European Christmas Markets
From the middle of November to the end of December, Europe’s Christmas markets draw tourists in their millions to feast on gingerbread, sip mulled wine and get into the festive mood. Book yourself into a cheap city centre hostel to get right into the heart of the action at considerably less than five-star prices. So if you’re backpacking in Europe this winter, or just looking for a festive break in a cheap hostel, start here…
Prague’s Vanocni trh – Christmas markets to you and me – light up the city from Wenceslas Square and Prague Castle to Old Town Square, where the huge tree is switched on every evening. Stalls peddle fabulous Czech stocking fillers, but it’s the food you really want to spend your time with.
Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt spreads out from Residenzplatz, with its enormous tree towering over the food and gift stalls, to the ever-popular free ice rink under Mozart’s watchful eye in Mozartplatz.
The weekend Christmas market at Skansen open-air museum in Stockholm celebrates all things Scandinavian, with a hefty sprinkling of Christmas on the top. Choir singers, savoury pancakes and grilled herrings draw the visitors, who can enjoy different regions’ food and traditions without having to trek all the way across the country.
Berlin knows how to Christmas market. There are fifty across the German capital, all dripping with stocking fillers, roast chestnuts and gluhwein. For something a little more glam, the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche has jewellery and artwork stalls to peruse. With so many Christmas markets in Berlin, most hostels are near at least one.
Bath’s Christmas market brings festive spirit to one of Britain’s most beautiful cities. Around 170 chalets packed with goodies line the magical streets near the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols at the market.