Christmas Countdown: Eight Christmas Markets for a long weekend away

Working with the media we know all too well that Christmas begins in July. With that said, it is never too early to start thinking about the festive season. So here is our edit of the most spectacular Christmas markets across the globe to book now to ensure you make the most of the magical winter season with a mulled wine or three, sugar coated almonds you’ll regret come January 1st and an obligatory ice skate.

Rathausplatz Christmas Market, Vienna (From 11th November to 26th December 2017)

Described as a combination of ‘distinctive tradition and impressive attractions’, the Rathausplatz Christmas Market offers a wonderful Christmas experience. With countless lights and popular Viennese activities amongst the festive stalls, this market allows a cultural, memorable twist to your regular Christmas.

Winter World, Berlin (Open daily 10:00 - 22:00, log cabins and ice rink are open until January 1st 2018)

In the heart of Germany’s capital, every advent season features the beautiful Winter World. In addition to plentiful Christmas stalls and events, release your inner child on the toboggan or 500-square metre open air ice rink. Afterwards indulge your taste buds with candied apples, roasted almonds and mulled wine. The German-style winter scenery and décor provides a cosy, charming atmosphere to enjoy amongst family and friends.

Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague (2nd December 2017 – 6th January 2018)

This medieval city’s Christmas set up boasts pure Prague tradition. With a generous range of old Czech cuisine and popular seasonal dishes such as 'Trdelník' (a hot sugar-coated pastry) visitors can experience the festive period amongst a unique atmosphere. The Old Town Square Christmas market is one of the prettiest and busiest markets in Prague, enabling the city to showcase its centuries old, breath-taking architecture.

Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market, Budapest (10th November – 31st December 2017)

The picturesque Budapest market undoubtedly provides a delightful sensory Christmas experience, filled with festive music, enticing smells and radiant colours. Beautiful sounds from choirs singing and individual handmade stalls and gifts, the Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market attracts visitors from all around and starts the Christmas season with a nostalgic, warm beginning.

Montreux Noel, Switzerland (23rd November  – 26th December 2017)

Switzerlands’ Montreux Noel market is arguably one of the most beautiful Christmas themed villages to date. With the idyllic mountain scenery surrounding as a backdrop, it simply adds to the exquisite Christmas ambience. Amongst the market are numerous attractions such as The Elves’ Village, The Magic Garden, The Santa Claus House, a medieval Christmas area, a Christmas crafts section and much more. Featuring musical entertainment and the appearance of Santa flying his sleigh, the Swiss market hasn’t missed one aspect of the season.

Winter Wonders and Christmas Market, Brussels (24th November until 31st December 2017)

From Ferris wheels and merry-go-rounds to a ‘Sound and Light’ show, the Winter Wonders and Christmas Market in Brussels has proved a popular Christmas destination. With more than 200 chalets, Winter Wonders has become one of the busier markets in comparison. With easy access to Brussels from the Eurostar, Winter Wonders would create a hassle free, fascinating Christmas break.

The Bryant Park Winter Village, New York (Skating hours: Daily 8am–10pm until 5th March 2018. Holiday Shops: Daily 11am–8pm until 24th November 2017. Starting 25th November, the hours are Mon–Fri 11am–8pm; Sat, Sun 10am–8pm, until 2nd January 2018)

New York City never fails to go ‘all out’ when it comes to any season. The Bryant Park Winter Village is one of the most popular events of the year in the city and especially loved amongst Christmas enthusiasts. The 17,000-square-foot outdoor rink is the centre-piece of the village. With more than 125 stalls showcasing food, boutiques, decorative goods and more, it is hard to fault the American Christmas style.

Ice Village in Museumplein, Amsterdam (Open daily from 12:00 from 20th December– 30th December 2017)

Amsterdam’s Ice Village enables its visitors to immerse themselves amongst one of the most traditional winter activities: ice skating. This mini village specialises in its elegantly lit ice rink which is surrounded by numerous fairy lights, gifts, treats and Christmas music. Snuggle up and sip on some fresh mulled wine or skate around with friends and family, enjoying the festive village in all its beauty.