The season to be jolly is upon us and what’s one of the best things about this time of year? The Christmas markets, of course! We’ve rounded up the must-visit markets in Europe – from testing out the mulled wine and mince pies to buying decorations and gifts, the festivities going on at these events is enough to make you feel brighter than the lights themselves!
A trip to Hamburg’s Christmas markets doesn’t need much planning. During the festive season, the city centre transforms into a festive strolling promenade with plenty of opportunities to buy gifts, snack on delicious food and enjoy one or two glasses of Gluhwein. The Christmas markets here add a sparkling cheer to the city’s maritime atmosphere. Explore nostalgic markets at Fleet Island or quirkier ones in Santa Pauli – Hamburg has something for everyone.
Santa Claus really comes to town in Amsterdam, where you’ll find not just one Christmas market – but 26! These are the city’s regular markets but with tinsel on as they turn their festive dial to 11, filling the city centre as well as the suburbs. Top picks for visitors are the markets on Leidesplein and Museumplein, where villages of wooden chalets await, with hearty festive food and hand-warming drinks. Make sure to sample the go-to snack for the occasion – olibollen (Dutch doughnuts). Don’t worry about how healthy they aren’t – there’s always the option of going ice skating to burn them off!
Helsinki Christmas Market is the heart of the Christmas experience in Helsinki. It’s all about relaxing, enjoying good food and drinks, spending time with family and friends and getting in the holiday mood. The Christmas market here has around 140 vendors in enchanting little huts offering gifts for all tastes, including handicrafts and designer items. The stalls also provide traditional ingredients for your Christmas table and the restaurants of the food court serve up great cuisine, along with naturally mulled wines and other hot beverages to warm you through. To top all that, the beautiful carousel will be set up again in the centre of the market area!
For many years residents and guests of Tallinn have been enchanted by the annual Tallinn Christmas Market. It’s a true fairytale land – featuring a majestic Christmas tree in the centre of the historic town square, surrounded by little houses shining with lights that sell Christmas delicacies and folk craft products. Children will be happy to see merry-go-rounds and Santa Claus,and the main stage is where you’ll find hundreds of singers and dancers performing throughout the day. The amazing aromas of gingerbread and mulled wine will have you thinking you’re in the North Pole itself!
It may be a little warmer than the destinations mentioned above, and a surprise inclusion to the list, but Madeira also celebrates the arrival of the Christmas season to the fullest. This can be seen with the joyful traditional Christmas market held in the avenue of Avenida Arriaga, at the heart of its capital, Funchal. You’ll discover the variety of products on display – exotic flowers and traditional souvenirs, while experiencing and tasting some of the typical delicacies and drinks of this season. The welcoming ambiance and level of merriment here is second-to-none! You’ll be singing along to Christmas carols and listening to stunning performances by local folklore groups – it’s a joyful celebration to say the least.
Time to set sail?
Has all this talk of mulled wine and mince pies put you in the festive spirit? Give us a call on our freephone number 0800 027 8302 and you’ll be sailing to one of these colourful Christmas markets in no time!