Due to the continuing restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Christmas markets across Europe are either canceled or extremely limited. Some markets, such as the Edinburgh Christmas Market will have online stores instead. We hope to see the return of this beloved Christmas tradition for Christmas 2021. Until then, we advise everyone to follow all COVID-19 regulations, protocols, and to follow medical advice provided by institutions such as the CDC.
The Christmas holidays are approaching, and for many of us, it is the perfect time to plan an escape to celebrate the festive season! All over Europe, Christmas markets are popping up in city centers with seasonal treats, traditional crafts, and a general sense of energy and anticipation as the most wonderful time of the year gets closer! With so many different places to visit for a snowy trip to buy Christmas presents and Christmas table decorations, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite destinations for a Christmas Market tour this year.
Plan a Christmas holiday in Germany!
With over two million visitors every year, the Nuremberg Christmas Market is undoubtedly one of the Christmas markets that have stayed true to their roots, and continue to support the sale of traditional, handmade toys, and holiday goods. From 28th November until 23rd December, you can peruse the stalls in the old town while the Christmassy smells of mulled wine, gingerbread, and bratwurst tempt you to indulge in a handheld feast. Adding to the magic of Christmas in this stunning city is a steam train, a two-tiered carousel based on old originals with reindeer and Santa sleighs, and a giant carved wooden Ferris wheel.
Staying in Germany, we move on to the lesser-known town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Just 90 minutes drive from Nuremberg, you will definitely want to put a day aside to explore this beautiful town. With a tradition of a festive, Christmas market dating back to the 15th century, each year, this medieval town transforms itself into something akin to a fairytale. With lights, Christmas music performed by brass bands, and that obligatory mulled wine, you can look forward to exploring winding streets and alleyways leading to squares around the town hall, lined with wooden booths selling a mixture of gadgets and modern treasures alongside those traditional Christmas gifts and traditionally crafted Christmas decorations
Book a Tallinn city break for a seasonal getaway
With close to two months to enjoy the Tallinn Christmas Market, starting on 15th November 2019, and ending 7th January 2020, this could also be put forward for ideas for New Years’ Eve 2019. Growing in popularity each year, Tallinn’s medieval architecture and snow-covered roofs add to the festive aesthetic of the Christmas market that is held in the heart of the old town. Perfect for a family holiday, kids can get excited about meeting Santa Claus and the Christmas confectionary he hands out. There are also a number of performances that take place on a stage in the market, which you can enjoy while sipping on—yup, you guessed it—mulled wine!
From Tallinn to the Riga Christmas market, you could really make a Christmas market tour out of your Christmas travel plans! In 2018, Riga was ranked the cheapest city for Christmas travel and a festive escape. With diversity in Christian denominations, along with a strong connection to ancient pagan traditions, Latvians go all out when it comes to celebrating Christmas and the Winter Solstice. With three markets in three squares in the old town, it is a wonderful way to explore this stunning city while indulging your inner Christmas elf! While you’re in Latvia, why not explore some of the countryside and enjoy a unique stay in this igloo-style dome rental, just an hour from the capital?
Explore the Budapest Christmas market
Budapest is a great spot for a weekend getaway all year round. With hot summers, it’s great for a bit of sun and culture, and during the winter, it’s ideal for those snow lovers out there. This year, the Christmas market runs from 22nd November until 1st January 2020, and it will boast the largest 3D Christmas projections in Europe! If you head to St. Stephen’s Basilica, you will be able to enjoy the display with 3D glasses that will bring a whole new life to the façade of this historic building. As well as stalls with the best Hungarian contemporary hand-craft products and Christmas food and drink—served with eco-friendly cups, plates, and cutlery—there is a free ice-skating rink for children surrounding a towering Christmas tree!
Immerse yourself in the magic of the Bruges Christmas market
We can’t discuss medieval European towns at Christmas and not mention Bruges. This uniquely beautiful city will play host to its enormous Christmas market once again, starting on 22nd November, and ending on 1st January 2020. A magical city all year round, Bruges really comes into its own at this time of year with its cobbled streets lit up with Christmas lights, and the river winding its way through the city adding to this fairytale-like city. A stay in Bruges will leave you feeling as though you’ve stepped into a postcard, and it’ll blow you away with its architecture, and vibrant Christmas market filled with festive atmosphere. If you’re staying in Belgium beyond the weekend and you want a spot to stay while you explore the area, then a stay on this charming houseboat will offer you a unique getaway!
Follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen, and relax in Bath, Somerset, this festive season
If you are looking for a Christmas market closer to home, why not head to the beautiful Georgian city of Bath. Famous for the Roman baths, Bath became a favorite spa town for the aristocracy of Georgian and Victorian England. Even Jane Austen was a regular visitor, and there is now a museum in her honor in the city. The Christmas market runs from 28th November until 15th December this year, and it brings life to the square next to Bath Abbey. Close to the high street, you’ll be able to enjoy browsing in the shops as well.
You can further extend your trip to the south-west of England with a trip to Stonehenge. Bath to Stonehenge is only an hour’s drive, and you can also add a stay in this unique tree house accommodation, perhaps also venturing to the medieval city of Salisbury and enjoying some carols in the Cathedral.