It’s that time of year again when we’re counting down the seconds until the 25th because it means one thing – Christmas! You’ll be thinking of all the different foods and drinks you can make to suit this fun, festive season. And of course, there are your travel plans – where will you be spending the big day, and do you fancy a change of scenery?
And with Christmas comes the excitement of travelling to new places near and far, creating brand new traditions and most importantly, to venture to all-new Christmas markets brimming with bratwurst, beer or warm mulled wine and delicious food stalls.
Holidays at this time of year are such fun, especially since so many different destinations offer exciting Christmas markets to celebrate. But where are these markets and how can you see them all before Xmas ends? We’ve used location research and a list of the greatest Christmas markets to create the Christmas getaway of dreams, just read on to find out more so you can start packing!
The Christmas market road trip: From Manchester and back
Starting and ending in England’s big metropolis, Manchester, we’ve calculated the roundtrip journey and spread it across 16 different European countries. It will span over 10,378km (6,449 miles), and include catching ferries, crossing borders, and so much more. If you’re ready for a real adventure this December, listen up…
Stop number 1: Manchester Christmas Market – Manchester, UK
Known as one of the best UK Christmas markets, Manchester’s festive hoorah is filled with 300 festive stalls selling everything from hot chocolate and pretzels to homemade crafts. Not to mention, it has an open ice skating rink!
Stop number 2: Galway Christmas Markets – Galway, Ireland
Gorge on fresh pastries at Galway Christmas Markets as you sit to watch puppet shows, merry live music performances. Hop on Santa’s Express Train or the 32-metre-high Big Wheel to really get into the Christmas spirit before heading off to Belgium.
Stop number 3: Winter Wonders - Brussels, Belgium
Arrive in Belgium and visit up to 200 chalets brimming with festive fun at Winter Wonders. With a Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and an ice rink, you’ll feel in the Christmas spirit in no time. And the sound and light show at Grand Place offers a really special Xmas experience.
Stop number 4: Cologne Christmas Market – Cologne, Germany
The most popular of Cologne’s Christmas markets is located in front of the famous Cologne Cathedral and the organisers expect over 4 million visitors each year to the 150 stands in the Roncalliplatz.
Stop number 5: Christmas in Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark
A beautiful sight to see this Christmas is your fifth stop on this Christmas market tour: Christmas in Tivoli Gardens. The famous, Danish amusement park and pleasure garden is decorated with sparkling Christmas lights. This year, it will feature a Christmas heart for the very first time, projecting festive images of special Christmas stories as well as a Christmas tree on the magical Tivoli Lake.
Stop number 6: Liseberg Christmas Market – Gothenburg, Sweden
Peruse the festive stalls at the Liseberg Christmas market. Gaze upon spectacular fairy lights dotted everywhere before heading on one of the winter carousels or go ice skating on the open rink!
Stop number 7: Helsinki Christmas Market – Helsinki, Finland
After your travels from Sweden bask in the cosiness of Helsinki Christmas Market, located in Senate Square. With over a hundred stalls selling Christmas gifts and trinkets, fresh fish and meat, as well as nostalgic merry-go-round rides, this market is an incredible one to tick off your bucket list.
Stop number 8: Vilnius Christmas Market - Vilnius, Lithuania
Locally known as “Christmas Town”, Vilnius Christmas Market is incredible. Cathedral Square is home to one of the most stunningly-lit Christmas trees around, giving you the Christmas cheer (and photo opportunity) you didn’t even know you’d been waiting for!
Stop number 9: Poznań Bethlehem – Poznań, Poland
Poznań Bethlehem is one of the biggest Christmas markets in Poland and will leave you feeling full of Christmas excitement. Nibble on roasted almonds and warm gingerbread, do your Christmas shopping and soak up the white and wonderful wintery vibes here.
Stop number 10: Old Town & Wenceslas Square - Prague, Czech Republic
Czech Republic’s Old Town Square Christmas market is the home of vibrant live shows, festive dance performances, harmonised carol concerts and crafty gift stalls. Soak up this winter wonderland while sipping spiced mulled wine and delicious food from each Christmas stall.
Stop number 11: The Christmas Markets of Budapest - Budapest, Hungary
Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors across the world, Budapest’s Christmas markets are unforgettable. Enjoy the magical festivities at the Christmas Market in Vörösmarty Square or St. Stephen Basilica to enjoy Hungarian Christmas specialities from cosy wooden lodges.
Stop number 12: Sibiu Christmas Market - Sibiu, Romania
After Budapest, bask in a truly Transylvanian Christmas experience that’s like no other! See Christmas lights hanging from every tree and the huts serving warming Xmas drinks and amazing crafts.
Stop number 13: Advent in Zagreb - Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia’s capital, Zagreb is home to Advent – voted as the best Christmas market in Europe for three years in a row. Take a look around this market, which is spread across the whole city, and you’ll see why. Feel the warmth of Christmas by immersing yourself in the sight of bright snowflake lights sprinkled across the surroundings and the dreamy decorations in Park Zrinjevac.
Stop number 14: Weihnachtsmarkt Santa Croce - Florence, Italy
Find superb, one-of-a-kind stocking fillers for your loved ones’ Christmas present at the stalls in this Italian Christmas market. Savour decorated ginger breads and enjoy this traditional market bursting with festive character.
Stop number 15: Basel Weihnachtsmarkt - Basel, Switzerland
Voted the best Christmas market in Europe in 2021, this part of your market road trip will see you gazing at the large Christmas tree, adorned with decorations that famous decorate, Johann Wanner is in charge of each year.
Stop number 16: Strasbourg Christmas Market - Strasbourg, France
This Christmas market is one of the oldest in Europe, featuring 300 gorgeous chalets located in a dozen different spots. Stroll and see sparkling Christmas lights wrapped around pine trees and cute bears peppered amongst the breath taking scenery.
Find Xmas insights, parking and more
Now you know your itinerary for your Christmas road trip, make sure you discover further travel and holiday insights over on our blog. And if you’re planning to fly over to somewhere special to start your Christmas market road trip in this Yuletide, remember to book airport parking if you’re flying, and port parking if you’re catching the ferry over.
With over 1,200 car parks spread across 200 airports, that’s one thing ticked off your to-do list before shopping to your heart’s content at the different markets on offer!
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