The Christmas markets in Europe has always been something on our Bucket List. After booking a majority of our trip on European Destinations website, flights, hotels and some transportation we were excited it was finally going to happen. We had googled the “10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe” and choose 4 of them to go see in 3 different countries. First stop was Budapest Hungary, we arrived on a chilly morning ready for our Christmas market adventure. If you enjoy Christmas, these markets are a lot of fun. All kinds of homemade crafts, decorations, food and our favorite Mulled Wine. The markets really get you in the Christmas spirit. In Budapest we stayed at our favorite Marriott on the banks of the Danube River, so beautiful to look out and see the Chain Bridge and across the river at the Buda Castle, and it is walking distance to the main market. A lot of fun was had in Budapest, a very beautiful and affordable city. After a few days in Budapest it was time to move on to Vienna Austria. We had booked a Wine Shuttle through Viator to get us from Budapest to Vienna which stopped at 3 vineyards along the route, enjoying lunch at one of them. What a great way to travel to our next destination. Arriving in the evening to Vienna we again stayed at a Marriott in the heart of the city near the Christmas markets. We wondered through all the Christmas markets around town, shopping and drinking more Mulled Wine, watching ice skaters again tasting the local cuisine. We were collecting the mugs that the mulled wine came in, each reflecting the city it came from. We decided to top off our last night in Vienna by booking a horse drawn carriage ride from the Riding Dinner, to get one last look of Vienna. The Riding Dinner has a few different options to choose from with prices ranging from $100-$600 USD per carriage up to 4 people. We chose the option to just have champagne while riding around town. The dinner option sounded really awesome, where they make several stops at various restaurants and a butler brings you a meal and you continue your ride all the while dining as you go. We thought it might be a bit hard to eat and see the sites. I think that option would be really fun in the summer months. Next, we were off to Graz Austria by train. We actually got snowed on while in Graz, which made the Christmas market more festive. The Christmas market here was much smaller than the first two, but we managed to buy more gifts and add to our mulled wine mug collection. Our last stop on our Christmas Market adventure was Zagreb Croatia ranked #1 many years in a row and rightly so. We traveled by Flixbus an inexpensive way to travel in Europe and the buses are very nice. We arrived in Zagreb on its opening day for the Christmas Market. Still in the process of being set up but you could tell why it was ranked #1. Markets all over the city and easy to walk to, it seemed every neighborhood had a market. Of course, we bought more handcrafted items and ate wonderful local cuisine, I still think about how wonderful the chicken with gorgonzola crème sauce was. In total I think we brought home 12 different mulled wine mugs from the markets. I was also purchasing small handcrafted ornaments from each market that I wrapped and let my friends and family choose one to open and take home for Christmas, my way of sharing the European Christmas Markets with each of them. If you enjoy Christmas as much as we do, definitely try to put this on your Bucket List, you will be glad you did!
Mulled Wine Recipe
The term mulled wine simply means warm and spiced. When I make mulled wine at home, first I get out the crock pot and let my Mulled Wine simmer all day, it makes the house smell like Christmas.
- 1 bottle (depending on quantity making) red wine such as blends or Tempranillo, does not need to be expensive
- Spices such as cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, allspice (spices should not be ground, use only whole spices) add to taste
- Sliced Oranges (usually 2)
- Sugar (I don’t use sugar but I do add some Brandy)
If this sounds like to much work you can buy Mulled Wine around the holidays already bottled from Total Wine or Bevmo and pour it in the crock pot and add some sliced oranges, this works in a pinch.