Festive Christmas Markets to Kick Off the Holiday Season
Nothing says the holidays quite like wrapping your hands around a warm mug of mulled wine under the twinkling lights of a bustling Christmas market. Referencing more than 270,000 total endorsements for ‘Christmas markets’ around the world, we present a list of our customers' favorites to enjoy this holiday season.
Featuring more than 250 stalls, this famous market in Germany is a shimmering jewel of the advent period, literally glistening under a canopy of 45,000 lights and bursting with crafty gift ideas and culinary delicacies. From November 16 until December 23 this year, the Essen Christmas Market invites you to delve into the world of the middle ages at Flachsmarkt market square. Once you’ve shopped for homemade soaps, incense, pottery and furs, why not sample a few medieval treats at Burgküche kitchen?
Where to stay: When you’ve had your fill of the medieval festivities, head back to the chic and modern Motel One Essen, just a short stroll away. Situated in the heart of the city, you will love this motel’s convenient location close to the Essen Cathedral. The hotel's One Lounge is also a great place to relax and enjoy a snack, a few drinks and some good music after a busy day at the Christmas market.
A Christmas market in the mountains, Vipiteno in northern Italy offers the perfect mix of stollen (traditional Christmas fruit cake) and snow for visitors. Situated more than half a mile above sea level, Vipiteno is transformed into a winter fairy-tale for the town's annual Christmas market, running from November 23 and ending on January 6, 2019 this year. Local vendors serve freshly baked goods against the backdrop of crackling fireplaces and decorated Christmas trees.
Where to stay: Apartments Heidenberger Fienili is just two miles from the Ladurns ski area, in case you want to combine your Christmas market visit with a little time on the slopes. Each apartment is beautifully decorated in alpine style and offers a perfect mountain getaway in the Dolomite mountains. If you want to relax after a day full of magic and sparkle, you can visit the nearby wellness centre which has an indoor pool and hot tub.
Frankenmuth, Michigan, USA
Each year during the first weekend of December, Christmas vendors selling fresh chestnuts, handmade garlands, fresh apple cider and much, much more, converge at the Frankenmuth Farmers' Market for their version of a European-style Christkindlmart. But if one weekend of festivities isn’t enough, why not indulge all year round at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store. The store is spread over 27 acres and attracts over two million visitors each year.
Where to stay: Located in the heart of Frankenmuth, the Marv Herzog Hotel offers a little taste of Bavaria in Michigan. The European-themed hotel combines traditional decor with contemporary amenities, such as an indoor waterpark, an 18-hole miniature golf course and a Family Fun Center with over 150 arcade games. You'll have plenty to keep you entertained in this small midwestern town!
Although traditionally associated with red and green, the Mulhouse Christmas Market celebrates the festive season in a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues, with locals labelling it the most colourful market! With its heritage in the textile industry, Mulhouse marks the season each year by creating a festive fabric which is adorned around the market’s 100 huts. Local craftspeople produce delicacies of foie gras, gingerbread and Bredeles (traditional Christmas cookies) for you to taste in the city’s most famous square, Place de la Réunion, from November 24 to December 23.
Where to stay: Continue your colorful trip at the nearby Maison Mondrian. This brightly decorated building is home to a superb guesthouse in the heart of the historical center of Mulhouse. This artsy abode has a beautiful on-site delicatessen where you can start your day with a delicious breakfast.
For a unique festive setting, look no further than Valkenburg’s Velvet Cave, this year celebrating its twenty-first year and bigger than ever. As well as the annual rustic, underground market stalls for Christmas gifts, this market offers tours of the cave to explore the amazing murals, sculptures and an impressive 18th-century chapel. If you’re not quite done exploring during the Christmas market, the castle ruins are also open to the public.
Where to stay: The nearby Villa Valkenburg offers elegant rooms and wellness facilities in the most-sought after area of town. The hotel’s location is particularly popular with guests looking to eat out, although the hotel itself includes its own highly rated breakfast option.
Taipei City, Taiwan
Taipei City plays host to the annual and vibrant family friendly Christmasland where you can enjoy a true winter wonderland with festive activities, performances, food, games and homemade treats from local stores. The event spans several weeks and guests have previously marvelled at custom light displays, dancing Christmas lights, a huge Christmas market and carol singers galore.
Where to stay: Star Hostel Taipei Main Station offers simple but clean and comfortable accommodation in a great spot for exploring Taipei. You can start your day with a hearty breakfast and fresh coffee each morning. You can also opt to have your own private room if you need a good night's sleep after exploring the Christmas markets.
Methodology: The list was based on endorsements from international Booking.com customers who travelled to these destinations. The destinations had to receive 500 endorsements in the category “Christmas markets” to be considered, and were selected on the basis of share of total endorsements.