Pick up handmade gifts while indulging in a glass of mulled wine and some gingerbread
Here’s where to wrap up your shopping …
Vienna’s Christmas market is best visited at night, with its light-bedecked trees, hot air balloons and gleaming red hearts. More than 150 stalls fill the Rathausplatz in front of the neo-Gothic City Hall, where you can buy wooden houses, ceramics, gingerbread hearts and handblown glass. Don’t forget to sample the hot punch and roasted chestnuts, in front of the cheerful brass band, before leaving.
When: November 13th – December 26th
With 170 chalets illuminating the city, Bath’s Christmas market is truly picturesque. Most of the stallholders are from Bath (or the surrounding areas), and will be selling everything from cheese and potted game to ceramics and jewellery. Pick up a freshly baked mince pie and glass of mulled wine to keep you warm while you browse.
When: November 26th – December 13th
Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg has won the title of “Best Christmas Market in Europe” two years running, and it’s not hard to see why. With 11 different “villages”, all beautifully decorated with half-timbered houses covered in stars, angels and snowflake garlands, people from all over the world have been coming here since 1570 – and they’ve even dubbed themselves the “Capital of Christmas”. Make sure you try their ‘bredele’ biscuits, which come in a variety of flavours such as orange and cinnamon. Resist the temptation to dive straight in and hang them on your tree.
When:November 27th – December 31st
This is a real hidden gem. Head to Belgravia this festive season and see the charming cobbles transform into a winter wonderland. Pimlico Road, Elizabeth Street and Motcomb Street will be lined with arts and crafts stalls, selling gifts and jewellery, as well as homeware and food. They’ll also be live entertaining and music, while the Sunday will see Elizabeth Street bursting with boutique stalls selling food and fashion, along with jugglers, and trumpeters. Keep your eyes open for Santa and his flock of reindeer along with some carol singers.
When: December 10th – December 13th
This is undoubtedly one of the most magical. The traditional German-style market, complete with wooden chalets selling seasonal food and craft decorations, is set in the Cathedral’s historic Close. The ice rink will once again be at the centre of the activities – so take a spin around the ice against the beautiful backdrop of the Cathedral all beautifully lit up.
When: November 19th -December 22nd
Hamburg Christmas Market
Whether you’re a traditionalist who wants their Christmas market to come with classic gingerbread made in Nuremberg, or you head there to enjoy a mug of gluhwein on a lake Alaster boat tour, Hamburg’s Christmas market has something for everyone. During Advent, there is a festive parade through the beautifully decorated city centre every Saturday, while Santa can be seen everyday flying his reindeer drawn sleigh.
When: November 23rd – January 6th
The snowy streets of Stockholm have been playing host to this beautiful Christmas market since 1915. Set in front of the Nobel Museum, the stalls sell crafts only made in Sweden, such as pottery and glass, and they are surprisingly affordable, too. Pick up some saffransbullar (saffron buns) and reindeer sausages to take home, and indulge in a glass of glogg and a pepparkakor (ginger biscuit) while you’re there, for a truly Scandinavian-style Christmas.
When: November 21st – December 23rd
Lining the River Thames, the Southbank Centre’s Winter Market is the closest you’re going to get to a real German Christmas market without leaving the capital. The wooden chalets will be selling gifts, wooden toys, jewellery, and artisan soaps, to name just a few. On the food front, tuck into lobster mac’n’cheese and gingerbread biscuits, before heading to the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge, where you can take in the best views or warm up by the wood burning stove.
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When: November 20th – December 24th
Bologna Christmas Market
This is how you would imagine an authentic Italian Christmas experience: with lots and lots of food. Think marzipan fruits, citrus peel dipped in dark chocolate, and torrone, a traditional Christmas nougat made with nuts and honey. This is the place to go for foodie stocking fillers.
When: November 17th – January 7th