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.
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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
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
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
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
Our holiday flats are situated in the heart of Garmisch-Partenkirchen (altitude 800m). The cable cars, ski lifts, and shopping areas are but a short walk away. The village is set in the Bavarian Alps, and has a breathtaking view of Germany’s highe...
Your apartment, close to the sea with 1 or 2 bedrooms and a fabulous view of the sea located, see our HOUSE BY THE SEA in a side street. Central close to the sea and the port of Sassnitz. In the background, surrounded by the chalk cliffs. The plot...
The spacious apartment is situated in the centre of Baden-Baden. on a quiet road seconds from Augusta Platz.
The flat is ideal for either a couple or small family. Maximum guests four plus one baby. It is ideal for a holiday or business trip...
The apartment is on the ground floor of a historic listed building in 1889. It's all decorated in white. 3 bedrooms and a very large room (3 merged old rooms) for the kitchen, dining room and living room, large bathroom with shower and wc and unde...
There is a bathtub and a toilet in the bathroom.
The bathroom is 6 m2 big.
The floor is tiled.
Bathroom 2: The bathroom has a washbasin, a mirror cabinet and a large wall mirror. There is a large window.
Rooms: In the entrance ar...