European Christmas Markets: All Things Festive

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is upon us!

A blaze of festive lights and Yuletide decorations will soon adorn homes and buildings across the globe.

This year, step into an enchanting Christmas atmosphere at one of Europe’s many beautiful Christmas markets.
Villages and towns across the country transform into an illuminated winter wonderland, boasting brightly decorated wooden chalets offering traditional and handmade gifts and festive holiday treats, like mulled wine and sweet gingerbread.
Whether you’re searching for custom crafts or unique, local treasures, a Christmas market has something for everyone to enjoy.
Cologne Christmas Markets: Nov. 21 - Dec. 23 - Cologne, Germany
Yearning for the ultimate way to get you in the Christmas mood?
Head to Cologne for the holidays and experience a captivating market wonderland like no other… seven to be exact.

The city hosts seven colorful markets across town, attracting almost two million visitors each year. The Christmas market across the Gothic Cathedral of Kölner Dom is one of the most impressive ones, featuring the largest tree in the Rhineland.

Aromas of roasted chestnuts and candied fruit will fill your senses as you walk through 160 beautifully-decorated pavilions offering seasonal goods and handmade German gifts, such as sheepskin slippers, Nativity sets and a pipe-smoking wooden doll called a “Räuchermännchen.”

Make sure to savor local delights like the “Christstollen” yeast cakes, or the hot spiced mulled wine, Glühwein, which is served in festively-decorated mugs. As you eat your seasonal goodies, you will be entertained by street performers and the sweet sounds of merry brass bands.

Cologne’s markets will undoubtedly leave you feeling extra festive.

Basel Christmas Market: Nov. 24 - Dec. 23 - Basel, Switzerland
Revel in Christmas joy at Switzerland’s largest Christmas Market in the city of Basel. The city is hailed as the country’s most beautiful and largest Christmas city, with the longest illuminated Christmas street in Europe.

Taking place in the Barfüsserplatz square, the market features traders and artisans from all over Switzerland to showcase their cultural wares and crafts in 160 stalls. Goods on sale range from mirror prisms, minerals and fossils to pottery and folk art from the Erzgebirge in Germany.
Plan on taking a stroll over to the famed shop of Johann Wanner Christmas House, allegedly the holiday shopping store of the Queen of England and the White House.
In addition, a Ferris wheel and ice-skating rink make this market very family-friendly.
With all this, it’s no wonder Basel continues to be one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe.
Brussels Christmas Market: Nov. 25 - Jan. 1 - Brussels, Belgium
Deemed as “Europe’s most original Christmas market,” the “Winter Wonderland” market is a great choice for foodies.
Located in the heart of Brussels by the Grand Place, it features a vast array of culinary delights in approx. 240 chalets, offering indulgences from steamed oysters, moules and snails to forest mushrooms on toast. Those with a sweet tooth will especially enjoy the fine Belgian chocolates, speculoos (cookies) and Santa-shaped gingerbread.

The market also offers a wide selection of handcrafted articles, including ornaments, jewelry, and winter clothing. It's also a paradise for children, featuring a big wheel, merry-go-rounds, and a 200 ft long skating rink.

'Tis the season to visit a Christmas Market.
Interested in experiencing the seasonal cheer at this year's Christmas Markets? Check out our selection of European Christmas Market cruises, which includes trips to the aformentioned cities of Basel and Cologne.

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