Some Great Destinations for Some Festive City Breaks
Christmas is the best time of year for visiting certain cities. Smelling the cinnamon and mulled wine in the air is one of my favourite things when visiting the best Christmas Markets in Europe. Have a read here to find out where you should go this festive season.
Some cities in Europe have got that special something which you shouldn’t miss this festive season. Especially in Germany and Austria, Christmas Markets have a century-long tradition, dating back to 1400. Not much has changed actually: They still display craftsmanship – ranging from wood carvings to candle making, offer artisan and seasonal food, like Lebkuchen and sell tasty mulled wine, that warms you up while you stroll along the glowing stalls and marvel at the Christmas lights.
Some of the Best Offers
These Christmas Markets Offers in Europe spread just the right atmosphere on a cold Winter’s evening and make everything look sparkly and festive. That is why I tried my best to show you some good deals to visit these Christmas Markets around Germany, Austria, and Poland, so how about you combine a city break with a pre-Christmas trip and get your shopping done as well?! In this article, I will show you my Top 10 Picks for your special Christmas Market getaway. All you need to do is pick and book one :) So here is my list…
Let’s start this list of the best Christmas Markets Offers in Europe with France! While Paris is a beautiful city year round, the city of love can offer you so much more when it comes to Christmas. You can look forward to sampling some of the most delicious foods that the city has to offer while wandering from stall to stall. There are also plenty of handcrafted treasures to choose, which would make some pretty excellent gifts for everyone back home. Once you are done wandering these magical markets you can check out the city from the fabulous Montmartre and admire Paris in all its glory, illuminated beautifully.
After landing in Paris, the next task will be getting from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city centre. There are three options available for traveling from the airport:
Take a taxi I certainly wouldn’t recommend this but if you must a taxi costs between €50-60 (£45-50) to the city centre and can take well over an hour at peak times.
Travel by bus Another option to the city centre is the bus. The quickest buses called the Roissybus cost €9.25 (£8) one-way but you can also take the less frequent but cheaper (€5.70 one way) local 350 or 351 buses which travel through the suburbs.
Take the train Probably the best option for travelling from the Airport. It costs just €9.25 (£8) one-way and takes about 50 minutes until you are in the city centre.
Amsterdam is a popular destination for a cheeky city break all year round but not everyone knows that at Christmas time this is one of the top destinations in Europe. You can really enjoy that festive feeling while wandering around the canals in this amazing city. In Amsterdam, there are things going on all around the city where you can grab a delicious hot chocolate and really get into the amazing Christmassy feeling. There’s also ice skating and an absolutely ginormous Christmas tree in Dam square that draws visitors every year.
Following your flight to Amsterdam, your next step is getting from Schiphol airport to the city centre. You have three options available for traveling from the airport:
Take a taxi Taxis only take about 25 minutes but cost €35 (£31).
Travel by bus A bus to the city centre costs €10 (£9) and takes about 35 minutes.
Take the train Definitely the best value option due to the direct connection. It costs €10.80 (£9.50) and only takes 20 minutes to the city centre.
Budapest is definitely one of the top places to check out in Europe, especially for a good Christmas market. Every year the city is flooded with market stalls that offer some of the best handmade treats that you can find. Splash out and get yourself some serious relaxation with this deal. You can sip on mulled wine, sample some fresh gingerbread and many other gastronomic delights that will send your taste buds into overdrive! You can really try and find some extraordinary gifts for you and your loved ones with this amazing deal.
Getting from Budapest airport to the city centre has gotten easier in recent years thanks to new bus connections. You have three options available for traveling from the airport:
Take a taxi Taxis in Budapest are known for running scams on tourists, which I personally experienced as well. However if you can find a trusted company or better yet have a local order for you, they should cost about £23 and take 35 minutes.
Travel by bus A public bus will take you to the city for just HUF 900 (£2.46). I would personally recommend this option as the easiest.
Take the train Though not a direct connection, there is a nearby Ferihegy station which you can take a bus from the airport to and then onto Keleti railway station.
People from Prague really know how to celebrate and as one of the beer capitals of the world you can imagine there are a lot of really specialist beers that can be found in these markets. The markets open every day from the 2nd of December and run until the 6th of January. The place is just bursting at the seams with things to see and do at this time of year. There are different markets around every corner and Christmas is celebrated in some serious style. You can buy some really amazing handcrafted goods like glassware, jewelry, embroidered lace, wooden toys, metalware, ceramics, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats, gloves, and scarves! You can also check out some of the freshly made foods like hams, pastries, cakes, and sausages. There’s just oodles to see and do.
Getting from Prague airport to the city centre isn’t as easy as it could be but still doable. There are two options available for traveling from the airport:
Travel by taxi It takes about half an hour to reach the city centre by taxi depending on traffic. It’s best to go with a trusted company to avoid any scams. The average fare costs about 600 CZK (£20)
Travel by bus An express bus is the best option for travelling to the city centre with a price of 32 CZK (£1). While there are other buses this was definitely the best deal available.
Take the train There are no direct train connections to the city.
