9 Christmas markets within a 3 hour flight of Ireland

By Katy Thornton

November 10, 2023 at 11:13am

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Why not spend that last bit of annual leave on something festive?

While Christmas markets aren't unheard of in Ireland, they are few and far between, and not hugely on the scale of those you find in European cities within a short flight of Dublin Airport.

If you have the Annual Leave to use up (firstly, lucky you) and want to spend them on something that keeps within the season, then these are some of the closest Christmas Markets you can fly to.

Brussels

1 hour 45 minutes from Dublin Airport

Brussels has its annual Christmas Markets at Grand-Place, and you can expect an ice-skating rink, magical festive lights, as well as traders serving goodies, both edible and not.

Flights to and from Brussels tend to be quite reasonable in price, making this a possibly more cost efficient option for those looking to travel for their festive cheer.

These Christmas Markets start from November 24th and go on until the very end of the year, December 31st.

Budapest

2 hours 55 minutes from Dublin Airport

Kicking off on November 17th is the Hungary's Christmas Markets, based at St Stephen's Basilica in Budapest.

These markets are considered some of Europe's most beautiful, with a 12 metre tree on-site, and hosts 120 vendors filled with trinkets and snacks for you to check out.

A unique element of the Budapest markets is the interactive selfie-point, which debuted with great success a few years ago - it offers the opportunity to send Christmas greetings in 48 different languages.

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Vienna

 2 hours 40 minutes from Dublin Airport

Vienna has Christmas markets all over the city, ideal if you're someone who likes to wander around cities to get a feel for them rather than stick addresses into Google Maps - chances are you will happen upon one of the many by accident.

For the sake of focusing on one however, we recommend the Viennese Dream Christmas Market, based in front of City Hall and running from November 11th until December 26th.

It has all the usual elements of a successful Christmas Market, including an ice-skating rink, unique stalls, as well as a large selection of drinks to keep your hands and insides warm.

Berlin

2 hours 15 minutes from Dublin 

I was gutted to miss the Christmas markets by two days last year when I visited this beautiful (and freezing) city, but having made the journey I knew it made the perfect backdrop for such an event.

As with Vienna, Christmas Markets can be found all over the city of Berlin, with their one at Potsdamer Platz kicking off as early as October 28th (ideal if you're looking to spend the October banker abroad).

The Winterwelt (or Winter World) boasts a 12 metre high and 70 metre long winter slide that visitors can toboggan down, before gorging themselves on bratwurst, mulled wine, crepes, the lot.

Krakow

2 hours 50 minutes from Dublin Airport

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The Christmas market that inspired this listicle is Krakow's offering.

Krakow Christmas Market is a festive throve located on the Rynek Glowny, a 13th-century square in the centre of the old town.

The winter wonderland is decorated with rows upon rows of pop-up stalls lit up by fairy lights, with Christmas warmers such as mulled wines and spices to get you fully in the mood for the holidays.

Merchants in timber huts at the markets sell a variety of the perfect gifts for loved ones, with everything from ornate crystal decoration to seasonal wares, as well as a section of Polish foods to help you immerse yourself in the culture.

Krakow is not only a beautiful city for Christmas markets, it's also an incredibly affordable place to spend a couple of days.

Krakow Christmas Market

Edinburgh

1 hour 5 mins from Dublin Airport

The shortest flight away, Edinburgh has some of the most gorgeous Christmas markets to check out. This year's festivities will run from November 24th into the new year, January 3rd 2024.

This is a hugely popular market, so expect it to be teeming with people, but it has all the cosy festive vibes you are seeking of a Christmas market trip. Plus a ride on the ferris wheel is well worth a spin for gorgeous views of the castle and the rest of the city.

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Prague

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2 hours 25 minutes from Dublin Airport

The Prague Christmas Markets don't begin until December 2nd, but they do last into the new year, finishing up on January 6th 2024.

There are two main sites for their Christmas Markets, just five minutes apart, at the Old Town Square, and Wenceslas Square.

Entry is free to both and you can visit between 10am and 10pm.

If you're making the journey up to Prague Castle, which I suggest you do during your visit, there is also a Christmas market there, also open daily and also free to access.

Prague Christmas Market by Matej Divizna

Copenhagen

2 hours 10 mins from Dublin Airport

The city has several Christmas markets to choose from, each with their own unique vendors and activities.

There is the King’s New Square Christmas Market, High Bridge Square Christmas Market, H.C. Andersen Christmas Market, Freetown Christiania Christmas Market, as well as Christmas at Tivoli Gardens.

While Copenhagen is a beautiful city, it is also an expensive one (likely the most expensive on this list) so that is something to consider if you decide on heading there for its Christmas Market.

Copenhagen Christmas Markets via Francis Dean/Corbis 
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Honourable Mention

Belfast

No flight necessary for this one - although possibly a long drive or bus ride depending on where in Ireland you're coming from - the Belfast Christmas Markets are some of the best we have to offer.

This year's markets kick off on Saturday November 18th and run until Saturday December 23rd.

Expect a host of international vendors offering incredible food and unique gifts, as well as Santa's grotto.

The 2023 markets will see the return of the vintage Helter Skelter, offering stunning views right across the market, and the much-loved carousel.

Images via Getty

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