Of course, there are plenty of Christmas markets right here in the Netherlands, but perhaps you’re thinking it might be nice to go a little further afield this year.

Looking for a magical getaway before the upcoming holidays? Why not head to a Christmas market in Europe for a spot of shopping under the festive lights!

9 of the best Christmas markets in EuropeEurope is home to some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the whole world, perfect for soaking up the holiday atmosphere and getting yourself excited for the most wonderful time of the year. Here’s our pick of some of the best markets the continent has to offer.  

1. Govone and Asti, ItalyExperience the magical kingdom of Santa Clause at the Govone and Asti Christmas market in Italy. Packed with culture and local cuisine, this is one of the highlights of the festive calendar in Italy. The main event each day is the incredible Santa Claus musical show that is hosted at the picturesque Savoy Royal Castle. The fairytale setting is complete with the hundred or so wooden stalls selling plenty of products, from Christmas tree decorations to nougat to mulled wine. Head over to the official Govone and Asti website for more information on the next market.

2. Christmas Market Cologne, GermanyJust a short hop, skip and a jump away from the Netherlands is one of the most beautiful and famous Christmas markets in the whole world – not one you want to miss! Located right in front of the gothic cathedral in the centre of Cologne, this market fits the Christmas season mood perfectly. The main highlight of the market is the fantastic Christmas tree at the centre, which is often ranked among the most beautiful Christmas trees in Europe. This delightful market is perfect for families with children, who will enjoy sipping on mulled wine and hot chocolate under the sweeping canopy of fairy lights.

3. Funchal Christmas Market, Madeira, PortugalPair Christmas decorations and music with the gorgeously mild weather of Portugal and you get a match made in heaven! Centred around the Avenida Arriaga in the centre of Funchal, this Christmas market sees the island of Madeira become a magical winter wonderland each year. Products such as exotic flowers, traditional Christmas ornaments, and local foods are offered at the many stalls that visitors can explore while listening to Christmas carols, and the finale of the market includes a firework show. For more information on the dates for the next Christmas market in Madeira, check the official Madeira tourist information website.

4. Basel Christmas Market, SwitzerlandThe Basel Christmas Market in Switzerland is one of the most authentic in Europe and delights visitors and locals alike each year. It takes place in the spectacularly decorated old town of Basel, where vendors and shops glitter with ornaments, creating a cosy ambience. There are many pine trees that border the streets with a massive Christmas tree in the middle of the Old Town. The next Basel Christmas Market will be held from November 24 until December 23, 2022.

5. Christmas Market Praga, Czech RepublicIf you don’t mind the chilly weather, Prague is a gorgeous city to visit at Christmas time, and this traditional market – one of the biggest in the country – will delight you with its unique handicrafts. The stalls offer Czech-blown glass, glass pearls, straw products, hand-embroidered goods, wooden toys and many other things. For food, there are local Czech delicacies as well as traditional Christmas biscuits, and – of course – hot chocolate and mulled wine. The next Christmas Market in Prague will be open November 26, 2022 to January 6, 2023.

6. Advent Feast at the Basilica, HungaryThe Advent Feast at the Basilica Market in Budapest is spectacular in its splendour and considered one of the best markets in Europe. Featuring over 100 vendors offering regional specialities and handmade gifts against the background of the St. Stephen’s Basilica, this is an event for all ages. The market displays an enthralling light show each day, along with other various fun activities throughout the season. For information on the next Advent Feast at the Basilica, check the official Advent Feast at the Basilica website.

7. Funky Xmas Market, the NetherlandsIf you’re looking for a Christmas market closer to home, there’s one in Amsterdam that’s both festive and fun: the Funky Xmas Market The stalls at this unusual market are packed with witty decorations, unusual festive adornments, savoury dishes, tasty sweets, and original gifts. There is also live music and fresh hot chocolate to enjoy while wandering through the stalls. Make sure to visit this market that is easily accessible via public transportation. Keep an eye out on the official Sunday Market website for the dates of the next Funky Xmas Market.

8. Christmas Market Manchester, EnglandEvery year, people come from far and wide to visit the famous Christmas markets in the northern city of Manchester in the UK. With over 300 gorgeous stalls, an array of international food, and fantastic drinks, this market is the ideal place for a date or finding a gift for a loved one. The market is so large, it has 10 unique, distinct sites that are all worth visiting. The next Manchester Christmas Market will be from November 12 until December 22, 2022.

Start creating your Christmas market wishlistWhether you’re going for a bit of shopping or just to soak up the atmosphere, these Christmas markets in Europe will surely get you in the mood for the holidays. Happy shopping! 

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.

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