Europe is the house of Christmas markets. Vienna’s was the primary in 1298, whereas Germany’s well-known Christkindlmarkts started in 1384. Naturally, now you can discover the world’s finest in cities like Dresden, Nuremberg and Prague. They boast Christmas markets throughout a number of places, hundreds of twinkling lights and festive occasions from late November to early January, making Europe the right place to spend your vacation season.
However for a really genuine expertise you must head off the crushed observe to Europe’s smaller cities. These various Christmas locations have stalls, lights and treats to rival the larger cities, however with much less crowds and in settings paying homage to the Christmas market’s medieval origins. With a Eurail Global Pass you don’t have to decide on simply 1 vacation spot: begin in a festive hub like Nuremberg, then hop aboard a prepare and uncover any (or all) of those 7 various Christmas markets.
1. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
November 29 to December 23 2019
Once you’ve had your fill of lebkuchen gingerbread at Nuremberg’s 400 yr outdated Christkindlesmarkt, head west to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. The medieval metropolis’s Reiterlesmarkt is even older than Nuremberg’s and its location between half-timbered homes and slim streets will make you’re feeling such as you’ve stepped again to the 15th century.
The spotlight is the horseback arrival of the paranormal “Rothenburg Rider” who opens the market in November. Be certain to attempt schneeballen (snowball) pastries and white mulled wine, that are regional specialties.
Getting there by rail: Rothenburg is simply 1 hour away from Nuremberg by regional prepare.
2. Colmar, France
November 22 to December 29 2019
Not removed from France’s oldest Christmas market in Strasbourg, you’ll find Colmar with its La Magie de Noël occasions. It’s half-timbered homes and cobbled streets are as magical as in Rothenburg, however with a French Alsatian aptitude. You possibly can go to its 6 Christmas markets, together with one particularly for youngsters and one other devoted to meals!
Colmar is further particular due to its Little Venice canal district, the place boats of kids’s Christmas choirs float by on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the course of the festive interval.
Getting there by rail: Take a regional prepare from Strasbourg and be there in 30 minutes. Colmar can also be a number of kilometers from Germany and a pair of hours by prepare from Zurich.
3. Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
November 29 2019 to January 6 2020
After visiting the busy Creation Market of Prague, take a day journey (or longer) to the enchanting medieval city of Český Krumlov. Its healthful Christmas celebrations convey collectively the entire group, with Czech carol singing, “musical items” given by the city’s musicians and a dwell nativity scene that includes actual cattle. Even the bears of Český Krumlov fort are included, with Bear’s Christmas on Christmas Eve, when kids can feed them with candy treats (underneath supervision!)
Occasions heart across the Outdated Bohemian Market on Svornosti Sq., the place you’ll be able to attempt honey wine and cinnamon trdelnik and purchase Czech trinkets at decrease costs than in Prague.
Getting there by rail: Take a Three hour categorical prepare from Prague.
4. Wrocław, Poland
November 22 to December 31 2019
In Kraków you’ll be able to take pleasure in a Christmas market in Europe’s largest market sq. (and Europe has lots of these!) However Wrocław is Poland’s extra distinctive Christmas vacation spot, with a definite fairy-tale theme. The Market Sq. and Plac Solny sq. are reworked with lights of all colours and stalls promoting candy halva and chocolate gingerbread.
The spotlight is the Bajkowy Lasek, Fairytale Copse, with animatronic characters appearing out traditional tales and a three-level fairy-tale home, with an commentary deck and actual fireplace!
Getting there by rail: You possibly can attain Wrocław in Three half hours from Kraków on an Intercity prepare.
5. Sibiu, Romania
November 15 2019 to January 3 2020
The Târgul de Crăciun din Sibiu, or Christmas Honest in Sibiu, is geographically fairly removed from the foremost festive hubs, however attracts its inspiration from Vienna’s Christmas markets. It was opened in 2007 by the Austrian Embassy of Romania in collaboration with the native council and has grown yearly since. The truthful seems like a conventional Christkindlesmarkt, however with a shocking backdrop of Transylvanian mountains.
This yr in Piata Mare (Grand Sq.), you’ll find a skating rink, amusement park and hand-carved nativity scene. Plus, festive projections mild up the facades of the encircling Baroque buildings!
Getting there by rail: Sibiu is a bit additional off the crushed observe than our different markets. However you’ll be able to attain it in 6 hours from Bucharest. Alternatively take a evening prepare from Budapest.
6. Ljubljana, Slovenia
November 29 2019 to January 5 2020
The capital of Slovenia’s Festive Honest options market stalls lining the romantic Ljubjanica River. You should buy domestically made winter clothes or drink medica, a heat honey schnapps particular to Slovenia.
The spotlight is undoubtedly Ljubljana’s hundreds of Christmas lights. Designed by native artist Zmago Modic, the lights seem like stars and galaxies floating within the sky. The large switch-on occasion can be November 29 in Prešeren Sq.. Once you tire of festive cheer, take a prepare north to the Triglav Nationwide Park to expertise Slovenia’s thriving ski-scene.
Getting there by rail: Ljubljana is about 6 hours by prepare from Vienna, or 5 hours from Venice.
7. Zagreb, Croatia
November 30 2019 to January 7 2020
Croatia is a well-liked summer time vacation spot, however its capital Zagreb is a hidden Christmas gem. Creation in Zagreb has been voted the “finest Christmas market vacation spot” and its not laborious to see why, with festive actions to be present in virtually each sq., park and hidden nook of this small metropolis.
The predominant market is held in Ban Josip Jelačić Sq. (the primary sq.), alongside a stage which hosts common dwell performances. Strossmayer Promenade teems with hip stalls, whereas King Tomislav Sq. turns into Ice Park with an infinite ice-rink and ice ballets. Even the Grič Tunnel will get an icy makeover.
Getting there by rail: Zagreb is simply 2 hours 15 minutes from Ljubljana by EuroCity prepare.
These off the crushed observe locations aren’t simply reserved for Christmas and New Yr – they’ll allure you all year long with their historic sights and quirky experiences. All it is advisable to add them to your vacation is a Eurail Pass and a 1 travel day detour.
Have you ever caught the Christmas spirit? Learn extra about Christmas markets and traditions: