There’s something wonderfully Christmassy about throwing on some cosy winter gear and strolling around a chilly Christmas market.
Lob in a dash of festive atmosphere and a steamy cup of hot chocolate (or mulled wine) and you’re living the dream.
Lots of European cities boast globally renowned markets, but you don’t have to dig out your passport and hop on a plane to visit one for yourself.
Update: Looking for things to do in Dublin this Christmas? Here’s a guide with 26 things you can do in the capital this December, from carols to Christmas jumper making!
Visiting Christmas Markets in Ireland in 2018 ????
Over the past seven or eight years, a handful of cracking markets (see what I did there?) have popped up across Ireland.
They pose the perfect opportunity for those on the hunt for a Christmas market experience that’s closer to home.
If you fancy visiting a Christmas market this year, here are five great Irish options to choose from!
1 – The Galway Christmas Markets / Christmas in Galway – 16th November to 22nd December
Proudly donning the title of Ireland’s longest running Christmas market, the Galway Christmas markets have been on the go for over six years which, considering the Munich markets are on for over 200 years, really isn’t that long.
The markets span across Galway City from Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, boasting 50+ stalls buckling under a fine selection of food and drink.
Watch the below video – it’ll give you all the feels ???
There’s also amusements to keep the kids happy and a couple of beer tents where you can rest your feet for a few hours and nurse a stein or three.
Tip: Visit the German beer tent in Eyre Square for Bavarian brews, salty pretzels, sauerkraut and craic in abundance. When the tents close, there are tonnes of great pubs in Galway to ramble into.
2 – The Belfast Christmas Markets 2018 – November 17th to December 22nd
For over eleven years, Belfast’s City Hall has been transformed into a traditional German-style Christmas market, packed to the brim with 90 masterfully handcrafted wooden chalets.
Every year the Belfast Christmas markets play host to traders from Germany, Spain, France, Italy and, of course, Ireland.
Visitors to the markets can gorge on Crepes from France, Belgian chocolates, and giant German bratwurst.
Tip: If you post Santa a letter in his post box (in the grounds of the Belfast Christmas Market) by 18th December, you’ll receive a letter back from him! Make sure and explore the city while you visit, there are heaps of great things to do in Belfast!
3 – Glow: A Cork Christmas Celebration 2018 – Dates TBC
We’ll gladly embrace any excuse to visit Cork, a county so jammed with beauty and buzz that it’s a must for everyone visiting Ireland.
Thankfully, during the festive period, we’ve one more reason to visit the Rebel County.
Cork City’s Grand Parade and Bishop Lucey Park house Cork’s Christmas markets. If you’re planning a visit, expect delicious artisan food, vintage carousel rides, choral performances, mulled wine and entertainment galore.
The dates for this year’s markets are still TBC, but we’ll update this post when they’re announced.
Tip: Don’t miss out on a trip up the 30 meter Ferris Wheel which offers outstanding views of the city and the markets below.
4 – Waterford Winterval 2018 – 17th of November to December 23rd
When it comes to Christmas Markets, Waterford doesn’t fool about.
Every November, the city is transformed into a winter wonderland with activities for all the family to dive into.
Throw on a pair of skates and brave the ice rink, or sit back and relax on the Christmas carousel while munching on some festive food.
Have a wander around and browse the many stalls, or take the kids to visit Santa’s Grotto, the Toy Museum and the Winterval Express Train.
Tip: Visit the Exploration Dome and enjoy a series of Digital 360 degree movies on everything from the stars in the sky at night, snow creation and much more.