Twelve European Christmas markets just a short hop from London Stansted
Entertainment / Tue 14th Nov 2023 at 10:54am
WINTER has arrived, and it’s time to pack your bags, wrap up warm, and jet off to a beautiful European Christmas market.
Enjoy mulled wine, spiced hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts as you wander through the streets and squares of one of Europe’s delightful winter markets.
Discover our top 12 Christmas markets destinations, all accessible directly from London Stansted.
A traditional Ferris wheel and a horse carousel make Bergen’s Christmas market a festive fairground treat. Located in the heart of the city, Festplassen Square is filled with stalls selling handmade Christmas gifts, creative crafts, and delicious food. The largest Gingerbread Town in the world, Pepperkakebyen, is another popular attraction in Bergen. The residents contribute their own unique flair to this magical town by making gingerbread houses, churches, and castles, and visitors can even try the gingerbread hearts they make. Fly direct with Wideroe.
There’s nothing better than a Christmas getaway in Berlin. Domäne Dahlem’s rural Advent Market hosts a number of unique activities, including everything from romantic carriage rides through the town, to traditional bonfires. The festival also offers a wide variety of festive goodies, including handmade nougat, gourmet cheeses, and warm spiced punch. Turn back the clock and take a trip to Berliner Weihnachtszei’s nostalgic Christmas market. It plays host to an ice rink and a ‘Christmas Carnival’, as well as a medieval market selling old-fashioned baked goods and hot mead served in clay jugs. Fly direct with Ryanair.
Beautiful Budapest is stunning all year round, but it really comes into its own at Christmas, when the two Christmas markets and many of Budapest’s historic buildings are festooned with fairy lights. At Budapest’s Christmas markets you’ll find stunning handcrafted gifts and delicious food and drink. Take your time wandering through the stalls, nibbling on traditional Hungarian chimney cake as you choose the perfect, thoughtful gift for a loved one, then warm up in one of Budapest’s traditional steamy thermal baths. Fly direct with Ryanair.
In beautiful Cologne, you’ll find plenty of festive spirit if you’re looking for a classic Christmas market. There could hardly be a more impressive location for a Christmas market than beneath the huge cathedral. The main market is a maze of brightly lit stalls selling gorgeous Christmas gifts, as well as plenty of traditional food and drink, like bratwurst and spiced mulled wine. You’ll also find several other Christmas markets – favourites include the Christmas market in Cologne’s Old Town, the market in the Stadtgarten Park, and a pretty set of market stalls set very conveniently located right next to Cologne’s Chocolate Museum. Fly direct with Ryanair.
If your perfect Christmas market trip includes great shopping, great food and great craic, then Dublin is for you. Just a short hop from Stansted, Dublin’s main Christmas market takes place on St Stephen’s Green – but other interesting markets, like the Dublin Flea Christmas Market, pop up all over the city. Dublin is particularly proud of its Christmas lights; this Christmas the Winter Lights festival will glow so brightly that it may even be seen from planes landing at Dublin Airport… so you can start getting in the festive spirit before you’ve even touched down on Irish soil. Fly direct with Ryanair.
Take to the streets of Edinburgh this Christmas season and explore Europe’s Best Christmas Market – awarded by National Geographic! Nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, East Princes Street Gardens hosts a traditional Christmas Market, with over 70 stalls selling handmade gifts, tasty treats and delicious drinks. The market will also be home to the Big Wheel, giving passengers breathtaking views of the city. Children can enjoy the magical Santa Train, that travels through an illuminated winter wonderland. Or get your skates on and head to the ice rink at George Street, warming up afterwards with a hot chocolate and a stroll through the Artisan Christmas Market. Fly direct with easyJet and Ryanair.
You’ll find colourful Christmas market stalls nestled between beautiful medieval buildings in Innsbruck’s historic Old Town, a treasure trove of tree decorations, handmade crafts, and delicious food and drink. A viewing platform is the perfect place to sip mulled wine and look out over the market, while brass bands play traditional Christmas carols from the Golden Roof. Wander down Kiebachgasse, which is transformed into a fairy tale lane each year, with famous scenes dressing the facades, bay windows and gables. The ‘Marktplatz’ market square is also perfect for families with children, with a carousel, puppet shows and Christmas storytelling, and an enormous 14m high Christmas tree that will leave everyone with a sense of Christmas wonder. Fly direct with Jet2.
The most popular Christmas market in in Lisbon is Wonderland Lisboa, located in Eduardo VII Park in the heart of the city. Crowds queue up for a seat on the Ferris wheel, which offers 360-degree views of the city from its cosy heated cabins. There’s also a free ice rink and over 50 market stalls selling festive gifts and Christmas confectionary, as well as lots of traditional food and mulled wine. If you’re travelling with young children, there’s plenty for them to enjoy, too. Take a trip to the Wonderland’s Christmas Village, where children can visit Santa’s House and paint a picture with the man himself, or check out the program of Christmas shows and performances for children of all ages on the main stage. Fly direct with Ryanair.
People travel from far and wide to experience Oslo’s Christmas spirit, particularly at Spikersuppa, one of the capital’s biggest Christmas markets. The area in front of Stortinget (the Norwegian Parliament building) transforms into a Winter Wonderland, with a dazzling Ferris wheel, a free ice rink, and endless stalls selling gifts, traditional mulled wine, and delicious fresh doughnuts. Visit the nearby cathedral, where the children’s choir regularly performs Christmas carols – guaranteed to give you that warm and nostalgic festive feeling. Or for a more alternative Christmas market, visit Olsos Supermarked, which is packed with trendy cocktail stalls and street food, and vintage and second-hand clothes, accessories and gifts. Fly direct with Ryanair.
The biggest Christmas market celebration in Czechia sees locals and tourists coming together in the magical and atmospheric streets of Prague’s Old Town to shop for Christmas decorations, unique gifts, and tempting Christmas treats. Christmas festivities take place across the city from Old Town through to Holešovice Exhibition Grounds, but at Christmas one of the nicest things to do in Prague is just to wander; smaller markets are scattered around every corner. Choosing a Christmas market trip to Prague will be a truly memorable experience.Fly direct with Ryanair.
While the climate may be cold, Reykjavik’s Christmas market at Hjartagarðurinn is warm, welcoming and wonderfully festive, with stalls selling traditional Icelandic sweets and snacks, handmade crafts, and aromatic mulled wine. But if you want to really experience the stunning landscape of this country, visit the Christmas market at Elliðavatnsbær in Heiðmörk – every year the Reykjavík Forestry Association manages this Christmas market, and you can immerse yourself in the Christmas magic of the natural world as you wander through the forest, perusing the Christmas trees and festive decorations, or buying unique art in the Christmas craft market. Fly direct with Play Airlines.
The splendour of Rome positively glows through the festive season, with endless fairy lights twinkling across the city’s old, cobbled streets, the Colosseum lit up magnificently, and an enormous Christmas tree sparkling in front it, decorated with tens of thousands of lights. Wander through the grandiose Piazza Navona and enjoy one of the city’s historic and traditional Christmas markets, with vendors offering roasted chestnuts, Italian sweets, vin brulé (mulled wine), hot chocolate, crafts and artwork. You’ll also be entertained by the festive holiday rides, beautiful nativity scene, and regular live performances – or take a spin on the ice rink set up near Castel Sant Angelo. Fly direct with Ryanair.
Please visit stanstedairport.com for more information on booking flights from London Stansted to any of these destinations.
Salzburg and Vienna are also worthy of mention. Such charming and elegant cities.