Decent Christmas markets can be found in the majority of the big UK cities, offering a festive selection of mulled wine, crepes and novelty Christmas gifts. However, travel further afield and you may discover Christmas markets from our overseas neighbours which put their Manchester, London and Birmingham counterparts to shame.
Here, we run through five of the best Christmas markets to visit this year (or next, if you’ve already used your holiday allocation for 2015).
Popular with tourists all year round thanks to the stunning architecture, unique history and lashings of Guinness on offer; Dublin needn’t do anything special at Christmas to attract visitors. However, the ever-hospitable locals put on the 12 Days of Christmas event which involves a great selection of markets around the city’s vibrant docklands.
Dublin Christmas markets are a great spot to pick up a few prezzies for the friends and family – with many stalls focussing on traditional arts and crafts.
Copenhagen’s close proximity to the Arctic Circle gives it an authentic festive air – making it the perfect place to visit a Christmas market. The city’s popular amusement park, Tivoli, is turned into an incredible winter wonderland with a range of festive stalls winding their way in between rides and rollercoasters.
Make sure you wrap up extra warm if you’re visiting Copenhagen in December – the temperatures regularly drop to freezing and below.
Perhaps one of the most popular short cruise destinations for UK holidaymakers; Amsterdam is just a quick trip up the channel from Southampton. As one of Europe’s most popular locations for Christmas markets, Amsterdam is buzzing with festive spirit. With a selection of different markets popping up throughout the Netherlands’ capital from November onwards, Amsterdam could even melt the frosty exterior of the seasonal scrooge.
It seems as though every single neighbourhood in the city joins in the fun, offering everything from small hot chocolate-vending cabins to massive ice skating rinks.
Want something completely different to what’s on offer in the UK? The small medieval Italian town of Arco could be the perfect solution. Sitting in a valley, overlooked by the Castle of Arco, the town’s Christmas market retains a charming old world aesthetic. With the family very much at the forefront of the planning committee: Arco Christmas market is wrapped by a children’s train track and a pony riding course.
One of Germany’s more overlooked cities; beautiful Dresden has plenty to offer visitors which cannot be matched by the more popular cities of Berlin and Munich. A cultural centre of the country, Dresden demands more than just a flying visit to the markets, and the stunning architecture makes it a beautiful city to explore during the day with a belly full of mulled wine and hotdog.
The city’s Striezelmarkt Christmas market has been going for well over 500 years, giving visitors the chance to enjoy a variety of local delicacies, including their famous Christmas cake, the Dresden Christstollen.
If these markets have jingled your festive bells, there’s no finer way to enjoy the festivities than travelling aboard a luxury liner. For a great selection of winter cruise deals, visit the Cruise1st homepage or call our dedicated team on 0808 274 6777.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Source: Michael Caven, William Murphy, George Rex, Shadowgate, Volker Kannacher