The holiday season is approaching and you can almost smell the glühwein in the air as cities across Europe transform themselves into winter wonderlands.
However, not all Christmas markets are cut from the same cloth and if you are looking for somewhere a little different in which to get your fix of mulled wine, gingerbread and handcrafted goodies, we’ve rounded up five of our more offbeat festive favourites.
The Floating Christmas Markets, Vilshofen an der Donau, Germany
Source: Foto Laudi
A sleepy town in the east of Bavaria, Vilshofen is home to a Christmas market which is partially housed on board a river cruiser complete with a huge Christmas tree embellished with over 4,000 lights and 1,500 baubles. Surrounded by the waters of the Danube, the market offers the usual fare together with a full programme of concerts, Christmas readings and a nativity play set around the world’s largest wooden crib – all 20 metres of it.
30th November - 2nd December 2018; 7th - 9th December 2018; 14th - 16th December 2018
Mt Pilatus Christmas Market, Lucerne, Switzerland
Perched above Lake Lucerne, the mountaintop Christkindlimärt is not only the highest in Europe, you have to take the world’s steepest cogwheel railway to get to it. Once you’ve made the journey, you’ll find more than 40 stalls selling nativity figures, beeswax candles, gingerbread and sundry stocking fillers. And when you’ve had your fill, you can make the return journey by sled or snow-bike.
16th - 18th November 2018
The Velvet Cave Christmas Markets, Valkenburg aan de Geul, Holland
Source: Kerstad Valkenburg
2018 sees this charming underground market return bigger and better than ever. Visitors can wander through winding galleries bedecked with twinkling lights, perusing over 50 stalls selling handmade decorations and goods. Whilst you are browsing, you can also enjoy wall paintings and carvings created over the last 2,000 or so years, together with a unique 18th century chapel.
16th November – 23rd December 2018
Christmas Market for Dogs, Berlin, Germany
In the garden of the beautiful Forsthaus Paulsborn in the Grunewald forest, pooches will find all their Christmases have come at once, with stalls selling everything from Perro Paolo’s pet coats to Herr Oscar’s antitheft leads. Two-legged companions are not left out in the cold, with glühwein and traditional Christmas bites some of the human treats on offer.
1st & 2nd December 2018
Liseberg Amusement Park, Gothenberg, Sweden
This is the largest Christmas market in Scandinavia and certainly among the most beautiful. Like something out of a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, reindeer pull sleighs filled with rosy-cheeked ankle-biters among illuminated 18th century buildings and Laplander tepees. Meanwhile the air is filled with the smell of pine needles from hundreds of Christmas trees. Once the shopping is complete, there are several rides to enjoy or why not take a stroll down the 'Lane of Lights', a 3km illuminated walkway through Gothenburg’s centre.
16th November – 30th December 2018
To book your travel to any of these Christmas markets call us today on 0203 535 9290, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.