Around 50 minutes from Verbier, the Sion/Sitten Christmas market from 8th – 23rd December brings together around 60 different artisans from across the country over an 11 day event that really gets you into the festive season. The Sion region has been a settlement since the stone age and has a wealth of attractions and arts to its name, so it’s an idyllic setting for a little Christmas indulgence.
From 30th November to 26th December Austria’s Kitzbühel Christmas market is the stuff that movies are made of. Warming mulled wine and delectable foods abound with a glittering spirit and stalls proffering traditional crafts and Christmas decorations, local food and drink specialties while highlights for kids include campfires, storytelling at the Kitzbühel Museum and the popular petting zoo where little ones can ride on the back of friendly ponies.
From mid November until the first week in January, Paris stretches the Christmas experience with the twinkliest of Christmas markets in abundance. From a 12,000-square-metre mega-market on the outskirts of the city to a small jumble sale-like event in Montmartre, it’s a feast of festive trinkets, Christmas grub, carousels and gifts. Of particular interest is the Village de Noël des Champs Élysées, replete with 400 Christmas trees and some seriously decadent shopping.
From 25th November until the 23rd December, Barcelona celebrates their annual Fira de Santa Llúcia is set up every year by Barcelona cathedral and dates back to 1786 and now consists of more than 300 stalls featuring everything from handmade jewellery scarves and puppets to nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.
Rumour has it that the world’s first ever Christmas tree was put up in Riga way back in 1510, making Latvia a real haven for Christmas fans. Follow the scent of gingerbread and mulled wine to the Christmas markets around the city from 26th November until 7th January to buy hand knitted shawls, mittens and socks, aromatic candles, artisanal spoons and other woodwork as well as tucking into traditional delicacies like grey peas and bacon, perfect on a crisp winter day.
In a city renowned for its festive feeling, Prague was really built for mulled wine and wandering around all wrapped up. Tuck into pastries and head to the Christmas markets that are open daily at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. A winter wonderland awaits from 2nd December until 6th January, for visitors to soak up the festive atmosphere, browse the stalls, and enjoy Christmas carols, hearty food and local drinks.
From 10th November until 31st December, Budapest hosts its traditional Christmas fair and winter festival on Vörösmarty Square. The lovely plaza in the heart of the city turns into a festive marketplace in front of the prestigious Gerbeaud Coffee House, scented with traditional honey cookies, mulled wine, cinnamon and firs. Cottage-style wooden stalls and two outdoor stages take over one of Budapest’s most attractive spots – perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit.
On Saturdays and Sundays from 3rd-23rd December, Hafnarborg’s Christmas village comes alive with Santa Claus and his elves amongst the cosy little Christmas houses at Thorsplan offering beautiful Icelandic design and craft, as well as coffee and cocoa. Top it all off with a free photo at the Fjördur shopping mall.
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