The Top Five… European Christmas Markets
23rd October, 2019
Where traditional meets ultra-modern, La Défense Christmas Market is in the French capital's business district. The festive village features (eco-friendly) immersive light installations, inspired by the typical architecture of the area, hundreds of cabins with artisans and producers from all over France, and enough eggnog and mulled wine to tide you over until closing time.
Named after Prague-born King Wenceslas, Wenceslas Square is home to one of Europe's best Christmas markets. Traditional wooden huts are stocked with local arts and crafts and some of the country's best-loved delicacies, including spit-roasted ham, barbequed sausages, pancakes and spicy gingerbread. A wooden 'Bethlehem-setting' stable and illuminated Christmas tree heighten the festive feel.
Potsdamer Platz, Berlin
There are over 50 Christmas markets in the German capital, but 'Winterwelt' (or Winter World) is one of the Berliners' favourites. It is the only market in the city that is open from early November and transforms the square into a giant winter wonderland. With live music and a party atmosphere in the evenings, you can even ride down Europe's largest taboggan run or play Eisstockschießen, a mix between bowling and curling…
Outside Vienna's town hall (and what a striking backdrop it is), the Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz is a stereotypical festive heaven. Open from mid-November, it ticks all the boxes with Glühwein, roasted chestnuts, an ice rink, carol singing, and stall-after-stall selling arty wares.
Park Winter Wonderland, London
With over 100 rides and attractions, including the UK's largest open-air ice rink and Circus MegaDome, Winter Wonderland, in the iconic setting of Hyde Park, is a Christmas extravaganza. There is something for all ages; by day it provides the perfect festive family day out, and by night it is transformed by thousands of sparkling lights - and Bavarian beer!
However far you choose to venture this winter, there is no doubt a trip to one of these magical markets will get you into the festive spirit. Dare we say it… Happy holidays!