A Festive Odyssey

Travel writer Dan Hyams unlocks the magic of European Christmas markets

The holiday season is upon us, and there’s no better way to unwrap the magic of Christmas than by embarking on a journey through European Christmas markets. While the UK has its own charming contenders, the allure of international markets beckon. Step into a Christmas that will ignite your festive spirit, both at home and on the continent and discover the excitement of a Christmas market river cruise.

The UK boasts an array of delightful Christmas markets, each with its unique character. While the doorstep destination of Manchester and London’s iconic backdrop often steal the show for Christmas market destinations, the quaint, historic city of Bath is a must for those wanting a festive staycation strolling through sprawling markets with a unique mix of handmade crafts, European cuisine and surprising performances in surprising places, with interactive shows from the National Theatre Company!

For a unique European experience, Vienna’s Christmas markets are unmatched. The Austrian capital is renowned for its rich musical heritage and during the festive season, the city’s squares come alive with melodious tunes. From choirs and orchestras to street performers, Vienna’s markets offer a symphony of holiday sounds that transport visitors into a magical world of music and merriment.

One of the most appealing aspects of European Christmas markets is the opportunity to sample a wide array of culinary delights. While the classics like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts are always a treat, exploring up-and-coming markets allows you to sample international cuisines in a festive setting.

Consider visiting Prague’s Christmas markets for a taste of Czech cuisine. Savour the flavours of traditional sausages, a local favourite, trdelnik, and a wide selection of hearty dishes. It’s a gastronomic adventure that will leave your tastebuds dancing with delight.

If you’re keen to experience multiple Christmas markets in one unforgettable journey, a Christmas market river cruise is the ultimate way to go. Companies like Viking River Cruises offer themed holiday cruises, stopping at several iconic European cities along the way. Imagine gliding along Europe’s picturesque rivers, with stops in Vienna, Budapest, Strasbourg and Cologne, each known for their enchanting Christmas markets. Onboard these cruises, the ships are transformed into floating winter wonderlands. Festive decorations, seasonal cuisine and holiday-themed activities ensure that the magic of Christmas is never far away. The evening entertainment often includes traditional Christmas carollers and musical performances, providing an immersive and unforgettable experience.

This holiday season, seize the opportunity to embark on a journey through European Christmas markets, whether at home in the UK, on the captivating streets of the continent or even a Christmas market river cruise to witness the grandeur of multiple markets in one joyful adventure. The magic of Christmas awaits, and it’s time to embrace it with open arms.




Tedd Walmsley

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