There’s a nip in the air and a scent of cinnamon blows in the breeze, and even the most hardened Christmas grinches feel their heart melt a little. The first smell of Christmas! Shame it was only someone’s snowflake cup-clad coffee. But it doesn’t have to be that way – all across Europe giant Christmas markets are springing up, some old and traditional and some newer and more quirky, and we have put together our top five for you.
Called the Christkindlmarkt, the Christmas market here has been happening for 400 years so you could say that they know how to do it! Centred around the Old Town, over 200 stall and twinking lights galore line the streets, selling crafts, food, and of course the all-important gluhwein. Kids will love the Kinderweihnacht area, where Christmassy things catering to the smaller family members take place.
Located in the Tivoli Gardens, Europe’s oldest theme park, expect icy temperatures, skating on the lake and plenty of food and stalls plus rides and Father Christmas. This year the theme is Russia, so check out the St Basil’s Cathedral and the Trans-Siberian Railway too. Oh, and look out for the nisser – the Danish Christmas pixies!
Expect a Christmas market with a twist in ever-contemporary Berlin. Held near the ruins of the Gedachtniskirche expect a different selection of stalls with sculptures and paintings alongside the more usual offerings. If you’re after something more traditional though, there are over fifty in the city in total so why stop at just one!
Not your usual choice here, but the Christmas market in Barcelona has a long tradition dating back more than 200 years. Buy traditional Catalan crafts and watch the parades amid miles and miles of lights, or even enter your very own nativity scene into the competition. There’s plenty to eat too with Catalan nougat and Christmas bread topping the bill.
And finally for the UK’s biggest and brightest offering. The Frankfurt Christmas Market, named for the Midlands’ twin city, is now in its 11th year and it boasts lights, cheer and plenty of stalls will all sorts of gift items as well as bratwurst and the all-important gluhwein. Alternatives in the UK include Winchester and Lincoln.