Start planning your winter city break today
It’s the most wonderful time of the year... to pack your bags, wrap up warm, and jet off to a beautiful European Christmas market! Wander through sparkling fairy-lit streets and city squares, with the scents of mulled wine, spiced hot chocolate and roast chestnuts in the air, and lose yourself in one of Europe’s most enchanting winter market destinations.
Take a look at our top destinations for Christmas magic, with flights from East Midlands Airport, and start planning your cosy winter getaway today.
Prague is at its most charming in winter. Weave through its picturesque lanes, see the snow sparkle atop the Old Town Square, and find a warm refuge in one of its welcoming bars. The most enticing stalls can be found filling the squares of Wenceslas and the Old Town, laden with glittering decorations, handmade gifts, and endless sweet treats.
With its castle skyline and picturesque cobbled streets, Krakow’s Old Town becomes a living Christmas card over the festive season, especially when it starts to snow. The Christmas market is set on Rynek Glowny, the city’s main market square – lined with timber huts and illuminated with fairy lights, with an enormous Christmas tree in the centre, it looks especially magical at night.
The market sells all sorts of Christmas gifts, such as handmade decorations and beautiful carved wooden toys, and there’s a big focus on food, so you can tuck into lots of traditional Polish treats, like pierogi dumplings, gingerbread biscuits, and mulled wine, which you can enjoy while watching the carol singing. You can even travel back in time with a traditional coach and horse ride around the old square.
Regularly topping Best Christmas Markets in Poland lists, Wroclaw’s offering is a dazzling display of fairy-lit Christmas trees and stalls on the quaint cobbled Rynek Marquet Square, selling lots of warming comfort food and drinks, like traditional sausages, sweet waffles and aromatic mulled wine.
You’ll also find the festivities on Plac Solny, which includes a fairy tale house with an observation deck, so you can sip a hot chocolate in the glow of the fireplace, or overlooking a sparkling view of the market. Lots of different Christmassy shows and fairytale stories are performed at these markets each year, usually ending with the Christmas Carol Singers Parade the day before Christmas Eve.
Berlin ticks every box for a great Christmas getaway. Domäne Dahlem’s rural Advent Market hosts a number of unique activities, including everything from romantic carriage rides through the town to traditional bonfires. There’s also a wide range of delectable festive goodies you can feast upon, including handmade nougat, gourmet cheeses, and warm spiced punch.
Turn back the clock and take a trip to Berliner Weihnachtszei’s nostalgic Christmas market. It plays host to an ice rink and a ‘Christmas Carnival’, as well as a medieval market selling old-fashioned baked goods and hot mead served in clay jugs.
Geneva’s Christmas at the Quai is utterly enchanting. Take a wander along the beautiful Lake Geneva, decorated with twinkling fairy lights, and stroll through the sophisticated market, where you’ll find lots of artisan gifts and delicious food and snacks. However, there’s one food in particular that draws in the crowds to Christmas on the Quai…
This Christmas market has its very own Fondue Chalet! Set in a sophisticated chalet with long wooden tables, sheepskin blankets draped over the chairs, and the atmospheric glow of lanterns, tuck into traditional fondue while enjoying stunning views over the lake.
Salzburg Christmas markets are overflowing with traditional charm and Christmas spirit. In the city centre you’ll find the main Christmas market around the cathedral, with stalls selling warm punch, toasted almonds, hot roasted chestnuts, beautiful Christmas tree ornaments, and lots of cosy knitwear. Watch the choir sing carols in front of the cathedral, or visit the nativity scene in the Residenz courtyard.
The Advent Market sees Salzburg Palace transform into true magic at Christmas. A fairy-tale forest sits in front of it, with over 700 trees dazzling with fairy lights and red baubles, and the façade of the palace transforms into an oversized advent calendar with a different scene in 24 windows, creating a truly unique Christmas experience for the whole family.
Beautiful Budapest is gorgeous at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own at Christmas, when the two Christmas markets set up and everywhere you look is festooned with fairy lights.
Budapest takes pride in the quality of crafts, food and drink available at its Christmas markets. Wander through the stalls, nibbling on traditional Hungarian chimney cakes as you pick out the perfect thoughtful gift, then afterwards warm up in one of Budapest's thermal baths.