Although, at the time of writing, we are still precisely 125 days away from Christmas; we're feeling particularly festive here at Fred.\ Holidays. August is the perfect time to book your trip to one of the many enchanting European Christmas markets as not only will you get your choice of the best trips before they sell out, you will have something extra special and magical to look forward to.
Many of Europe's biggest cities have a Christmas market running through the end of November and the whole of December, and some even have multiple events happening at once. So let's take a look at a few of them in a little more detail.
The city of Vienna is completely transformed during advent as the festivities start from the 15th of November onwards. There are in fact around twenty-five different markets within the grounds of a city that has so much charm and elegance during the whole of the year, not just at Christmas time. Stalls selling everything from handmade gifts to heady berry punch will line the streets and squares as people come from all over the place to witness the magic.
The main Vienna Christmas market is held on the city hall square, but there are various others dotted around in places such as Freyung and Spittelberg. The Christmas Village outside Belvedere Palace is also something that shouldn't be missed.
Germany is awash with Christmas markets towards the end of the year, but perhaps some of the country's best can be found in Munich. Again, you have so many options with there being 20 different events happening around the city; all centred on perhaps the most famous of them all - Marienplatz Christmas market.
Outside the town all, a wealth of stalls send the sweet scent of candied fruits and mulled wine into the air, as craftsmen sell their wares and tourists purchase lovingly made decorations for their trees back home. The Marienplatz market runs from November the 27th until Christmas Eve, but if you would like to escape this busy central area, though, the Haidhausen Munich Christmas market is also a great option.
The Brussels Christmas market may have only been an annual tradition since the year 2000, but its wide range of stalls set within the beautiful Place Saint Catherine is still a major draw to people all over Europe. The whole city centre is transformed from the 28thof November, as a light and sound show is also held in the UNESCO World Heritage recognised Grand Place.
The city takes a predominantly green stance towards their Christmas markets and, whilst adults will be happy to take their pick of the decorations, treats and handicrafts on sale at the stalls; children will enjoy the ice rink, roundabouts and giant Ferris wheel that all make an appearance at this time of year.
This German city might be a lot smaller than Berlin, Munich and Cologne but it sure packs a punch when it comes to Christmas time. Sweet treats are the local speciality here as 'Printen' (a kind of gingerbread) is sold in abundance and should be tried by everyone who visits. The close proximity to London and the fact that the entire winter wonderland is constructed with such joy and intricacy means that the Aachen Christmas market has earned a lot of fans over the years.
Old and new, traditional and modern all come together in a market that has so much to offer. A friendly and nostalgic atmosphere will leave you feeling wonderfully festive; just try not to eat too many potato fritters or Printen before going on the carousel. The 2014 market will run from November the 21st until December the 23rd.
If you would like to book a trip to any of the European Christmas markets that we have available, or just pose some Christmassy questions to the Fred.\ Holidays team, call the number at the top of the page or make an online enquiry.