There’s no better way to embrace the Christmas spirit and get that festive feeling than by booking a trip to visit the Christmas markets. With so many choices just a short hop away, read on for our top picks…
No winter trip to Copenhagen is complete without a trip to the iconic Tivoli Gardens. With its beautiful classical fairground rides and the maze of stalls selling all manner of festive food, drink and gifts, it’s perfect for families and couples alike to soak up the Nordic festive atmosphere. More than half a million lights create a truly magical atmosphere, and Tivoli Gardens is famed for its impressive lightshows. Whilst a year-round destination in itself, Christmas in Tivoli Gardens runs from 17th November to 31st December.
Steeped in tradition, Vienna’s Christmas markets dates back to 1298. Set in the square in front of the iconic City Hall, it’s truly a sight to behold. Stock up on local handicrafts – the perfect stocking-fillers for family and friends - or hop between the colourful stalls for a variety mouth-watering treats; all accompanied by the sound of carol singers. The market runs from 17thNovember to 26thDecember and is the perfect place to get in the festive spirit.
When it comes to Christmas markets, Brussels is always a top pick. Its Winter Wonders event takes place from 30thNovember to 6thJanuary, and encompasses over 200 chalet-style stalls, classic fairground rides, ice skating, an impressive sound and light show at the Grand-Palace, and a show-stopping parade featuring dozens of festive floats. It has a huge array of fantastic food and drink stalls and is also a great place to stock up on special handcrafted Christmas gifts. All this, and only a short hop away on the Eurostar, making it really quick and easy to get to (plus no need to worry about cramming all the gifts into your hand luggage!).
With not one but two main Christmas markets, if you want to really feel the magic of Christmas then look no further than Prague. With one set in Old Town Square and the other a five-minute walk away in Wenceslas Square, it’s easy to cover both in just a day or two so is the perfect place for a short weekend break. Prague’s Christmas markets are a haven for foodies and the smell as you walk around is incredible. Try a klobása (barbecued Czech sausage), Pražská Šunka (spit-roasted ham) or langoš (Hungarian flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup. You won’t go thirsty either – aside from the usual array of mulled wines and ciders, make sure you sample some of the famous local beers. The markets run from 1st December to 6th January
Photo credit: Annie Spratt | Daniil Silantev
Rachel Overall is the founder behind boutique travel consultancy, Follow in My Footprints, providing travel ideas, inspiration and itineraries for those looking to get off the beaten track. She also owns luxury wedding planning and styling company, Mirabella Weddings.
After 8 years working in the advertising industry, Rachel launched her first company, Mirabella Weddings - switching from planning multi-million-pound media campaigns for global brands, to planning stylish, laidback luxury weddings for fun-loving couples.
Follow in My Footprints was created shortly after, allowing Rachel to not only tap into her expertise and passion for travel (having now visited over 40 countries), but to enable her wedding planning clients an end-to-end planning solution from wedding through to honeymoon. Whether through weddings or travel, Rachel is passionate about creating incredible experiences and memories to last a lifetime, applying the same care, attention-to-detail and personalised service to both of her businesses.
Rachel lives in the Essex countryside with her husband, and when not planning her next adventure, loves checking out the latest restaurants or relaxing with a glass of red wine.