From the charming cobblestone streets of Portugal to the romantic castles of Prague, Europe’s Christmas markets offer a delightful mix of tradition, culture and fun. Picture yourself sipping on fresh hot chocolate as you browse through stalls bursting with handmade crafts, unique gifts, and mouth-watering treats.
So, grab your scarf and bundle up, here’s our pick of the top places to soak up the best of the festive season.
TRADITIONAL FESTIVE CHARM IN GERMANY
Located at Biebelplatz in Berlin’s historic centre, Hotel de Rome is the perfect place for exploring the famous Weihnachtszauber Christmas market, which is now located right on the doorstep of Hotel de Rome’s front entrance.
The Weihnachtszauber Christmas market is renowned for its selection of artistic offerings and craftspeople. Alongside the roasted almonds, chestnuts and mulled wines, this Christmas market also presents food stalls and restaurants with a wide range of sweet and traditional treats.
Guests of Hotel de Rome can get tickets from the concierge and have the exclusive privilege of skipping the queue and entering the market without waiting in line.
Must try Christmas treat: roasted chestnuts.
The Weihnachtszauber Christmas market
Open from 27 November to 31 December
Sunday to Thursday from 12pm to 10pm
Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 11pm
FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS IN PRAGUE
There’s a certain magic in the air here that flows effortlessly through Old Town Square, onto Charles Bridge, over the Vltava and all the way up the tallest spires of Prague Castle – and that’s just what you can see from Four Seasons Hotel Prague. Centuries of wonder fill the walls, letting you trace the history of the city from the Baroque era and the neoclassical to modern day.
Explore the toy-town beauty of Old Town Square, complete with a real-life nativity scene, carol-singing choirs and a life-sized gingerbread village. The Wenceslas Square market is another big attraction for visitors to the city, with its craft stalls, food and one-of-a-kind discoveries.
Must try Christmas treat: delicious grilled sausages.
Old Town Square Christmas Market
Open from 2 December to 6 January
Tuesday to Sunday from 4.30pm to 9pm
EXTRAVAGANT CHRISTMAS FAIR IN BUDAPEST
The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival transforms the heart of Hungary’s capital into a winter wonderland. Stroll through the picturesque Vörösmarty Square and be greeted by a symphony of sights, sounds and scents. The air is filled with the scent of freshly baked chimney cakes, spiced mulled wine and savoury Hungarian delicacies.
Located just six minutes from The Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day exploring. From the moment you enter, savour the iconic wrought-iron peacock gates, pass through the lobby adorned with over two million mosaic tiles illuminated with its striking chandelier and let inspiration wash over you. Outside, views of the Danube and the picturesque Buda skyline will wow you.
Must try Christmas treat: funnel cake, a Hungarian delicacy.
Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival
Open every day in December from 10am to 9pm
FESTIVE SPIRITS IN PORTUGAL
Porto, known for its rich culture and exquisite wines, is the perfect destination for a festive weekend getaway. This vibrant city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, comes alive during Christmas, especially in WOW, its Cultural District, home to seven museum experiences and 11 restaurants, bars and cafés.
As you wander through the district, you’ll be enchanted by the thousands of twinkling lights illuminating the streets, creating a truly magical atmosphere, all centred around a dazzling Christmas tree, and adding to the festive charm.
WOW’s Christmas markets are a love letter to Portuguese culture, with gifts from local Portuguese artists, mulled wine, port and various events, including meeting Santa Claus and wine-tasting. Don’t miss a moment of the magic by staying at the neighbouring 5-star hotel, The Yeatman.
Must try Christmas treat: a glass of local Port wine.
Festive celebrations start on 25 November, with the lighting of the Christmas tree.