Christmas in Europe is a magical time and entire cities around Europe are transformed into fairytale scenes. Thousands of markets light up the streets and the cities are buoyant with the cheerful spirit. Both locals and tourists alike enjoy being seduced by the twinkling lights and the smell of mulled wine. Christmas markets are a great way for the whole family to enjoy the spirit of the season. Enjoy the holidays and check out one of the 5 best Christmas markets in Europe.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Aachen- Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt
The Aachener Weihnachtsmarkt is set up at a UNESCO listed site with Aachen Cathedral as the background. It is a festive affair and a wonderful tradition that brings the city to life every single year. Thousands of twinkling lights and dozens of stands spread the Christmas joy. Children will enjoy the beautiful old carousel and ferris wheel and the tasty treat.
Browse the intricate market stalls where German craftsmen present some of their best work from fire blown glass ornaments to wooden nutcrackers and other tidbits. Feast on traditional German food then enjoy the Schweinshaxe which is a roasted pork knuckle served with sauerkraut. We also recommend bratkartoffeln, a combination of fried potatoes served with bacon and onions. After dinner, satisfy your sweet tooth with Printen, an Aachen classic gingerbread cookie or Spekulatius a shortcrust biscuit.
Jersey – Fete De Noel
Jersey is an island near the coast of Normandy that transforms into a huge Christmas celebration. The Fete De Noel begins with a lantern parade that lights up the streets of Saint Helier. The festivities continue with open-air concerts and a beautiful flower parade.
The market stalls offer locals and visitors artisan crafts and the best of their Christmas treats. Our favourites include the paté to black butter. Black butter is a Jersey delicacy made from apples. For a great Christmas gift, buy a bottle of Calvados which is a distilled liquor produced exclusively in Normandy.
After working up an appetite, enjoy some Agneau de pré-salé. This is a traditional Normande meal of salted marsh lamb. For a sweet treat, indulge in teurgoule which is a cinnamon baked rice pudding.
Dublin- Christmas Market
For those looking for something a little bit different, head to the Dublin Christmas Flea Market. The market is set up in Point Village and has over 100 stalls selling an interesting mixture of antiques and quirky gifts.
In this market you will find everything from traditional wooden horses to antique jewellery and vintage dresses. Visitors to the market can enjoy treats like Guinness Porter Cake and Irish Christmas Pudding. Irish Christmas Pudding is a fruit and nut dessert combined with the national drink.
Madrid- Plaza Mayor Christmas Market
Set in the gorgeous Plaza Mayor square is Madrid’s biggest Christmas Market and has been a tradition since the 19th century. Over 100 stalls offer some of the best homemade wares as well as local delicacies.
This market is famous for their handcrafted nativity scenes, or Belenes as they are called in Spain. The Belenes are beautiful figures made out of ceramic, clay or wood. The other tradition that takes place is the buying prank gifts for Día de Los Inocentes. This is a festivity celebrated on December 28th and the Spanish equivalent of April Fools.
After a bit of retail therapy, make sure to try the Consomé Madrileño, a typical broth made with beef, chicken and vegetables or try the Lombarda, a cabbage salad served with apples. raisins and almonds.
Yorkshire- Castle Howard Christmas Market
For a magical Christmas experience, head out to Yorkshire. The Christmas market set in Castle Howard provides a fairytale feel with its stunning views and majestic setting. Christmas wreaths, ceramic angels and snow globes are the unique finds at the Yorkshire market.
Keep warm with a glass of mulled wine, enjoy the traditional mince pies and indulge traditional sweet treats that include roasted almonds and sweet popcorn.
After you are finished, head into the castle and admire the exquisite decorations on the inside. Children will love the larger than life Christmas tree in the great hall and the delicous yet beautiful looking gingerbread house. Those with kids can also pay a visit to Santa on the Grecian hall or listen to the storytellers by the fire.
Brittnay is a house sitter from Australia. She has been living in London for the past two years and recently moved to Dublin. She has visited over 21 countries in Europe and Africa in that time. You can find all her adventures in housesitting and travels on The Travelling House Sitters. If you’re interested in house sitting, she also has a guide on how to become a house sitter.
Not sure what to buy the outdoor family for Christmas this winter? Check out the 2017 Gift Guide for the Outdoor Family here.