Cut through all the information to find the best Christmas Markets in Europe for that perfect Christmas Holiday in Europe this year. More and more European cities are expanding or creating their own Christmas Markets, and with cheap budget flights, and the rise of the cheap but decent boutique or discount hotels, there's no better time than to head to Europe this Christmas.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY
Top of the pick for Christmas markets in Germany is the Cologne Christmas Market. Actually there are seven Christmas markets in Cologne, the most stunning of which is the market at the Cologne Cathedral. Be sure to buy some "Lebkuchen", a delicious gingerbread biscuits. And Cologne claims the original 'mulled wine' complete with festive Christmas mug. Every year, almost two million visits come to Cologne Christmas Market, making it one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe. There is even a floating Christmas market on board one of the local riverboats. A superb choice for all the family.
Berlin has a character and charm all of its own. Berlin has an incredible sixty Christmas markets to pick from, including one at the beautiful Charlottenburg Castle complete with horse carriage rides and historical exhibits in the palace itself. If you're looking for a thrill, Winderwelt, in the middle of Potsdamer Platz has Europe's biggest mobile toboggan run. There are also a wide choice of indoor activities just in case the weather is a little too cold for you or your children's liking - with a big Legoland Discovery Centre, the 4,000 square metre Christmas market in the Sony Centre. There's also "Boccia on Ice" to try out which is like bowling on ice.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN AUSTRIA
Innsbruck is one of the most charming cities in the Tyrol region of Austria. Set amidst the stunning background of the Alps, you can see the beautiful snow-capped majestic mountains all around you. The Innsbruck Christmas market has had a long tradition, right in the heart of Old Town. The whole city likes to get fully involved in the festive activities, one of the most original aspects of the Christmas season in Innsbruck is the giant Advent Calendar - made up of an actual building - every day, around 5pm-5:30pm one more window of this living Advent Calendar is opened.
As for the market itself, there are folk music and local performances. Crafts are for sale, but it's the offering of sweets which are particularly famous.
Salzburg is most well known as the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but you'll find a lot more than the famous Mozart Chocolates on offer at the Salzburg Christmas Market. Virtually every little market square in Salzburg has its own little bustling market and there is an extensive program of events from choral singing outside the charming Cathedral to exhibits in the pretty Residenz courtyard. And of course, there is Mozart music every where you go. Perfect choice for culture lovers.
Vienna's Christkindlmarkt begun in 1294, so if you're looking for grand traditions, the Vienna Xmas market would be hard to beat. There are Christmas markets throughout Vienna's very walkable town centre, but the actual 'Christkindlmarkt' is on the square outside of Vienna's City Hall. The park is filled with decorated trees. Walk along and sample the true Christmas atmosphere as you sample the "Gluhwein", a hot, sweet wine.
OTHER NOTABLE CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN EUROPE
Christmas in Copenhagen, Denmark is literally like a fairytale, since it was the home of Hans Christian Anderson - author of some of the best known fairytales in the world such as Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and many more. The fairytale-like Tivoli Gardens - Copenhagen's famous amusement park is lit up by over 3,000 light chains during the festive season, and you can meet Santa Claus there too!