I don’t know about you but I’m definitely starting to get that festive feeling. After all it’s less than three weeks until we’ll be heading home from uni for the holidays! One of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit is by hopping across the Channel and experiencing one of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets. It might seem a bit extravagant on a student budget but it’s not as expensive as you might think. Here are some options I’ve found and laid out which include transport and a swanky hotel all for under £200. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to glug some gluhwein and pick up some of those last minute presents which will be all the more special being authentic. So why not grab a bunch of girlfriends or maybe that special someone and reward yourself, after all those hours you’ve spent in Hallward this term, with a short city break to one of these winter wonderlands?
Head to Germany for the ultimate Christmas market experience. Not only is Berlin one of the best cities to visit in Europe, but it also has markets all over the city at this time of the year. The main and most popular one is held in the picturesque setting around the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirch - a church that was hit during WWII and was never fully restored. Take in some of the city’s history whilst meandering through the rustic wooden stalls with a nice hot, authentic, gluhwein in your hands.
When: 23rd Nov - 31st Dec
BA offers flights plus 2 nights in a hotel from £159 pp - visit http://www.britishairways.co.uk.
The ‘Christkindlmarkt’ in front of the city’s impressive Town Hall is one of the oldest and well known markets in Europe. The city, one of the most beautiful, is often overlooked by us students and the atmosphere is just perfect for a very European ‘Christmassy’ getaway. Surrounded by a park full of twinkling lights, it’s certainly a very romantic Viennese wonderland!
When: 17th Nov - 24th Dec
BA offers flights plus 2 nights in a hotel from £169 pp
The main market is held in a fairytale-like ambience of Old Town Square with cobbled streets and grand buildings surrounding it. If you want to avoid the crowds, you might want to visit Wenceslas Square (I challenge you not to sing ‘Old King Wenceslas’ all weekend). The Czechs do a traditional Christmas Market very well and there’s likely to be at least a bit of snow at this time of the year to make you feel more merry and joyful.
When: 1st Dec - 6th Jan
BA offers flights plus 2 nights in a hotel from £139 pp
(Hostels are very cheap in prague too)
This alluring Belgian city holds an amazing Christmas market and is unbelievably easy to get to via Eurostar. This is perhaps more suited to those with a sweet tooth as the smell of waffles, pancakes and chocolate wafts through the air - it is irresistible. The stalls are mainly centred around Simon Stevinplein and Grote Markt, which has an ice skating rink.
When: 23rd Nov - 6th Jan
Railbookers offers a 2 night B&B stay via Eurostar for £179 pp
(cheap flights are also available from most major airports)
All of the British Airways deals were found here but bargain hunters might prefer to check out the flight only deals with budget airlines like Easyjet and Ryanair, and then head to Hostel Bookers for remarkably cheap and reliable hostel options. Skyscanner is another great website for comparing flight prices and finding the cheapest available.