Originally published at Priority Pass
If there’s one thing worth leaving your warm, cosy home for to face the cold December weather, it’s the excitement of a Christmas market. Wandering around stalls, wooden chalets and snow-covered cathedrals while enjoying festive treats and cinnamon-infused mulled wine must be the most tempting activities of the festive season. If you haven’t made any plans yet, you may want to pack your bags, grab friends and loved ones and take your pick from Zurich, Copenhagen and Frankfurt – three beautiful European cities with plenty of festive attractions and events scheduled in the final days of 2019.
Planning a ‘Swissmass’? Look no further than Zurich, in the north of Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, Zurich isn’t actually the capital, but is the country’s financial center. Zurich is worth a visit all year round, but even more so around Christmas, when mulled wine, twinkling lights and enchanting markets go hand in hand with quirky pop-up bars, designer shops and a unique fifty-foot tree!
The official dates for the Zurich Christmas Market this year are November 21 to December 23, with the Christkindlimarkt open until December 24. No matter which market you visit, you’ll find glühwein (hot mulled wine), raclette and wonderful gift options for all your Christmas shopping. Two of the best markets to check out are The Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Central Station and The Zurich Viennese Village (Wienachtsdorf) at Sechseläutenplatz in Bellevue.
The Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Central Station is a must see for one simple reason – the fifty-foot tall, dazzling Christmas tree decked out in Swarovski crystals. It is surrounded by stalls selling all kinds of locally produced gifts and traditional food, and the whole market is set against the backdrop of the picturesque train station. With close to 150 stalls, this is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe, though you’ll still want to wrap up warm, the Central Station remains pretty chilly.
The Zurich Viennese Village (Wienachtsdorf) takes place in the most scenic location by Lake Zurich and right in front of the Opera House. You’ll find over 100 market stalls providing a village-like atmosphere, complete with Santa’s grotto, a large skating rink, a fondue chalet and a traditional carousel. Wienachtsdorf is also home to the Designer Market, where local designers display their handmade pieces. Nearby, is the children’s Christmas tram, providing a magical tour of the city centre.
The closest airport is Zurich Airport, located only a 12-minute train ride from the city center. To sign off your Swiss get-away, the Primeclass Lounge is the ideal place to put your feet up before your flight, enjoy some refreshments and take advantage of the Wi-Fi to share all the new memories you’ll make. The lounge is open every day from 6am until 10.30pm and you’ll find it just after Security to leave Switzerland on a high note!
Arguably, the best place to soak up the atmosphere in Copenhagen is at one of the many local Christmas markets. Christmas here is a time where locals and visitors alike carry the mandatory warm cup of gløgg (mulled wine) to keep their hands warm while they stroll the markets and enjoy the festive spirit. Delight in a traditional Danish yuletide with bars, ice-rinks and stalls laden with Christmas gifts all over the city!
Set in the famous amusement park, Tivoli Garden Christmas Market is one of the main attractions and it’s open until January 5. Framed by festive decorations and grand surroundings, the lake is transformed into a glistening ice rink. The gardens, miniature villages and stalls selling all kind of festive souvenirs and foods, the Tivoli Youth Guard’s illuminated parade and festive music in the halls will all take you to your own Christmas fairy tale. You can also enjoy the rides at the historic amusement park.
Getting an early start, Nyhavn’s Christmas Market is open from the start of November. The harbor front provides an iconic setting with its cobbled streets, pastel-coloured houses and stalls decorated with strings of lights. Højbro Plads hosts another traditional marketplace, open from November 15 to December 22. You’ll find local handmade gifts and traditional foods for sale in beautiful log-cabins, while real reindeer and Santa’s sleigh, help make Højbro Plads a perfect place to enjoy the festive activities throughout the holiday season.
The market in Freetown Christiania is famous for its exotic atmosphere, while the Meatpacking District Christmas market is praised for a great variety of Danish delicacies. And, the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market at Nytorv is the most unusual market, named after the world-famous and beloved children’s storyteller. Every stall is named after one of his fairy tales, and even has its own theme! On your way out of Copenhagen, make sure to stop by the Primeclass Lounge at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport and enjoy some Danish treats one last time before you depart. Located in Terminal 3, the lounge is open from 5.30am to 10pm daily.
Frankfurt am Main, the business and financial centre of Germany, has a single big Christmas market in the historic quarter of the city, stretching from the square at the Hauptwache down to the quayside on the river Main. Full of history and traditions, this is one of the oldest, largest and most popular Christmas markets in Europe. In fact, it is so popular that smaller versions of it take place across a number of cities in the UK every year. The scenic surroundings on the Römerberg and St Paul’s Square also make it one of Germany’s most beautiful Christmas markets.
Open from November 25 to December 22, over 200 festive stalls are set out on Römerberg square, Paulsplatz and Mainkai quay. Beyond the traditional market offerings, there is a wide range of entertainment – including concerts, trumpet fanfares from the balcony of St. Nicholas’s Church and the church carillon. The wonderful aroma of baked apples, roasted nuts, gingerbread and glühwein in the brightly illuminated old town beautifully contrast the Frankfurt skyline in the background.
The history of the Frankfurt Christmas Market stretches back to the end of the 14th century, when mystery plays were performed around Römerberg. Today, it attracts millions of visitors every year from all over the world and reminds them of the history of this beautiful city with a rich past and a luxurious present. The market has even developed its own specialities, such as baked marzipan mixes and Quetschemännchen (figurines made from prunes and nuts.) Back in the day, young men used to send such figurines to the girls they wanted to marry, and If they were accepted, it meant that they stood a chance!
Frankfurt Airport is by far the busiest airport in Germany. It is located just over 6 miles southwest of the city and connects to the city via the regional S-Bahn service. The Primeclass Lounge, located in Terminal 2, ensures an enjoyable rest before your take off. It’s open daily from 6am to 10.30pm and it features comfortable seating and a relaxing ambiance, and a selection of food, beverages and services.