December 10, 2015

Merry Christmas at Vienna’s Christmas market © Gabriel Hess

As a family man I find Christmas really enjoyable. My wife and kids all love getting into the Christmas spirit, and we often take a short break to Europe to see some of the best Christmas markets on offer. Many of the towns with the best Christmas markets are places which are packed with history and culture, so even if you’re a bit of a scrooge, you’ll find something interesting to discover! Take a look at my list of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets and see which ones you’d like to visit this winter.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

One of Europe’s most popular and historic markets, the Strasbourg Christmas market is one of my personal favourites. The market is overlooked by Strasbourg’s stunning cathedral, which features stunning Gothic-style towers. When visiting, remember to go inside the cathedral and see the astronomical clock – my kids love pointing out all the different zodiac signs. The market itself is vast, with over 300 chalets spread over 12 city locations. The market sells everything from traditional Alsatian decorations, to delicious food, such as choucroute garnie, gingerbread and Baeckeoffe.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market will take place between 27 November and 24 December 2015.

 A festive scene under the tree in Strasbourg.
A festive scene under the tree in Strasbourg. © Tristan Schmurr

Vienna Magic of Advent

Vienna boasts a few different Christmas markets, but there’s one which draws me back time and time again. Located on Vienna’s Rathausplatz, each year the Vienna Magic of Advent puts on a charming Christmas market, with over 150 stalls. Transforming the Rathausplatz into a fairy-tale wonderland, this market is great for children, with a fun selection of activities for them to get involved in, such as pony riding, a merry-go-round and baking workshops. Stroll around the market, tasting roasted almonds and chestnuts and listening to live choirs and musicians as they play festive songs from around the world.

Vienna Magic of Advent will take place between 14 November and 24 December 2015.

Lille Christmas Market

Lille’s Christmas Market has become popular across Europe as it lasts a whole month, giving you more time to visit during the busy festive season. Located in northern France, Lille is the ideal day trip, and I’ve been there several times with my family. My kids love going on the Big Wheel, which stands proudly over the market at 50-metres high, and the Grand Place square features a huge Christmas tree, the perfect centrepiece for a festive setting. Treat yourself to festive sweets, like hazelnut chocolate-filled doughnuts, and fresh crepes, and enjoy the festive buzz as you mingle with French locals.

Lille’s Christmas Market will take place between 18 November and 30 December 2015.

 Lille’s wonderful Christmas market.
Lille’s wonderful Christmas market. © Rodrigue ROMON

Prague Christmas Market

Prague is a fantastic destination to visit around Christmas, as it boasts several markets and festive events. My family and I often take a stroll around the scenic Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí), which dates back to the 12th century, and holds the city’s main Christmas market. With a huge Christmas tree lighting up the historic square, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon or evening enjoying the festive delights that are on offer. Enjoy traditional treats, such as Trdelník – a warm pastry, coated with sugar – and mouth-watering hams which are roasted on large spits. My kids particularly enjoy the animal stable at the Old Town Square, and there’s even a nativity scene in a large wooden stable.

Prague’s Christmas Market will take place between 28 November 2015 and 06 January 2016.

 An overview of Prague’s main Christmas market.
An overview of Prague’s main Christmas market. © Boris Tylevich

Inspired by our selection of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets?

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle you can travel from Folkestone to Calais in just 35-minutes, so you’ll have more time to enjoy Europe in the festive season!

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