Christmas Markets Around Europe: Get in the Festive Mood!
From bratwurst in Bavaria to gingerbread in Geneva, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to visit a Christmas market. For international assignees settling into their new home, it’s also a great opportunity to get to know the local community and traditions, especially in Europe where Christmas markets are a popular festivity. Of course, given the pandemic, nearly all festive events in Europe were cancelled or postponed in 2020. This year, COVID passports or health passes may be required by those who wish to attend such events so do check requirements ahead of time.
Following are a few of our favourite Christmas markets in some of the most frequented locations we move people to…
The Montreux Marché de Noël is spread across a number of areas. The main market is set on the banks of Lake Geneva and includes views of the snow-covered Alps, which certainly makes it one of the most picturesque markets to visit.
Top Tip… Switzerland can be fairly expensive by world standards, so assignees relocating there should be prepared for the high cost of living.
We couldn’t discuss Christmas markets without mentioning Germany. The country has a big market tradition, with Munich hosting 11 of them over the holidays. In fact, the city hosts one of the oldest markets around, known as Christkindlmarkt, which is located around Marienplatz and said to date back to the 14th century. Here you can find traditional gifts like wood carvings and glassware, as well as delicious local delicacies including bratwursts, lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread), and stollen cake (soft fruit loaf).
Top Tip… Be prepared for the weather! It can be very cold in Germany in the winter months, so wrap up warm if you’re visiting a Christmas market.
A real-life winter wonderland, the Christmas market in Brussels is one not to miss. Held in the Grand-Place and city centre of Brussels, the event includes over 200 chalets, fairground rides, an ice skating rink, and sound and light show!
Krakow's Christmas market is held in the Old Town's 13th century main square, near the Renaissance Cloth Hall and St Mary's Basilica. Stalls offer everything from cards and decorations to toys and food, including grzaniec galicyjski (mulled wine) and oscypek mountain cheese.
Owing to the pandemic, this year’s Bath event will be virtual. Between now and the end of the year, over 160 artisan makers from the UK’s South West region will be showcasing their crafts online.
Top Tip… If you’re thinking of visiting Bath in person, there are still plenty of ways to get into the festive spirit including paying a visit to a group of artisan makers at Bath Abbey or walking the city-wide illuminations trail.
For more top tips and information on relocating, visit our Resource Hub!