Christmas is less than six weeks away, and around the world, Christmas markets have opened for the season, bringing yuletide with huts selling gluhwein, food and sweets. And while Manchester has a great market, there are several cities around Europe hosting extravagant Christmas markets served directly from Manchester Airport.
Get in the Christmas spirit with a mini-break and a visit to renowned Christmas markets in cities like Geneva, Frankfurt and Budapest. A trip to the market located inside an amusement park in Gothenburg or the market in Vienna, claimed to be the biggest and one of the oldest in the world.
Manchester Airport offers direct flights from as low as £44.98 return per person to multiple cities that boasts some of the best markets around. They all make perfect weekend destinations with loads of things to do once you’ve tried every stall at the markets.
Christmas market destinations served direct from Manchester Airport
Price: Ryanair offers tickets from Manchester to Berlin from £93.04pp return between December 10 and December 12.
When: Berlin’s Christmas markets are open from Monday November 21.
With flights from £93.04 return per person, Berlin offers more than enough Christmas markets. The market outside City Hall offers a family friendly selection of activities like ice skating and fairground rides, and the Gendarmenmarkt has a great selection of exclusive crafts and decorations with multiple food and drink stalls.
Berlin also offers plenty of world famous sites to visit. The iconic Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall are must sees for anyone visiting the historical city.
Price: Brussels Airlines offer flights from Manchester to Brussels from £101.58pp return.
When: Brussels’ Christmas markets are open from Friday November 25.
The EU’s Winter Wonders Christmas Market is open between November 25 and January 1. The market has more than 200 wooden chalets that offer food, drinks, decorations and traditional Belgian chocolate and beer.
Don’t forget to check out some of the city’s famous sites like Old Town with its Grand Place or Saint-Michel Cathedral. Or why not swing by Palace Royale, the Belgian royal family’s former residence?
Price: Ryanair offers flights to Budapest from £89.23pp return between November 26 and December 1.
When: The Budapest Christmas market is open from Friday November 18.
Right in front of Budapest’s St. Stephen Basilica you will find the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market. Here you will find a huge selection of food, drink and handicrafts including the traditional Hungarian honey cakes.
Once you’re done with your Christmas shopping the waterfront bars make for an excellent retreat. Stop by Memento Park, which boasts over 40 statues of figures like Marx, Lenin and other historical figures whose statues have been mostly removed from the world.
Price: Jet2.com offers flights from Manchester to Cologne from £92pp return between November 28 and December 2.
When: The Cologne Christmas markets are open from Monday November 21.
There are several different Christmas markets in Cologne, but the biggest one lies in front of the city’s most iconic landmark - the world’s tallest twin-spired cathedral. Among Cologne’s smaller markets is the Stadtgarten Christmas market with a focus on handmade souvenirs and decorations.
The city has several parks and gardens to check out, including the Melaten Cemetery with more than 55,000 graves and numerous monuments. Old Town is also worth a visit with its quaint streets and historic houses.
Price: Lufthansa offers flights from Manchester to Frankfurt from £182pp return.
When: Frankfurt’s Christmas markets are open from Monday November 21.
Located in the Old Town centre, Römerberg, Frankfurt has one of the world’s oldest Christmas markets with origins tracing back to the 14th century. The city also unveils a new, specially designed Christmas cup every year which you don’t want to miss.
Once you’re done with the market, check out the rest of the Old Town with its mediaeval buildings faithfully restored after the original floor plans. You can also pay a visit to Palmengarten (The Palm Garden), Germany’s biggest botanical garden.
Price: Ryanair offers flights from Manchester to Gothenburg from £33.98pp return between December 2 and December 5.
When: Gothenburg’s Christmas market is open from Saturday November 19, but not daily.
The Gothenburg Christmas market is a perfect destination for families. It is located inside Sweden’s biggest amusement park, Liseberg, and offers traditional specialities like cinnamon buns and glögg, Swedish mulled wine. The park also has an ice skating rink, carol choirs and a mini-Lapland.
Once you’re done with your Christmas shopping, many of Liseberg’s rides and rollercoasters are open for an additional fee. You can also visit the Old Town, Vasastaden, and stroll along its old street and wooden houses.
Price: Jet2.com offers flights from Manchester to Geneva from £185pp return between December 17 and December 20.
When: The Geneva Christmas markets are open from Thursday November 17.
The Geneva Christmas Market is the perfect destination for foodies and ski lovers. Besides the traditional stalls, with new offers weekly, and cultural events in the Jardin Anglais, the market has a dedicated street food section where flavours from around the world meet local specialities including raclette and fondue.
If you’re one for skiing, Switzerland is the home of many of the world’s finest ski resorts. Combine your trip with a visit to Mont Blanc, less than 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Geneva, for some world class skiing.
Price: Ryanair offers flights from Manchester to Prague from £83.73pp return between November 28 and December 3.
When: Prague’s Christmas markets are open from Saturday November 26.
Prague celebrates Christmas with a number of smaller, more intimate markets spread across the Czech capital which serve traditional sweet pastries and mulled wine, in addition to handicrafts and handicrafts.
The city’s Old Town attracts millions of tourists every year and takes on a unique ambience during Christmas. The Old Town also has a very active nightlife scene.
Price: Ryanair offers flights from Manchester to Vienna from £68.23 pp return between December 14 and December 19.
When: Vienna’s Christmas markets are open from Saturday November 19.
Vienna’s Christmas markets claim to be the world’s biggest and one of the oldest. Located by the Rathaus (City Hall) and marketed as the ‘Viennese Dream’, Vienna’s Christmas Market offers a great selection of gifts, food and drink, traditions and activities.
Vienna is also the home of world renowned galleries and museums. Visit one of the city’s opera houses if you want to get out of the cold for a bit.
All prices contained in this article were accurate at the time of publishing.