Yes, we know it’s only June, but do we really need an excuse to write about one of the best reasons for a holiday in Europe? Every year, thousands of people flock to cities all over the continent to experience a dose of festive spirit at one of the many Christmas markets. This magical time of year is made even more special thanks to the festive atmosphere created and the sheer joy that can be seen etched on people’s faces as they wander through the illuminated streets.
But if you’ve never been to Germany, Switzerland, Belgium or any of the other countries where Christmas markets are popular, at this time of year, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your trip.
Without doubt, the best way to get a good deal on your Christmas market holiday is to book early. The closer you get to the festive period, the more you are likely to pay for things like flights, accommodation and transport. Hotels will almost certainly be busy around December (especially those located in the city centre), so expect them to fill up sooner and raise prices earlier than for other times of the year.
Flights usually get released around 11 months before their departure and, in general, will slowly increase in price from that point. Accommodation can often be booked even further in advance and securing your room ahead of time will help beat the price increases that usually coincide with the last minute rush.
Choose The Right Destination For You
When you see pictures of European Christmas markets online and in brochures, you may think that they all look the same. However, this is not the case and so it is important to find a destination and a market that’s right for you. Some are aimed at families and offer activities for kids, whilst others have different themes and attractions for older visitors.
It’s not just the stalls themselves either. Cities will have other events happening at this time of the year (parades, national holidays, fun fairs, carol services), so you should look to coincide your visit with anything you would like to see or do. Many of the major cities have more than one market, so a trip to one of these could be a good way to please everyone.
Consider A River Cruise
If you want to visit more than one destination during your trip, one of the best ways to do this is on a river cruise. Special Christmas market river cruises will take you to some of the best European destinations in the same holiday and you only have to unpack once. The ship will dock right in the heart of town, allowing you to go ashore and explore, before sailing to the next town overnight. It’s the perfect way to see how different cities celebrate the festive period without having to waste time travelling between them.
Research The Details
Different Christmas markets open at different times and so a little bit of research before you go will ensure you’re not disappointed on arrival. Whilst some will start near the end of November and run until Christmas Eve, others may begin slightly later and be open all the way through until the first week in January.
Researching the markets that you would like to visit will also help you find accommodation with easy access. This doesn’t necessarily mean staying right next to the market. Looking online will tell you the nearest metro station and other transport information, so you can choose your hotel on this basis.
Look Out For Ways To Save
Just like during a normal European city break, city cards can be a great way to save when you visit the Christmas markets. Offering free transport and free/discounted admission to various attractions, they could give you some great ideas of things to do during the day and help you save some money in the process. Ask about adding a city card to your booking when you speak to our team.
In addition to this, some destinations offer particular savings at their Christmas markets. For example, anyone visiting Nuremberg may be interested in the Nuremberg Christmas Card. For €11, you receive vouchers for a traditional sausage, gingerbread biscuits, mulled wine and other treats from the various stalls.
If you are thinking of taking a festive trip to Europe this Christmas, now is the perfect time to book. Our dedicated team is waiting to take your call and can offer advice and recommendations to help you find the perfect holiday. Call us on 0800 988 3369 today.