Travel | Best Christmas markets to consider this year

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European Christmas markets are a great way to see a new city, enjoy local food and of course, get into the festive spirit.

With Brown Thomas launching their Christmas market last week, it is now safe to write about the festive period!

Visiting one of Europe’s magical Christmas markets is an increasingly popular option for Irish travelers. It is a great opportunity to embrace and enjoy the festive culture in a new city, while you can also stock up on some unique gifts.

Prague, Budapest, Munich, Vienna and Berlin are the more popular choices. And there is a big reason why – these cities consistently deliver some of the best displays and festivities in Europe.

Budapest, for example, transforms the 18th century Gerbeaud House into a giant Advent Calendar, with a new window opening to reveal a painting daily. There is a big focus on showcasing the best of Hungarian talent at the market, offering visitors the chance to really immerse themselves in the local offering. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly into Budapest, with the markets taking place between November 26 to January 1.

The beauty of Prague’s architecture is enough to entice visitors all year round, but the Christmas markets add another magical element to the city with the castle, Old Town and Charles Bridge all lit up like Christmas trees.

Taking place between November 28 to January 1, the stalls offer everything from wooden toys, scented candles to Czech ornaments. Travel specialists like gohop.ie offer hotel and flight deals for this occasion. 

Always oozing elegance, Vienna is a beautiful sight at Christmas. The main event is Christkindlmarkt by Vienna’s Town Hall. Its gothic facade is lit up with fairy lights, and some 140 stalls sell out its roasted almonds and gingerbread to three million visitors a year. The market takes place from November 15 to December 24. Once again, specialist agents like Cassidy Travel offer flight and hotel deals.

While Berlin’s Christmas market is gaining in popularity, Munich’s offering is still rated as the best. The city’s main market is centered around a 100-foot Christmas tree in Marienplatz, while the Rindermarkt specialises in handmade cribs. Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair fly into Munich, with the market taking place between November 27 to December 24.