19 DEC 2023
From old traditions to present-day attractions, Christmas markets are back to liven up city squares. Why not visit them with our Ducato-based motorhome? There are plenty of destinations to choose from in Europe. Here is a small list of the most popular Christmas markets.
Germany may be regarded as the birthplace of Christmas markets, since many towns and cities offer magical experiences. The oldest Christmas market in Germany is the one in Dresden, which dates back to the 15th century. Every year, during Advent, the Striezelmarkt enlivens the city centre of the capital city of Saxony: it has as many as 250 wooden Christmas stalls selling traditional handicrafts and local food products. The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is also a very old Christmas market held in the Hauptmarkt square, towered over by an imposing Gothic church, the Frauenkirche. The square is lined with around 200 wooden Christmas stalls where visitors can enjoy shopping and keep warm while sipping some mulled wine, which is a must, and sample Bavarian delicacies. Another two Christmas markets worth mentioning are the ones in Trier and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which stand out for their well-preserved old towns. Travelling around Germany in a Ducato-based motorhome during the Christmas season may very well turn out to be a magical decision!
If you are planning on visiting Christmas markets with a Ducato-based Motorhome and want to play it safe, you simply have to go to Vienna and Salzburg. Vienna is home to not just one Christmas market, but several ones in different parts of the city (until 26 December). In the Christmas season, the Viennese Dream Christmas Market gives the Vienna City Hall (Rathausplatz) a truly magical feel, along with the Vienna Ice World, an area with a spectacular ice skating rink. In the City Hall park, children can find a multi-level carousel, a reindeer train, and a nativity scene trail. Make sure not to miss the Christmas market in the Schönbrunn Palace. Salzburg is a smaller city, but just as fascinating: you can start by visiting the Christmas markets near the cathedral, at the foot of the Hohensalzburg Fortress (until 6 January 2024).
The best-known Christmas markets in Italy can be found in South Tyrol, especially the ones held in Bolzano, Merano, Brixen, Sterzing and Bruneck (until 6 January). There is always plenty of mulled wine and punch, as well as apple strudel, cinnamon biscuits, gingerbread and herbal liqueurs. Besides Christmas markets, you can explore other local attractions, such as the mummy Ötzi, also called the Iceman, which is on display at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, and the Merano Thermal Baths, featuring a large sauna and 25 indoor and outdoor pools. Every town in South Tyrol is situated in the mountains, so when travelling with a Ducato-based Motorhome to visit Christmas markets you can also enjoy some classic winter activities such as skiing and cross-country skiing or even tobogganing in Sterzing, where you can find the longest floodlit, snow-covered toboggan run in Italy.
The Basel Christmas market is one of the biggest and most sparkling Christmas markets in Europe. Traditional Christmas stalls are set up in the historic centre, in particular in Münsterplatz, the charming square opposite the cathedral. Make sure to take in the stunning view from the top of the Pfalz terrace, overlooking the Rhine river, and the city lights in the evening: with just one glance you can see three countries, since Basel is in Switzerland and borders Germany and France.
The French region of Alsace offers many traditional Christmas markets. Make sure not to miss Strasbourg’s Christmas markets, which date back to the 16th century. They are scattered across multiple locations on the Grande Île, Strasbourg’s largest island and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the pedestrian area near the cathedral and many historically important buildings. In Place Kleber, the largest square in Strasbourg, you will find Christmas market stalls and a huge Christmas tree that is about 30 metres high. Many other municipalities in Alsace are home to wonderful Christmas markets: one of these is Colmar, which has a fairy-tale atmosphere, with several canals and traditional half-timbered houses.
Manchester’s Christmas Markets, possibly the best Christmas market in the UK, offers a magical Christmas atmosphere, with at least 225 small chalets scattered across nine areas throughout the city centre. A long path lined with Christmas lights meanders through the Manchester’s city centre while an indoor skating rink can be found in the Cathedral Gardens. Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is another interesting destination, with a variety of attractions taking place at Edinburgh’s Christmas until 6 January 2024. The East Princes Street Gardens Christmas Market is nestled in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic city centre, with stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and a ferris-wheel standing at 46 metres tall.
This year, the lavish and sparkling Christmas market at the Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg celebrates its 100th anniversary. Stockholm is the place to be if you are looking a magical historical Christmas market in the city. Make sure not to miss the enchanting Christmas market in the Stortorget square in Gamla Stan, in the heart of the old town, dating back to the Middle Ages. There is also the Christmas market held in Skansen, a huge open-air museum on Swedish culture and traditions. While visiting Sweden’s Christmas markets, you can sample numerous culinary delicacies, such as julskinka, a traditional Christmas ham served in the winter months. And, naturally, you can enjoy a glass of glögg, the Swedish version of mulled wine, made with white wine and spices.
Visiting Christmas markets can be great fun: in fact, you can discover fascinating villages, towns and cities all over Europe, which you can easily get to with your Ducato-based motorhome.