European Christmas Markets

December 17, 2021

Here in the UK, we’re lucky enough to have our very own European-style Christmas markets that come to major cities during the festive season, but if you’re looking for the true experience, then you should take a short trip to the continent. With regular ferries to Europe, it’s easy to get to many European markets and with unlimited baggage, you can bring back as much Christmas shopping as you like.  

While things may be slightly different this year, with many Christmas markets asking for a Covid-19 health pass to enter, there are plenty of options, no matter how far you want to travel or what kind of atmosphere you’re looking for. We’ve brought together some of our favourites right here. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Dutch capital’s festive celebrations take place all across the city, and whereas many cities will have one main market in the town square, Amsterdam has many. Amsterdam’s Ice Village, held outside the Rijksmuseum, is a festive delight, complete with an ice-rink for complete Christmas cheer.  Traditional open-air markets with their little wooden huts and lights can be found at Amsterdam Winter Paradise from 19 December to 5 January but in typical Amsterdam style, you can also enjoy trendier, events such as the Funky Xmas Market in Museumplein on 19 December. If you’re looking to try something new this year, then consider hopping over on the ferry from Newcastle. 

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Brussels, Belgium

Another location not too far from ports in either France or the Netherlands is Brussels. The Winter Wonders market and celebrations is a 2km stretch of festive delights, including market stalls, fairground rides, an ice rinka sound and light show and more. The event offers something for everyone, with days of activities if you choose to take a short break here.  

ChristmasMarkets_Brussells_1900x500Strasbourg, France

There’s been a Christmas market in Strasbourg since the 16th century, which is why the organisers of the city’s festivities have branded it the Capitale de Noël, or ‘capital of Christmas’. Hundreds of metres of fairy lights are strung up across the city, turning this beautiful French-German city into a veritable winter wonderland. There are of course countless stalls to choose from too, with the centrepiece of a giant fir tree adorned with lights in one of the squares. 

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Valkenburg, Netherlands

For a truly unique Christmas market experience, Valkenburg is home to the largest and most popular underground Christmas market in Europe. Explore the underground caves which resemble Santa’s grotto and immerse yourself in festive cheer, sipping glühwein as you browse the seasonal stalls and admire the sparkling lights illuminating your path. 
 
This year, due to Covid-19 regulations, the markets will close at 18:00 and a Covid-19 entry pass will be needed. 

Reims, France

Immerse yourself in the magical festive spirit of Reims Christmas market, located beneath the magnificent cathedral. Browse the handmade goods on offer at the 145 chalets, smell the gingerbread and vin chaud wafting from the food stalls and marvel at the colourful Christmas lights across the city. Complete your trip to the Christmas market with a pop, enjoying a glass of champagne on the ferris wheel, seeing the city illuminated from above, as you sip something special. 

ReimsXmasMarket

Photo Credit: CpaKmoi / Flickr

Lille Christmas Market 

Step into the festive spirit at Lille Christmas Market, running from 19 November until 30 December. Browse the 90 wooden chalets selling handmade Christmas gifts while sipping mulled wine and listening to the festive music playing from the stalls. Stop by the towering Christmas tree and enjoy the festive cheer of the buzzing seasonal market.  

LilleXmasMarket

Photo Credit: Adam Singer / Flickr

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