Christmas is coming so why not make the most of the festive season and get into the spirit of things by heading to one of five of the best Christmas Markets.
After all, nothing gets that festive feeling flowing more, than browsing for hand-crafted presents in the open air with a glass of Gluhwein in hand. You don’t have to go far to find a Christmas Market but if you really want the winter wonderland experience (and an excuse for a weekend away), head to a European city nearby.
Christkindlesmarkt at Nürnberg
When it comes to Christmas Markets, Germany have set the standard high. And at Nürnberg you can buy everything from Prune Men to hand-crafted tree decorations; the most famous being the Rauschgoldengel (Gold foil Angel)
Gluhwein (mulled wine) is the drink of choice to warm you up when the temperatures drop below zero and try a Feuerzangenbowle (fire-tongs punch). Foodwise the Gebrannte Mandeln (toasted almonds) are delicious.
November 27 to Christmas Eve: Open 10am until 9pm.
Vörösmarty Square’s Winter Fair in Budapest
Do head to Hungary for Budapest’s cultural Christmas Market. You can get some unique gifts, from jewellery to ceramics here, and as every craftsperson is handpicked by experts, you know you are buying quality.
Their version of Feuerzangenbowle is called Krampampuli. Try that along with local delicacies such as stuffed cabbage, traditional sweet rolls and dodolle (potato dumplings).
November 13 to 29 December: Open 10am until 11pm at the latest.
Christmas Market at Spittelberg in Vienna
Austrians also love a winter fair, and while Vienna has around 20 Advent Markets, we have chosen the preetty Christmas Market at Spittenberg. Situated in one of the most picturesque parts of the city, you will discover arts and crafts of the highest quality.
Think quaint cobbled streets, historic buildings and traditional food and drink such as winter Punsch and spicy cookies – the perfect way to get into the festive spirit.
November 13 to December 23. Open 2pm until 9.30pm at the latest
Amsterdam Christmas Markets
Go Dutch over the gifts this year, with a trip to the festival of Sinterklaas. The party really gets going on December 5, St Nicholas Eve, where Leidseplein and Koningsplein are the place to find the best markets. You might not fit one in your luggage, but do visit the floating Bloemenmarkt and see all the Christmas trees, it’s a visual treat.
December 4 to December 23. Times vary.
The Dresden Christmas Mile
Our final pick is Dresden, home to a Christmas Market for nearly 600 years.Visit the Striezelmarkt andbe wowed by the 14-metre high Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid.
There are also scores of markets along Elbe River to choose from, many selling speciality local lace and glassware. You must taste the famous Dresden Stollen (fruitcake).
November 26 to Christmas Eve: Times vary.