Christmas markets have a way of bringing out the best in people, igniting their festive spirit, spreading smiles and really bringing the streets alive in some of Europe’s most beautiful cities. For travellers they are an easy place to discover traditional foods, shop for souvenirs, see handcrafts being made and especially meet locals! If the first destinations mentioned in Top 5 Christmas Markets weren’t enough for you, take a look because we’ve got more!
Spoiled for choice
Would you rather a Nordic Christmas or a multi-cultural one? In a small village or in a capital city? If you’re having a hard time choosing, you’re not the only one! With the extent of choice in Europe, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to travelling during the holiday season.
At no other time during the year do the streets carry a glamour and spark that can only come with cold winter nights as young and elders alike wait for the eve of Christmas to arrive. Until then though parties and festivities are the talk of the town. Curious? Then pack your bags, we’re heading to some of the most interesting Christmas markets on the Continent.
Many often forget what’s in their own backyard, taking it for granted. The Christmas Market in London takes the city by storm, have you ever noticed? Setting up shop in mid-November, it runs all the way until December 23rd. The city streets are filled with stalls upon stalls of handmade goods, delicious delicacies you can only find in England and other treats. Southbank Centre, near the London Eye, is where it all takes place although in recent years smaller markets have been popping up in other boroughs as well, Hyde Park Market for example, which offer much more quiet shopping conditions.
Christmas fever has nothing to do with it, Stockholm is just made for this sort of thing. Boasting traditions made over centuries, Swedish vendors proud of their skills, craftsmen and chefs dressed to the nines, bright lights and irresistible smells… Stortorget Square in the heart of the Old Town and Kungsträdgården are the best places to be during holiday time. If you’re planning on visit Stockholm this December, make sure you stay isn’t too short because there is a lot to be discovered. Even outside the city, many smaller markets make ideal day-trips to see the countryside and get a taste of real Swedish authenticity.
Staying in the cold north, the Danish capital also has its own appeal in December, warming the hearts of all who visit. Tivoli Park, the biggest market of the city, is made up of over 100 stalls where you can find everything from clothing, succulent Danish dishes, famous pottery and rows of other local products. Christiania, the self-governing district of the city, boasts a pretty good ethnic marketplace, Gra Hal, with plenty of international treats on offer.
What would a Christmas market list be without at least one French destination? This brings us to Colmar in the Alsace region. Not far from the German border, this is one city with a lot of advent spirit. It’s nineteenth century buildings and streets are decorated with garlands, ribbons and lights, creating the perfect atmosphere for a Christmas market. Looking for French antiques? Head to Koifhus. Looking for traditional French foods? Head to Jeanne d’Arc. Don’t know what you’re looking for? Head to Dominican Square where you’re find a wealth of everything. “Little Venice” also has a nice marketplace.
Ending in the heart of Trentino, beautiful Merano comes alive when winter sets in, also hosting one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe. The city starts preparing well in advance for the holiday season, kicking things off near the end of November and holding out until the night before Epiphany. There are many stands set up, craft shops and cauldrons with hot soups and stews crowd the “Lungo Passirio“. Pick up some delicate ornaments for friends and family back home and don’t forget to try some of the best Italian food you’ve ever tasted. Kids are especially welcome here as there is a playground set up as well as a host of activities planned for them.
Love Christmas markets? Which city will you visit this year to do your holiday shopping? Send us your ideas and comments!