Fly from Birmingham Airport to experience all the sights, sounds – and shopping – this festive season
Christmas brings to mind trees dotted with twinkling fairy lights, hot toddies on cold nights, baked treats with warm spices, familiar carols wafting through the air and merry spirits all around. To find all these things together, head to one of Europe’s famous Christmas markets.
Originally a German tradition, Christmas markets have spread throughout Europe, and most major cities have their own version. Treat yourself to a festive winter break this year and book a flight from Birmingham Airport to one of these Christmas markets today!
The largest and most popular markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Old Town Square Christmas market is located in the centre of Old Town Square. The huge, real tree is the centrepiece and stands in front of the Church of Tyn so you can get some great photos. Beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments, it really comes to life after sunset when you can see it in all its lit-up glory.
Just a short walk from the markets in Old Town Square you’ll find Prague Christmas market in Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí). Popular food on offer includes large hams roasted on a spit (Pražská Šunka), tasty barbecued sausages (klobása) and a variety of sweets and cakes, such as spicy gingerbread and a hot sugar-coated pastry (trdelník).
Dates: Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square markets both run from 1 December to 6 January.
Getting there: Take a short flight from Birmingham Airport with Jet2.com and enjoy the magic of Christmas in Prague.
The Christmas market in Vörösmarty Square is Budapest’s oldest and biggest Christmas market. Located in the city centre, it has a reputation for being both lively and affordable. Unlike many other Christmas markets, Vörösmarty Square has strict rules requiring that all products have the official seal of approval from the Association of Hungarian Folk Artists, meaning that the level of quality is high. Handmade Christmas ornaments, including fragrant pomander balls of orange and clove and colourful leather bags, are all sold here.
For a smaller, lesser-known market visit the Advent Fair in Óbuda where you will find lots of locals but few tourists. This neighbourhood has beautiful cobblestone streets and renovated baroque buildings, giving it a charming small-town feel. The whole community comes together for the Christmas market with an illuminated outdoor ice rink and a children’s petting zoo.
The typical Christmas market food is abundantly present – mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, grilled meats. But don’t limit yourself. Try some of the delicious local fare, such as töki pompos, a savoury-topped bread.
Dates: Vörösmarty Square Winter Festival runs from early November until 1 January. Advent Fair in Óbuda is from 29 November to 22 December.
Getting there: Fly from Birmingham Airport with Wizz Air or Jet2.com
The city’s famous Christmas market at Tivoli Gardens is a majestic affair. Having the second oldest amusement park in the world as its setting gives this Christmas market a distinct old-world feel. There are hundreds of thousands of tiny lights festooning every part of the park, a breath-taking water and lights show to a Tchaikovsky soundtrack, a village of tiny wood cottages decorated with garlands, a candlelit Japanese pagoda and a 100-year-old wooden rollercoaster stretching into the sky.
Skating on an outdoor ice rink, chatting with Santa, playing with real reindeer, finding the perfect Christmas gifts, watching fireworks burst into the sky – you can do all this and more at the Tivoli Gardens Christmas market. For food, the list of treats is endless: æbleskiver (iced doughnuts with black currant jam) gløgg (hot mulled red wine rich with fruit, almonds, cinnamon and cloves), pølsers (Danish hot dogs) or roast pork sandwiches.
Dates: Tivoli Gardens Christmas market runs from 17 November to 31 December.
Getting there: SAS flies from Birmingham Airport daily over the winter period so you can experience the charming Christmas market in Copenhagen.