The great Christmas market debate

With this popular tradition interpreted in various ways up and down the stretch of Britain by various cities, each giving their own take on the traditional Christmas market, it has caused much debate over which is best.

For those looking to see the traditional market in its original form a Christmas market river cruise holiday through Europe goes unrivalled. Here we have asked for opinions from writers of some of the best travel blogs online to help settle the debate once and for all – which European Christmas market is best?

Germany – Food, wine, tradition

Whilst it is a tradition that has proved strong across Europe, it would almost be wrong not to start with the country where it all began.

I guess it would have to be one of the German markets. Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirch in Berlin has a lovely feel to it, with the smell of cocoa and mulled wine in the air, an amazing Christmas tree and a great selection of good quality stalls.

          - Dr. Paul Johnson, A Luxury Travel Blog ( ) 

A Luxury Travel Blog is one of the most respected blogs in the sector. Posting regular articles on the finer elements of travel across Europe and the rest of the world, they certainly know a thing or two about Europe’s most decadent Christmas markets. Dr. Paul Johnson is a member of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, making his endorsement of German Christmas markets one that comes from personal experience, having travelled and written about his experiences across Europe.

I'm a huge fan of the Christmas markets in Germany, you can't beat a Nut Cracker or Smoker from Germany.  My favourite Christmas Market would be Dresden offering many traditional gifts and where the locals and tourists mingle together at the pretty little stores and drink Glühwein together.

          - Kelly, Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes

Dresden, like many other Christmas markets, embodies the German tradition of festive food and drink and traditional German gifts. Kelly from Around the World in 80 Pairs of Shoes blogs about her ‘gluten free luxury travel adventures’ writing about the food and amazing experiences she has on her way, so it is no wonder she is a fan of the traditions from Germany such as Germany’s mulled wine Glühwein and the German incense smoker they call Räuchermännchen.

It's gotta be Berlin, no?  That is likely the best Christmas market in the world.  If you have to visit only one, that's it.

          - Brendan van Son, Brendan’s Adventures

Renowned blogger Brendan van Son has been so kind as to offer his expert opinion on his favourite photo spots and the best places to visit in autumn in Europe, and he is back again with a strong commendation of Berlin’s Christmas market. His blog Brendan’s Adventures shows some of the most beautiful and photo-worthy destinations in Europe, and while his recommendation of Berlin seems enough to sway anyone, its main qualities of traditional foods, gifts and hospitality are evident across Germany and, in fact, Europe.

There are so many beautiful Christmas markets, but our favourite is the one in Cologne, Germany’s oldest city.

          - Nina, Travelboulevard

For Nina at Travelboulevard nowhere beats Cologne. It may be Germany’s fourth largest city, but as one steeped in history as the country’s oldest, it is also one of the most traditional and intimate in terms of its Christmas market. To find out more about Cologne’s Christmas markets see this article where Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market and Christmas Market in the Old Town organisers offer further information.

Czech Republic – snow, romance, lights

Moving onto the Czech Republic, Prague’s Christmas market is world-renowned with travellers coming from far and wide to catch a bit of the romance and sparkle that it offers.

It's hard to beat the romance of a Slavic Christmas market, complete with snow and mulled wine. Check out these photos from the festive stalls in Prague.

          - Duncan Rhodes, Blogger-in-Chief of Urban Travel Blog.

The Urban Travel Blog is the go-to travel blog for reviews and opinions from both professional and amateur travel writers and photographers from around the world. Blogger-in-Chief Duncan Rhodes is the founder and editor of the blog and his travel writing experience means that his recommendation of ‘the romance of a Slavic Christmas market’ is more than reliable.

Although I have not been to Prague during Christmas, I am almost convinced that my favourite Christmas market would be in the Old Town Square.

          - Will,

Will Castillo, Founder and Editor in Chief at I Will Travel is well experienced in both travel and gastronomy. Having enjoyed numerous river cruise tours in Europe, his prediction of the Old Town Square is well founded and is one that is increasingly popular among river cruise guests.

There are so many I have not been to yet, but I did enjoy the Christmas market in Prague… at least after the feeling came back in my toes.

          - Chris Christensen, Amateur Traveler

Chris Christensen is another reputed blogger in the travel sector and his weekly podcast about travel destinations on Amateur Traveler has a great following. His warning of Prague’s cold winter weather should be taken heed by all visitors to this part of Europe during Christmastime as temperatures are known to hit freezing, but, as Christensen points out, it is well worth it for a glimpse of this magical Christmas market.

Austria – atmosphere, gifts, sweets

Schönbrunn Palace is a stunning place to visit at any time of the year, but Christmas is when the spectacular markets come to the city and both the palace and the city centre are alight with a festive atmosphere and all of the delicious produce that comes with traditional Christmas markets in Europe.

The Christmas market in Vienna, Austria is arguably the most striking and atmospheric in all of Europe. The majestic Rathausplatz (central square) is transformed into a Christmas wonderland of shining lights, with over 150 stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations, sweets and warming drinks most notably Glühwein (Mulled wine).

          - Ania & Jon, Hitchhiker’s Handbook

Ania and Jon of the Hitchhiker’s Handbook are one of the most adventurous and well-travelled couples in the sector; having visited countless regions in Europe, their recommendation of Vienna’s Christmas market is based on a lifetime of memories and adventures.

These are the bloggers’ arguments, what do you think? Join the debate on Twitter and Facebook.

Image Credit: Luke Hayfield (

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.