Christmas Market Tips

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR CHRISTMAS MARKET ‘FIX’

Are you the type of person who can’t get enough of the festive atmosphere, mulled wine, sweet treats and trinkets provided by a traditional Christmas Market. Thinking of hopping on an Air Malta flight this festive season for a weekend break to get your ‘fix’?

With the airline serving so many major European cities that host festive fayres – from  Amsterdam to Belgium and Vienna to Prague – you are spoilt for choice.

Christmas fair in Hyde park in 2016, London

There’s a good chance you’ll be paying a flying visit, so it is important to optimise your time and reap the maximum benefits of your Advent Adventures.

Here’s handful of tricks for making trips to Christmas Markets as epic as possible.

  1. Have cash on hand

Most European Christmas markets consist of temporary, wooden stalls standing closely together. If you want to buy any food, drinks, or trinkets, (and trust me, you’ll want to), cash is typically the only accepted form of payment.

Moreover, when it comes getting mulled wine, a Christmas Market staple, it’s usually served in ceramic mugs. On top of paying for the wine, you’ll probably also have to put down a deposit for the mug. (You get the deposit back after returning the mug). Mug deposits can range anywhere from 3 to 10 Euros.

Note: Many Glühwein mugs at Christmas Markets are decorated with the name of the market, You may be tempted to forfeit your deposit and keep the mug as a souvenir.

2. Wintertime means limited daylight hours

The further north you go, the less daylight you get. Depending on how many markets you would like to see and if you’re combining market visits with sightseeing, it’s useful to remember how short the days can be. On the other hand most Christmas Markets stay open late and look pretty magical when they’re all lit up at night. If you happen to have a lot on your “must see and do” list in a particular city, get your sightseeing done during the day and hit up the markets after dark.

3. Go early

You’ll find you are not the only one who loves a Christmas Market!. This means that they can get pretty crowded –packed like sardines sort of crowded  at the peak times. If this isn’t for you get there just before they open for the day, especially for markets held in old towns with narrow streets.

MUNICH, GERMANY – DECEMBER 18: people and sales booth at the Christmas market on December 18, 2017 in Munich, Germany

4. Dress warm

Christmas Markets are held outdoors and visiting markets involves spending a lot of time in the wintry cold. To make sure you enjoy your market experience to the full, layer up and dress warm. It’s easy to get cranky when one is cold.

One of my favourite tips to keep warm is grab some mulled wine (AKA glögg, glühwein, or vin chaud).

5. Weekdays over weekends (if you can)

If you get the chance, opt for visiting Christmas Markets on weekdays instead of weekends. The crowds are a lot more manageable and sometimes, non-existent.

6. Double check market dates and times

Not all markets around Europe open up on the same dates. Some may be ready to go halfway through November. Others may only start in December, and a whole bunch more may only run on weekends until a certain point in the Advent Season. Before committing to a specific market, make sure to double check its dates and hours of operation.

7. Don’t forget about visiting smaller villages

When researching some of the top Christmas Markets in Europe, the names of a lot of major cities, such as Frankfurt,  Vienna, and Prague, will pop up. But it’s useful to keep in mind that a lot smaller towns host some pretty charming markets too. They also tend to be less busy.

8. Hit up more than 1 market in 1 go

Practically every European city holds an annual Christmas Market. And the glorious thing about European cities is they don’t tend to be too far apart from one another.

Christmas market in front of the City Hall in Vienna, Austria