A survey for Europe’s top ferry operator, DFDS Seaways, shows that we Britons think Germany has the best Christmas markets, with Munich and Cologne topping the city leader board as first and second respectively.
37% of those polled rated German Christmas markets as the best, which was head and shoulders above the UK with 8% of the vote. Belgium came third with 6% of the vote and France only received 3%.
Bruges came third overall as being the city with the best Christmas markets with just over 6% of the vote. This wasn't true for all ages, however, as Paris came top of the list with younger people aged 16-24 years old, with a fifth of respondents citing the French capital as the best festive city, compared to just 1% of older people aged 55 years old and over.
When asked what would motivate people to visit a European Christmas market, going away as part of a mini break came out as the most popular choice (48%), followed by the desire to experience local traditions (37%) and a quarter (24%) cited indulging in European delicacies, that are not widely available in the UK, as a key motivator. Interestingly, one of the most popular reasons given by the younger generation (16-24 year olds) to visit was to have a ‘magical experience’, with 41% giving that as a key motivation, compared to just 29% of those aged 55 years old and over. Over a quarter (28%) of those surveyed also said that buying presents was a key reason for visiting the markets.
UK knowledge of European delicacies
Most people were able to identify where traditional European delicacies originated from, with German Stollen being the most recognisable with 83% of the vote, followed by France’s Pain D’épices (82%) and Dutch Advocaat had 51% recognition. Generally, people over 34 years old had a greater recognition of the traditional foods from other European countries than their younger counterparts. For example, 83% of the older generation of 55 years and older had heard of Advocaat, compared to only a quarter (27%) of 16-24 year olds. Similarly, more than two-third of the over 45s were familiar with Panettone, compared to just a quarter of 16-24 year olds. Denmark’s Ris a l’amande was the least known treat with only 6% of respondents having even heard of it.
Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS Seaways, says: “Over the last few years we have noticed a greater interest in European Christmas markets and I was not surprised that nearly three quarters of those asked would like to visit one. One of the great things about travelling by car and ferry is that there are no luggage restrictions, so picking up special presents and delicious Christmas food and drink is easy. With our ferry routes into Holland and northern France, travelling to the European Christmas markets is also easier and more affordable than you might think, and we have some great Christmas market short breaks available on our Newcastle to Amsterdam service.”
DFDS Seaways operates 50 sailings a day between the UK and France, as well as daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam, providing flexible crossing times and convenient travel options. All DFDS Seaways ferries are equipped with a range of high quality onboard facilities so your holiday starts as soon as you board the ferry.