This deal takes you to beautiful Austria and its historic Vienna. This Christmas Market dates back to 1298 when it was still called “Krippenmarkt” (Crib Market). Nowadays you have as much as 40 markets to choose from in Vienna. In front of the City Hall, you find the traditional Christkindlmarkt, which is surrounded by the beautifully lit historic buildings. The one at Belvedere Palace is also impressive, as it is set against the baroque residence and makes you feel like a royal! Don’t miss out on the wonderful marzipan pralines you find in the “sweet” stalls and as always a glass of punch :)
It is dead easy getting from Vienna Airport to the city centre. I’ll list out the three options for you here:
Take a taxi If you go for a taxi ride it will take around 20 minutes and cost you roughly £31. They are available 24/7 which makes it a flexible if expensive option.
Travel by bus Bus is a good option for travelling to the city centre as well. The Vienna Airport Bus lines run 24/7, and they depart every 30 minutes. Its only 22 minutes with stops included. Normal tickets cost €8 (£6) which you can either buy online or directly from the driver.
Take the train The stops for the CAT (City Airport Train) and the S7 tram lie only five minutes away from the terminal. This is my recommended choice because of how cheap and fast it is. A ticket costs between €4 (£3) and €12 (£10), and you will be in the city centre within 25 minutes. There is, unfortunately, no 24/7 service. The S7 is running from about 5.20 am until 00.20, and the CAT runs from 6.09am to 11.39pm every day.
Perhaps it isn’t the obvious choice but the Christmas markets in Poland are something to behold! The markets in Poland have a distinctly traditional feel to them and are the perfect setting to get you in the mood for the festive season. You can wander through the old town square, while the snow falls and you can really get that festive feeling that will conquer any stress you might be feeling. Like many of the other Christmas markets, you can expect some deliciously prepared traditional food, well-crafted gifts, and some great musical accompaniment to this magical event. The great thing about this break is that you can actually get some snow at Christmas time! How could you resist? ;)
It doesn’t get much simpler getting from Warsaw airport to the city centre. I’ll list the three options for you here:
Take a taxi You can find them outside arrivals. Taxis are very cheap in Warsaw compared to other destinations but still poor value considering the trains. It costs 40PLN (£7) to reach the downtown area of Warsaw from the airport.
Travel by bus There are many bus options available but unless you are travelling to somewhere off the beaten track, it’s better to stick to the train as explained below. That said it only costs PLN 3.40 (£0.70) for a 20-minute ticket which may not get you that far depending on traffic and if you plan on taking many buses there is better value weekend pass for PLN 24 (£5)
Take the train Since 2012 a new link has made travelling by train the best option for incoming passengers. The 20-minute journey costs just 3.40 Zloty (£0.70!)
The ‘Christkindlsmarkt‘ is world famous with a Bavarian flavour that sets it above the rest. There’s a great number of traditional activities which tourists can take part in such as baking your own cookies, write a list of present requests to the ‘Christkind’ (the religious precursor to Santa Claus in Germany) and paint jars in festive colours like children often do in school in this region. The festivities kick off on 30 November where an actor dressed as the Christkind delivers a speech to all of the children of the city to get them excited for Christmas.
The Nuremberg airport is just 3 miles away from the city centre. Here are the options you have for making this quick journey.
Take a taxi Taxis are available but the public transport is so good I wouldn’t recommend them as an option unless the last train has gone. Then the transfer to the city center should cost about €20 (£18) euros.
Travel by bus There is a bus stop located directly outside of Terminal 1 and they come every 15 minutes. It’s a quick 7-minute journey on the bus which makes this a good option.
Take the train Its only 12 minutes on the train to reach the main train station and then by changing to the U1 Metro line and take a quick ride to Lorenzkirche. I would take this if you have just missed a bus or near to go beyond the city centre to reach your accommodation. It only costs €3.10 (£2.75) for an adult ticket and €1.30 (£1.15) for a children’s ticket.
The Scottish capital is just packed with things to do at Christmas time. Take a trip on the Big Wheel to enjoy a panoramic view of this wonderful city. Or go to Princes Steet Gardens and let the kids run wild in Santa Land. This fairground has many rides and a market for children’s toys which make it great fun. Plenty of stalls offer both international and local cuisine to fill your stomachs and warm you up against the cold.
Edinburgh airport is just 7.5 miles away from the city centre. I’ll list out the options for reaching the city centre below.
Take a taxi There are both taxi ranks for private airport taxis as well as for city “black cabs” which are right outside the terminal building. A journey to the city centre takes about 25 minutes and generally costs around £15. Most taxis are wheelchair accessible.
Travel by bus The main bus company in Edinburgh, Lothian buses provide a connection to and from the city center with the Airlink 100 express bus service. Running every 10 minutes from the airport to Waverley Bridge with journey times of around 25 minutes (depending on traffic). Tickets cost £4.50 for a single journey and £7.00 for return with reduced prices for children.
Take the train Trams run very frequently between to the city centre from the Airport. With departures every 7 minutes and journey times of only 30 minutes. All trams are fully accessible and offer dedicated luggage racks for large bags and suitcases. Taking the tram costs £5.50 for a single journey and £8.50 for return with reduced prices for children.
Well, I hope I could give you some advice as to where to go to for visiting a Christmas Market this year. you see it is actually not that difficult to plan it. Have a look at the above deals and see which one you like best. If the deals are getting more expensive please drop me a message and I can custom make some new ones for you! Merry Christmas!!! (sorry, I know its a bit early…)