Crisp air, warm drinks and plenty of convivial spirit make winter a brilliant time to celebrate peace, joy and the holiday season. From uplifting and heartwarming Christmas markets to thrilling festivals, Europe is rich in events to help you enjoy the wonderland of winter. Here are some of our favourites:
I Believe Christmas Village, Dublin – The celebration begins in late November with the lighting of a marvellous 50-foot Irish Christmas tree and continues through December 23. Featuring treasured Irish food, drink and crafts, the festival includes Santa’s workshop and a rousing Apres Ski bar. The village is located in Custom House Quarter so you’ll easily find a hotel in Dublin that is convenient to the event.
Manchester Christmas Markets, England – More than 300 festive stalls fill the city centre with holiday cheer. Manchester’s markets have a decidedly international flair, offering a variety of tasty bites from around the world as well as activities and local wares.
Edinburgh Christmas Markets, Scotland – There are plenty of choices for revelry in Edinburgh, from a Children’s Christmas Market to the Scottish Christmas Market. There’s also a traditional European Christmas Market filled with gifts, treats and festive lights.
Strasbourg Christkindelsmarik, Strasbourg – Frequently named the pinnacle of all European Christmas markets, Strasbourg’s celebration actually consists of 11 markets, more than 300 chalets and hundreds of events. The light displays are spectacular, the food is tasty, and the gifts are abundant.
Lille Christmas Market, Lille – The city’s Marche de Noel is full of charm and Christmas delights, including fabulous light displays, concerts, nativity scenes, Christmas decorations and delicious food.
Aachen Christmas Market, Aachen – The aroma of mulled wine, the cheerful sound of kids riding the carousel and the dazzling sight of hundreds of lights create one of Germany’s best Christmas markets. Families nibble on Christmas cakes and cookies, shop for hand-crafted Christmas gifts and enjoy live music.
Nuremberg Christkindelsmarkt, Nuremberg – In a spectacle of pageantry and tradition, Christkind’s appearance on the Church of Our Lady balcony signals the opening of the Christmas market. Visitors can ride stagecoaches, feast on sausage and other German specialties and play in the Children’s Market.
Amsterdam Light Festival, Amsterdam – Expect to see magnificent light displays take over the city from the end of November through the middle of January — bringing lighthearted wonder to the city. Visitors can stroll through the city streets to view the amazing light displays or cruise along the canals for an alternate view.
Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival, Bruges – A miraculous and mythical ice world is created in Bruges each November, enticing travellers from around the world to Bruges through the first week of January.