From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna's prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot punch creates a pre-Christmas atmosphere. One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional "Vienna Magic of Advent", which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights - a Viennese experience, you'll definitely don't want to miss!
Malmo dishes up a Swedish smorgasbord of Christmas markets, concerts and twinkling trees. Browse Sodertull for handmade decorations, pausing to warm up over glogg (mulled wine) with pepparkakor (ginger biscuits) or lussekatter (saffron-flavoured buns). Katrinetorp manor is the go-to market for antiques, poinsettias and festive food, while Good Jul sells fairtrade, recycled and vintage gifts. Slip on skates to twirl around the open-air ice rinks at Raoul Wallenberg and Folkets Park.
Birmingham has the largest authentic German market in Europe outside of Germany and Austria, with 5.5 million visitors in 2014. Consisting of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market and the Craft Market, the market has grown from just 24 stalls in 2001 to 180 this year, covering New Street, Victoria Square and Centenary Square. The Frankfurt Market offers a wide range of products, including Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewellery, carved wooden toys, sausages, beer and pretzels, while Christmas Craft Market will offer handmade crafts, soaps and candles by local artisans, as well as a wide range of unique and quirky items imported from around the world. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the popular ice rink and big wheel.
Prague is the perfect setting for the festive season, with its stunning castle, Old Town and Charles Bridge lit up like Christmas trees. The city's central tree is practically worth a trip in itself too, shipped as it is from the Krkonose Mountains and erected right at the heart of the main markets in the Old Town Square (there's another market at Wenceslas Square). Prague is a good place to go if you want to get some decent department store shopping in along with the cutesy stuff at the markets - which includes Bohemian Crystal, wooden toys, scented candles, hand-made jewellery, ceramic mugs and decorative ornaments as Czech specialities.
Barcelona - Who needs Santa when you can have a grinning, present-pooping log called Caga Tio? You will find this Catalan Christmas oddity in miniature form alongside mistletoe, turron nougat and a biblical wonderland of nativity figurines at Barcelona's Fira de Santa Llucia, sprawling in front of the Gothic cathedral on Placa de la Seu. And if you think Caga Tio is bizarre, wait until you see the irreverent Caganer, a defecating figurine hidden in the nativity scene for good fortune and fertile harvests.
London's spectacular Christmas destination - Hyde Park Winter Wonderland returns on 20th November for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with FREE admission and even more entertainment than before. With more than 100 rides and attractions on site, there's something for everyone. For those Christmas shoppers, there's the traditional German Christmas market with over 200 chalets. The Angels Christmas Market offers unusual and handmade gifts and crafts, including ceramics, candles, jewellery, wooden toys, nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.
Berlin - The baroque Charlottenburg Palace is a sumptuous backdrop for this Christmas market in City West. An elaborate light installation bathes the market, the palace, the trees and decorative fence of the palace in a romantic glow. The pivotal point of the market is a pyramid in front of the palace's main entrance. Wood huts and marquees, decorated entirely with natural materials, provide a festive atmosphere and offer not only a wide range of crafts but also an impressive selection of culinary choices. In addition to the traditional Christmas market stalls selling hot chestnuts, crepes or Hungarian langos, many hotels and restaurants from Berlin and Brandenburg offer fine dining in heated tents. The best way to visit the Christmas Market in Berlin is by booking a tour offered by the Secret Food Tours. You will have a local guide who will offer you to taste from german Christmas specialities.
The oldest Christmas market in Europe, the Christkindelsmarik was first held in Strasbourg in 1570. With its 300 stalls, spread out over 12 locations in the city centre, the authenticity, warmth and generosity of Strasbourg Capital of Christmas form an Alsatian tradition which has been successfully maintained ever since. The spiritual environment and traditions of Advent are well established in Strasbourg. You will find 4 outstanding Advent concerts, a Living Nativity and a wide range of authentic live music and cultural events. It's the perfect opportunity to go on a cultural trip through time!