Winter Vacation Ideas: Christmas Markets in Northern Europe

Winter holidays might seem a little strange to start planning as we are getting geared up for summer. However, there are some incredible destinations that shine in the cold. This month, we are sharing some of our top ideas for a winter holiday. From Christmas markets to the Northern Lights, these are special destinations. This week, we are sharing some our favorite Christmas markets. Also, our tips on how to best see these places in the winter.

They are also destinations that fill up quite quickly in the winter. Booking your holiday by April and in the next month is an excellent choice if these are some of your dream vacation ideas. Afterwards, much like a summer holiday on the Riviera, you are looking at booking too late before the high season in winter vacation spots. Keep this in mind as you get some travel inspiration from our winter wonderland tips!

Winter Christmas Markets in Europe

Here are a few of our favorites in Northern Europe! There are so many from big cities to small towns. They are special to see and soak up the winter atmosphere are you explore these special destinations. Though many want to escape winter cold for more moderate southern European spots, we disagree. There is a special magic to these destinations dressed up in their winter best.

Strausbourg, France

The Market of the Infant Jesus, or Christkindelsmärik, originated in Strasbourg in 1570 when preacher Johannes Flinner erected booths for traders to sell goods. The winter market included Christmas trees, saddles, and gingerbread. To make it more special, it was all in front of the cathedral. Strasbourg now refers to itself as the “Capital of Christmas”. And it is true – the whole city seems to be participating in the custom. The primary market, Christkindelsmärik, is still located in front of the cathedral. However, there are other markets dotted around the city, such as the Sharing Village on Place Kléber. Here guests can learn about and support neighborhood nonprofits. Also special is the Market of Christmas Treats in front of Palais Rohan.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is already one of our favroite places to spend Christmas. To start, its Old Town and Wenceslas markets are the best, only five minutes away by foot from the center. The mulled wine stands and Gothic architecture add to the special atmosphere. Savor classic fish soup served in boiling vats, smoked meat dumplings, and langoš (flatbreads) topped with cheese. Roast ham and trdelník, or chimney cake, are must-try dishes. Trdelník is a heated, folded pastry that is roasted over a grill and coated in sugar and cinnamon.

Basel, Switzerland

Although it’s well-known for its yearly art fair, Basel also hosts events during the Christmas season. Since 1978, the Old Town of the city, which is pedestrian-friendly, has been adorned with holiday lights and wooden chalets at Münsterplatz and Barfüsserplatz. Keep your hands full of handpainted glass decorations. Also, when you need a snack, grab some gingerbread, or Basler Leckerli. A 15-minute walk from the city center, on Claraplatz across the Rhine, is a smaller, more recent market. Here, there are kiosks selling grilled sausage, waffles, glühwein, and other delicacies. It leans more toward being winter gastronomic than crafty, and its a great stop for adults and families.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is one of those cities that looks better when it snows. This market is dubbed the Viennese Dream. It becomes evident when you add some white lights against the backdrop of the city’s massive City Hall. To start, it offers everything from vintage merry-go-rounds and ferris wheels. Or, perhaps, ice rinks for skating and curling. Slurp up mulled wine, vanillekipferl (vanilla crescent biscuits), and sausages packed with cheese. This is classic winter magic!

Winter markets, tailor made

There are some great ways to tie these markets into a tailor made tour. If any of these ideas look like your travel dream, contact us as soon as possible to start planning. In the winter high season, our preferred hotels and partners run out of availability even before the summer starts.

Perhaps a winter river cruise? One of our favorite river cruises sails from Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany, with stops in gorgeous Strausbourg and Colmar, before heading to Basel. Its a lovely way to see the sites, the cities and the winter markets. All this while riding in luxury on one of the luxury river cruises we work with.

Or, perhaps a stop along part of a longer winter tour in Europe? A brewery tour and pretzel workshop in Munich with a day to explore the winter market there is a great idea. After, head to Nuremberg for a day trip, with history and some more Christmas markets. In fact, it is perhaps the most famous in all of Germany. If the weather cooperates, you can even take a stagecoach tour around the market. Finally, a private transfer to Salzburg to finish up your winter week.

Finally, a trip to Prague for a few days to explore this gorgeous city and its monuments. The Christmas market is, as we said, one of our favorites in Europe. Prague is one of the most famous cities in Europe. It’s known for its beautiful architecture, rich history, and friendly people. From here, a short train ride brings you to Budapest. Or, a short flight or slightly longer train to Vienna. These are all truly magnificent cities that glow in the winter months.

To conclude, all of tours, winter or summer, are tailor made to your interests and travel style. We have so many options for those who are dreaming of a holiday exploring these spectacular destinations when they start to sparkle with the lights of Christmas and the scent of snow.

Contact us today to start planning!

Sign up for the newsletter

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *