Did you know that the cheapest time of the year to fly is during the first two weeks of December? If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting one of the best Christmas markets Europe has to offer, it’s time to stop dreaming and make it a reality!
In between two hectic periods for travelling, Thanksgiving and Christmas, early December is the ideal time for a cheap and festive getaway. As this is a quiet period for traveling in general, you can profit from excellent accommodation prices and less crowded tourist attractions too.
Now that Halloween and Thanksgiving are out of the way, it is time to really get into the Christmas spirit. This comes with a whole array of joyful activities: putting up the Christmas tree, watching the Toy Show, and getting stuck into some mince pies. But what if this year you were to do something extra special in the run up to the holiday season? Make this your best holiday season ever with a trip to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
In Ireland, we are blessed to live so close to all of the world’s best Christmas markets. This means we can benefit from cheap Christmas destinations which also happen to offer the best festivities to be enjoyed.
Here are our favourite Christmas markets to visit:
Strasbourg was the winner of the Best Christmas Market,Europe award in 2014 and 2015 consecutively, and it is still sure to live up to all expectations. As the oldest Christmas market in Europe, dating all the way back to 1570, Strasbourg has maintained its reputation as the capital of Christmas. This spectacular event is named Christkindelsmärik, and sees 300 stalls spread out over 12 different locations all around the city of Strasbourg. As part of the celebrations, a huge number of concerts and a live Nativity scene will also bring the city of Strasbourg to life. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy at the infamous Strasbourg markets.
When To Go: Open from 24th November 2017 until December 30th 2017.
Each year, Brussels hosts a 5-week long event called Winter Wonders, which sees the capital of Belgium come to life for the festive period. Aside from the traditional markets, you can also enjoy the ice rink, fun fair, and a huge range of live events. Be sure to check out the incredible sound and light show which takes place at the Grand-Place each evening from 5-10pm, every hour during the week and every 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays.
When To Go: Open from 25th November 2017 until December 31st 2017.
Vienna offers a unique Christmas holiday experience as there are several different markets and Christmas villages all over the city to be enjoyed. As part of the traditional Krippenmarkt, the city transforms famous areas such as City Hall Square, Belvedere Palace and Maria-Theresien Platz into the true Austrian Christmas experience. Vienna also hosts a New Year’s market which extends until January 1st 2018.
When To Go: Open 17th November 2017 until December 26th 2017.
Cologne’s Christmas markets are Germany’s most famous and attract millions of visitors each year. The largest market is held in downtown Cologne, but events and attractions are spread out all over the city. There are many markets to be visited; the Cathedral market, the Old Town market, Angel’s Market in the City at Neumarkt, and a Gay and Lesbian Christmas market. For more unusual handcrafted items, the market at Stadtgarten is a must-see.
When To Go: Open from 27th November until December 23rd 2017.
The Prague Christmas markets offer a more intimate experience in comparison to some bigger markets across Europe. The two most popular markets are those at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, which are conveniently only a 5 minute walk away from each other. Prague offers a unique medieval atmosphere and traditional Czech food to be enjoyed, such as Trdelnik, a famous hot sugar-coated pastry.
When To Go: Open from 2nd Dec 2017 until January 6th 2018.
Although Croatia may not be what first comes to mind when we usually think of Christmas markets, but Zagreb has been awarded the European Best Christmas Market for the last two years running. The event named Advent is definitely not one to miss. The city will transform its main squares into a festive and cultural experience for the whole family. As Croatia doesn’t have decades of experience like markets in France or Germany, Advent in Zagreb offers a less commercialized and more authentic experience of Christmas the Croatian way. Be sure to enjoy the famous Croatian Christmas cookies!
When To Go: Open from 2nd December until January 7th 2018.
Manchester’s Christmas markets have been growing in size each year since 1999. This year, over 300 stalls will welcome people from all over the world to visit the UK’s biggest and original Christmas market. Located in the centre of Manchester City you’ll be sure to find great accommodation located within walking distance of the markets, making this an ideal Winter weekend trip destination.
When To Go: Open from 10th November 2017 until December 20th 2017.
So… Need any more convincing?
Explore the Best Christmas Markets Europe has to offer this Christmas season 2017!
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