Wanderlust Wednesdays: 5 European Christmas Markets to Visit This WinterBy Francesca Brooking
Nothing gets us in the Christmas spirit quite like a traditional European Christmas market. There’s something ever-so-festive about the glow of wooden chalets offering handmade gifts and tasty nibbles, the enormous Christmas tree taking centre stage and the delight of warming yourself up on a cup of mulled wine with lights twinkling around you. We all love a Christmas market – even the Scrooges among us – which is why we, with a little help from Stansted Airport, have put together a roundup of the best European Christmas markets to visit this year:
What: From 15th November until 3rd January, the medieval centre of Sibiu in Romania is playing host to a spectacular Christmas market that’s guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit.
The Lowdown: The Romanian city of Sibiu, located deep in the heart of Transylvania, is a prime destination for anyone looking to experience a little Christmas magic without breaking the bank. Known for its Germanic architecture and picturesque old town, the city’s medieval centre is transformed into a traditional Christmas market, complete with a canopy of lights overhead and beautiful fairytale-themed illuminations beamed onto surrounding buildings. No Christmas market would be complete without a Christmas tree and Sibiu doesn’t disappoint. A towering Christmas tree takes centre stage decked out in glittering finery and visitors can also spot a full-sized nativity scene, take their turn on the giant Ferris wheel and browse through 100 stalls selling handcrafted gifts and food specialities from across the region.
Price: Flights from London Southend to Sibiu are around £31 return with Wizz Air.
How to book: Visit Wizz Air to book flights here.
What: From 30th November until 6th January, Prague’s Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square will be transformed into two spectacular Christmas markets.
The Lowdown: The Czech Republic capital, known for its rich plethora of stunning architecture, ill be playing host to not one but two Christmas markets this year and they’re only a 5-minute walk from each other. For those looking for traditional Christmas arts and crafts, head to Old Town Square, located in historic Old Town. The market makes for an ideal family hangout with its festive fun and a nativity-inspired petting zoo complete with sheep and ponies but for those who enjoy a beer or two, there will be a good few lively beer tents to nip into. Wenceslas Square Christmas market is set to be just as magical. The second-largest market in the city is the perfect place to warm your fingers up with a cup of mulled wine while wandering around the many wooden chalets filled with handmade goodies.
Price: Return flights from London Stansted to Prague are from £41 with Ryanair.
How to book: Get your flights with Ryanair here.
What: Amsterdam is a well-known winter hotspot for travellers and from 16th November until 2nd February, the Dutch capital will come alive with Christmas festivities including an ice rink and Christmas markets all over the city.
The Lowdown: Amsterdam excels at exhibiting the Christmas season in all its grandeur and glory. One of our favourite European Christmas markets – prepare to be blown away at the 20-metre high Christmas trees covered every inch with 40,000 energy-efficient lights. Experience the internationally renowned World Christmas Circus first-hand with shows featuring performers from 100 different countries showcasing stunning costumes and breath-taking choreographies. For those wanting to get stuck into a festive feast, the markets offer seasonal goodies from the local area as well as the surrounding Dutch, Belgian and German regions. Tuck into Bratwurst sausage and pretzels as you take in the many Christmas-themed sights the city has to offer.
Price: Flights from London Stansted to Amsterdam are around £71 return with easyJet.
How to book: Visit easyJet to book your flights here.
What: Bucharest Christmas market runs from 1st until 30th December in Constitution Square and it captures the real authentic spirit a Romanian Christmas.
The Lowdown: Christmas in the Romanian capital is as lively, if not a little less touristy than some of the other more frequented cities in Europe. The Christmas market offers a magnificent celebration of festive spirit and spares no expense with its colourful decor. Visitors can experience the magic of a traditional Romanian Christmas by getting involved in the multitude of entertainment and activities on offer, including traditional craft making, live music, dance performances and even a Santa Chalet. Do a spot of Christmas shopping, indulge in a festive treat or two or go for a spin on the ice rink and carousel. The icing on the Christmas cake is the 25-metre tall Christmas tree that towers over the market illuminated by over a thousand twinkling lights.
Price: Return flights from London Stansted to Bucharest are from £48 return with Ryanair.
How to book: Visit Skyscanner to book your flights here.
What: Budapest Christmas market is kicking off this weekend on Friday 8th November and runs until 1st January in the historic Vörösmarty square.
The Lowdown: The capital of Hungry puts on a Christmas celebration like no other – one of the best European Christmas markets, for sure. Each year, the market, located in Vörösmarty square, becomes a hub for locals and visitors alike to come together beneath the canopy of twinkling lights and enjoy live Hungarian music, festive stalls and food. Expect authentic food vendors offering traditional treats including Goulash soup, sauerkraut and sour cherry pastries and winter warmers such as raspberry schnapps and apple cider. If you’re looking for some Christmas inspiration for your home decorations this year then Budapest Christmas market can give you a helping hand. Discover hand-painted Christmas decorations for the tree along with beautifully crafted garlands made from leaves, dried fruit and cinnamon sticks that would look stunning on your front door.
Price: Flights from London Stansted to Budapest are from £31 return with Ryanair.
How to book: Visit Skyscanner here to book your flights.