The Christmas season has begun and we are left with many Christmas markets to choose from. Here are a few interesting nearby markets to visit.
Christmas markets are popular all across the western world, but Germany was where they originated. It is believed that the tradition began in the Middle Ages, long before Germany was even a nation. So it isn’t surprising that some of the best Christmas markets are found in and around Germany. Although the facade is of a group of rather humble chalets, most markets are big business. Germany alone hosts about 2,500 markets, that attract more than 150 million visitors a year. If you’re looking for the best Christmas markets in Europe, then you would have to travel to Vienna, Berlin or Prague. If you’re not planning on going that far, then we in Eindhoven are still in close proximity to many charming markets. You’ll find a list of Christmas markets below, that are about two hours (or less) away with a variety of experiences to offer.
About an hour and a half’s drive from Eindhoven and you will come across the charming markets of Cologne. The markets in the Neumarkt and Alter Markt are noteworthy, but the most scenic spot is the Hafenmarkt, on the Rhine, beside the city’s Gothic Cathedral and Chocolate Museum. It is on till December 23rd this year and for more information please visit https://www.cologne.de/events/christmas-markets. Dusseldorf is about thirty minutes away from Cologne and the market there is worth a visit too. This market will be open till 30th December this year.
The next market is about two hours from Eindhoven by road. The Brussels Christmas market has many things to offer during the entire Christmas season. Strolling along the Grand Palace and Place St. Catherine, you can browse hundreds of chalets for artisan produce and gifts. Brussels’ Winter Wonders offers outdoor fun like ice-skating, sledging and a Ferris wheel. https://www.brussels.be/winter-wonders will probably help you decide when you’d like to visit and experience a range of exciting activities and treats.
Bruges in Belgium is probably among the quainter markets closer to Eindhoven. Ancient cobbled streets, medieval architecture, and picturesque squares add to the Christmas charm. Activities are mainly around the Market Square, overlooked by the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower that dominates the city skyline. Usually a hot Belgium waffle or mulled wine, are always on offer. Bruges is about two hours by road from Eindhoven and the market is open till January 1st, 2019. http://allexciting.com/bruges-christmas-market/
The next market worth mention in the vicinity of Eindhoven is in Antwerp. Antwerp’s (about an hour’s drive away) main square hosts the city’s fantastic Christmas market every year. The Christmas market has a 1200 metre-squared ice rink, which overlooks the River Scheldt. The market runs until January 6th, 2019 and there’s usually a spectacular fireworks show over the River Scheldt on New Year’s eve. https://wonderfulwanderings.com/christmas-markets-antwerp/
The Christmas market tradition is also hugely popular in the Netherlands. There are markets in almost every town and city. Amsterdam probably boasts of one of the largest and best lit markets in the country. The Museumplein turns into a wonderful Christmas Village, with the usual local quirks and flavour, and a huge ice rink. This season, Ice Amsterdam is open from November 17th, 2018 all the way until February 3rd, 2019. Every year the Amsterdam light festival adds to the city’s Christmas charm. 30 artworks are chosen by experts for the festival, and the 75 minute Amstel river cruise is the best way to see these installations. The light festival will go on till January 20th, 2019. For more details for a great holiday season in Amsterdam, please visit- https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/see-and-do/whats-on/monthly-event-calendar/december
One of the more significant Christmas markets in The Netherlands is hosted by the city of Dordrecht. It is most definitely the largest Christmas market in the Netherlands. Dordrecht is a beautiful city surrounded spectacularly by water. The market boasts of over 200 stalls spread across 2.5 kilometres. This festival, unlike other Christmas markets, only lasts 3 days, from 14th to the 16th of December. https://kerstmarktdordrecht.nl/ will help you plan the weekend.
The Leiden Christmas market is one of its kind in the Netherlands. This large floating festival during Leiden’s winter wonder week hosts 75 or more cosy wooden chalets. Whether you board a cruise, skate on the floating ice rink, or just relax and listen to the live music, it is sure to be a memorable experience. Leiden will host a number of winter events till the 6th of January. https://www.visitleiden.nl/en/discover-leiden/specials/winter-wonder-weeks. It was named the best in 2016 by kerstmarket.nl and so is definitely worth a visit.
Maastricht on Vrijthof square is another magical place to come together and celebrate winter. Attractions include a Ferris wheel, Alpine-inspired chalet (‘Almhütte’), a 900-m² sheltered ice rink, and a Christmas market with hot chocolate, local pastries, and other tempting goodies from the region. Another feature that marks the Maastricht market is the world of Charles Dickens. Inspired by Dickens’ Christmas Carol is this quaint village on Vrijthof square, with artisanal crafts such as a candle maker and a tinsmith, and admission is free. The market is open till the first of January. Please visit https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/plan-your-holiday/events-holland/maastricht-christmas-market.htm for more details.
The most quaint Christmas market in the country would probably be the Velvet Cave Christmas markets in Valkenburg. The market is set in the ruins of Valkenburg castle, where visitors can wander through the Velvet cave’s winding galleries. The castle is open to the public during regular working hours, and the entire route is also wheelchair friendly. This Christmas market will be open till the 30th of December. https://www.kasteelvalkenburg.nl/en/activities/christmas-market/.
If you’re looking for even more variety, or just specific dates to charming little festivals, or large city Christmas extravaganzas, this link will be useful – http://www.brunnvalla.ch/christmasmarkets/netherlands.html. May your holiday season be filled with all the fun and joy these festivals and markets promise.
For Eindhoven News: Anna John