If there is one time of year Europe does best, it has to be Christmas.
Glistening lights and Christmas carols, frosted glass and crackling fire places. With so many towns and cities to explore and endless steaming mugs of mulled wine on offer, where are the best places to go to experience a wonderfully festive Christmas?
After spending a couple of years in a tropical climate, last year I was beyond excited to have a cold, wintry Christmas again. The type of Christmas that involves woolly hats and snowball fights, rosy cheeks and Christmas songs. As much as I loved the sunshine drenched barbecue Christmas' of New Zealand, it never really felt like Christmas to me.
There is nothing quite like a Christmas market to make you feel festive, wandering through the stalls among the dancing lights makes for a magical evening. Here are the best Christmas markets Europe has to offer.
Dresden, a beautiful German city almost completely destroyed during WW2, is home to my favourite christmas market in all of Europe. The city itself is steeped in history and the christmas markets are numerous. This city has 11 separate Christmas markets! Stalls range from homemade crafts to succulent bratwursts, steaming mulled wine and the best pretzels you have ever tasted.
With Vienna's Townhall providing the most spectacular backdrop, Vienna's markets are one of the most impressive in Europe. It even has it's own ice skating rink! You can explore the Belvedere Palace by day, then wrap up and wander through the capitals Christmas markets by night.
With an in ice rink surrounded by stalls and a colourful ferris wheel there's lots to see in Oslo. Stalls sell traditional Norwegian snacks, along with cosy handmade winter clothes and you can try some locally farmed reindeer. With the promise of snow in Scandinavia, Olso's market has a magical feel to it.
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Unlike the grandeur of Vienna, the gothic architecture of Prague creates a spellbinding and medieval atmosphere. With The Church of Our Lady looming the Christmas market, it makes for a pretty unforgettable view. Lots of hand crafted goods are on offer along with a plentiful supply of beer and wine. You can even go up the tower for an aerial view of the cities twinkling Christmas lights.
Photo credit - Happy To Wander
The world famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt opens every December with the promise of mulled wine, roasted almonds and delicious bratwurst's. Full of elaborate christmas decorations which kids (and big kids!) will love, it is a winter wonderland.
Brussels' larger-than-life Christmas market is now legendary. It has it all; an ice skating rink, a huge glistening christmas tree, various light and sound shows, ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and endless stalls full of christmas goods. Even though Brussels is small place, they know how to do Christmas on a BIG scale.
What could be better than exploring Budapest's Christmas markets by day and then warming up in the city's thermal pools? Be sure to try a chimney cake and even take a cruise along the Danube to see the city lights sparkle
I LOVE wandering through Christmas markets, buying little handmade crafts from each place and sipping hot mulled wine. If you are in Europe this winter then be sure to visit at least one market, it can convert even the biggest bah humbug of them all!
There are so many markets in Europe, these are just some of favourites and are some of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Europe. Are there any markets you would recommend?