Dreaming of the quintessential Winter Getaway? Perhaps you’ve always wondered what going to a European Christmas Market is truly like? We’ve done our research and we’ve come up with four of the most picturesque cities to visit at Christmas. So if you’re looking for that heartwarming December vacation, then have a look at the list below for some inspiration! From ice-rinks to Christmas trees; from gingerbread to handcrafted gifts, Christmas Markets are exciting for everyone!
The home of the original Christmas Market in 1570, Strasbourg is a must-see. Named ‘The Capital of Christmas’, this city is the perfect place to get festive. There are around 300 stalls spread around 10 locations, making Strasbourg one of the largest Christmas Markets in Europe. Gaze upon the Great Christmas Tree – one of the most famous Alsation traditions. Taste fresh gingerbread cookies and listen to Christmas carols as you wander Strasbourg’s narrow cobbled streets; keep your eyes peeled for the crooked fairytale houses! We know you will just love what Strasbourg has to offer, so why not truly indulge and stay a little longer?
Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most-loved cities with its thriving student population, a dreamy castle up on the hillside and a gorgeous riverside location. If you’ve ever been a fan of the literary Romanticism movement, then you’ll be right at home here. Being an inspiration to many Romantic writers and artists, Heidelberg is a charming city that is surrounded by a dramatic, fantasy-like landscape. It’s Christmas Markets are one-of-a-kind with an open-air ice rink that sits below the castle.
Venture to Basel and explore Christmas in Switzerland. Having one of the prettiest Christmas Markets in Switzerland, Basel is a wonderful destination for all your Christmas needs. Try the Basel Leckerli sweets and take in aromas of ginger and spice as you wander around the fir-tree lined streets. Basel is a shopper’s delight, not just because of the markets but also because it is home to Johann Wanner’s Christmas House – a famous Christmas shop that sells all kinds of unusual Swiss decorations. One thing’s for sure – you won’t go home empty handed!
The city of Cologne embraces Christmas markets with such animated enthusiasm that it is hard to justify NOT attending the celebrations. With some of the most attractive markets in the world, Cologne is visited by millions of visitors in the lead up to Christmas. Admire the iconic cathedral and its twin spires whilst you feast on cinnamon biscuits and drink mulled wine under the stars. Don’t miss the Angel’s Christmas Market, Cologne’s oldest market, where Angels walk the streets sprinkling glitter powder and the chalets have heavenly names. For a picturesque view, head down to the Harbour Christmas Market which looks out upon the Rhine – we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with what you find there.
So after all that, you’re wondering how do you go about visiting some of these cities? Well lucky for you there are plenty of Rhine River Cruises that stop-off at these destinations with dates in November & December! Please contact Deborah@lloydstravel.com or one of our knowledgeable Lloyds travel agents to discuss booking your 2018 Christmas vacation.
Written by Hannah Poaros