7 of the best Christmas markets in the world
Whether you want an extra dose of festive cheer this year or are planning ahead for the next, why not take a trip to a Christmas market?
Christmas markets in the UK
Birmingham’s annual Frankfurt Christmas Market is one not to be missed. Providing the traditional German experience that’s a little closer to home. The market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany itself or Austria. With more than 80 stalls, visitors can enjoy traditional fare such as Pretzels, schnitzels and gluhwein, a type of German mulled wine. There are events throughout the market’s residence, including free concerts in the bandstand.
The medieval city of York is beautiful all year long, but especially at Christmas. York’s St Nicholas Christmas Fair has plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as opportunities to do some Christmas shopping. A highlight is Thor’s Tipi Bar in Parliament Square, a pop-up bar serving a variety of festive drinks in an oversized tipi, complete with a real log fire. The bar is open until 11pm every night and makes an ideal evening activity.
When a herd of reindeer moves into an enclosure in East Princes Street Gardens you know Edinburgh Christmas has begun. The nearby European market, with the castle as a backdrop, offers international craft, art, gifts and food. It stretches along Princes Street to a big wheel and ice rink. And if the cold seeps in, every pub in this richly cultured city promises the bonus of a warming dram of Highland malt.
Thinking ahead to next year? Why not plan ahead for these internationally-renowned markets…
Christmas markets in Europe
Vienna often tops lists of the best Christmas markets in the world – and for good reason. Whilst the capital has many markets, there are two that really stand out. Vienna’s Weihnnachtsmarkt is held in the forecourt of the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace. There are many stalls selling local treats and crafts, but the location sets this market apart from the rest. After Christmas, there are many New Year’s themed events in this location, including daily jazz concerts.
The Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz is another Viennese highlight. Visitors can soak up the Christmassy atmosphere of the decorated Rathhauspark, while ice-skating next to the market.
Fly direct from London and other regional airports; from 2hrs 10 mins.
Have you ever considered visiting Poland in the festive season? The seasonal market is set against the beautiful cobbled Rynek Glowny central square in Krakow’s old town centre. Krakow Christmas Market features handmade glass baubles, wood carvings, folk art, amber jewellery, sweets, spiced nuts and speciality foods such as hearty traditional Polish sausages and stews. Whilst in Krakow, you can visit a working Christmas decoration workshop and even decorate your own ornament.
Fly direct from many regional airports; from 2hrs 25 mins.
Christmas markets outside of Europe
If you’re looking for a Christmas market with great variety, Vancouver Christmas Market could be ideal. For children of all ages, there is a traditional fun fair, festive arts and crafts and family-friendly live entertainment. The market also features Lovers’ Lane. A glittering walkway comprised of over 10,000 lights, it would be the highlight of a romantic getaway.
The market is also ideal for foodies. Vendors represent cuisines from across Europe, as well as local Canadian fare, like Perogies and Hot Cakes.
Fly direct from London; from 9hrs 30mins
Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
In Singapore’s beautiful Gardens by the Bay (as featured in Planet Earth 2) is the island nation’s biggest yuletide fair. Christmas Wonderland is truly a festive extravaganza. The market boasts the biggest Santa’s grotto in Asia. A signature attraction is the stunning, 7-storey high ‘Luminarie’ mirror maze, as part of their light-up sculpture garden.
Worried about missing the snow? The market organises ‘Blizzard Time’, an enchanting ‘snow’ flurry throughout the day.
Fly direct from London (or from other major cities with 1 stop); from 12hrs 45mins
Most Christmas markets run from mid-November to late December but check exact dates before booking your trip.