The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

30 September 2019

Nothing quite captures the joyful atmosphere of the festive season like a Christmas market. Bursting with local culture, delicious treats and odd little trinkets it’s exactly the kind of place to take primary and secondary school students as a reward at the end of a long semester.

From the pride of Britain to the heart of Germany, here are some of the best Christmas markets to visit in Europe this winter.

France

The French do everything with a little more sophistication and Christmas is no different. Around the festive season you can expect to see people stocking up on all kinds of delicious treats from papillotes (candied fruits wrapped in sparkling paper) to roasted chestnuts.

As Christmas Eve approaches you’ll find the picturesque northern city of Lille is decked out in lights and colour. A foodie’s dream, Place Rihour boasts 90 wooden chalets selling a range of mouth-watering delicacies and souvenirs. It’s the perfect environment to do a spot of shopping and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Germany

Christmas is a special time of year in Germany, steeped in culture and folklore. Whether it is children leaving out their shoes on December 5th for St. Nicholas to fill with sweets, or hiding from the devilish Krampus Klaus, Germans wear their Christmas quirks on their sleeve. The concept of Christmas trees was actually popularised in early modern era Germany, migrating to the UK when Queen Charlotte famously installed the first indoor tree at Queen's Lodge, Windsor, in December 1800.

Over the season festive pop-ups appear all over Germany. In the nation’s capital Berlin, potters and glassblowers line Alexanderplatz with stalls selling all manner of trinkets and souvenirs. Meanwhile in Cologne, against the backdrop of the cites breathtaking cathedral, you can browse over 160 traditional stalls. With markets starting early November, Germany is an absolute must for a festive trip.

UK

If anyone knows how to make the most of cold, foggy weather it’s the UK, and our Christmas markets are certainly testament to that. Across the nation there are plenty of destinations guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.

At Manchester Christmas fest students can gather in Albert Square to soak up the atmosphere and award winning stalls. As December rolls in, London turns into a living, breathing Christmas carol with stalls in Hyde Park featuring live music, local grub and plenty of mulled wine. Further north in Edinburgh you can find a winter wonderland like no other. The market, which was named the UK’s best in 2017, takes up almost the entirety of the city centre. The stalls stock everything from locally mulled ales to Bavarian sausages. Market goers can also let their hair down with a spot of ice skating or a ride on the famous spinning swings.

The UK’s colourful range of markets just goes to show that you don’t always have to travel too far to feel the yuletide spirit.

If you’re planning a primary or secondary school getaway for the festive season, we can put together a bespoke itinerary for a range of destinations. Request a quote and start your journey today.