5 Alternative Christmas Markets in Europe


Europe is set to transform into a winter wonderland over the next month, as cities across the continent are taken over by Christmas markets, bright lights, and festive cheer.

a&o Hostels provides a fantastic base for those looking for a weekend away to get into the festive spirit. With comfortable, affordable accommodation in key cities across Europe, the hostels are suitable for a variety of travellers this yuletide season. Offering 24-hour service, free Wi-Fi, guest kitchens, laundry rooms as well as being centrally located, it is the perfect place from which to explore some of Europe’s alternative cities and their Christmas markets, whilst on a budget.

Bremen, Germany

Just southwest of Hamburg, the German city of Bremen is transformed into a traditional Christmas picture, with a slight gothic edge, thanks to the traditional Renaissance and Gothic architecture surrounding city hall. Encircled by rivers and lakes that freeze in winter, ice-skating is a very typical activity for this city, so it’s no surprise that when the most famous market of this German city is installed, it comes complete with an ice-rink full of charm.

Stay at a&o Bremen Hauptbahnhof from €13.95 (£11.94) per person, per night. After a long Christmas-filled day, warm up in the Bremen Hauptbahnhof, just a short distance from central station, the historical centre and its town hall.

Salzburg, Austria

The beautiful Salzburg Christmas Market (Christkindlmarkt) at the Dom and Residenzplatz has deep historical roots and is one of the world’s oldest Advent markets. Its unique setting in the heart of Salzburg’s World Heritage-listed Old City, the traditional market stands, and its historical significance makes the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt a truly special place.

Stay at Wolfgang’s managed by a&o from €17.49 (£14.97) per person, per night. Newly opened this year, with the central station right on its doorstep, visitors can reach the city’s sights quickly and easily.

Copenhagen, Denmark

The traditional Tivoli Garden Christmas markets in Copenhagen are a must-visit this year. With a warm welcome from Santa Claus, visitors are invited to explore a range of exciting market stalls, enjoy hair-raising rides, indulge on copious amounts of sweet treats and hot beverages. The historic gardens are taken over by decorated wooden houses, snow-covered trees, reindeer, twinkly lights and the true Nordic Christmas atmosphere.

Stay at a&o Copenhagen Nørrebro from €15.45 (£13.22) per person, per night. Within a short car or bus journey to the markets, a&o Copenhagen Nørrebro is an ideal location from which to explore the markets and get festive.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s magical Christmas market takes place in Old Town Square, which is transformed into a glowing winter wonderland with a remarkable Christmas tree, transported from the forests of the Liberec region of the Czech Republic. Old Town Square will be adorned with brightly decorated wooden chalets, stocked with local crafts and traditional Christmas treats. Visitors can enjoy spectacular Christmas events, including carol concerts and dance performances.

Stay at a&o Prague Metro Strizkov €14.34 (£12.28) per person, per night. Situated in the district Strizkov, it is only 5 minutes from the metro station Strizkov, you will be within easy access of all the markets.

Dortmund, Germany

This city, the ideal destination for all football fans due to its atmosphere and dedicated Museum of German Football, is also a big player in the Christmas Market scene. The city centre fills up with handcrafted breweries, over 300 stalls fill the old market square, a 45-metre-high Christmas tree decorated with thousands of lights, and a traditional merry-go-round for children. Drifting through the narrow streets, the aroma will speak for itself: a gastronomic feast starring chocolate sweets, spicy wine and gingerbread biscuits.

Stay at a&o Dortmund Hauptbahnhof from €15.95 (£13.65) per person, per night. Within a stone’s throw of the Central Station and a short walk to the city centre, not only is it the perfect place for football fanatics, but an ideal location from which to explore the Dortmund Christmas markets.

Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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