Begin the festive season with an enchanting and memorable short break to one of Europe's spectacular Christmas markets. From late November, picture-postcard cities across Europe are adorned with traditional decorations, coloured lights and city squares filled with market stalls. Imagine yourself wrapped up in a cosy coat, strolling along quaint cobbled streets, smelling the sweet scent of mulled wine, sampling local gastronomic delights, taking in the city sights, dramatic architecture, unique attractions and festive traditions.

This is a perfect trip to enjoy with friends and family in the lead up to Christmas and an ideal opportunity to stock up on some unique gifts.

There are hundreds of Christmas markets waiting to be discovered in cities and towns throughout Europe. Many of the low-cost and scheduled airlines offer great value flights outside of the holiday period. Eurostar also offers direct routes to Paris, Lille and Brussels with onward rail connections to smaller destinations in Europe, ideal for those looking for a more intimate experience.

City breaks can be tailored to suit you, based on your preferred dates and duration, offering you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. If you would prefer an escorted tour, lots of perfectly balanced itineraries are available which also offer the chance to make new friends with fellow travellers.

Here is a little taste of just a few of our experiences of European Christmas Markets:

 

Lille, France

The charming French city of Lille is a perfect choice for those seeking a Christmas Market travelling by train and due to its easy access, it can be also experienced as a day-trip from the UK which takes approximately 90 minutes from London via Eurostar. This medieval city has quaint cobbled streets, a beautiful blend of French and Flemish culture and has over 50 market stalls in the Place Rihour for the festive Christmas Market. Be sure to take a ride on the iconic, illuminated ferris wheel for wonderful views!

 

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart Christmas market is said to be one of the most beautiful in Europe and takes centre stage beneath the stunning backdrop of the Old Palace. Stuttgart is a great choice for those wishing to combine several markets whilst in Germany by including Ludwigsburg to the north and Esslingen to the south-east, which are both located approximately 20kms from Stuttgart.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beautiful cities and commonly named the ‘city of a hundred spires’. Enjoy time spend strolling through the city’s unique districts, soak up the diverse styles of old and modern as you explore the Old Town. From early December, Wenceslas Square has an abundance of market stalls for you to browse, listen to Christmas carols and soak up the festivities and enjoy the delicious heart-warming food and drinks.


Krakow, Poland

The annual Christmas Market in Krakow takes place from late November and throughout December in the main Rynek Central Square. Wrap up warm and enjoy strolling through the historic streets, admire the city’s gothic architecture in the old town. Sample the local gastronomy, soak up the festive atmosphere and warm yourself in the cold winter air with a glass of mulled wine or perhaps a cherry vodka!

Budapest, Hungary

Hungary’s capital city of Budapest is a great choice for those looking for a good value Christmas Market break. The city has plenty to offer in terms of history, culture and sightseeing so be sure to allow yourself at least three nights to fully embrace Budapest. Vorosmarty Square, in the heart of the Pest side of the city, is the main festive fair area and hosts over 100 stalls selling a huge variety of trinkets and treats. Light shows and musical performances take place regularly and add to the yuletide atmosphere. Be sure to sample a delicious traditional ‘Chimney Cake’ (kurtoskalacs) which is a roll of sweet pastry.

Basel, Switzerland

The Swiss city of Basel is located on the Rhine River in north-east Switzerland. This medieval old town dates back to the 18th century and boasts impressive architecture. The Christmas market is wonderful to visit in the late afternoon and into the evening when the stalls are illuminated with lights – a wonderful time to stroll between the stalls whilst enjoying a glass of traditional warm gluhwein! Basel is home to the largest Christmas market in Switzerland and due to the city’s close proximity to the borders of France and Germany, it is easy to incorporate excursions to traditional markets such as Freiburg and Colmar if you have time.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm has one of the most famous and oldest Swedish yuletide markets. It takes place each year in the heart of the Gamla Stan (Old Town) in Stortorget Square which is located close to the Royal Palace. This beautifully atmospheric setting boasts an array of market stalls selling local handcrafted gifts, mulled wine as well as the traditional buffet style meal; Smörgåsbord.

Call our friendly and knowledgeable Packyourbags Travel team and start planning your festive break today!