5 Wonderfully Enchanting European Christmas Markets to Visit
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And what could be more wonderful than a quick flight to Europe to visit an amazingly delightful Christmas market? Perhaps with your mom or daughter or your bestie. Don’t forget to pack your winter coats and boots as December in Europe brings crisp glorious days with snow flurries and snow-packed streets. There are so many lovely choices throughout Europe this holiday season - here are five of our favourites:
Basel, Switzerland: November 24th - December 23rd
At the heart of the Old Town of Basel, Switzerland known for many years as one of the most festive Christmas cities in Europe, you will find the Basel Christmas Market. Located on the corners of Barfusserplatz and Munsterplatz, one of the most beautiful squares in Basel, with a magnificent Christmas tree decorated by Johann Wanner, the Christmas Market will delight and surprise you with a unique atmosphere. It is said to be the prettiest and largest in Switzerland.
Where to Stay:
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Since the 1600s the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, ideally located along the Rhine in Old Town, has been welcoming famous guests including Napolean Bonaparte and Theodore Herzl. The rooms are lavishly spectacular with bold hues, antiques and original artwork, and the three Michelin star Chival Blanc featuring French haute cuisine will surely delight. Staying at the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, you are just a short 10-minute stroll to the Basel Christmas Market. Starting from US $511 per night.
Salzburg, Austria: November 17th - January 1st
Salzburg, Austria, known as the home of Mozart and where the movie The Sound of Music was filmed, based on a true story that took place in Salzburg during World War Two, is a magical place to visit any time of year but the holiday season brings a series of Christmas markets that will both enchant and delight.
With the majestic Northern Limestone Alps in the background, wandering through the old town, toward the iconic Christkindlmarkt at the Salzburg Cathedral to the smaller markets scattered throughout the city, it’s easy to understand why Salzburg is known for the best Christmas markets in Austria. You are sure to find gorgeous unique gifts, decorations, food, and wine that will lavishly fill your soul.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Goldener Hirsch
Within a fairy tale setting in the baroque historic centre of Salzburg, the Hotel Goldener Hirsch has been serving its guests since 1407! The cobble-stoned streets and architecture, largely unchanged since the time of Mozart, are nothing short of spectacular. It’s the perfect location to visit all of the enchanting Christmas markets of Salzburg. The rooms are warm and inviting with lovely fabrics, locally crafted furniture, and antiques all wrapped up in elegant style. Starting from US $583 per night.
Brussels, Belgium: November 25th - January 1st
One of the most gorgeous historic squares in Europe, the Grand Place in Brussels is the home of the Brussels Christmas Market, known affectionately as Winter Wonders. Over 250 “chalets” housing outstanding food, famous Belgian chocolate, wine, artisanal decorations, clothing, and exceptional unique pieces give you far more choices than you could ever need as you leisurely search for your perfect gift.
Throughout the city, the signs of the holiday season are everywhere, from the iconic Christmas tree in the Grand Place to the myriad of nativity scenes. The medieval cobbled stone streets, circa 450, are forever humbling as you wander to the Grand Place. You might also explore Mont des Arts with its beautifully lit gardens and the neighbourhood of Le Sablon with its plethora of antique shops during your stay. If you are a history buff, a short drive to the Menin Gate, in Ypres, Belgium, is a war memorial dedicated to British and Commonwealth soldiers from World War, and worth a visit.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Amigo, a Rocco Forte hotel
Just around the corner from the Grand Place, Hotel Amigo has been welcoming guests for over 500 years. It exudes all of the passion, creativity, and warmth of the Forte family that have been hoteliers for over four generations. The bright and cheery interiors newly designed by Olga Palizzi make it difficult to remember the antiquity of the hotel. The hotel’s Ristorante Bocconi is a favourite of the locals offering fantastic Italian cuisine. Starting from US $581.00 per night.
Prague, Czech Republic: November 26th - January 6th
Prague is simply magical during the festive season. With more than a dozen Christmas markets throughout the city and three main markets within walking distance of the Old Town, it is a Christmas shopper’s haven not to mention one of the most beautiful, historical, and culturally charming cities in Europe.
From Old Town Square to Prague Castle, these enchanting festive markets are set amongst the most scenic and famous backgrounds in Europe. With festive sparkling lights and stunning architecture, you can’t help but rejoice in the holiday spirit. Delectable food choices and one-of-a-kind decorations and gifts delightfully tempt you throughout the city.
Where to Stay:
Four Seasons Hotel Prague
Majestically sitting along the picturesque Vltava River steps from the famous Charles Bridge, with breathtaking scenery of the Old Town and Prague Castle you will be enveloped in old-world charm and luxuriate in your stunning guest room, dining options, and exceptional spa services. The Four Seasons Hotel Prague is a stylish combination of modern, neoclassical, Renaissance, and baroque elements radiating true luxury and impeccable service. It is just a short stroll to the infamous Tyn Cathedral and the Old Town Square Christmas Market. Starting from US $1500 per night.
Munich, Germany: November 21st - December 24th
Munich’s Christmas markets are widely considered the absolute best choice in Germany. With over a dozen markets in the city each with its own unique themes and offerings, you will be enveloped in the spirit of Christmas. The traditional market in Marienplatz dates back to the 14th century.
The famous Wintertollwood Festival started in 1991 is one not to miss, dedicated to ecological and environmental awareness. Munich is a great city to visit any time of the year with its famous beer halls, wonderful museums, history, and culture but the holiday season is when Munich truly sparkles in its winter wonderland.
Where to Stay:
Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich
Originally built for King Maximillian II in 1858, the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten exudes luxury. It's perfectly located in one of the most elegant areas of Munich with coveted shops nearby and just a short stroll away from Munich’s Christmas markets. The lavishly designed suites are replete with beautiful art canvasses that have been enlarged from the private collection of the royal Wittelsbach family. If you are passionate about art, you might like to include a visit to the Old Pinakothek Museum to see the originals on display. And if you love the spa, a visit to the top floor is a must. Starting from US $484 per night.
A visit to any one of these beautifully enchanting, winter wonderland European cities is sure to make your holiday season particularly special this year. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book and receive your VIP benefits.
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