Christmas markets 2014: Europe's top ten

Roshina Jowaheer
Cologne Cathedral and Christmas Market
Cologne Cathedral and Christmas Market

Christmas isn't Christmas without a visit to a Christmas market. The concept of this rather magical experience started in Germany as early as the Middle Ages, when traders gathered to sell their goods before the bleak midwinter set in, but these days most of the western world embraces them with warmth and passion.

France, Switzerland and Germany are all popular places to pop to for a Christmas market holiday. And closer to home, the UK is bursting with Christmas markets, many in scenic spots such as Bath, Edinburgh and Winchester.

So what's all the fuss about? Christmas markets, or Christkindlmarkts, are all about celebrating everything traditional (albeit with a definite German tinge). Think gingerbread and stollen, bratwurst and candied fruit, as well as lots of local arts and crafts. While they provide a haven for shoppers, most people go simply to soak up the atmosphere: the little ones can meet Santa and the whole family can enjoy the Christmas carols.

Whether you fancy hopping on the Eurostar or getting a cheap flight to Europe, these are the top Christmas markets for a shopping break this winter...

Now take a look at Britain's best Christmas markets...

Related articles

Ski holidays 2014/15: What's new for families?

Where to go for winter sun

Top 10 Christmas Markets of Europe
Top 10 Christmas Markets of Europe