Oh sweet sugar, its time.
Cinnamon cookies, Mulled Wine and German Bratwurst Sausages – nothing quiet welcomes the festive season in like the Christmas Markets.
With so many bright lights and wooden crafted toys and Christmas carols being sung it can sometimes feel like a sensory overload at the markets, but a real foodie can always seek out the festive grub hotspots.
To cut to the chase, I’ve done the leg work for you. Check out this blog post for round-up of the best destinations in Europe to visit this year for scrumptious treats!
Munich – Germany
Despite Berlin usually being festive lovers go-to for a traditional Christmas Market, Munich actually boasts one of the continents best-loved markets for all things ‘Christmasy’. Surrounded by snow topped log cabins and twinkling stalls, Munich deserves to be at the top of the list for relighting your Christmas spirit.
Now, I don’t know about you but when I think of Germany I think of Bratwurst! So where can you find the best one? The short answer is everywhere.
There are also many varieties of Bratwurst so try each regional version when you visit these areas:
Thuringia: Thüringer Rostbratwürst (Thuringian sausage) is the bomb. There is also the First German Bratwurst Museum in Holzhausen. Just look out for the giant wooden bratwurst in a roundabout.
Coburg: The Coburger bratwurst is seasoned with only salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon zest before being grilled over pine cones. (If that isn’t Christmas in a sausauge then I don’t know what is.)
Kulmbach: The Kulmbacher bratwurst is a long, thin rohwurst made from veal and a little pork. Buy one or a pair from the grillwalkers in the Marktplatz with mustard and a roll topped with anise, trust me you won’t regret it.
Top tip: Year on year, British Airways have a section of their website devoted to Christmas Markets, so you can grab yourself a great deal if you book early.
When: From November 27th until December 24th, 2017
Lille – France
Imagine a lifesize version of a Christmas Cookie House. Lille is literally like a scene out of Elf at this time of year, with all the candy canes and pretzels you could only dream of. You will find everything from artwork to wooden crafted toys. This traditional market should definitely be a contender on your bucket list this year. Their speciality is Maroilles Cheese, A pungent cow’s-milk cheese made in Hauts-de-France… you’ll smell it before you see it!
Top Tip: Be mindful of which day you chose to travel. Thursdays and Fridays are usually when you can bag yourself the best deal.
When: From Friday 17 November to Wednesday 27 December
Stockholm – Sweden
The weather usually makes or breaks your experience at an outdoor market during the Christmas season. If you head to Stockholm, your almost always guaranteed a winter wonderland. Add a little Scandinavian magic to your winter holiday with traditional treats like Swedish meatballs and pear cider all on offer. There are also stalls selling kolbollar (coal buns) cooked on an open fire. If you prefer to eat indoors there are some attractive candlelit cafés to sit comfortably whilst you eat your bodyweight it calories.
Top Tip: Ryan Air usually provide some super cheap deals to Stockholm, don’t miss out!
When: 18 December – 23 December.
Zagreb – Croatia
Make December one to remember this year by traveling somewhere further afield, Voted two times in a row “European Best Christmas Market”, the capital of Croatia is for sure the best destination to celebrate Christmas in Europe. For all the veggies out there, this market is a definite go to. There is the classic dessert ‘fritule’ – a donut-like pastry with a variety of dressings. There is also craze in town, the German style germknoedel – which are sugary fluffy dumplings with jam, vanilla and poppy seeds. Also, save some room for the humble roasted chestnuts.
When? From 2nd December 2017 to 7th January 2018
Vienna – Austria
Pretty, regardless of the time of year, Vienna is especially picturesque at Christmas. One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent“, which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. But it also hosts one of the oldest festive foods in Europe, you can’t visit Salzburg Markets at Christmas without trying the local lebkuchen. Known to us more commonly as gingerbread, it’s actually a younger relative to the namoura honey cake that goes way back to Egyptian times. Usually sold either iced or scattered with sugar and almonds, these yummy sweat treats can’t be left on the shelf.
Top Tip: Make the most of your hand luggage, the majority of airlines offer free hand luggage when you fly, perfect for short trips away.
When: From 13th November to 23rd December
Hope you enjoyed my pointers to the best Christmas markets (for food, obviously)! Let me know if you have been or are going to any!