Christmas markets in Europe

This Christmas, explore Europe's best traditional Christmas markets

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Russ Sanchez

Russ Sanchez
HomeAway travel expert


Christmas MarketAh, 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 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.

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Christmas markets: Bruges 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.

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Christmas markets: Salzburg 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)!

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Christmas markets: Berlin 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.

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Christmas markets: Vienna 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.

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Christmas Markets Accommodation

Top stylish WIFI´ed 75m² top floor 2 bed apt,balcony,centre proximity in Bremen

Magnificent holiday apartment in Bremen in a closed residential area. This beautiful, 75 m² large, newly equipped apartment has been entirely renovated and is in absolute top state. It has 2 bedrooms, large comfortable lounge with 32 inch LG flat ...

66m2 luxury apartment with hotel service

If you value living culture, tranquility and first class service you should opt for our Luxurylodge: a large 2-room apartment 66m2, combined with hotel-like service in-house. Reception, restaurant (delicious and cheap!, terrace, garden and massage...

'Como' exclusive designer apartment in the center of Munich / close to Isar

Can be rent starting from 3 month onwards ! Extraordinary and exclusive furnished 2,5-room apartment. New built modern town-house finalized in May 2011. Open sunny living room with suite. Kitchen with fridge-freezer combination, dish washer, ...

City-west, calm, child-friendly, 2 bedrooms, lovely and generously furnished

Generously and lovely furnished 3-room-apartment in the heart of Charlottenburg. Within the rented 80 sqm you will find two bedrooms, each with double-bed, one living room, a bathroom, a kitchen and many arrangements. Bed-linen and towels are pro...

Gorgeous 130 sqm apartment in exclusive location only 7 min. walk downtown

The modern apartment with panoramic windows is bright and sunny inside. Enjoy a romantic sunrise and view of the Beautiful Schlossberg mountain while having breakfast on one of the balconies or watch a golden sunset with view of the Freiburg cit...

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