You’ve got your advent calendar poised and at the ready, started the laborious task of present shopping and your Christmas cards are stacked high; Santa is well and truly on his way to town!
There’s no better way to celebrate the festive season than with a trip to a magical Christmas market; the twinkling lights, delicious aromas and the sound of carol singers filling the air puts even the scrooge-iest amongst us in the mood for turkey and presents.
At APH we love that tingly Christmas feeling; so we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite winter markets for your enjoyment.
You can reach any of the following Christmas markets from Heathrow Airport; so what are you waiting for; grab your bags and let’s go…
Winter Wonder: Brussels, Belgium
Running a 2km course throughout the city; position yourself at Grand Place for the most spectacular start to the festivities. This huge market boasts over 200 wooden huts, mostly selling art and crafts and tempting treats like waffles and mulled wine. Wind your way through the centre of the city, ending up at place Sainte Catherine where you can get a unique bird’s eye view of the twinkling lights from the ferris wheel, and try out your skills on the huge ice rink.
If you’re making a long weekend of it, we highly recommend making the short hop on the train to the medieval town of Bruges. Here you will find yet more Christmas spirit, interspersed with divine chocolate shops and quaint little cafes where you can easily while away a cold winter’s day.
From: 28th November to 4th January
How much: £294p/p for 3 nights
Visit Winter Wonders for more information.
Striezelmarkt: Dresden, Germany
Made up of 12 different markets, all with very different atmospheres; this huge Christmas spectacular is Germany’s oldest Christmas market at 580 years old! Indulge in delicious baked apples and mulled wine, or treat yourself to the famously good stollen cake as you wander the Christmas mile; from the railway station to the baroque quarter of Neustat, taking in everything from traditional style to medieval magic.
Stock up on handmade Christmas gifts and decorations like wooden art, Lausitz indigo prints, and Moravian Stars; then listen to beautiful concerts, fairy tales and special performances before taking to the stunning inner courtyard of the Taschenbergpalais for some ice skating beneath the stars.
From: 27th November to 24th December
How much: £348p/p for 3 nights
Visit Dresden Christmas Markets for more details.
Budapest Christmas Fair: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a spectacular city, and what could be better than treating yourself to handmade gifts, home-grown art and delicious traditional treats while wandering some 150 stalls in the Pest area of the city. The little cottagey market stalls twinkle with fairy lights and regular live music and shows bring the streets to life.
All products sold at the market are guaranteed as traditionally handmade by a professional jury, so you can feel free to splash the cash and know you’re not being taken for a ride.
Folk dances and live music are a real highlight of the market and add to the atmosphere; kids will love the puppet shows, the ice skating rink in the city park and the daily advent calendar displays at the 19th Century Gerbeaud Cafe.
From: 28th November to 1st January
How much: £286p/p for 3 nights
Visit Budapest for Locals for more information
Fira de Santa Llúcia: Barcelona, Spain
In the heart of the city, this lively market features over 280 stands selling handmade clothing and jewellery, nativity scenes, Christmas decorations and trees and plants. You can also enjoy live music and special Catalan dance performances throughout the day.
Harking all the way back to 1786, the market is located in front of the Cathedral Square, on Avinguda de la Catedral. Sellers are divided up into four sections depending on their wares; these are nativities and figures, plants, crafts and sinbombes; traditional carolling instruments.
The best time to visit the market is on the 13th December; the Day of St Lluica where you will be treated to storytelling, carolling and dancing, along with a parade to mark the occasion.
From: 28th November to 23rd December
How much: £209p/p for 3 nights
Visit Barcelona Tourist Office for more details
Toronto Christmas Market: Toronto, Canada
If you fancy experiencing Christmas a little further afield, why not take a flight to Canada and enjoy some old world charm mixed with modern day attractions at the Toronto Christmas market.
Held in the historic distillery section, this hugely popular market features a giant Christmas tree, a ferris wheel and pretty stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations and tasty treats like waffles and nuts; the beer gardens are the place to be if you’re looking to indulge in some mulled wine or delicious hot rum.
Alongside the shopping, there are regular performances from carol singers, a daily interactive show where kids can sing along with Santa’s elves to popular Christmas tunes and tunes from a Bavarian brass band.
From: November 28th to December 21st
How much: £679p/p for 5 nights
Visit Toronto Christmas Market for more information.