Halloween has come and gone. It’s time to make the annual trip up to the attic and dust the cobwebs off your Christmas decorations. The shops are kitted out from head to toe with singing Santas and the town has been dressed in Christmas lights. One of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit is to throw on some winter woollies and take a stroll around a Christmas market.
We have a compiled a list of the best Christmas markets around Ireland for food, festive stalls, sleigh rides and, yes: Santa Claus.
1. Galway Christmas Market
Located in Eyre Square, Galway’s Christmas market makes a return on Friday the 16th of November until the 22nd of December. This Christmas market boasts of over 50 wooden stalls, Santa’s Grotto, amusement rides, a 32 metre high Ferris wheel, live music performances, puppet shows, storytelling, school choir performances, carol singing and festive themed food - what more could you possibly want? Perhaps a big German-themed beer tent? Well, Galway’s Christmas market has one. Grab a Bavarian beer and soak up the festive spirit inside the beer tent.
Still not convinced? Click here to take a look at the festivities you will experience at this years Galway Christmas market.
Photo source: theirishroadtrip.com
2. Belfast Christmas Market
Taking place from the 17th of November until the 22nd of December, Belfast’s Christmas market is regarded as one of the best markets in Northern Ireland. The Christmas market takes place in the city hall which is transformed into a mini village of 90 wooden stalls representing 30 countries from all over the world. Grab a hot chocolate and feast on some Italian nougat, French tarts, baklava, bratwurst or continental meats.
Make sure to bring your children to visit Santa’s Grotto. If you post a letter to Santa (in the post box on the grounds of the Belfast Christmas markets) by Tuesday the 18th of December you will receive a letter back from him.
Photo source: maldronhotelbelfastcity.com
3. Winterval, Waterford
Taking place from the 17th of November to the 23rd of December, Winterval takes place in Waterford city. The city is transformed into a winter wonderland with activities for everyone in the family. Winterval offers over 60 events including the Santa Experience, vintage Ferris wheel, storytelling in Reginald’s Tower, Winterval On Ice, The Winterval Express Train and a Horse-Drawn Sleigh. Make sure to visit the Exploration Dome and enjoy a series of digital 360-degree movies about snow creation, stars in the night sky and plenty more.
Photo source: evoke.ie
4. Glow, Cork
Located in Bishop Lucey Park, Glow lights up Cork city each weekend during the month of December. Enjoy the beautiful food markets, choral performances and a 30 meter high Ferris wheel. Make sure to grab some artisan food in the famous English market before you visit Santa’s Wonderland with the kids.
Photo source: claytonhotelcorkcity.com
5. Dublin Christmas Flea Market
The Dublin City Christmas Flea market returns to the Point Square for some festive fun on the 7th - 10th of December. With over 145 stalls situated beside the 3Arena, the flea market showcases the work of up and coming craftspeople, designers, artists and small independent businesses. It is a great opportunity to pick up some unique handcrafted gifts for your loved ones. View the full list of stalls available at this years Dublin Flea Market by clicking here.
Photo source: irishtimes.com
6. Killarney Christmas Market
Taking place on the 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd of December, the Killarney Christmas market kicks off with the Big Opening Magical Christmas Parade on the 24th of November at 6 pm. Local handmade crafts, candles and jewellery are for sale at the market providing the perfect opportunity for you to pick up a unique Christmas gift. Make sure to try out the Killarney jaunting sleigh ride, which costs €10 for two adults and two kids.
Photo source: killarney.ie
7. Strandhill People’s Christmas Market
This Christmas themed ‘farmers market’ is located in Hangar 1 at Sligo Airport and will take place on the 2nd, 9th,14th,16th,21st and the 23rd of December. Make sure to support the local food suppliers by sampling the local food, drink and picking up some handmade crafts. Santa’s Grotto will be based in the terminal building so make sure to bring the kids.
Check out this video of what to expect by clicking here.
If you fancy going further afield, there are some truly magical Christmas markets dotted across Europe. Grab your suitcase and treat yourself to a pre-Xmas holiday. Once again, I have included a list of some of the more popular destinations to celebrate the preamble to the festive season.
Berlin offers over 50 Christmas markets throughout the city, offering festive activities, seasonal food & drink, fairground rides and ice skating.
One of the most magical Christmas markets in Berlin is the one at Gendarmenmarkt Square. This Christmas takes place from the 26th of November until the 31st of December. It is centrally located at one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin, offering quality Christmas decorations, food and entertainment. Witness everything from jugglers, fire-eaters, choirs to talented graphic artists, photographers, stonemasons and painters. If the 250-plus stalls aren’t exhausting enough, hit the toboggan run at Potsdamer Platz.
As words can only describe so much, I have included a link to a video of the Gendarmenmarkt Square Christmas markets which you can watch by clicking here.
Photo source: travelhouse.com
Step into the joy of Christmas with the beautiful streets of Vienna as your backdrop. The Viennese have been perfecting Christmas markets since 1298 so you are in for a treat. The most popular Christmas market is the one held in front of the City Hall. There are over 140 stalls dotted around the City Hall showcasing everything from Christmas decorations, food, handmade crafts and an ice rink. The ground floor of the City Hall has been dedicated to children, where they can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles. Take a sneak peak at the Christmas market by clicking here.
Photo source: irishtimes.com
Edinburgh is a fantastic city! There are loads of things to do during December, including browsing traditional Christmas markets, ice skating, Christmas shopping, enjoying the holiday lights and attending concerts.
One of the best Christmas markets in Edinburgh is held in the Princess Street Gardens. Taking place from the 17th of November until the 5th of January, the market features a mix of traditional European stalls and Scottish themed stalls. The Christmas stalls offer a unique shopping experience for visitors to pick up some handmade crafts, gifts and festive cuisine. Bring the kids as there will be a Santa Land, a festive fairground with six fun rides and a children's market full of gifts and toys.
Flights to Edinburgh range from €30 - tempted?
Photo source: viajarporescocia.com
Make sure to tag @ReviveActive in your Christmas market pictures. We love to see our customers getting into the festive spirit and having fun :)