Hostelling International is the ‘go-to’ company if you are an avid and adventurous traveller looking for budget friendly, comfortable and convenient accommodation. With thousands of hostels located all over the world and always ready to offer plenty of advice and guidance, Hostelling International can help anyone from backpackers and student travellers to families looking to explore independently. Accommodation in great hostels can be in dorms or in private rooms, and you can rest assured facilities will be excellent and all required standards are met.
Europe’s Best Christmas Markets
Europe has some of the best Christmas markets in the world, and many people book a weekend trip away with the sole purpose of exploring them. Staying in a friendly hostel is one of the best ways for the adventurous traveller to enjoy such a break. But which markets are the best to visit and why? Here, some well-travelled experts from Hostelling International offer insider tips on what’s on offer and what to expect at each.
The first is the Bath Christmas Market, which is much closer to home than the rest. Situated right in the city centre, overlooked by the stunning Bath Abbey, the rows of charming wooden huts selling beautiful crafted gifts and other handmade items create a haven for people who prefer their gifts “bespoke”. You can’t help but be captivated by the quaint atmosphere, which is made extra special by the wafting smells of home cooked food and spiced wine, and the warm tones of local carol singers.
Germany is well known for its extravagant celebrations of Christmas and its markets are world famous. Berlin’s Christmas markets number around 50, and when in full flow they transform the city into a winter wonderland of decorations, twinkling lights and beautiful gifts. Hostelling International has several excellent hostels in Berlin for you to choose from, but make sure you book in advance at this busy time of year.
Switzerland is another country that loves its markets, and at Christmas time Basel hosts some of the most prestigious. Visiting Switzerland at this time of year evokes images of fairy-tale Christmases, and that vision does not disappoint. As you wander the markets enjoying the waffles and grilled sausages, music plays on every corner, mulled wine is drunk and decorations twinkle from every nook and cranny.
The market in Brussels is more modern than most; located in the stunning Place Saint Catherine it not only boasts some fabulous market stalls but also a Ferris wheel, concerts, ice rink, bands and even a sound and light show. This eclectic market fuses the traditional with a more contemporary take on the festivities, which is still as enchanting and charming as any of the others.
In Vienna, it is back to a more traditional and romantic market. This age old Christmas market has been in existence since 1294, and there really is no city more suited to hosting it. Bursting with charm, bathed in romance and providing the perfect setting for stunning Christmas celebrations, Vienna certainly does it with gusto. From Christmas punch to roasted chestnuts to unique local handicrafts, it is easy to get carried away by the atmosphere here.