3 of Europe’s Brightest Christmas Markets.

By Posted in - Featured Post on November 27th, 2012

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Munich by Jametiks | Flickr Creative Commons

Walking among the fervor of the shuttered Munich Christmas stands, as workers prepared for the upcoming holiday, all we could do was smile and try to imagine the smells of freshly baked Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and soul warming gluhwein that would soon fill the Marienplatz.

It turns out we missed one of the world’s greatest Christmas Markets by just 10,080 minutes (seven days). Even when Beth and I realized our slight misfortune, we still hung to the hope that maybe one or two of the wooden market chalets would open early, but it never happened. So, after a bit of wandering on our last day in Munich, which just so happened to be Thanksgiving, we made our way to the Hofbrauhaus to toast to toast our forefathers and the Christmas future.

While it may be a little too late to plan out a trip for this year’s European Christmas Markets, if you’re in the United States, you could always plan out a trip to New York City or San Diego–both celebrate the holiday in style–by looking at flight information for Virgin American Airlines and other transportation and lodging options on online, but before you do I implore you to read on to get more holiday inspiration.

Munich, Germany

Yep, we missed out on this one, but that doesn’t mean you should. If you like the sound of 100 foot sparkling Christmas tree on the Marienplatz, tasty sausages, reiber-datschi (potato pancakes) gluhwein and estimated 17 holiday markets, then Munich is for you. Other things to look out for are the early evening carols delivered from the balcony of the neo-Gothic Rathaus (Town Hall) by an Alpine choir and brass band, and a Christmas tram that serves spiced wine and gingerbread.

Brussels, Belgium

Brussels | photo by GaryBembridge | Flickr Creative Commons

The city’s Plaisirs d’Hiver/Winter Pret (“Pleasures of Winter”) festival may only be in its 10th year, but this Belgium Christmas Market has quickly made a name for itself with its elegance and theatrics, which includes a nightly sound-and-light show on the Grand Place and a market surrounding the Bourse (Stock Exchange) and along Place Sainte Catherine. Couple that with decadent chocolates, strong brew, a 160-foot ferris wheel that glitters over and an ice-skating ring near the city’s fish market, and you’ve got yourself the fixing for a very Merry Christmas celebration.

Copenhagen, Denmark

What do you get when Tiffany’s head designer dictates where nearly four miles of lights are hung, and then another 1,800 more strands shimmer in lakeside willows? Copenhagen’s Jul (yuletide) Christmas crafts market in city’s famed historic amusement park, Tivoli Gardens. Iced doughnuts with black currant jam (æbleskiver) and gløgg, a steaming hot mulled red wine steeped in aquavit or schnapps with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks and cloves are all hallmarks of the Copenhagen’s Christmas Market. There is also an additional crafts market set up in the historic Nyhavn district along a canal.

Honestly, Europe is filled with Christmas Markets so there’s a good chance that the city you may be traveling to, no matter how big or small, has its own holiday celebration. If you are on a tight budget, then flights24 offers cheap flights that may fit your holiday vacation needs.

Did we miss your favorite European Christmas Market? Let us know in the comments.

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

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(26) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Clare -

    November 27, 2012 at 7:59 am

    This year I’m lucky to be off to Munich for the markets. I just got a little bit more excited!

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      @Clare, Oh wow, you are going to have a fantastic time. It’s very magical!

  • Wends of Journeys and Travels -

    November 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    this is cool and exciting. The Christmas season reminds me of my dream escapes and to experience truly, a white and fluffy Christmas somewhere near these markets.

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      @Wends of Journeys and Travels, Yeah, there is nothing like a white Christmas, especially when it’s highlighted by little wooden chalets and twinkling lights. I hope your dream escape comes true soon! 🙂

  • Alexandra -

    November 28, 2012 at 3:48 am

    I’m spending the holidays in Germany this year and am hoping for my first white Christmas! I am eagerly awaiting a trip to the markets as well! Sorry you barely missed them 🙁

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      @Alexandra, That is great news! I’ve got my fingers crossed for you that you’ll get your first white Christmas. 🙂 Enjoy the markets!!!

