5. Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
Away from the giant Christmas markets in Munich and Nuremberg, this small medieval town in Bavaria will leave you with a real Christmassy feeling.
Located in the old city, the market attracts thousands of visitors every year, but thanks to the beautiful setting with St. Jakob’s Church in the background it retains a welcoming and romantic atmosphere.
In fact, the whole town is really rather special at Christmas, so once you’ve taken your fill of the stalls, make sure to take a wander through the charming streets, past the traditional buildings to the medieval city walls.
The Rothenburg Reiterlesmarkt will be open from November 28 until December 23 2014.
4. Einsiedeln, Switzerland
Nestled in the Alps at the end of Lake Zurich, the journey up to Einsiedeln Christmas market is well worth it, and the best way is to take the steep mountain train which leaves from Zürich.
Once you arrive in the town, wind your way through the enchanting cobbled streets up to the huge square in front of the monastery, where you’ll find this cosy and inviting market with the sound of Cathedral bells echoing across the snow in the background.
Here you’ll find an enticing range of Christmas gifts for all your loved ones, as well as plenty of stalls offering delicious delicacies. Truly a treat for all the senses!
The Einsiedeln Christmas market will be open from November 29 until December 8 2014.
3. Basel, Switzerland
Basel enjoys an unrivalled location at the meeting point of France, Germany and Switzerland and has excellent transport connections to Europe and beyond, making it a great choice for a short trip to a market.
The beautiful city looks simply stunning come December and the first snow falls, and there is no short supply of Christmas cheer both at the market and throughout the surrounding streets and squares.
The huge market itself not only offers the best of the traditional variety of gifts, decorations and food but also runs fun and festive activities for children such as candle making and craft workshops, making this a perfect choice for all the family.
The Basel Christmas Market will be open from November 27 until December 23 2014.
2. Colmar, France
This charming town in the Alsace region of France boasts not one but five different markets, each based around a different theme including one especially for the younger members of the family.
Let yourself be guided by twinkling lights through the narrow city streets, lined with pretty wooden-clad houses and filled with the scent of orange and cinnamon, until you discover each of the markets.
Colmar truly gets in to the Christmas spirit each year and the spectacular illuminations transform the city into a fairytale setting for a pre-Christmas break.
All the markets in Colmar will be open from November 21 until December 31 2014.
1. Innsbruck, Austria
Well known as a top-quality ski resort town, Innsbruck gives visitors a fantastic chance to combine a pre-Christmas s
he city actually offers several markets, from the most traditional one in the old town to a modern market in Maria-Theresia-Strasse.
With the stunning backdrop of the Tirol mountains, and plenty of activities to keep young ones happy, you’ll be enchanted by this gorgeous city and the warm, happy glow that fills its streets and squares.
The Innsbruck Christmas Markets will be open from November 15 to January 6 2015.