Top 10 Christmas markets
Suzi Gordon
Operations

Top 10 Christmas markets

14th October 2015

With the festive season fast approaching, here's what we consider to be 10 of the best European cities to visit this year for Christmas markets.

 

Prague Christmas market

Karelj | Creative Commons [Public domain]

 

 

Prague

The Christmas markets in Prague are not just about the shopping. It is all about the special Christmas atmosphere they create. The markets offer you not only a great opportunity to buy some unique presents, but to experience the traditions that are still alive in Prague at this extra special time. The most popular markets are on the Old Town Square and the famous Wenceslas Square, where Christmas items are sold by up to 80 stalls. Smaller markets are located on Namesti Republiky, Havelske Trziste and Namesti Miru.

November to January

 

Berlin Christmas market

onnola | Creative Commons

 

 

Berlin

With over 50 markets every year, Berlin is one of the best cities in which to experience Germany's Christmas markets. The capital is spectacular during the Christmas season. With many decorated stalls and the amazing aromas of mulled wine and cinnamon rising in the air, allow yourself to discover the vendor booths' magic, charm, and unique items along the large boulevards and squares, as well as on the small side streets.

November to January

 

Cologne Christmas market

JamesPageEditor | Creative Commons

 

 

Cologne

Cologne has a special Christmas spirit and hosts many markets and a large ice rink. The oldest market, the 'Neumarkt', is one of the city's liveliest and most beautiful. The traditional medieval market in the Old Town, where you will also find the Alter Markt, is a perfect place to enjoy a warm glass of glühwein. Look out too for the enchanting fairytale market and the floating market on board the elegant cruise vessel, 'MS Wappen von Mainz', on the banks of the Rhine.

November and December

 

 Krakow Christmas market

 

 

Krakow

Krakow's Christmas market takes place on the city's huge Rynek Glowny central square, amid the Old Town district. The trees in the square are adorned with bright lights that twinkle in the darkness and the wares at the traditional wooden stands include a wide range of Christmas decorations and sweets. Open-air eateries offer hearty meals and mulled wine, plus there are additional attractions such as shows, folk dances, carol concerts and a variety of street entertainers and musicians.

December

 

Tallinn Christmas market

Nathan lund | Creative Commons [Public domain]

 

 

Tallinn

This charming and colourful market, located in the Town Hall Square, reflects a medieval atmosphere and breathes new life into old traditions. The little huts surrounding the Christmas tree centrepiece offer a wide variety of traditional Estonian products and handicrafts, including toys, handmade Christmas decorations, candles, basketry, wollens, sheepskin, linen fabrics and much more.

November to January

 

Copenhagen Christmas market

Mark S Jobling | Creative Commons [Public domain]

 

 

Copenhagen

Each year, Copenhagen's Tivoli Gardens is transformed into a fantastic winter wonderland with thousands of colourful lights illuminating the park. Around 60 small shops sell everything from candied apples and gallons of delicious hot glögg (mulled wine spiced with raisins and almonds), to wooden toys and Royal Copenhagen porcelain. There are concerts, pantomime and ballet performances for the family and you can enjoy ice skating under the stars on the park's frozen lake, or try the many exciting fairground rides.

November to December

 

Vienna Christmas market

Marek Slusarczyk | Creative Commons

 

 

Vienna

During Advent, Vienna is a city of nostalgia and romance, with concerts, nativity displays and traditional Christmas markets. There are several markets, including those in front of City Hall, at Schönbrunn Palace, the traditional Viennese market on Freyung, and at Spittelberg, Am Hof and in front of the church of St. Charles Borromeo (Karlskirche). Stalls selling Christmas decorations and arts and crafts dominate, showing off the handiwork of numerous artisans from Austria and surrounding countries.

November and December

 

Munich Christmas market

 

 

Munich

Munich's most famous and traditional Christmas market on Marienplatz, in the heart of the city centre, dates back as far as the 14th century. Around 100 merchants set up their stalls on Munich's largest urban square, offering many kinds of hand-crafted items and delicious goodies like roast apples and gingerbreads. The popular Kripperlmarkt, a short stroll away on nearby Rindermarkt, specialises in cribs and other Nativity articles. Christmas music is played live from the town hall balcony every day and for children there are many free, creative activities.

November and December

 

Hamburg Christmas market

Marc Wellekötter | Creative Commons

 

 

Hamburg

In the run up to Christmas the Town Hall provides a superb setting for Hamburg's charming Christmas market. Over 100 sellers set up their shops on Hamburg's largest urban square, to create this winter wonderland. The quaint cottages designed by Bernhard Paul, director of the famed nostalgic Circus Roncalli, set this Christmas market apart from run-of-the-mill seasonal activities elsewhere.

November and December

 

Budapest Christmas market

Jared Salter | Creative Commons

 

 

Budapest

The Budapest Christmas fair is one of the city's annual highlights. Held in Vorosmarty Square, over 100 stalls sell unique, hand-crafted Hungarian gifts, while a stage area offers entertainment in the form of Hungarian folk dancing, music and stage plays. For those that are hungry there is no shortage of thick, hot 'goulash', pancakes and sweet savouries, not forgetting gluh (mulled wine). The highlight of the market is the giant advent calendar on the facade of the Gerbeaud building, with each of the building's windows depicting a Christmas scene.

November and December

 

 

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