Christmas is by far the best time of year and our European friends get it spot on with their festive markets. Every year I book a wee city break for some Noel fun. Christmas weekend breaks to Europe are super easy to organise last minute and there are so many fabulous options to choose from.
If you like Mulled Wine, delicious pastries, handcrafted Christmas decorations and freezing your asses off; here are the top 5 Christmas Markets to visit.
Prague is hands down, my number one for Christmas Markets. It's charming, quaint and so damn pretty. Prague has stunning squares that are a Eastern European staple, these are the perfect location for a Christmas Market. The architecture is second to none and it's so difficult to not take a zillion photos of the incredibly Gothic buildings.
Christmas Market in Old Town Square, is both visually stunning as well as being home to fantastic handmade craft stalls, Gluhwein, Bratwurst and Trdelnik (a must taste treat)! Wenceslas Square is a five minute walk from Old Town Square, it has spectacular lights that are turned on at 5pm everyday and stalls lining the street. There is also a small market at St Basilica's Square in front of Prague Castle too. Each year there is a general theme for the Christmas Markets; 2017 is The History of Prague.
Nothing screams Christmas than a beer right? Head on over to the Beer Museum with over 100 beers to try. There is a sample platter you can order with friends - makes for a fun alcohol infused evening.
You will need to head to Charles Bridge at Midnight or dawn as you will usually have it all to yourself. Hopefully, you will have a flurry of snow or fog to add more Christmas feels.
Want to know more, head to Prague's Christmas Market Website
Budapest is split in to Buda (the older side) and Pest (Modern side). The Buda side is extremely pretty with little pubs and cafes tucked away up on the palace hill whereas, Pest is full of shops, hotels and restaurants and home to the Jewish Quarter (my fave area).
The oldest market is in Vörösmarty Square right in the heart of Pest which is turned into a festive wonderland. The food stalls here are delicious serving a mixture of goulash, speciality meats and sausages - a must after looking around the stalls. Close by is The Basilica Christmas market which is huge, with 100 stalls, incredible light shows and an ice skating rink in the middle for good measure. Budapest goes to town, even the trams are covered in Christmas lights.
Home to thermal Spa's, a festive trip would not be complete without visiting one. Gellert is known as the museum spa due to it's decadent interior, whereas the Széchenyi spa is bigger and most popular with tourists, they even have parties in the Summer.
Beautiful Vienna, knows how to do Christmas on the larger scale. There are 10 Christmas Markets dotted around the city on top on the main City Hall Market. It was so big I couldn't see all of the markets so had to be selective.
Outside the City Hall over 150 stalls are squashed into Rathausplatz for the annual festivities. Of all the markets I have been to this is the most impressive due to the pure size of it and how beautiful the City Hall looks lit up behind the stalls
Christmas Village Maria-Theresien Platz is located between the Natural History Museum and Museum of Art which is a perfect place to recharge after visiting the museums.
You must visit Spittelberg Christmas Market, in the quaint side streets of Biederman Village you will worm your way around 100 stalls with handmade gifts for friends and families. There are lots of bars and restaurants nearby too.
Take a look at all the Markets here
Not the biggest Christmas market but what it doesn't offer in quantity it makes up for in quality. Full to the brim of near and far artists selling decent Christmas gifts, which is a blessing as we all know some markets are full of tatt!
The Princes Garden Christmas Market has fairground rides, a Santa Express, Bars and Food.
London is pretty spectacular at Christmas. There are so many places to visit. All of the streets Oxford, Bond and Carnaby make a huge effort in their Christmas Lights. I always pop along to Harrods to see their window displays. Liberty is also special to take a look at around Christmas.
Winter Wonderland is the biggie! The one everyone goes to and for good reason. It is epic, large and super busy! Prepare to get very frustrated, especially if visiting on the weekends but with fairground rides, an ice bar and ice skating as well as lots of stalls...it's worth it.
South Bank's Winter Festival is a must as wooden chalets line the Thames under the London Eye. It is one hell of a view. Or want to try something a little different, try Clapham's Winterville Christmas Market, some of which is indoors, hallelujah!
What are your favourite European Christmas Markets? Would you add any to the list?