From sipping hot Gluhwein to browsing handmade gifts, nothing gets you more in the festive spirit than a visit to a Christmas market.
Of course, the UK has some amazing markets you can visit, including Manchester, which is one of the most popular in the country.
But if you’re in the mood for a winter getaway as Christmas approaches, there are plenty of markets to visit across Europe without the need to test before you travel or quarantine upon arrival.
For the most traditional experience, head to Germany, the original homeland of the Christmas market, or admire the views of a Scandinavian market in Denmark or Sweden.
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Here are some of the best Christmas markets you can visit in Europe and tips you need to know from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
A trip to Cologne promises to be an authentic Christmas market experience – after all, Germany is the country where it all began. Savor one of the best German cuisines including mustard-covered Bratwurst and lightly spicy Lebkuchen.
There are several festive markets to choose from in this popular destination, the most impressive of which can be found near the city’s magnificent cathedral.
You can enter Germany if you are double stricken from the UK, but if you are not vaccinated you can only enter Germany if you have an important connection such as a German spouse or child or if you have an urgent need to travel, and they will be subject to quarantine.
All travelers entering Germany will need to complete a digital check-in prior to departure.
While in Germany, masks must be worn in enclosed public spaces and on public transport, while proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test is required to enter various places, including hotels and restaurants.
With its grand buildings and rich cultural history, Vienna is a great city to visit any time of the year, but it takes on a certain magic at Christmas.
You’ll find markets dotted around town squares, with stalls selling pretzels and freshly baked pastries, filling the air with inviting smells.
For the larger market, head to Rathausplatz, the square in front of the town hall, which provides a wonderful backdrop for all the wooden huts.
Double-bitten travelers can enter Austria without having to self-quarantine, but those who are not vaccinated will need to test negative and self-isolate for 10 days.
In Austria, FFP2 face masks are mandatory in confined spaces and on public transport. Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required to enter reception areas.
Prague, Czech Republic
With stalls selling handcrafted toys, beautiful decorations and festive trinkets, the Prague Christmas market is certainly full of charm.
Located in the heart of the city, the Old Town Square Market is a scene worthy of a Christmas card, or visit Wenceslas Square where there is a tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. each evening.
Fully vaccinated travelers can enter the Czech Republic without needing to be isolated or have a PCR test, those who are not double stung can only enter the country with a basic reason.
An FFP2 mask (or higher) is required in all indoor public spaces and on public transport. Social distancing measures are in place inside stores and restaurants, and you may need to show your Covid status to enter.
One of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, Strasbourg is certainly worth a visit with over 300 wooden huts selling festive treats.
Around every corner, you’ll see buildings adorned with twinkling lights, while the town’s half-timbered buildings make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Double-stung travelers must complete a self-declaration to enter France, but if you are not fully vaccinated, you will need an essential reason for traveling to France.
Face masks must be worn in all enclosed public spaces and on public transport.
There are several markets in Gothenburg, but the most exciting is at Liseberg Amusement Park, one of Sweden’s biggest Christmas markets.
It’s packed with classic attractions like dodgems and a Ferris wheel, as well as an ice skating show, perfect to watch while sipping a cup of Scandinavian mulled wine, known as glögg.
Double-bite travelers can enter Sweden without the need for testing or self-isolation, those who do not need to prove that they are exempt from the Swedish travel ban.
Face masks are recommended on public transport and there are legal restrictions on the number of people allowed on premises and for attending public events and gatherings.
Perhaps one of the most Christmas places you can visit, Copenhagen certainly delivers with its markets.
Discover the Hans Christian Andersen Market, named after the author of The Little Mermaid, for a magical experience full of kid-friendly activities and toy stalls.
Or visit Tivoli Gardens, where you’ll find over 1,000 Christmas trees (yes, you read that right) decorated with twinkling lights.
You can enter Denmark without needing to quarantine if you’re double hit, but if you’re not, you’ll need to take a test and self-isolate for 10 days.
Taking place in the city’s main square, Rynek Glówny, in the middle of the Old Town district, the Krakow Christmas Market is one of the food lovers.
Choose from a range of delicacies including Poland’s famous smoked cheese, Oscypek, Pierogi – dumplings stuffed with cheese or meat – and steaming bowls of goulash.
Fully vaccinated Brits can visit Poland without quarantine, if you are not doubly vaccinated you will need to quarantine yourself.
Face coverings are compulsory in confined spaces and on public transport, as well as in open spaces where a distance of 1.5 m can be respected.
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