Nothing shouts Christmas louder to us than the smell of roasting chestnuts, sipping a warm glass of mulled wine, while chomping into some freshly baked gingerbread. Perhaps something not so easy to replicate with the family in Dubai? Time to start packing your woollies then, as we have scouted out some of the best Christmas Market locations in Europe, and the best bit is they’re all within a direct flight of Dubai that might satisfy your wintery Christmas cravings!
When: 25 November 2017 to 1 January 2018
Where: Plaisir d’hiver – or “Winter Wonders” stretches from the Grand Palace to Place St Catherine
Why you’ll love it: Although it’s one of the relatively newer European markets, it is also one of the largest boasting 240 stalls ranging from gift ideas to tasting sessions. For kids there’s a toboggan slope, a 200-foot ice skating rink, a huge Ferris Wheeland a steampunk carousel. For the grown-ups, how about indulging in some Belgium beer – or why not some Belgian chocolate and waffles for dessert? Mmmm…
Getting There: 7 hours 5 minutes with Emirates
When: 11 November 2017 to 6 January 2018
Where: Spread over 8 locations across the city, the main market is in Vörösmarty Square (on the West side of the River Danube)
Why you’ll love it: The “Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival” is one of the oldest and prettiest in Europe (and one of the quickest flights from the UAE). The Gerbeaud Café is turned into a giant advent calendar – with the last window opening on 6 December and a personal appearance from Santa Claus! This is your place for wooden handicrafts, folk music concerts, ‘fooralt bor’ (mulled wine), goulash and strudels! Their kids craft program includes candle making, basketry, felting and gingerbread baking.
Getting there: 5 hours 55 minutes with Emirates & Wizz Air (out of DWC)
Prague, Czech Republic
When: 26 November 2017 to 1 January 2018
Where: Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square
Why you’ll love it: This one could be your best choice for food and drink with tap beers, roasted hams, barbequed sausages and chorizo on offer as you stroll the fairytale-like market stalls. The stunningly picturesque Charles Bridge and Prague Castle make the perfect backdrop while shopping for handicrafts – the Czech are renowned for their glassware (think hand blown glass Christmas decorations), jewellery, embroidery and wooden puppets amongst the usual Christmas fayre.
Getting there: 6 hours 40 minutes with Emirates, Fly Dubai and Smart Wings
When: 12 November 2017 to 23 December 2017
Where: Not just one but 20 markets can be found spotted over the city
Why you’ll love it: “Vienna Magic of the Advent” transforms City Hall Square into a shimmering wonderland including 150 handicraft and food stalls, two ice rinks, curling and special program of events will run for children including gingerbread cookies, crafting and writing your Santa wish list! If you love a good Christmas choir, then the best place is to be is in front of Schönbrunn Palace.
Getting There: 6 hours with Emirates
When: 17 November 2017 to 23 December 2017(Closed 20 Nov)
Where: Dusseldorf city centre, across 7 locations
Why you’ll love it: There are so many amazing traditional markets in Germany making this one a hard choice! Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkd is the largest and most famous, but mixing old with the new, the appeal of Dusseldorf is that the city centre is quite compact, making it great for little legs that don’t want to walk too far! The highlights for families include the merry-go-round and kid’s activity tent at Schadowplatz and the enormous ice-rink on the Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Grown ups may enjoy beers in the Altstadt (the ‘longest bar in the world’ – with 300 places to stop for a drink!) and kids will love Reibekuchen (fried potato waffles with apple sauce on top!)
Getting There: 6 hours 55 minutes with Emirates
There are so many amazing European Christmas Markets to choose from that really bring that Christmas spirit alive, we found it hard to choose our favourites! Which is your number one choice for families?