  • Sofie -

    November 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Brusselsssssssssss! Hoping to get to our capital next weekend.
    I’m sooo in the mood for christmas cozyness (and food, mmmm food)

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      @Sofie, That sounds like a nice weekend getaway! Hope you were able to make it, 🙂

      • Sofie -

        December 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm

        @Randy, Unfortunately I didn’t:/ Weather over here was pretty crappy on Sunday so I didn’t go. I think it’s striking: when abroad, I would never let bad weather keep me in, but at home… Anywayz, next Christmas market attempt next weekend! 🙂

  • Paul Krol -

    November 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    haha well these pictures certainly have got me in a festive and holiday spirit! thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      @Paul Krol, Awesome! Glad you liked the post! Thanks so much for stopping by Paul.

  • Abi -

    November 30, 2012 at 12:54 am

    I’m in Munich right now – and the markets are beautiful. They really live up to the hype. Shame to have missed you!

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm

      @Abi, I know I can’t believe we got so close only to miss them by a week. 🙁 I was little a worried about the markets (and Munich) not living up to hype, and even though we didn’t get to see the city in full swing, we could see the potential and tell that Munich really is one of the prettiest places to be for Christmas. Have fun!

  • Ellen Keith -

    November 30, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Copenhagen — now that’s one Christmas destination that I never would have considered! It sounds like a beautiful market; you got me hooked with the description of the lights!

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      @Ellen Keith, I know what you mean. I never realized that there were so many Christmas Markets around Europe. They really know how to do the Christmas holiday right. 🙂

  • Lilli -

    November 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Of course Vienna & Salzburg. These christmas markets are so beautiful, classy and romantic.
    http://www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at/ –> Christmas market at Schloss Schönbrunn

    All the best

  • RobRob -

    November 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Sadly, I’m grounded for these holidays but I’ve been dreaming of Christkindlmarkts on my blog, too. Thanks for sharing – although now my wish list is even longer! 😉

  • Wanderlust marriage -

    November 30, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Have not been to the market in Copenhagen, would have to say the one in Brussels is our favorite. Loved having escargot and gluwein at the market there!

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      @Wanderlust marriage, Oh wow, escargot and gluwein, now that is something really unique. Hoping we can make it to Brussels for the Christmas holiday sometime in the future. When we do, I’ll definitely give those culinary delights a try. 🙂

      • Wanderlust Marriage -

        December 12, 2012 at 4:33 am

        @Randy, It will be well worth it 😉 We’ll be checking out what Dublin has to offer this year as far as markets go, but I doubt they will be as great as Germany!

  • Zorica -

    December 1, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Great post 🙂
    I ‘d really love to be in Munich right now.

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      @Zorica, Thanks Zorica! I wish I was too! 🙂

  • Jennifer -

    December 2, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Christmas Markets are one if my favorite things about living in Europe. I haven’t made it to any German Christmas Markets yet, but have been to my fair share in many other countries.

    • Randy -

      December 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

      @Jennifer, We got to experience our first Christmas Market in Paris last year, and now I’m hooked. I really love how the European cities really get into Christmas spirit with all the markets, lights and decorations. It takes me back to my childhood, when main streets in America still had shopping, and malls and shopping centers weren’t as prevalent as they are now. Ah, the good old days! 🙂

  • Silke -

    December 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    When in Germany try the Christmas market in Esslingen ( by Stuttgart)- It may be a bit smaller but less commercial and the medieval style fits the style of the city.

  • Jack -

    December 10, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Thanks for sharing this post and it was quite interesting reading it.I just love the European market and the feeling is awesome.Everything around you is decorated and looks outstanding.I will surely visit these places for shopping in few days.