As the world is reopening and travel is now back on the cards, what better way to get that much-missed travel fix than visiting a traditional European Christmas market? Wizz Air have put together five of the most beautiful and festive Christmas markets in European cities, all of which can be booked cheaply via Wizz Air, with the markets being central to the city.
Voted as the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe, Hungary’s Christmas market on Vörösmarty square is Budapest’s longest running and biggest. The market is home to many local artisans and craftspeople, all who set up a stall and sell their handmade crafts, with popular options being wooden toys and pottery. If food is more of your thing, many stalls sell freshly made Hungarian delicacies, such as chimney cake (kürtőskalács) and goulash (gulyás). With over 100 stalls, there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.
Although Vörösmarty square is Budapest’s biggest, the city also is home to smaller yet equally exciting markets. Other options include St Stephen’s Basilica market, which not only has an ice-skating rink, but St Stephen’s displays an incredible lighting display right on the basilica. With Budapest being a short flight away, why not visit both?
Krakow’s Christmas market is Poland’s number one Christmas market, located in the middle of the historic Old Town, the city’s central square. A long-standing tradition which dates way back to the 13th-century, local artists set up their own timber stalls and sell a huge variety of Christmas decorations and traditional gifts.
In addition to numerous stalls across the square, the market also provides free entertainment in the form of musical performances by choirs and village artists alike. Krakow also hosts an annual Christmas tradition, where locals compete to create their very own nativity scenes (szopkas.) These structures can vary in size and grandeur with the winning nativity scene earning a spot in Krakow’s historical museum. If you time your visit for the first Thursday of December, you will witness the procession of the nativity scenes, where those who have entered present their creations in the market.
Rome is home to many Christmas markets which are all nearby popular tourist attractions. The most popular Christmas market in Rome is located in Piazza Navona, one of the largest squares in the city. Piazza Navona is steeped in history, making it the perfect backdrop for history lovers. The square is built upon the Stadium of Domitian, which housed 20,000 spectators back in 86 AD.
The Christmas market itself hosts everything from stalls selling Christmas treats and handcrafted presents and souvenirs to a Christmas carousel. Even though the temperature in Rome averages at about 13 degrees during the winter months, the Christmas lights and mulled wine help create a festive atmosphere.
Sofia is home to a German Christmas Market, held in the beautiful City Garden on Knyaz Alexander I Square. A great choice for those travelling on a budget, this lesser known market has everything you would expect from a traditional Christmas market but is known for its exceptional value. The market stays open late and hosts musical performances as well as providing drinks such as mulled wine throughout the evening.
As it’s a German Christmas market, you will find typical German cuisine however you can expect more traditional Eastern European delicacies, including sauerkraut. For those looking to bring home souvenirs, the market is also home to a wide array of gifts and crafts. With affordable flights, Bulgaria is an enchanting and budget-friendly winter escape.
With promise of snow and colder temperatures, Norway is a fantastic choice of festive destination. Even despite the shorter days, the festive spirit and cosy atmosphere makes for the perfect backdrop to Christmas markets. The main Christmas market is called “Christmas in Winterland” (Jul i Vinterland) which is centrally located in the centre of the city, and offers handcrafted goods, food, and hot drinks to keep you warm in the colder temperatures. There’s even an ice rink and Ferris wheel which is perfect for families.
With temperatures averaging with highs of just 1 degree in winter, you would be forgiven for not wanting to get your Christmas market fix outdoors. Luckily, there’s an indoor market not far away at Youngstorget, a plaza in downtown Oslo, Julemarked. This market is held in heated traditional tents and sells all you can expect, from handmade souvenirs and decorations.