There are some extremely unusual European Christmas markets, set in unique and inspiring destinations that are often overlooked for the more familiar haunts. If you and your loved one are looking to do something different from the norm this season, why not spend a few days away exploring somewhere new? Hero & Leander have searched for the most unique markets, and below you will find our top 5 recommendations.
Black Forest Christmas Market, Ravenna Gorge – Germany
In a small valley, under a 40 meter high railway frame sits the Black Forest Christmas Market. A location like no other, you will be surrounded not only by Christmas Stalls and festive spirit, but also myths and history. The laughter and joy of people browsing the many stalls offering arts and crafts and local products brighten up this dark and abandoned setting creating a warm and magical atmosphere for all to enjoy, even on the cold winters evenings.
Where? Ravenna Gorge, Hinterzarten – Germany.
When? Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th November.
Friday 4th December – Sunday 6th December
Friday 11th December – Sunday 13th December
Saturday 19th December – Sunday 20th December
Where to stay? Hero & Leander recommends 5* family run Parkhotel Adler, a luxurious hotel located a short 10 minutes walk from the Hinterzarten train station. The hotel features a number of guest rooms, private gardens, a small lake and game enclosure. If you plan on spending a long weekend you and your partner will have access to the spa and other amenities that the hotel offer, perfect for before and after your visit to the Black Forest Christmas Market.
Transport – A free shuttle bus service runs to and from the Christmas Market from Hinterzarten train station. For longer distance transport Hero & Leander recommends flying into Basel Airport, France. From here there is a train that will take you to Hinterzarten in 2 hours.
Royal Christmas Market, Hohenzollern Castle – Stuttgart.
Home to the Prussian Royal Family, Hohenzollern Castle accommodates the Royal Christmas Market for two weekends over the winter months. Said be one of Germany’s most beautiful locations, you will have the ability to not only visit the Christmas market, but to also stroll around the Castle and grounds, whilst taking in many of the breathtaking views. With late openings you and your better half can enjoy the settings and surroundings long into the evening, watching the castle turn into an enchanted location under the dark winter sky.
Where – Hohenzollern Castle, Stuttgart – Germany
When – Friday 27th November – Sunday 29th November
Friday 4th December – Sunday 6th December
Accommodation – Hero & Leander recommends staying at family owned 5* Ambiente Hotel LaCasa in Hechingen. This hotel is a 7 minute walk from Hechingen train station, giving easy access to a number of places including the Hohenzollern Castle and Stuttgart City. The hotel features a spa, restaurant and a number of rooms to choose from.
Transport – For transport to and from the castle there is a bus that can be taken up to the top of the hill. From here there is a free shuttle bus to the castle grounds. For long distance travel we recommend flying into Stuttgart Airport. From here you have the ability to catch the train to Hechingen station.
The Christmas Market Municipal Cave, Cauber – The Netherlands.
Deep in the Municipal Caves lies one of the most interesting Christmas Markets of all. The walls of the caves are soaked in history of families that have once passed through. From November until December, the cave becomes home to The Christmas Market Municipal Cave, which entwines itself in the history, transforming the cave into a unique setting, with lights that brighten up what was once a gloomy location. After shopping at the numerous stalls the market offers, you and your loved one can venture into the cave, whilst enjoying Dutch festive food and drinks.
Where? Cauberg, Valkenburg aan de Geul, The Netherlands.
When? 13th November – 23rd December.
Where to stay? H&L would recommend staying at Hotel Riche. This 4* hotel is a short walk away from both the city centre and Christmas Markets. Previous guests have said the hotel reflects the towns charming atmosphere. The Restaurant Brassiere Riche, owned by the hotel, will accommodate for all of your meals and on cold winters evenings you and your loved one can cosy up by the fire in the hotels bar.
Transport – Hero & Leander recommends flying to Brussels Airport, Belgium. From here catch a train to Valkenburg (NL) which takes approximately 2hrs35. Within Valkenburg you will have easy access to the city and Christmas markets on foot.
Floating Christmas Market, Vilshofen – Germany
The Danube Promenade attracts and welcomes a number of guests over the Christmas Period. With stalls selling festive food and gifts along the river banks, you and your loved one can walk the length enjoying the scents and noises around you, whilst browsing for gifts. As you walk along the promenade your attention will be caught by the Floating Christmas Market that takes part on a River Cruiser. You will be welcomed onboard to cruise the River Danube whilst resuming your gift shopping and taking in the romantic sights of the lit up promenade.
Where? The Danube Promenade, Vilshofen – Germany.
When? Friday 27th November – Sunday 29th November.
Friday 4th December – Sunday 6th December.
Friday 11th December – Sunday 13th December.
Where to stay? Hero & Leander recommends staying at the Hotel Wittelshbacher Zollhaur, a 3* hotel located on the banks of the River Danube. The hotel features a beauty shop and room service, as well as restaurant for those wanting to relax after a busy day/evening around the Christmas Markets.
Transport? Linz, Austria is the closest airport to fly into when visiting Vilshofen. From the airport there is a shuttle bus that takes passengers directly to the main train station in Linz. From here there is a train to Vilshofen which takes approximately 2hrs 20.
Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen.
From mid November Tivoli Gardens amusement park becomes home to the biggest Christmas Market in Copenhagen. Arriving during the day will give you and your partner the chance to enjoy a number of amenities including strolling hand-in-hand whilst admiring the architecture and gardens as well as visiting the amusement park. As the evening creeps over you will witness the transformation of the garden when it becomes illuminated by lights, creating a fairy tale and romantic atmosphere in an unexpected setting. With a number of stalls to visit and things to do throughout Tivoli Gardens, Hero & Leander recommends allowing a full day and night at to make the most of your visit.
Where? Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark.
When? 14th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016.
Where to stay? We recommend 5*boutique hotel and Travellers Best Hotel consecutive winner, Nimb Hotel. Located on the edge of Tivoli Gardens and across the street from Copenhagen’s main train stations, giving you close proximity for your stay. With 17 unique suites that feature their very own fireplaces, Nimb hotel will provide you and your partner with a cosy and homely stay.
Getting here- For long distance travel, fly into Copenhagen airport, from which there are a number of modes of transport to take you to Copenhagen city centre. The train will take you into Copenhagen’s main train station located outside of the Tivoli Gardens.