Nothing feels more festive than visiting a European Christmas market. It’s become a tradition of ours, to take the kids to see the lights and experience the magic of these markets.
Ok, ok so officially it is still summer right now but there’s a change in the air and I can’t help but set my sights towards December. Yes, we’re one of those families that look forward to Christmas months in advance. I am however, slightly more reluctant than the kids and my husband who have been known to watch Elf during the summer holidays. That for me, is too much! Mariah can pipe down, at least until the wooly jumpers are out.
Here are my top tips for visiting Christmas Markets –
- Research – I’ve called this ‘my’ top tips but the research remains firmly in my husband’s hands. I have no sticking power. He will search out the best hotel, in the best area, for the best price. There are ALWAYS deals to be had if you have the tenacity to find them. Holiday Gems is a great place to look. Check transfer times, some of the most amazing looking markets aren’t near to airports. With littles in tow, it’s been easier for us to visit somewhere you don’t have to travel hours to after getting of the plane. Some cities have more than one market so it’s worth researching where these are and travel links if you need them.
- Plan – Technically, this could come under research. In the many hours the dear husband is researching, he will read reviews on child friendly places to eat, visit and stay. There are few things more stressful than screaming, hungry, fussy children in a busy street of restaurants. Mum and Dad scanning each menu looking for something their little delight might entertain putting in their mouth. We’ve been there! “WHY is there no beige, bread-crumbed option!?” It would seem, some European cities are far less ‘child menu’ friendly than at home. Mix your day with things to see and things to do. We will often visit something interesting for us (boring for the kids) in the morning followed by a park, ice cream shop or attraction for them in the afternoon. We generally leave the markets until it’s dark as that is when they’re most beautiful. Bear in mind that they get really busy late into the evening, so somewhere in between it getting dark and people having a mooch post dinner is ideal for families.
- Prepare – Travelling with kids is not always straightforward but some stresses can easily be alleviated in the prep. Taking things they can do whilst on the plane, in restaurants and at the hotel make for happier kiddies and more relaxed parents. Sticker books, colouring books, mini games and the obligatory screen-time nanny are all really handy. If your kids are small, take a buggy. Our kids are brilliant walkers but we always manage to cover miles and miles whilst exploring cities. Having the back up of a sit down has been really handy, also means you don’t have to carry everything.
- Finally – drink ALL the mulled wine.