When temperatures drop and holiday spirit fills the air it’s time to head to one of Europe’s Christmas markets. From Barcelona to Athens here are some of the best!
SPAIN – BARCELONA
The Fira de Santa Llúcia is the oldest Christmas market in Barcelona (this year marks its 236th anniversary). On its 192 stalls, located on the Avenida de la Catedral in the Gothic Quarter right in front of the Cathedral, you will find handmade gifts, figurines for your nativity scene, and plenty of traditional Christmas decorations. In addition to the stalls, you will also find a floating nativity scene and craft workshops for children and teenagers.
FRANCE – CANNES
Cannes becomes even more lively around the holiday season with the Christmas village and market and many attractions you will undoubtedly love! The Christmas village and market consist of around 50 chalets selling mainly food and handcrafts: the best place to find memorable gifts for your friends and families as well as mulled wine. Don’t forget to show off your best moves on Cannes’s huge outdoor 400m2 natural ice-skating rink!
An amazing Christmas shopping experience awaits you at the Christmas Promenade Monte-Carlo Shopping, from 3rd December to 8th January. Near the Place du Casino, you can shop under the sparkling Christmas lights on Sunday 11th and 18th December! This is the perfect opportunity to find a dazzling party outfit in one of the many designers’ boutiques, or perhaps to surprise your loved one with gifts and decorations selected in the most exclusive shopping destination of the Riviera. Not far from Port Hercules, you’ll also find Monaco’s Christmas village. Traditionally open from early December to early January, it has a magical atmosphere that visitors of all ages will love!
Verona (just 1,5 hrs from Venice port)
It is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the Christmas atmosphere. Every year around this time, the first thing you’ll notice in Piazza Bra will be the giant comet, which aside from its beauty also boasts a second record: it is the biggest moving sculpture in Italy. Here, there is a deeply felt tradition for locals which is unmissable for tourists: Saint Lucia’s fair, where you will find Verona’s biggest Christmas market. Legend has it that the saint comes during the night bringing sweets for the well- behaved children and coal for the naughty ones. In Piazza dei Signori you will find a perfect reproduction of a German- style Christmas market.
Rome (just 1 hr driving from Civitavecchia port)
From the end of November to the 6th January, Piazza Navona is filled with the magic of Christmas. The square is full of stalls displaying their traditional Christmas specialties, stockings filled with sweets and chocolate as well as ornaments for your Christmas tree.
Naples: (just 40 minutes driving from Marina di Stabia)
One of the most picturesque streets in Naples is the well-known San Gregorio Armeno Street which (since the 18th century), has been known as the “Christmas alley”, the street where all artisan workshops’ specializing in nativity scenes are to be found. Here you will come across countless tiny shops, kiosks and stalls selling figurines of politicians, sportsmen and celebrities, mimicking the figurines found in a traditional nativity scenes. They are available in all shape and sizes alongside the world famous Neapolitan nativities.
CROATIA – SPLIT
Get into the Christmas spirit at “Advent”, Split’s annual celebration of Christmas. Surrounded by the snow capped Dinaric Alps, Split looks charming on a crisp winter day, and its market stalls, quirky shops and cobbled streets are the perfect place to go shopping. Split pulls out all the stops for Christmas: you’ll find wooden stalls selling festive food, seasonal concerts and all kinds of activities to join in. It is definitely a picture perfect setting: its twinkly lights and the smell of mulled-wine lingering in the air would be enough to warm even Scrooge’s heart!
GREECE – ATHENS
Experience the Christmas magic at the largest and most exciting festive village in Athens! The Christmas Factory at Technopolis in Athens opened its doors on Saturday 26th November and will remain open until 6th January. There will be lots of things to look forward to: plenty of lights, games, laughter, tickling smells and for the first time this year a theatrical performance!