15 Nov 2017 by Olga Brighton
This is a great time of year to take a break. All the kids are back at school and prices are lower, so if you’re hunting for a mini holiday to fortify yourself for the festive season, why not opt for a Christmas market and see the sights while getting ahead with your Christmas shopping?
Europe has the best selection of Christmas markets, where you can wrap up warm, indulge in steaming hot drinks and sweet treats, find handcrafted gifts, all whilst taking in the sights and sounds of some of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Here are some of the best Christmas markets in our opinion, for you to combine festive fun with some unforgettable historic hotspots.
This isn’t the most obvious choice out of the spectacular selection of German Christmas markets available. However, it’s a picture perfect location for a Christmas market which dates back 500 years. Whether you visit at Christmas or not, this town is straight out of Hansel and Gretel. It’s the most impeccably preserved Bavarian Medieval town in Europe and its thick stone town walls surrounding the town, with their tiny wooden walkways offer unique roof top vistas of the town’s half-timbered houses and red-tiled roofs. Market runs from 1st to 23rd December.
The city boasts the oldest Christmas market in France. First held in 1570 it has 300 stalls, across 12 locations, so this is definitely one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets. You will be treated to several Advent celebrations throughout the duration of the market and Strasbourg’s spectacular Gothic Cathedral nestles at the heart of this fabulously festive location. Market runs from 25th November to 31st December.
Bath city centre is a world Heritage site with its Roman Baths and glorious Abbey and becomes home to 170 + Christmas stalls from the end of November. This years Market is set to be bigger than ever with over 200 wooden chalets planned. The market offers ceramics, toys, gifts, decorations and food with over 80% of produce sourced locally. You can stay active at the ice rink and glow-in-the-dark crazy golf course at nearby Royal Victoria Park. And don’t miss the views of the beautiful River Avon. Market runs from November 23rd to 10th December.
Winchester's beautiful medieval centre offers a slightly more modest, but equally delightful Christmas market with over 100 wooden chalets offering decorations, jewellery, artwork, wooden toys, gifts, and all the usual irresistible food fayre. You can visit the open air ice-rink and Winchester Cathedral, and take the time to have a look inside the cathedral as it is reputed to have the longest Gothic nave in Europe. Winchester is also home to Winchester College, which is the oldest public school in the UK still using its original buildings dating back over 600 years.
Whichever you opt for, stay safe, be aware of your surroundings and remember your travel insurance if you are leaving the country – just in case of mishaps or emergencies.
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