Holidays over Christmas and New Year are incomparable; with a touch of magic in the air the world-famous, traditional markets across Europe are not only something distinctive but a veritable embodiment of that annual yuletide cheer.
With Christmas fast approaching, what better way to get into the festive spirit than a trip to an authentic European Christmas market? Dark winter evenings, cosy hats and scarves, warm mugs of mulled wine, the smell of cinnamon and ginger in the air… What are you waiting for?
From late November until the end of the year, European cities soak up this time honoured tradition, despite the cold people come out in droves to experience the ambiance of the Christmas markets. The fairy-tale dial is turned up to 100, each location showing off their delicious festive fares, pop-up bars, artisan craft shops and carnival rides not to mention their stunning decorations and awe inspiring lights. Although each city does things a little differently, no matter where you go to experience the magic of the Christmas Market throughout Europe – the levels of jolliness and festive joy will be sky high.
Whether you are looking to cuddle up with some mulled wine, or just soak up the ambience together, here is our pick of the very best in Europe you’ll want to visit this festive period with one of our Alluring ladies.
Dates: 18th November 2022 – 1st January 2023
Officially one of the most spectacular fairs in Europe after being awarded the “Best Christmas market in Europe” for the second time, is open for the 12th time at St. Stephan’s square in Budapest.
With more than 100 artisan and gastronomic vendors offering their portican, other local delicacies and traditional cuisine, the spectacularly decorated atmosphere of the fair itself is completed by the highly successful lightshow projected on the Basilica and an ice-skating rink that circles around a grand Christmas tree.
All delightfully festive and eventful, you will need somewhere quieter, enchanting and relaxing to stay and enjoy the more private benefits to a Christmas getaway; there is nowhere better than the sublime Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest, just a short walk from the Basilica – with a Nobu restaurant on site as well as other restaurants and bars, this is the ideal break from the winter wonderland outside.
Not only could you enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the Christmas market in Budapest but thanks to an explosion of popularity in Danube river cruises (most of which start or end in Budapest) why not truly enjoy the Christmas season and visit some other legendary Christmas markets with your companion too! We all know when it comes to Christmas, one treat is never enough.
Discover grand cities, medieval towns and quaint villages along the “Blue Danube,” encompassing three countries: Hungary, Austria and Germany. Stroll among the stalls at Budapest’s Christmas market and immerse yourself in the cheerful atmosphere of Vienna as you shop for handmade decorations. Visit the fairy-tale village of Regensburg, one of Europe’s best-preserved cities, and delight in the city’s joyful festivities.
Budapest is the gift that keeps on giving and is definitely top of our Christmas list.
Dates: 18th November – 22nd December 2022
The Trier Christmas market is not only the best Christmas market in Germany but also the most Romantic Christmas market setting worldwide! Now in its 43rd year, set on the medieval main market encompassing a conglomeration of architectural styles, from Romanesque and Gothic to Baroque, all set in front of the imposing backdrop of Trier Cathedral, this really does have the most wonderfully romantic ambience. Along with everything you would expect from a yuletide market, what makes the Christmas market in Trier truly unique however is the “Gluehweinkönigin” (“Mulled Wine Queen”). Germany’s one and only Mulled Wine Queen graces the Christmas market on each weekend of the market and is of course present at the official opening. The Christmas atmosphere can be felt throughout the whole pedestrian precinct, festively decorated streets and shop windows make your Christmas shopping trip into a very special experience.
Complete this festive getaway with an overnight stay at Park Plaza Trier and what more could you want from such a tradition steeped in history: an enchanting backdrop, festive sustenance, romantic atmosphere and an alluring lady to enjoy it all with – this one is certainly the star on top of the tree!
Dates: 24th November – 23rd December 2022
Basel has a deep-rooted tradition as Switzerland’s most beautiful and largest Christmas city and with over a hundred tall pine trees bordering the streets pointing the way to the authentic market, this well-preserved old town radiates Christmas spirit: from the warm Christmas light, to the shops and facades of the buildings glimmering with a golden glow. One of the most beautiful squares in Basel, the Münsterplatz is home to (not surprisingly) one of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe. With neighbours like Germany and France, you can expect no less than absolute magic at Basel’s Münsterplatz Christmas market.
Basel’s Christmas market is not only the biggest but certainly the most beautiful in Switzerland, assembling 160 meticulously decorated stalls selling a wide array of culinary wonders from authentic Basel Lackerli (a local twist on gingerbread), to hot punch, festive fondue and rib-sticking raclette to beat the winter chill. The bustling sounds of a Christmas marketplace mingle with the smell of gluhwein, hot cider, and melted cheese, as lights glow in the trees of the square and on the towering Christmas tree. There is something uniquely quaint about this market; what could be better than wrapping up warm and soaking in all the festivity with a wonderful companion, enjoying the winter wonderland before heading back to a wonderful hotel such as the Hyperion Hotel Basel to unwrap your Christmas gift.
Dates: 18th November 2022 – 24th December 2022
Metz certainly shines its brightest in winter time. As the nights draw in, the Christmas illuminations take over the city. Nothing will get you in the spirit of the festive season more than the incredible illuminations of the Metz Christmas market. Keep warm with traditional features such as the open-air ice rink and the merry-go-round. Keep an eye out for the big wheel next to the cathedral before tucking into some of the tastiest gingerbread around before wandering through the enchanting “Sentiers des Lanternes” (Lantern Trails) with illuminated nutcrackers, teddy bears and presents, making this a unique and romantic destination to share with a stunning companion.
It is no surprise that for 10 years it has been listed in the best “Christmas markets in Europe” and considered by many to be the most beautiful Christmas market in France. Sprawled across the city’s six different squares, the Metz Market truly has something for every type of festive fanatic. Take in the various stalls around sunset, exploring their handcrafted gifts and holiday treats but if you time your visit to coincide with Saint Nicholas weekend you can also experience the parade of floats that rides through Metz that will surely be the icing on the Christmas cake.
La Citadelle Metz Gallery in the heart of Metz is the ideal choice for some private time; an ideal location should you want to explore the city even further, or just take some time to enjoy a warm and cosy atmosphere in the Bar Ambiance Lounge, or enjoy exotic flavours in the hotel’s bistronomic restaurant, ‘La Reserve’.
Dates: 19th November – 26th December 2022
One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent”, which turns its City Hall Square into a shining fairy-tale land. The trees of the surrounding City Hall Park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights, while icicles dangle off grandiose Hapsburg buildings. All this captured among artisan stalls, steaming mugs of mulled wine and the deliciously festive aroma of roasted chestnuts and freshly baked pretzels – a Viennese experience you definitely don’t want to miss!
When you have tired of the winter wonderland and want to enjoy some other festive activities, Grand Ferdinand Vienna is hard to beat. With its rooftop breakfasts and purist rooms it perfectly complements the Pre-Christmas feeling of magic and joy in the city.