It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
It's that most wonderful time of the year - time to wrap up warm, look for unique gifts and enjoy some gluhwein.
Although many of Europe's biggest Christmas markets may be on hold until next year, that doesn't mean there isn't Christmas spirit to be found. We've found you the best Christmas markets to visit in 2020 or if you're thinking of giving them a miss this year, we'll even give some tips on how to bring the Christmas market spirit home.
SwitzerlandOpen Quarantine on return
Though it may be smaller scale than other years, Zurich is still set to bring Christmas to the city. You can stop at Winter Garte for mulled wine to warm you up, then head to Frau Gerolds Winter-Garten where you'll find lights, decorations, fire pits and a gift market on Saturdays.
From the 3rd December until the 20th the main WiehnachtsStädtli (Christmas city) will be held across the 3 main squares of Rapperswil (Fischmarktplatz, Hauptplatz, Engelplatz). Or head to the Badener WunderDorf, in the theatre district where you will find Christmas stalls, mulled wine and plenty of street food and fondue.
Although the main Basel Christmas Market has been cancelled for this year, this doesn't mean the city is without Christmas spirit. The city is illuminated each evening and you can climb Basel Cathederal to view the lights over the Old Town. There's plenty of shopping to enjoy and to encourage visitors to spend the run up to Christmas in Basel they are offering a 50CHF (about £40 pound) voucher per person to spend in the shops! Make sure to stop at Johann Wanner's Christmas House, where you can find unique glass ornaments and over 5000 square feet of Christmas goodies!
Bern might just be one of the best Christmas destinations, especially in the snow! At the foot of the Bern Cathederal you'll find Bern Minster Christmas Market - open from 28th November right up until Christmas Eve. Here you'll find unique crafts lovingly made om Bern or the surrounding areas.
Then head over to Waisenhausplatz (Orphanage Square), where you'll find around 50 stalls with souvenirs, decorations, food and drink. All nestled in this UNESCo World Heritage Site.
Image courtesy of Bern.com
If it's food and drink you're after then be sure to head to Chalet Alpenland on Granary Square where you can enjoy Flammkuchen, fondue and raclette, mulled wine and sweet treats.
For a bonus treat whilst you are there, then we recommend renting a car and driving out to the Ice Palaces at Schwarzsee (it's less than an hours drive). Every winter these maginifcent palaces are sculpted out of ice, you can climb around and amongst them - and this makes a pretty magical experience for the whole family.
SwedenOpen Quarantine on return
Every year the city is lit up with millions of lights to celebrate Christmas and this year is no different - although there is no Christmas market, there's still plenty of festive activities to enjoy.
Each year people look forward to seeing the Christmas windows at the NK department store - this years theme is 'A Sustainable Winter Saga'. In the evening you can go ice skating in Kungsträdgården, it's free and open to all.
Gothenburg has some of the best Christmas lights around, and this year you can wander through nine works of light art across the city. So wrap up warm and enjoy and magical walk through the city.
The city has also been recognised as the World's Most Sustainable Destination for 2021 - and in this spirit you can shop at a special Christmas pop-up store for second hand and pre-loved gifts and clothing - you decide what to pay and all proceeds go to the Gothenburg City Mission.
When you're all shopped out then head to one of the Christmas Buffets and enjoy some tradtional Swedish dishes - pickled herring, marinated salmon and of course gingerbread.
Open (certain regions of UK must isolate on arrival - check online) Quarantine on return
Although the opening of the Christmas markets have been pushed back, they still currently plan to go ahead with the famous Vienna Christmas Market - after all they have been running since the Middle Ages! The main market is the Viennese Dream Christmas Market, which is found in front of the rather spectacular City Hall. They currently hope to open at the start of December.
There are also the Christmas Vilages at Belvedere Palace and Maria Theresian Square, where you'll find festive stalls selling tradtional handcrafted goods, decorations and of course food and drink.
UK Christmas markets go virtual
This year, more than ever, we've realised the importance of shopping local and supporting the indepdent traders, artists and crafts people all across the country - so why should Christmas be any different. In this spirit a number of the UKs most popular Christmas markets have go online - so you can still get the joy of finding unique handmade gifts and support local business at the same time. Here's a few of our favourites:
Bringing Christmas markets to life at home
We've thought long and hard about what it is we love about Christmas markets, and we're not going to lie a lot of it comes down to the food and drink! So why not put on some Christmas music, browse hand made gifts on etsy and tuck into some of our favourite Christmas market food and drinks! (Bonus points if you have a snow machine!)