For this years Christmas market break I wanted to try somewhere completely different to the destinations that I’ve visited previously. One of my friends suggested Italy and after some research I concluded that the Turin Christmas markets were the ones which I wanted to visit. I booked a package deal with British Airways for myself and 3 friends at a cost of £153.50 per person for return flights and one night in a central 4* hotel.
Exploring the Turin Christmas Markets
Our flight departed from London Gatwick at 6:40am on a very cold Saturday morning. Because of such an early start we booked into the Premier Inn at Gatwick the night before at a cost of £29 per room. This was the first time I had flown from Gatwick since British Airways had moved from North Terminal to South Terminal, so it was an ideal opportunity to try out the new British Airways lounge at South Terminal. Fortunately 2 of us were British Airways Silver Executive card holders so we were able to guest the other two in our party into the lounge.
The lounge is a huge improvement on the previous lounge with a much more space and even a mezzanine level which has additional seating. The lounge is very bright with huge windows giving panoramic views out over the airport and the lounge is very tastefully decorated. The food and drink offerings haven’t changed so I was able to enjoy my usual BA bacon roll with a gin and orange prior to departure.
The flight time to Turin is published as just over two hours, but the actual flight time was around 90 minutes. From the airport we took a taxi to the hotel which cost €30 euros between us (one-way).
For this trip we booked to stay at the NH Torino Santo Stefano, which was located right in the heart of Turin, just minutes from Piazza Castello, the main square. We arrived very early at the hotel, about 9:30am, so we just left our luggage with reception until later in the day when our rooms would be ready. On returning to the hotel, both of the rooms we had booked had been upgraded to junior suites on the top floor which was a nice surprise. We were also given late checkout until 3pm the following day. When we arrived at the rooms, one of them hadn’t been made up, so we told reception and this was quickly rectified and we were given complimentary drinks in the bar while we waited.
The Turin Christmas Markets were located in three locations across the city centre, with the largest being on Piazza Castello which also had a giant advent calendar as well as a very pretty Christmas tree. Then there was another market area in a small square along Via Borgo Dora which had a few stalls outside, but with many more inside in a large hall. There was also a small area of stalls at Piazza Solferino which also had a small ice rink.
The markets had a great selection of food to buy with everything from chocolates and pretzels to meats, cheeses and truffle products. Another thing that seemed to be popular was the range of liqueurs which many stools had for sale. As well as the traditional mulled wine (vin brulé) there was also hot chocolate available. However, the mulled wine was served in plastic throw-away cups instead of the nice ceramic mugs you have at many other destinations such as Germany. This was a bit of a disappointment, and not so environmentally friendly!
There were plenty of gift ideas throughout the markets, such as the food and drink items as well as leather goods and jewellery, but the markets didn’t seem to have any Christmas related items such as the decorations which you would typically find in the German Christmas markets. Turin’s City centre did have a very Christmassy feel to it, mainly due to the enormous amount of Christmas lights which lit up most of the city centre streets.
I had a nice weekend in Turin and enjoyed visiting the Turin Christmas Markets. If you enjoy Christmas Markets and like Italian culture and food then Turin is a great place for a Christmas market break, but if you are looking for a traditional Germanic Christmas Market then maybe the Turin Christmas Markets aren’t for you.