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European Christmas Market Destinations

Treat yourself to an early Christmas present, and enjoy a festive break at one of the continent’s most famous yuletide markets. These fabled fairs, full of twinkle and cheer, are brimming with seasonal traditions, and are the perfect place to pick up that unique gift. Carol singing floats across the frosty air, chestnuts roast and fairy lights twinkle: welcome to the most magical Christmas attractions on earth.

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester

Make time for a mug of mulled wine here in Manchester - home to the UK’s largest festive fair. Every year, an enormous Father Christmas sits beneath the gothic splendour of our Town Hall, welcoming wrapped-up visitors to the cobbles of Albert Square.

Around him, 300 festively festooned stalls offer the finest food, drink and gifts sourced from around Europe. A cluster of additional markets stretch between surrounding areas of St. Ann's Square and New Cathedral Street, attracting shoppers from all over the UK and beyond.

Brussels

Come the festive season, the wooden chalets of Brussels’ markets start selling handcrafted gifts and serving delectable food.

Winter Wonders takes place throughout December and puts on an all flashing all twinkling array of festive fun: enjoy circus acts, an ice rink, illuminated art installations, choirs and a generous helping of amusement rides.

Brussels Ferris Wheel
Cologne Architecture

Cologne

A visit to Cologne is typically dominated by two fine features: the local beer, Kölsch, and the impressively imposing Cologne Cathedral. During advent, the cathedral's twin spires overlook a spirited Christmas market, with its tinsel-topped huts serving mulled wine and traditional stollen, dusted festively with icing sugar.

The city’s other popular Christmas markets include the ones at the Alter Markt, the Neumarkt and on the Rudolfplatz.

Prague

Prague is at its most charming in winter. Weave through its picturesque lanes, see the snow sparkle atop the Old Town Square and find warm refuge in one of its welcoming bars.

The most enticing stalls can be found filling the squares of Wenceslas and the Old Town, laden with glinting decorations, handmade gifts and sweet treats.

Prague Christmas Market
Strasbourg Christmas Lights

Strasbourg

The self-declared ‘capital of Christmas’, Strasbourg has held its beloved festive market since 1570. Today’s incarnation features a whopping 30-metre tree and over 300 chalets selling gifts, glühwein and utterly addictive cinnamon biscuits.

Strasbourg’s gothic Nôtre-Dame cathedral is particularly atmospheric at this time of year, and its cosmopolitan cafes make the ideal bolt holes for warming the cockles with a freshly made brew.

Verona

With its rich renaissance architecture, candle-lit ristorantes and resplendent Roman amphitheatre, fair Verona in wintertime is awash with romantic airs worthy of Romeo and Juliet.

Walk beneath the sparkling lights at Piazza Dante for one of Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets, fall in love with its exquisite, handmade nativity scenes and indulge in the exceptional local food.

Verona Snow
Vienna Christmas Market

Vienna

Wrap up warm and wander wintertime Vienna for exceptional coffee, the black tie brilliance of its classical concerts and, of course, its exceptional christmas markets.

The largest market is near the Rathaus where, amid the aroma of roasting chestnuts, stalls sell fanciful gifts, choirs sing and families ice skate together.

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