Europe’s Best Christmas Markets

HotelStockholmrum2 SGC1 1024x687 Europes Best Christmas Markets

Christmas city break in Stockholm? Stay at Scandic Grand Central, one of the coolest new Stockholm hotels.  Photo credit: Scandic.

Emily Rycroft, of the Global Cool Foundation, wrote this post on eels, gingersnaps and folk dancing on traincation to Europe’s best Christmas markets.

Give yourself a little bit of Christmas cheer and get in the festive mood on Traincation to European Christmas markets

Cologne, Germany

Take the Eurostar to Brussels after midday, and change at Brussels Midi for an ICE high-speed train to Cologne and see the famous Cologne Christmas Markets.

If you stay and have dinner in Cologne, check out Alte Wartesaal just to the right of the station entrance. Expect impressive menus, stunning architecture and a diverse mix of people.

Next, travel overnight to Copenhagen snuggled up on the City Night Line sleeper train. Wake up rested and refreshed before hopping on a train all the way to Skansen.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of Christmas markets, but Skansen holds one of the best in Europe.

It’s incredibly traditional, with Swedish crafts and handmade straw ornaments. There’s also a great spread of yummy local food to try like eel, saffron buns, pepparkakor (gingersnaps) and Swedish mulled wine called glögg.

Budapest, Hungary

Next stop on our Christmas market adventure is Budapest. This is another fairly traditional market, but is incredibly lively with folk dances and live music every day. The stalls, which are based in the centre of the Pest district, look like quaint little cottages, selling a whole host of great trinkets to fill up your stockings. There’s traditional food, local art and even a puppet show!

Travel from London to Paris in the morning on the good old trusty Eurostar, and soak up a little bit of Paris on your wander from Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est. Hop on board the super-fast TGV train all the way to Munich Hauptbahnhof and treat yourself to a little festive snack from the on-board café.

Finally, take the EuroNight sleeper train all the way into Budapest. This Hungarian sleeper train is roomier than expected, with some very comfortable couchettes.

Barcelona, Spain

Make it a Christmas Eve to remember at the Barcelona Christmas Fair. Pick up everything from handmade decorations and gifts, to mistletoe and poinsettias (Christmas plants). There’s also a Nativity scene competition, parades, music and exhibitions.

The Eurostar journey from London to Paris is cheap and easy-peasy. At Paris Gare du Nord, it is faster to get the Metro than a taxi to Gare d’Austerlitz, so jump on Line 5 and get across the city in less than 20 minutes.

The Joan Miró Elipsos Trenhotel will take you on the next leg of your journey, so you can have your own Orient-Express style sleeper train adventure all the way to Barcelona! You can reserve a private sleeper, or get really adventurous and book yourself a comfy couchette where you’ll have the chance to meet other travelers from all over the globe.

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