Quaint European cities, fairy-lit wooden stalls and scrumptious smelling gingerbread, get inspired with our 7 favourite Christmas markets
Located in the heart of Budapest is Vörösmarty Square, also home to the city's annual Christmas market. If you're after some traditional Hungarian delights, then the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread, mouth-watering strudel and roasted meats are guaranteed to tempt you in. Unique crafts and gifts also line the stalls, all of which have been checked by the Association Of Hungarian Folk Artists, making them perfect presents for that special someone.
Once you've strolled past the wooden stalls and filled up on gastronomic treats, make sure you pop over to the Gerbaud House, one of the city's most beautiful buildings, for the giant Budapest Advent Calendar. A new window is opened each day to reveal the work of 24 artists followed by a musical fanfare.
With over six Christmas markets dotted around the city, you'll never be short of festive fairs to visit. Wrap up warm and head to Cologne's most spectacular market, the 'Am Dom', for unusual tree decorations and tasty delicacies. Couples can wander around the 160 tempting stalls that gather in front of the towering twin-spires of the city's cathedral, while local musicians play festive tunes in front of the largest Christmas tree in Rhineland.
If you'd rather escape the crowds, discover Cologne's oldest Christmas market on the Neumarkt. The quaint St. Aposteln church will act as an enchanting backdrop for your romantic visit and make you feel particularly festive as you stroll past the fairly-lit chalets.
With the elegant backdrop of one of Europe's most romantic cities, the Mercatino di Natale (Christmas market) in Venice is perfect for couples looking for something different this year. Located in the city's second largest square, Campo Santa Stefano transforms into a little Christmas village come December. Stock up on traditional carnival masks, Murano glass jewellery and marbled paper or treat loved ones to vintage balsamic vinegars and fruit-filled panettone.
If you're after a true winter wonderland this Christmas, where better to go than the fairytale city of Vienna? The twinkling lights at the Christkindlemarkt on the city's main square will draw you into the little wooden stalls selling seasonal goodies and Austrian favourites such as home-made gingerbread, hot punch and roasted chestnuts.
Take a stroll between perfectly decorated trees in the city's main park and forgive yourself if you momentarily feel part of your favourite Christmas rom-com. Keep an eye out for Herzerlbaum - the tree with hearts - while you're there stop-off for a romantic moment under the glowing, red hearts.
If you're feeling particularly festive this year, then Prague's picture-perfect squares and cobbled streets lined with festive markets won't disappoint. Discover the bustling Christmas market in the charming Old Town Square where the sound of carol singers accompanied by the chimes from the St. Nicholas church will create a magical Christmas moment for all. In the shadow of the glowing Christmas tree, tuck into trdelník, a sugary coated pastry and wash it down with a glass of medovina, a warm, honey flavoured liquor that will keep you cosy.
Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? If so, then where better to head than the beautifully quaint city of Tallinn, where a blanket of snow is sure to cover the 15th century buildings and cobbled streets this year. The Christmas market in Rotermann Square sells all sorts of quirky gifts from handmade chocolates to Russian fur hats and if you're feeling chilly, there's plenty of winter-warmers to help you get cosy with hot sauerkraut soup and Estonian spiced wine.
If you want to cuddle up and escape the cold then head to one of Tallinn's many candle-lit bars set in converted cellars for traditional tipples or vintage wines.
Tucked away in the beautiful surroundings of the Tivoli Gardens, is Copenhagen's magical Christmas market. With over 60 festive stalls, there are plenty of special gifts to choose from such as local porcelain and traditional jumpers. Indulge in hot apple dumplings and Danish glögg (a mulled wine with liquor and spices), both of which are popular with visitors - as are the pan-fried cakes served with jam.
Make sure you head to Tivoli's lake before you leave, which has been transformed into a picturesque ice rink. Take your partner for a romantic whirl on the ice (or hold on tight to keep eachother upright...) while the Garden's colourful light show dances in the background.
This article was adapted from Wanderlust
Main image courtesy of Matteo Pacciott
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