Christmas is nearly here, which means that many of us will be making our long-awaited annual trip to a Christmas Market to pick up last-minute gifts and experience all the sights and smells of a Christmas wonderland.
Guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, there’s nothing quite like browsing a Christmas Market with the lights twinkling and the smell of mulled wine hanging in the air to have you feeling merry and bright in no time. Here are some of the very best Christmas Markets on offer this year and why you need to visit one.
The Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Visiting Christmas Markets abroad has become a popular way to travel in the lead-up to Christmas and some people choose to take a weekend break to one of these European destinations so they can experience an authentic Christmas Market for themselves.
The oldest Christmas Market on record is the Dresdner Striezelmarkt, which started in 1434! Since the tradition started here, it makes sense that Germany has the biggest number of Christmas markets on offer, with Berlin, Esslingen, Nuremberg and Cologne all featuring highly on must-see Christmas market lists.
Neighbouring Austria also has some gorgeous festive offerings with markets in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and Vienna, which features its own ice rink and showcases incredible handmade traditional wooden toys. Belgium is also a popular Christmas destination thanks to the Winter Wonders market in Brussels and Winter Glow in Bruge.
The Biggest and Best Christmas Markets in the UK
Not to be outdone by our European neighbours, we have lots of delightfully festive Christmas Markets right here in the UK too.
If you’re looking for a Christmas Market to visit in Scotland, the Scottish capital Edinburgh is world-renowned for its Christmas celebrations where you can indulge in mulled Irn Bru, pick up all the Harry Potter-themed presents you could ever want and visit Santa in his grotto.
Attracting millions of visitors from across the globe, the Manchester Christmas Markets have been running since 1998 and feature more than 300 stalls along with rides, entertainment and an ice skating rink all spread across the city centre.
If you live in the Midlands, you’ll be delighted to learn that Birmingham has the largest authentic German market outside of Germany and Austria! The Frankfurt Market has hundreds of gift options as well as delicious authentic food offerings such as sausages, pretzels and German beer as well as an ice rink and big wheel.
Against the picturesque Medieval backdrop of the city, York’s Christmas Markets showcase the very best of Yorkshire produce and are sure to have you feeling Christmassy in no time.
Held the first weekend in December, Lincoln Christmas Market offers entertainment, food, drink and shopping against the perfect backdrop of the Medieval city with the 150 stalls nestled in between Lincoln Castle and the gothic cathedral.
Why Do People Enjoy Christmas Markets So Much?
Christmas Markets have increased in popularity over the years and become a staple part of many people’s Christmas traditions and celebrations but just why do we enjoy them so much?
For one thing, Christmas Markets are a great way to get in the mood for Christmas. Many of us will struggle to feel festive at some point or another, whether it’s because of work stresses or financial pressures but being surrounded by the sights and smells of Christmas and spending time with family and friends can help us live in the moment and remember what the season is really about.
Christmas Markets are also an opportunity to pick up unique gifts that we wouldn’t find online or on the high street, like personalised or handcrafted items or to try delicious delicacies from other parts of the world.
Christmas Markets aren’t just about shopping either. They can easily be a day (or night) out in themselves thanks to the entertainment, rides, live music and food and drink options on offer. So whether you’re looking for family fun in the holidays, a quirky date night idea or somewhere to meet up with family and friends this December, a Christmas Market might be the answer.
Some of the markets have more stalls to see and things to do than you could possibly get around in one day so you could even turn your Christmas Market trip into a weekend break, travelling there by train and staying for a couple of nights to allow you to really get into the Christmas spirit.
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