To really get me into the spirit of Christmas, I always take a cheap flight to visit the Christmas markets. Except the year 2020 has taken away a lot of our freedom. For keen travelers like me and the girls, our wanderlust has faded. For the moment we can’t continue with our mantra of ‘catch flights, not feelings’ as there aren’t a whole lot of places we can go to. Only, I just love the feeling of walking around, wrapped up warm with gloves & scarf, and a mulled wine in hand. The temperatures have dropped, Christmas music is playing, and you are about to go on the merry go round! What bliss!
This year has been filled with more staycations than any other year. I wrote this article as I am as passionate about Christmas as I am about travel. A combination of the two is quite simply heaven for me. So hopefully one of these markets is close to you & you are able to visit. If so, I’m jealous! Or rather we can together relive the memories of the Christmas markets we visited before. At worst, you will have some inspiration for Christmas markets to visit next year. When hopefully circumstances will be a little easier for all of us.
Tastiest Christmas markets for food
For me, the Christmas market in Zagreb, Croatia has to take the top spot. The good news is, this market is taking place this year. The bad news?.. Unfortunately due to Covid 19, there will not be any food or drink stalls open. But I recommend keeping this market in mind for future years. For three straight years, this market has been voted the best Christmas market in Europe, so I had to give it a mention. Just some of the Christmas delicacies you can usually feast on include Croatian traditional chard pie (soparnik), gourmet hotdogs, donuts stuffed with apple & vanilla cream, and cabbage rolls (sarma). Yummy!
The annual Christmas market in Bath, UK has taken on a real 21st-century approach to find a solution to the restrictions introduced because of the pandemic. Although the market cannot take place, they have created the virtual Bath Christmas market. Here you will be able to order your much-loved Christmas gifts directly from the local shops which usually have a stall on the market. So there is no need to miss out! From caramelized nuts, delicious burgers amongst many other sweet treats, the Bath Christmas market focuses on local produce & promoting small businesses. If you are browsing online from home and are craving Christmas delights then you just have to try my healthy Christmas cake recipe, it’s delicious!
Best for that Christmassy feeling
The mecca of all stopovers has to be Budapest, Hungary which holds several Christmas markets across the capital. With the two largest markets being within a 10-minute walk of one another, Budapest provides a great opportunity to explore the city over a weekend break. The main street is lined with thousands of glistening Christmas lights, the huge Christmas tree that stands tall over all those admiring it, and in any direction that you look, there is a festive sight to see. Other features include an ice rink in its centre, animations, concerts, and activities. However, the most iconic sight for me would be the wooden lodges that line the streets. For me, this is the emblem of Christmas markets.
Next, I present my hand-picked choice. Usually, this would not reach the top 10 Christmas markets, but there is a certain charm about this exceptional city…especially at Christmas time. Let me suggest Seville. This market is unique to the others as it is a market dedicated to the artistry & workmanship typical of Seville. A sight not to be missed here is the Feria de Belen (in English, the fair of manger), which is home to the most impressive nativity scene in Spain. Walking around the market whilst listening to the choir singing, you will be able to pick up handcrafted goods, jewelry, & quaint nativity figurines, for your loved ones. Such gifts, that no one will be gifting a present quite like yours!
2020 will not last forever & Christmas markets will return!
There we have it, my four recommendations if you’re searching for a spectacular Christmas market. Woefully, many of the markets are not taking place this year. More cheerfully, 2020 is temporary and will not last forever. Some of the markets have already published their dates for 2021. So let’s book some cheap flights to one of the destinations above, and give ourselves something to look forward to! You deserve it!