Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Christmas is coming up, and what better way to infuse a little tradition and magic into your holiday than by attending a delightful Christmas market. So pack your best scarves and gloves and hop on a plane to enjoy festive celebrations at the end of the year.
The Holiday Magic :
From late November through the New Year, you can find amazing candlelit displays, winter delicacies, delicious mulled wine, and spectacular crafts at seasonal markets around the world. These markets are time-honored traditions — some have been around for centuries — that make the historical magic of Christmas feel a bit more present-day.
These Christmas markets, also known as holiday markets, Christkindlmarkts (the spelling of this varies from city to city), or Weihnachtsmarkts, are based on a tradition that dates back to the late Middle Ages in German-speaking parts of Europe — a time when decorations and ornaments only came in handmade form from talented artisans. Traditionally, these markets were held across Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, South Tyrol, and Alsace, but today these spirited celebrations can be found all over the world.
Take a look below at the best Christmas markets in Europe to explore this year:-
1. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s Christmas markets are one of the most Quirkiest Christmas markets around. You will find the biggest ones in Old Town Square and King Wenceslas Square. Visitors travel to the markets mainly to soak up the Christmas atmosphere, browse through the stalls, and enjoy a few Christmas Carols.
Traders sell all types of items including hand-made glass, wooden toys, embroidery, and scented candles. There is also an abundance of conventional food available such as roasted hams, trdelník (sugar-coated pastries), barbecued pork, Czech muffins, and beer, Any of this can be consumed with a glass of svařenévíno (mulled wine). Gift ideas can consist of wood-carved toys, glass-work ware, and other traditional crafts.
2. Quebec, Canada
Quebec City’s Christmas market is only a few years old and is quickly becoming a permanent fixture on Quebec’s festive calendar. Celebrating Germany’s long-standing tradition, this Christmas market awakens with typical wooden kiosks and twinkling lights. This market wonderland comes with an unusual and friendly ambiance, beautiful decorations, a great variety of delectable German treats (such as bratwurst, mulled wine, gingerbread, and much more) delicious homemade foods, lovely Christmas gifts, choral singing, shows, indoor and outdoor performances, and a Lufthansa Group Winter Bar.
3. Christkindlmarket, Chicago, US
Chicago’s Christmas market was influenced by the one in Nuremberg, Germany, which first started in the 16th century. Many of the stall holders from the German market travel to Chicago where they sell many traditional German goods including wooden toys, beautiful glass steins, cuckoo clocks, wooden huts with candy stripes, twinkling lights and festive tunes provided by the roaming Alpine Brass band. The Advent Calendar is a promotion not to be missed where every day a visitor opens the calendar and wins a gift from one of the market stalls!
4. Strasbourg, France
The oldest Christmas market in France, Strasbourg Christmas Markets started in 1577 and attracts over 2 million tourists visiting every Christmas period. Each year the market is lit up with fantastic sparkling Christmas lights, themed events, a giant ice rink in Place du Châtea, and the famous Enormous Christmas tree in Place Kléber. It is no wonder Strasbourg has once won the title of “Best Christmas Market in Europe”.
Visitors have the opportunity to taste some of the regions local cuisine including bridle Christmas cookies, sausages and choucroute (pickled cabbages) and the famous three-meat baeckeoffe stew and Strasbourg’s traditional spicy hot orange juice.
5. Columbus Circle, New York
The Big Apple comes alive between November 30th and December 24th with a twinkling festive magical mix of music and gift stalls. The market at the Central Park West intersection twinkles with decorative lights unmatched by many Christmas markets. This Christmas market offers gifts from skilled artists and designers.
Highlights include the popular stagecoach ride, stalls with tasty chocolates and truffles, homemade jewelry gifts and wooden puzzle stalls. The market offers plenty of places for a cup of cider and when hungry there is plenty to eat from Mexican food to Turkish food. New York attractions worth visiting while in the city include the Empire State Building, Central Park, Statue of Liberty and of course Times Square.
6. Italy Christmas Market in South Tyrol, Bolzano, Italy
Italy Christmas Market in South Tyrol Italy might not be the first European country that comes in your thoughts when you think of Christmas Markets, but the stunning mountain scenery of South Tyrol convinces you otherwise. The region’s capital, Bolzano, organizes a stunning Christmas Market filled with homemade goods featuring local woodcarving, wool, and glass. There are lots of delicious treats for foodies too. You can even warm yourself up with a knödel (the local dumplings) or grilled sausage.
7. Valkenburg, Limburg, Holland
If you are looking for a different type of Christmas market, you can always go to the small town of Valkenburg, where you will find a Christmas market in a cave. Visitors can sign up for walking tours of the cave, which is situated below the only hilltop castle in the Netherlands.
These 60 stalls trade everything from decorated Christmas bouquets and nativity statues to godly ornaments and artwork paintings created by local artists. The market is opened from mid-November to late December. With so many items to choose from visitors will find it easy to pick gifts just in time for the Christmas season.
8. Nuremberg Christkindlmark, Germany
This Christmas market in German is the world’s oldest market and goes back to the 16th century. It is the perfect place to shop for unique gifts and Christmas decorations you wouldn’t get anywhere else in the world. The opening ceremony starts from late November, where the market’s Christkind appears on a balcony of a church called the Church of our Lady and announces that the market is opened. Overall, there are nearly 200 stalls packed into the city’s main market square.
Charming and quite picturesque, it is difficult to compete against this type of wonderful ambiance, at one of Germany’s most original Christmas markets. Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is a vision filled with red-and-white striped huts, delicious spicy aromas, and pleasant craftworks. There is also a smaller children’s Christmas market just a walk away from Christkindlesmarkt.
“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” – Margaret Thatcher