This is a guest post from Monique Rubin, a freelance travel blogger who lives in the Netherlands and blogs about family travel and expat life. A contributor to Examiner.com and TravelMom.com and a frequent guest blogger, she documents her travel adventures with her family from Amsterdam to Zanzibar.
Nothing gets you into the holiday spirit in Europe like a Christmas market. These markets, which originated in Germany, can now be found in many cities throughout Europe. I’ve been to several over the years and here are my picks of the best Christmas markets for festive family fun.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
The gingerbread houses of this market have different themes and are sprinkled throughout the city. The one on Schadowplatz with its huts adorned with large Santa Claus hats, merry-go-round and activities specifically for children is particularly family-friendly.
While in Düsseldorf, take time to walk down the city’s shopping street, Konigsallee with its giant chestnut trees brilliantly illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights.
Brightly decorated wooden huts which occupy the Old Town Square, Wenceslas (he of the Christmas carol) Square, Namesti Republky and Havelske Trziste are the hallmark of the Prague Christmas market where you will find Czech handicrafts and glass, wooden toys and Christmas tree ornaments.Take the children to the animals stable in the Old Town Square where they can pet sheep, goats and a donkey.The Old Town Square is also home to a cozy wooden cabin with daily workshops where kids can make participate in fun holiday activities and a stage where Christmas carols and concerts are performed daily.
While most Christmas markets have a bit of rustic charm, there’s no denying the buzz that comes from being in such a lively, urban setting like Berlin. The city’s sixty markets are as varied and diverse as its neighborhoods.Kids of all ages will want to experience “WinterMagic” at Potsdamer Platz, which features Europe’s largest toboggan run.Also at Potsdamer Platz is the Christmas market at Sony Centre, and next door, Legoland Discovery Center.
Families will also enjoy the WeihnachtsZauber on Gendermenmarkt, one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares.Small and intimate, this market also features an extensive daily performance program of choirs, dance ensembles, acrobats and theater. Gendermenmarkt charges a fee of € 1.00.However, children up to age 12 are free.
The city of lights shines even brighter during the holiday season with a number of traditional Christmas markets throughout the city.The Champs Elysees is home to one of the city’s main Christmas markets. As you make you’re your way through the market along this grand avenue, you’ll find chestnuts roasting on a open fire and maybe even Jack Frost nipping at your nose, especially if you visit the market’s ice sculpture festival “Around the World.” After you’ve finished at the market, take the kids for a ride on La Grande Roue (“big ferris wheel”) which offers beautiful views of the city.
Photos courtesy of Monique Rubin