‘Tis the Season…for Shopping and Mulled Wine

December is right around the corner, and it’s that festive time of the year again for Christmas markets. The delicate smell of cinnamon, roasted chestnuts, and pine linger in the air. At nightfall, the city is wrapped in the softened light of holiday extravagance, radiating up into the darkness of the sky. Everyone’s in high spirits, while possibly enjoying some warm spirits. What’s even better than a Christmas market? A Christmas market in a different country. Today we highlight some of the most original markets that Europe has to offer.

The One in a Cave

(Source : kerststadvalkenburg)

In the quaint Dutch village of Valkenburg, you can visit a quite unique Christmas market. One organised in two enigmatic caves. After strolling through the underground of the Municipal Cave, with its beautiful décor and assortment of luxurious gifts, you can visit the Velvet Cave. With awe-inspiring murals, a majestic eighteenth century chapel, all drenched in an atmosphere of joyful exuberance.

Open from the 17th of November to the 23rd of December

The One that Floats

(Source : http://www.vilshofen.de)

Vilshofen an der Donau is a small German town near the Danube, a long river winding through much of Eastern Europe. The city has taken advantage of its charm and this is heightened that much more during the winter season when the floating Christmas market opens its doors. Finding it is easy, just simply follow the smell of gingerbread, chocolate and mulled wine. For the best view, hop onto the roof of the boat and you’ll find an interesting nativity scene, one created out of a single piece of wood. Stroll along the waterfront and feel the Christmas spirit envelope you while enjoying local artists performing each day.

Only open on the weekends 1st to 3rd, 8th to 10th and 15th to 17th of December

The One in a Train Station

Christkindlimarkt - Marché de Noël de Zurich
(Source: OK Christkindlimarkt​)

Upon arriving in Zurich, you should go to the train station, not to leave the city, but rather to visit the Chirstkindlimarkt. You’ll have a plethora of things to do to keep yourself busy here; first, buy out the time to admire the small craft wonders; then discover the various shops of ceramics and weaving. Take a quick, or not, detour to the food stalls and enjoy some of their specialties like local cheeses and delectable dried meats. Lastly, you can’t leave without seeing the huge Christmas tree decorated in Swarovski crystals, the perfect setting for your next holiday card.

Chirstkindlimarkt is open from November 23 to December 24, from 10:30 to 21:00 on Sunday through Wednesday and from 10:30 to 22:00 on Thursday through Saturday  

The One atop the Peaks

(Source : petzenflieger.at)

What better than snowy peaks to fully experience the ambiance of winter? If you think the season, especially Christmas, is synonymous with puffy coats and wooden chalets, then climb to Petzen! This Austrian ski resort hosts a Christmas market seated at over 1.7 km above sea level, making it the highest in Europe! To get there, put on your best après-ski attire and ascend the ski lift. Once at the peak, the view of the valley will take your breath away, literally and metaphorically. The landscape is just the tip of the iceberg: the Christmas market itself is worth the journey. On site you can enjoy Austrian specialties, attend the ample concerts and, of course, discover all kinds of holiday trinkets. If you want to extend the romantic vibe, take up lodging near the market.

Open every Saturday of December from 13:00 to 19:30

Wherever you decide to go, these places allow you to experience the magic of Christmas while also enjoying an exceptional setting that will delight children and adults alike.