Under a bridge, on a boat, in a cave or in a theme park. Here are eight unique Christmas markets around the world
Christmas is approaching and cities across Europe transform themselves into winter wonderlands. Town squares and open spaces are converted into traditional alpine villages offering arts, crafts and mulled wine. The best part is, not all Christmas markets are identical. To help you find the most exciting and unusual ones, trivago.co.uk has put together a list of the most unique Christmas markets across Europe for the seekers of festive experiences.
1. In a Valley under a Bridge:
Black Forest Christmas Market – Ravenna Gorge, Germany
Weekends 29 November – 21 December 2014
Nestled beneath the impressive Ravenna Gorge viaduct in Germany’s mystical Black Forest, Hochschwarzwald’s Christmas village attracts thousands of visitors each year. The market’s fairy tale setting in a deep valley gives it a rustic feel, while the local crafts and entertainment on offer give visitors a taste of the Black Forest – one of Germany’s most popular destinations. The market also offers a dedicated programme for children, making it a great choice for families.
Hotels in the Black Forest: http://www.trivago.co.uk/black-forest-3064
2. Beside a Lake in the Alps:
Christbaumwald im See – Lake Millstatt, Austria
19 November – 21 December 2014
An hour north of the Austrian city of Villach, Lake Millstatt (Millstätter See) is a picturesque spot high in the Alps. Surrounded by high snow-capped mountains, the lake’s steep shore gives the area a Fjord-like feel. In the winter months, this shoreline plays host to one of Europe’s most unique Christmas markets – Millstatt’s Christbaumwald im See – “Christmas tree forest on the lake”. Located on a pier, this charming market has an intimate festive atmosphere with just a handful of stalls. Visitors can enjoy Glühwein (mulled wine) by an open fire, surrounded by Christmas trees and watch the reflection of the Christmas lights on the water.
Hotels on Lake Millstatt: http://www.trivago.co.uk/millstaetter-see-459303
3. In a Cave under a Castle:
Velvet Cave Christmas Market – Valkenburg aan de Geul, Netherlands
14 November – 23 December 2014
Often touted as the hidden gem of The Netherlands, Valkenburg is a lively village close to Maastricht in the south of the country. Its annual Christmas Market is one of the oldest underground markets in Europe and is held in the cavernous Velvet Cave, located beneath the striking Valkenburg Castle. The Velvet Cave boasts an 18th century chapel, impressive murals and sculptures, creating a unique festive atmosphere in an intimate setting. Valkenburg also holds a Christmas parade through the town every Wednesday and Saturday evening.
Hotels in Valkenburg aan de Geul: http://www.trivago.co.uk/valkenburg-aan-de-geul-46798
4. In a Theme Park:
Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark
15 November 2014 – 4 January 2015
A famous landmark in the heart of Copenhagen, the Tivoli Gardens amusement park was first opened in 1843 and for the last 21 years has hosted its own annual Christmas Market. Starting from Mid-November, guests are welcomed on arrival by Father Christmas himself and can enjoy a traditional Alpine village and Christmas market, The Nutcracker Ballet, a reindeer park, a choir procession and festive food and drink – not forgetting the impressive grounds that make Tivoli Gardens so popular year-round.
Hotels in Copenhagen: http://www.trivago.co.uk/copenhagen-45069
5. On a Boat:
Floating Christmas Market – Vilshofen an der Donau, Germany
Weekends 28 November – 14 December 2014
A sleepy town in the east of Bavaria, Vilshofen an der Donau is home to a unique Christmas Market, which is partially located on a ship. The market’s showstopper, the world’s largest wooden nativity scene – which is 20 metres long – is found onboard the boat, while most of the stalls are located on the picturesque riverbank of the Danube. Every year, craftsman and artists from around the Lower Bavaria region flock to the market to present their products and demonstrate their traditional methods.
Hotels in Vilshofen: http://www.trivago.co.uk/vilshofen-5048
6. In a Train Station:
Zurcher Christkindlimarkt – Zurich, Switzerland
20 November – 24 December 2014
A novel answer to festivity on the go, one of Switzerland’s most famous Christmas markets is held in Zurich’s main train station. But it’s not just travellers and commuters that add to the bustling atmosphere – with around 150 market stalls, the Zurcher Christkindlimarkt is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. At almost 50 feet high, the clear focal point of the market is the beautifully ornate Christmas tree, which is decorated with around 6,000 crystal ornaments, dazzling thousands of visitors every year.
Hotels in Zurich: http://www.trivago.co.uk/zurich-50610
7. In a Theme Park:
Liseberg Amusement Park – Gothenburg, Sweden
14 November – 30 December 2014
Sweden’s largest Christmas market is found at Liseberg Amusement Park in the country’s second city. Well known for its wooden rollercoasters, the park becomes a winter fairground during the Holiday season, welcoming thousands of guests. Visitors can shop for Christmas presents at one of the 80 stalls and pay a visit to the dedicated arts and crafts market, Designtornet. Once the shopping is complete, there are several rides to enjoy – adding to the market’s festive atmosphere.
Hotels in Gothenburg: http://www.trivago.co.uk/gothenburg-52398
8. In the Arctic Circle:
Santa Claus Village – Rovaniemi (Lapland), Finland
What better location for a Christmas market than Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland and the official hometown of Father Christmas. Santa Claus Village is located within the Arctic Circle and is open year-round, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy Christmas at any time of the year. In the 400 square-metre exhibition, guests can observe Finnish Christmas traditions, while children will love the elves’ toy factory and the Santa Claus photography service. Shoppers can expect a range of products, from local artisan handicrafts to top Finnish design products, which can even be sent from the Santa Claus Main Post Office – making it appear they were sent by Father Christmas himself.
Hotels in Rovaniemi: http://www.trivago.co.uk/rovaniemi-81656