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Most festive European cities

Posted By Digital Team

5th December 2022

Nobody does festivities quite like European cities. Therefore, it makes sense as to why so many Brits cross the channel each winter to embrace the Christmas spirit. Here at Stansted Express, we understand the importance of the Christmas spirit, and have created a list of our favourite festive European cities and their best Christmas markets, perfect for any last-minute festive getaways!  

Berlin, Germany  

Berlin town square

Christmas markets are one of Germany’s most beloved holiday traditions, and Berlin is no exception to this. Berlin hosts over 80 Christmas markets across the city, catering to the needs of all its visitors. From authentic German markets to Scandinavian or Japanese Christmas markets, Berlin offers it all – making it a perfect place to begin your festive celebrations.  

Cologne, Germany

Bridge in Cologne

Cologne does not mess around when it comes to Christmas, with the House Elves’ Winter Fairytale Christmas Market being a prime example as to why Germany holds the title of the most festive country in Europe. Feel as if you have stepped into a fairytale as you explore one of Cologne’s most favoured festive markets. The market is dedicated to the Heinzelmännchen who, according to folklore in Cologne, are house elves that perform housework throughout the night. Experience the magic of Christmas by exploring the stalls, and keep your eyes peeled as you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Heinzelmännchen who are said to be regular visitors to the market!   

Nuremberg, Germany  

Row of buildings in Nuremberg

Nuremberg is the location of one of the oldest, and arguably one of the best, Christmas markets in the world. Welcoming over 2 million visitors a year, Christkindlesmarkt has become a worldwide symbol of yuletide festivities. Is there a better way to feel the Christmas spirit than to wander the stalls, gaze at the traditional, handcrafted Christmas ornaments and enjoy the aroma of freshly-baked gingerbread treats?   

Vienna, Austria  

Buildings and people in town square

Festive markets are an age-old tradition in Vienna, with the first December market, or Krippenmarkt, being held in Vienna in 1296. Vienna takes its festive markets very seriously, offering over 20 official festive markets across the city from mid-November to the end of December. Here is a selection of some of our favourite Christmas markets that Vienna has to offer.  

Christmas Village Belvedere Palace  

One of the most popular festive markets in Vienna, located in front of the picturesque Belvedere Palace. Offering more than 40 festive market stalls, visitors can browse the traditional, handcrafted goods and decorations whilst exploring the culinary delights of the market. Christmas Village Belvedere Palace has been coined one of the most romantic festive markets within the city.   

Christmas Village Campus University of Vienna  

Located on the University of Vienna’s campus, the Christmas village has been a fan favourite since 1999. The market has an estimated 50 stalls showcasing authentic Austrian culture through the craftsmanship of the locals. The Christmas village offers a tranquil atmosphere as you wander down the narrow lanes beautifully adorned in traditional Austrian decorations.  

Prague, Czech Republic  

Buildings and bridge in Prague at twilight

Christmas markets are at the heart of the Czech Republic’s festive celebrations, with the Christmas market in Prague’s Old Town Square the biggest of its kind. The market is known for its beauty, with its picture-postcard scenery being admired as one of the most beautiful Christmas destinations and markets in the world. As well as traditional market stalls, visitors can watch live performances of folklore and traditional dancers perform on a large stage located in the centre of Old Town Square.  

Budapest, Hungary  

Parliament building in Budapest

Budapest’s Advent Feast at the Basilica is growing to become one of Europe’s most favoured Christmas markets. Located in Szent István Square just in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica, the market attracts thousands of visitors a year. Guests can wander through the stalls, marvel at the 3D projections that illuminate the Basilica, and glide around the 9-metre-tall Christmas tree in the centre of the ice rink.  

Zurich, Switzerland  

Bridge and buildings in Zurich

Zurich is the home to multiple Christmas markets that run throughout November to December. Zurich offers it all – if it’s a 49ft Swarovski Christmas tree you are looking for, then head to Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Train Station, but if you prefer your Christmas trees to be of a musical nature, head over to the Werdmühleplatz Christmas Market. Zurich offers visitors four main Christmas markets which are much larger in size and popularity, but also hosts smaller festive markets across the city.   

Strasbourg, France  

Buildings and bridge near river in Strasbourg

Strasbourg is known as the French “capital of Christmas” due to its picturesque scenery and traditional decorations. Strasbourg’s Christmas market is one of the oldest festive markets in France, dating back to 1570. With over 300 stalls, Strasbourg market offers an unforgettable Christmas experience. Taste some of France’s festive cuisines such as bredeles (spiced biscuits in the shape of stars) and vin chaud (spiced mulled wine) whilst you wander the stalls in awe of the craftmanship of Alsatian culture.   

If you are looking for a festive getaway, Stansted Express has you covered, ensuring hassle-free transfers to Stansted Airport. With tickets starting from just £9.50, what’s the wait? Book your tickets now and explore the festivities of traditional Christmas markets across Europe!  

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