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Before the panic to get all the Christmas shopping done sets in, enjoy the more relaxed side of festive retail therapy at one of Europe's best Christmas markets.

1. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Where: Nuremberg, Germany
When: Dec 1st - Dec 24th 2017
What: Nuremberg’s enchanting market dates back to the mid 16th century and attracts about two million visitors each year. The 180 stalls are chock-a-block with spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, Christmas tree angels, cribs, candles, toys and art and craft products. Try the Zwetschgenmännle, small figures made from prunes.
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Nuremburg from £39 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec). 
See: christkindlesmarkt.de

2. Munich Christmas Markets

Where: Munich, Germany
When: Nov 27th - Dec 24th 2017
What: Beeswax candles, crib figurines and glassware from the Bavarian Forest are just some of the fancy gifts you can pick up in Munich.
More than twenty markets take place in the city. Highlights include a Pink Christmas market (Glockenbachviertel), a Medieval Market with gospel singers, and a market with ice-skating at Munich’s international airport. Enjoy a drink at Hofbrauhaus in Munz-Brauhaus, the city’s most famous beer hall. 
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Munich from £81 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec). 
See: germany-christmas-market.org.uk/munich_christmas_market

credit: Juergen Sack

3. Old Town Christmas Market

Where: Tallinn, Estonia
When: Nov 17th - Jan 6th 2018
What: Expect snow sculptures, carol singers and pony rides at Tallinn’s Christmas market. It has over 60 stalls dotted around a massive Christmas tree in the town hall square. Tallinn was apparently the setting for the world’s first ever Christmas tree in 1441, around which unmarried merchants and local girls used to dance before setting it on fire. Stop to munch on Estonian Christmas cuisine, such as sour cabbage, black pudding and gingerbread.
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Tallinn from £121 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: christmasmarket.ee/eng

4. Tivoli Christmas Market

Where: Copenhagen, Denmark
When: Nov 19th - Dec 31st 2017
What: The magical setting of Copenhagen’s market in the Tivoli Gardens amusement park is straight out
of a Hans Christian Anderson fairytale, with stalls lit up with more than half a million lights. Hot apple dumplings provide a warming treat, while the tipple of choice is glogg, Danish mulled wine with liquor and spices. The vibrantly painted stalls are flush with porcelain and wooden dolls.
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Copenhagen from £31 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: visitcopenhagen.com

5. Christkindlimarkt

Where: Zurich, Switzerland
When: Nov 23rd - Dec 24th 2017 
What: Europe’s largest indoor Christmas market is held annually in Zurich’s main train station and attracts about 300,000 shoppers each day. Boasting more than 160 market stalls, there’ll be plenty to whip out your credit card for – from mittens to candles, as well as plenty of tasty tucker. In true Swiss style, the 15m-tall Christmas tree twinkles with 5000 Swarovski crystals. If that doesn’t help you get into the holiday mood, get a cup or two of mulled wine down you. 
Getting there: Fly London direct to Zurich from £79 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: christkindlimarkt.ch

credit: Flavio Vallenari

6. Brussels Christmas Market

Where: Brussels, Belgium
When: Nov 24th - Dec 31st 2017
What: Foodies should visit Brussels Christmas market to fill up on melt-in-the-mouth chocolate treats. More than 220 stalls weave their way along the streets to Ste-Catherine, a 2km stretch. Meanwhile, the Grand-Place is lit up by lasers and colourful lights, which makes for a cracking atmosphere. The joyous vibe is enriched by bands, artists and choirs.
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Brussels from £94 return or travel to Brussels direct by Eurostar from £93 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec). 
See: Brussels.info/christmas

7. Krakow Christmas Market

Where: Krakow, Poland
When: Nov 24th - Dec 26th 2017
What: If it’s a white Christmas you’re after, head to Krakow as it is normally covered in a blanket of snow in December. Taking place on the grand Main Market Square, this market specialises in hand-made decorations. Chomp on grilled meat, baked potatoes and tasty Polish delicacies, before indulging in some spiced mulled wine.
Getting there: Fly from London direct to Krakow from £40 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: krakow-info.com/Christmas-market.htm

credit: martin-dm

8. The Arras Christmas Market

Where: Arras, France
When: Nov 24th - Dec 30th 2017
What:  Come to the land of beer and mussels for its annual Christmas market, which offers over 100 stalls selling arts and crafts from all over the world, including native products from Vietnam and Morocco. Stuff yourself with Coeurs d’Arras (heart-shaped cheeses), chocolate rats and then skull a few litres of the local Atrebate beer.
Getting there: Take the Eurostar to Paris then take the TGV to Arras from £90 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: northernfrance-tourism.com/Major-Events/Christmas-time-in-Northern-France

9. Wiener Christkindlmarkt

Where: Vienna, Austria
When: Nov 17th - Dec 26th 2017
What: This winter wonderland has 150 stands selling everything from gingerbread to mulled wine, baubles to old-fashioned toys. Once you’ve explored Christkindlemarkt, wander over to Spittelberg market, which dates back to the 15th century, with stalls winding their way through the city’s cobbled streets.
Getting there: Fly London direct to Vienna from £89 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: christkindlmarkt.at

10. Prague Christmas Markets

Where: Prague, Czech Republic
When: Dec 2nd - Jan 6th 2018
What: Expect to find international choirs, a charming Bethlehem scene and a dazzling Christmas tree, brought in from the Krkonose mountains in the north of the Czech Republic. Stalls are heavy with stocking fillers, including wooden toys, scented candles, handmade jewellery, hats, scarves, puppets and tree ornaments. 
Getting there: Fly London direct to Prague from £44 return (mid-week Tues 5th-Fri 8th Dec).
See: pragueexperience.com/events/christmas-markets

 

 

Take a look at Christmas Markets of Central Europe on tournado.com



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