There is something whimsical and nostalgic about going to an actual Christmas market in the festive run-up, which makes you feel like a kid again. Whether it’s the mulled wine and roast chestnuts, the lights and the carols, or an excuse to get a selfie with Santa, a visit to a Christmas market can’t fail to li your spirits and get you in the mood. We looked at some you can visit direct from Aberdeen Airport…
Copenhagen has Christmas running through it like a stick of rock. There are festive markets galore, including one in the style of an Oriental bazaar, a traditional one in the picturesque old harbour Nyhavn, a market set in the renaissance Kronberg Castle’s ballroom and courtyard, and a Hans Christian Andersen themed market at Nytorv Square. There’s also a Christmas fair in the Tivoli Gardens and designer treats at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art.
Birmingham has the biggest outdoor Christmas market in the UK, and the largest German market outside of Germany and Austria. Started in 1997 by Birmingham’s twin city Frankfurt, this festive extravaganza includes almost 200 stalls if you include the neighbouring craft market, as well as an ice rink and a ferris wheel.
Belfast has an international market, with stalls from France, Germany, Spain and Italy plus local traders set in front of the City Hall. Try a French tart made on site by a real Breton patisserie, or tackle a giant bratwurst from a traditional Schwengrille. Visit Santa’s Grotto among the wooden chalets, and if you post a letter in his post box by Tuesday 18 December, you are sure to receive a reply.
Gdansk festive markets include a display of Christmas trees from around the world and a Venetian carousel. The Coal Market turns into a Christmas village with an ice rink, a slope for sledging, hot local food and mulled cider, along with a chance to meet a genuine Polish Santa. Great local crafts include amber jewellery, lace and vibrant pottery.
Amsterdam has two big ice rinks in the heart of the city, in front of the gorgeous Rijksmuseum on Museumplein and on Rembrandtplein, both surrounded by cosy food and craft stalls. There’s a huge Christmas tree in the Dam Square and the Amsterdam Light Festival showcases work by international artists throughout the city, lighting up not just the streets, but the canals and bridges too. Sing your heart out at the public carol services in Sint Nicolaskerk or Vandelkerk.