Branches of prickly green holly decorate the top of huts. Sausages hiss in the fresh night air. Mid-hands hold cups with warm mulled wine. The ringing of All I Want for Christmas is heard from near and far. It can only mean one thing – the Christmas markets are on their way and your gifts are needed!
Amsterdam Christmas Markets
It is not a well-kept secret that Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, especially when the winter weather strikes and the canals are covered with a clear sheen of ice, ready for the brave souls running over them. If you do not know this Dutch gem yet and you want to avoid the area by bike, Contiki will show you the magic of Christmas. Think of fairy lights, holly and ivy over quaint cafés, mulled wine spilling out of teapots, and enough Christmas trees to rock through to the New Year.
Parisian Christmas Markets
Paris at Christmas? The city may be the romantic capital of the world, but the annual Christmas markets take you to the dizzying heights of romance you'll only see in the movies.
If you spend your day as a tourist reviving the Parisian culture, climbing the second floor of the Eiffel Tower, or catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, then the magic of Christmas (or La Magic) de Noel for all , fluent in French) is located next to this world famous museum. Here you can stroll through the miniature village of wooden huts, collect homemade pastries or warm up the cockles with one or three French peaches.
Escape the hustle and bustle of central Paris and make a detour to the cultural center of Montemartre. Home to the Sacre-Couer, the sacred heart of Paris, this delightful place offers you Instagram-worthy views of the city (the Eiffel Tower in the distance!) And authentic Parisian cafes full of warm croissants and pain au chocolat. This Christmas market is a classic choice for anyone interested in arts and crafts. Many artists use Montemartre as inspiration for their work and present it on the market!
Christmas Markets in Barcelona
The thriving Spanish city of Barcelona sets the standard for Christmas magic with a sleigh full of Christmas markets with Santa's best delicacies.
A Christmas market against the backdrop of Gaudi's most beautiful buildings? Yes, please. The Nadal de la Sagrada Familia is located in front of one of the most famous buildings in the world – the Sagrada Familia. With over 100 stalls and the man in red doing his own rounds, this is the perfect place to go for a walk with the family in a winter wonderland.
In the snowy way, the Christmas markets in Barca go out, especially with the oldest Christmas market, the Fira de Santa Llucia, which brings the North Pole to this European hotspot. Think of cribs, crafts, lots of Christmas trees, and enough tapas to feed a nation – we're already booking our tickets …
Christmas markets in Rome
There's no better time to go to Rome than when it's dusted with a wintery layer of white snow and your Contiki tour can take you there. The romance, the history, the magic of Christmas that cloaks the Coliseum; it's enough to celebrate Christmas every day!
Wrap yourself up in the winter cold and savor the scent of chestnuts roasted on the open fire in the Piazza Navona Christmas market by Bernini's Quattro Fiumi. Whether you were naughty or nice this year, you will still be treated to solemn rides on the nostalgic carousel, live Christmas acts, and unique artistic gifts you will not find anywhere else in the world. Do you have a hunger that chestnuts just can not satisfy? Give your sweet tooth exactly what it's looking for, with delicious Roman sweets. Well, you know what they say when in Rome …
Christmas markets in Venice
Venice needs little introduction, but what you may not know is that this Italian city is a festive gem in December. Before the big day, the entire Camp Santo Stefano hosts a Christmas village with live singing, dancing, food and gifts. Yes, you read that correctly, you do not expect a market, but a whole village. This classic Christmas experience offers you all the authentic Italian traditions that you dream of – homemade bread, butter biscuits, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta and of course panettone with flavor, freshly baked and ready for your Christmas table. The food is not the only thing that should make your heart beat faster. There are so many wonderful gift ideas that you do not have to choose an Amazon gift card on late Christmas Eve. This could prevent a series of clashes on the morning of December 25 …
Viennese Christmas Markets
Ah Austria, you absolute beauty. With its rolling hills and breathtaking landscapes, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with this country immediately, and least of all, it is the capital of Vienna. Vienna is famous for its memorable festivals and has become a popular Christmas destination in recent years. Each Instagram story in a 12-country circle gives us the FOMO to end Vienna's life and stay in the office that has been affected by the flu.
But this year, you could use panoramas of the Viennese Dream Christmas Market, which sat in front of City Hall and lit by thousands of golden blinking lights, on your Insta story. Find out how to prepare the most delicious cakes on this European side so you can prove your culinary skills on Christmas Day. As you tackle the lumpy chocolate dough, you can sing to the Christmas carols performed live by choirs from across the country, before exploring the self-contained stands for handmade jewelry, scented candles and soaps, and chocolates. Many, many chocolates. Mmmm.
Berlin Christmas Markets
There is no more authentic Christmas market than in Germany. The Germans know how to delight guests in their country, and there are Christmas markets at the seams with bratwursts, curry sausages and basically every huge, deliciously meaty sausage that ends in "sausage".
If you're in the capital to enjoy selfies at the Brandenburg Gate or at Checkpoint Charlie, it's almost grin-like to take a quick look at the festive markets. We know it's not all about size, but if you're looking for a big market, head to Spandau – it's huge. Equipped with thousands of fairy lights and a whole row of wonderful sparkling decorations that illuminate the city far and wide, one can say with certainty that they definitely know that Christmas is. Here's our tip: be sure to try traditional stollen, shortbread cookies and gingerbread, which you rinse off with a cup of German mulled wine.
London Christmas Markets
Do not forget that Contiki tours start in London and London performs well. Big ferris wheels. Big bridges. Big skyscrapers. And most importantly, they sledged it with BIG Christmas markets.
The most popular Christmas market in the metropolis is the aptly synchronized winter wonderland. In the heart of London's Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland welcomes over a million visitors every year in December to celebrate the festive season with breathtaking rides, live entertainment (think of Cinderella on ice skates – like real) and a Christmas market full of jewelry and hot chocolate. handmade jewelry, personalized Christmas cards and a whole range of other festive delights that you can enjoy.
If you put off the hustle and bustle of Winter Wonderland, you can have a quieter party in London's Southbank. At the Southbank Christmas Market, you can see what the huts are like as you browse through a roasted marshmallow or a cup of eggnog!
In winter there is so much to see and discover in Europe, at least not when Contiki offers tours that take you to these festively decorated cities. We have the tours, do you have your passport?