Christmas Markets by train

This week we are taking a look at a small selection of the wonderful markets worth visiting around Europe this December to stock up on Christmas presents and festive food and drink! All of these cities can be easily reached by train on major routes from all over Europe.

  1. Vienna, Austria.

This beautiful and atmospheric city is perfect for a Christmas visit. Christkindlmärkte is the name for the many markets that pop up all over the city in the cobbled streets adorned with hundreds of fairy lights. Rathauspark in front of City Hall is the largest market with its giant tree, ice rink and fairground rides. You can also listen to international choirs singing carols to get you in the spirit.

  1. Brussels, Belgium

At the largest Christmas market in Belgium, Winter Wonders’ 240 stalls sell a wide variety of Christmas items, from traditional gifts to delicious Belgian delicacies against the backdrop of a giant Ferris wheel. When the sun goes down, make your way to the Grand-Place for a dazzling sound and lights show.

  1. Berlin, Germany

The German capital boasts 60 Christmas markets, so there’s something for everyone! You can expect everything from elaborate illuminations to live entertainment such as a nativity with real animals, crafting demonstrations, magical attractions for children or even medieval processions.

  1. Strasbourg, France

France’s oldest Christmas market sells a variety of traditional items, sweets and mulled wine from around 300 wooden chalets dotted around different areas of the picturesque Alsatian town. The markets each have an individual feel and showcase different products or themes including one from a guest country, with a different one invited every year to display its Christmas wares.

  1. Stockholm, Sweden

For a guaranteed snowy Christmas, head north to Stockholm’s Skansen’s Market which has been held annually since 1903. Pretty red huts sell traditional sausages, cheeses, spices and other homemade delights. The markets also sell an array of Swedish crafts alongside traditional Christmas ornaments and hand-dipped candles.

Route No. 29: “Night train to Narvik”

ROUTE OF THE WEEK

As a continuing feature we will be highlighting a selected route from our guidebook ‘Europe by Rail’ written by Nicky Gardner & Susanne Kries, every week.  Below is two small extracts from the book. To find out more, the guidebook can be purchased through our website for £15.99.

This week we are looking at: Route No. 29: “Night train to Narvik” which begins in Stockholm, passing through Boden and ending in Narvik with an optional bus onwards to the Lofoten Islands.

Whoever thought of building a railway over the mountains to Norway? It is an extraordinary route. The train takes over six hours from Boden to Narvik (ERT 765) – and with every mile that passes, the scenery gets better and better. Six hours of some of the most beguilingly beautiful landscape in Europe. Placid to begin with, to be sure, with more rocks and forest, but by now the birch trees have thinned out.

There is a lyrical quality to these northern landscapes, ever more so as the railway skirts the shoulders of mountains and creeps up narrow valleys where the hillsides tilt ever sharper. For over 50 kilometres the train runs along the south shore of Torneträsk, a magnificent glacial lake which is frozen for more than half the year. Black dots on the ice mark the spots where fishermen have carved holes in the ice and cast their rods in the hope of catching tonight’s supper.