip to Bruges is quite close to home, and yet seems a million miles away; in another world. A leisurely tour of the twinkling Christmas market should be followed by a bit of skating on the open-air ice rink, or a tour of the gorgeous and distinctive architecture for which Bruges town is internationally renowned.
View holiday rentals in Bruges
Christmas markets: Salzburg
A visit to Salzburg's Christmas markets is a truly magical experience. Often covered in snow, the beautiful architecture of Mozart's birthplace is surrounded on all sides by stalls selling fine crafts, jewellery and one-of-a-kind wooden toys – you won't come back from this city empty handed (even if you try to)!
View holiday rentals in Salzburg
Christmas markets: Berlin
German Christmas markets are probably the most famous in the world, and – forgive the cliché – but there's little wonder why: elaborate décor, hearty German food and delicious beers are a hard combination to beat wherever found. But Berlin Christmas markets are without a doubt the jewel in Germany's Christmas crown. Consisting of more than 50 individual markets, they cannot be reduced to a single description: you'll need to allot a few days to making the Christmas market circuit. But you'll be glad you did.
View holiday rentals in Berlin
Christmas markets: Vienna
Vienna's Christmas markets are a traditional affair in the most delightful, almost archetypal sense: roasted chestnuts and mulled wine stalls line the streets, while the parks become filled with garlanded, decorated trees, and snuggly, be-mittened couples stroll through the crisp evening air, taking it all in. And of course – lights, lights everywhere! The entire city, at night, seems to be made of gold.
View holiday rentals in Vienna
Christmas Markets Accommodation
This modern loft style apartment is located sou-terrain in an old Berlin building in the well known district of Mitte. It has four large windows that overlook a peaceful interior courtyard that guarantees guests tranquillity and relaxation. The 40...
This beautiful studio was renovated in November 2010 and its very tasteful decoration includes a southern-facing balcony with outdoor furniture. Its central but peaceful location offers guests the relaxing view of a well-maintained garden.
Our apartment is ideally located both for arrivals from Schönefeld and for central Berlin. Bedroom 1 has a double bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, etc. The living room (which converts to Bedroom 2) has a coffee table, shelves, new flatscreen TV-DV...
The two-bedroom apartment is very quiet and light. It is located on the third floor of a building without a lift and was renovated in 2010. It is fitted with parquet floors and very carefully designed. The apartment has two bedrooms, a modern loun...
Modern and elegant apartment with garage situated next to the new 'Spreebogen', which has been created especially for the enjoyment of visitors.
The apartment has a large kitchen, modern bathroom, wardrobe, two double beds (a double bed measuri...