The calendar has flipped to the first week of December, and the Christmas atmosphere has already wrapped itself around the city of Maastricht! Although this period might be stressful thanks to exams and final assignments, the excitement that comes with the holiday season is just what we students need to power through. Tapping into the festive spirit, the mymaastricht team is here to provide our top picks of enchanting Christmas markets – where you can enjoy the best mulled wines to warm you up and help you enjoy the colours, twinkly lights and Christmas songs even more.
You might have already noticed the Ferris Wheel in Vrijthof, a staple that marks the beginning of the Magical Maastricht market. This winter event, open until the 31st of December, is actually filled with magic in our opinion. Whether you want to ride the ferris wheel and enjoy a panoramic view of the city, drink some hot chocolate or go ice skating with friends, there’s a whole lot you can experience right in the centre of our town. Don’t miss the traditional holiday snacks or a good laugh playing curling with your friends, and make sure to send us your favourite memory caught on camera!
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If you feel like taking a well-deserved break from studying at the Inner City Library, we suggest hopping on a train and walking around Valkenburg. Up to the 30th of December, you can discover the unique Christmas market Fluweelengrot, held underground at the Velvet Caves. In this one-of-a-kind setting, you can wander around the 18th-century chapel, exploring ancient murals dating back to Roman times while shopping around for christmassy items to give for Secret Santa.
Have you always wanted to visit Leiden but never got the chance? We’re giving you another reason to see the city – the Nostalgic Christmas Market taking place from the 13th to the 17th of December. For five days, the town square will be studded with wooden chalets selling unique presents, food trucks, topped with a cosy winter terrace. The Winter Wonder Weeks also give you the chance to visit Sinterklaas’s house, enjoy a musical show or enjoy a floating ice rink on the Nieuwe Rijn canal.
Another one of the Netherlands’ best, the Royal Christmas Market in The Hague turns the country’s political heart into a winter wonderland. Until the 23rd of December, atmospheric fires, wood carvings, candles and choirs could help youto get you into the festive mood. Put a fun spin on winter and make memorable memories in Scheveningen, getting a breath of fresh but cold air, at the beach nearby!
We don’t call Maastricht the Heart of Europe for no reason – you can cross the border over to Germany and enjoy the fairytale atmosphere at the Aachen Christmas Market. Until the 23rd of December, the city’s historic centre is transformed into a mesmerising environment for visitors, who can walk around the stunning Cathedral, try the freshly made local gingerbread, and scout handcrafted items for a gift with a personal touch. This market is actually marked as one of the best Christmas markets in Germany, the care and sentiment with which the fair is designed every year makes small dreams and big wishes come true.
Another German gem, the Cologne Market surrounding the city’s Cathedral awaits its visitors to immerse themselves in the festive atmosphere with a huge decorated Christmas tree, a tent of sparkling lights and diverse free events. The House Elves’ Winter Fairytale Christmas Market makes sure that you get the full traditional experience, turning the Old Town into an enchanted wonderland. Since Cologne apparently takes Christmas very seriously; a third fair, The Angels’ Christmas Market, brings it all together, creating a romantic atmosphere.
Moving over to Belgium, our last choice for this selection is the Brussels Market. Open until the 31st of December, at the Grand-Place in the city centre, this fair offers a delightful blend of festive cheer and cultural experiences. With merry-go-rounds and a stunning sound and light show, the two kilometre-long stretch of snow-dusted market chalets, buzzing bars and pop-up restaurants makes for a perfect weekend getaway.
Each market promises a unique and heartwarming experience. We hope you’ll enjoy our choices and find the perfect balance between joyful celebration and discovering the cultural richness that comes with experiencing the joy of Christmas around Europe.
Bundle up, grab your cup of Glühwein and revel in the magic!