Over the last couple of years I’ve done more city breaks in winter that I ever had previously, it’s become sort of a tradition and I’m now fully in favour of winter travel. Christmas markets are one of the biggest draws to European cities at this time of year, and what could be more perfect than combining a love of exploring somewhere new, with immersing yourself in the most traditional of festive spirits? When Jet2 city breaks recently sent me a Christmas market hamper I was so chuffed by what was included in it, that it’s got me lining up markets to visit for the rest of time.
For the sake of clarity, I’ve not been paid to write this post. The Christmas market hamper which included the products in these photos, was gifted to me by Jet2, and they’re all available to buy at Christmas markets throughout Europe. After personally choosing to travel with Jet 2 city breaks on three occasions in the last year alone, including my most recent Christmas trip to New York, I’m more than happy to share with you why I love their city break packages. So let’s dig into this hamper for some Christmas market inspiration shall we?
I can’t talk about Christmas markets without mentioning Germany, the Christmas market birthplace dating all the way back to the 14th century. Beer huts, German sausage food stalls, hot gluhwein, and handmade crafts – all your favourite features of Christmas markets across Europe, and all taken from the original German tradition. Imagine experiencing the most authentic of these in the medieval setting of Nuremberg? Or perhaps Berlin, where you will find a lot more than just one market to explore.
After catching the beginnings of the festive activities in Copenhagen this year it’s firmly on my list to experience in December when the market and Tivoli is in full swing. Taking twinkly fairy lights and the cosy hygge vibe to a whole new level Copenhagen is a brilliant city I’d recommend to anyone.
The market huts along the canal at Nyhavn are some of the smallest I’ve ever seen, but seem to have so much to offer including the Danish take on mulled wine, glogg. They let you try little samples of it and that stuff is strong, but warms you up a treat.
If you need a little extra help to wrap up warm there are loads of knitwear stalls, selling some actually quite tasteful Christmas jumpers, hats, scarves and gloves. When you’re done at the market head to one of the adorable coloured buildings to truly experience the Scandinavian hygge atmosphere. It’s very cute.
For once I’m lost for words when it comes to introducing Paris as a destination to you. The place I love most in the world and somewhere I will never get tired of visiting. Having always been in spring or summer, I went at Christmas two years ago and was blown away by it.
It’s got to be the classiest Christmas city, with stunning lights and decorations filling the grand, beautiful streets and open spaces. There are a number of Christmas markets, including the two biggest by the Eiffel Tower and the Champs Elysees, the most magical of settings. Don’t forget to have a hot chocolate from Angelina’s, and buy some to bring home too.
Amsterdam is the final Jet2 Christmas market destination that I have been to, and somewhere I now feel like I know like the back of my hand. I’ve yet to experience Ice* Amsterdam though, which is the big winter experience that includes the market, ice skating and other wintery activities near the Rijksmuseum.
If there’s one thing Amsterdam gets right is it’s sweet treats, and I can only imagine how good their stroopwafels, pancakes, mince pies, and other treats are at Christmas time. As well as this the canals are beautiful, and transform after dark to a light show experience that dances across the water in winter.
Jet2 obviously offer so many more destinations than just the ones I’ve already been to and can tell you about. Here’s just a couple that are very high on my bucket list for years to come, starting with Budapest. The architecture looks incredible, and I’ve heard some great stories of cheap, old ruin bars to enjoy too.
I’d be telling a small lie if I said I’ve never been to Austria, but it was when I was a kid so I can’t remember much, meaning Salzburg Christmas market is definitely one I’d love to see. What I do remember is the soup, of which I reckon there’d be plenty of. Other than that the thought of snow covered rooftops, quaint streets and an ornate looking market square all have me dying to explore them.
Vienna is somewhere I literally long to visit for New Year. I don’t know the first thing about classical music, but the New Year’s Day opera that’s always on TV looks fabulous. Imagine the locals dancing the Viennese waltz on New Year’s eve under the fireworks as well. I need to go here, but I’ll swap dancing shoes for winter boots to plod around the markets in.
Finally, I can’t mention Christmas city breaks with Jet 2 without mentioning New York in more detail, especially as I’ve just got back from the most amazing trip there. Jet 2 put festive trips to New York on from multiple cities in the UK from October – December, and if you’re looking for a really easy, direct way of visiting then I really would recommend it.
We paid a £60 per person deposit in August, which left plenty time to pay off the balance, and both flights and hotel accommodation was included. The best thing from a practical point of view is the direct flights from Newcastle. The best thing from a Christmas city break point of view is that you’re in New York, for 4-5 days and the place is incredible. They may not do Christmas markets half as good as we do in Europe, but you can still pick up a unique Christmas decoration from Macy’s!
As I’ve already mentioned the Jet2 City Break or Holiday option allows you to book your whole trip in one go, with just a deposit. They offer a really good broad range of hotels to choose from, and the whole experience is really easy and straightforward. They’re reliable and travel times are really good for maximising your time in destination.
If a Christmas market city break isn’t for you then I’d also really recommend Rome or Florence in spring or end of summer, both of which I’ve done this last year with Jet 2, and of course Paris at any time of year. I’m already trying to narrow down my winter wishlist for 2019, I’m currently battling with Budapest or Vienna – what do you think?
Disclaimer: I was gifted the products in most of my photos by Jet2 in the form of a Christmas hamper. I was not paid to write this post, and as always it is my own honest opinion. All three of my Jet2 city breaks over the last 12 months have been fully paid for by myself.
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