With a vaccine for the current pandemic on the way, it´s only a matter of time until we can all reconnect with our love for travel. Borders will soon reopen, along with hotels, tour providers, attractions and more. So, now is the perfect time to start planning and thinking ahead.
With the magic of Christmas only a distant memory, let’s talk about the best Christmas markets to visit in 2021. There is only one place worth considering and that’s Europe!
The German city of Cologne is home to 7 wonderful Christmas markets, each offering something different, in November and December. The favorites include:
- The Old Market Christmas, located close to the Heinzels Winter Fairytale and ice rink, in the Old Town.
- The Cathedral Christmas Market, which is famous for its large Christmas tree. It is located in front of the Cologne Cathedral, which is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.
As you navigate through the city center you´ll enjoy the scents of roasted almonds and the favorite winter beverage in Germany, Glühwein, a spiced mulled wine.
Luxury Hotel Suggestions: Excelsior Hotel Ernst
Family Friendly Hotel Suggestion: CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom
A winter spent in Salzburg among its many Christmas markets brings great joy and cheer. In addition, to buying many Christmas gifts you can visit the cathedral where ´Silent Night, Holy Night´ was written by Josef Mohr. You can also visit the magical Christmas museum and visit the birthplace of Mozart.
If you are a fan of the Julie Andrews movie The Sound of Music, don´t miss ´The Original Sound of Music Tour´ (€50/person) as you are in the neighborhood. It includes a trip to the “sixteen going on seventeen” gazebo and more.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Schloss Mönchstein
Family Friendly Hotel Suggestion:
If you are a foodie then consider taking a trip to the Christmas markets in Vienna as they are known for their love of traditional Christmas treats. With a few days of eating roasted chestnuts, freshly baked bread, strudel, Victorian candy and baked potatoes you´re sure to go home a little bit bigger around the waist and a smile on your face.
Christkindlmarkt is the most famous market in Vienna as it is home is a large beautifully lit Christmas tree and is next to a wintry park which often has some advent treats.
For a sophisticated and stylish market check out Schönbrunn market in front of the Schönbrunn Palace.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Sacher Wien
If you wish to experience the historical side of Vienna spend some time at the Am Hof Christmas market and keep your eyes open for a taste of Bergkäse cheese.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has three noteworthy Christmas markets all located in magnificent squares around the city. They are:
- Old Town Square Christmas Market
- Wenceslas Square Christmas Market
- Republic Square Christmas Market
All share a magical atmosphere, made up of Christmas trees, fairy lights, and various Christmas related aromas. But what makes Vienna special is their music concerts. Be sure to get tickets for one of them, they usually take place at Municipal House and St Martin in the Wall Church.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Mandarin Oriental Prague
Family Friendly Hotel Suggestion: Grandium Hotel Prague
Luxury Vacation Guide
6 Luxurious European Vacations for 2021 & 2022
Want more travel ideas for a trip of a lifetime to Europe? Get your free Luxurious European Vacations for 2021 & 2022 guide today straight to your mailbox.
The guide includes luxury travel ideas for those seeking the ultimate experience and exclusive access - from customized itineraries to the latest luxury ships.
Within the market, you will find many magnificent handmade toys and gifts from the local craftspeople, a giant Christmas tree, and spectacular illuminations. Like other markets there is plenty of food to go around, one local favorite to try is pain d´épices. This is a delicious spiced bread that’s often served smothered in honey.
In addition to the markets, explore the town´s narrow streets to admire the quirky and colorful timber homes, which will make you feel like you have stepped back in time.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Hôtel & Spa RÉGENT PETITE FRANCE
The largest Christmas market in Budapest is located in Vörösmarty square. For live entertainment, craft stalls, food vendors and more this is the place to be! Christmas markets in the capital are usually open from early-November to New Year’s Day so you can experience the magic of Christmas for a few extra days.
Less than a 10-minute walk away you can also visit a Christmas market in front of St Stephen’s Basilica, named after the first King of Hungary (c. 975–1038). Here you can skate on the small and temporary ice rink.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest
>> Read 8 Food Lover Tips for Budapest
In the city center of this picturesque town that overlooks the River Rhine, you can visit two Christmas Markets, which will have over 150 adorable wooden stalls to explore, offering everything from jewelry to toys. The markets of Basel are located in Barfusser Plaza and Munster Plaza.
The whole town is decorated to embrace the charms of Christmas, the Old Town is especially magical. To escape the cold winter air you can visit 1 of the 30+ museums scattered around the area. My top pick is the Basel Paper Mill Museum, which offers papermaking and calligraphy workshops perfect for making a handmade Christmas card.
Luxury Hotel Suggestion: Les Trois Rois
Christmas Market River Cruise
If you can’t choose just one Christmas market, consider a Christmas market river cruise to combine multiple markets into one epic trip.
You can spend 7 nights on a luxury river cruise, Christmas Markets on the River Rhine. From Amsterdam to Basel you´ll choose from daily activities as you adventure through France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In addition to visiting an array of magical markets, you can enjoy wine tasting, biking tours, and unique experiences, like visiting the world’s largest Advent calendar.
As you experience a memorable Christmas you´ll stay in a spacious stateroom with access to twin balconies, heated pools, multiple dining rooms, and wi-fi.
>> Download your River Cruise Comparison, the ultimate cheat sheet to the top-rated companies in Europe.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with these choices and organizing a Christmas to remember, get in contact with me because I will remove all the stress involved in making your vacation memorable from start to finish.
With my personalized service that specializes in Europe, I´ll take care of all the details so you don't have to worry about a thing. Check out some of our client testimonials.