The festive period is upon us, and so is the season of Christmas markets. These quaint hives of artisan gatherings mushroom every year all over Europe; from classic fairy tale set ups with a tradition that stretches back hundreds of years, to trendy and urban markets with a modern flair. Each Christmas market reflects the culture of the country, offering something unique – food, drink, shopping, entertainment and more. Here are five magical European Christmas markets:
WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany
When it comes to Christmas markets, nobody does it better than Germany. There are hundreds of Christmas markets across the country and sixty in the capital alone, each offering something unique. However, the main Christmas market is located in Berlin. Every year, 600,000 people step into a Christmas fairy tale at Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt Square. It’s impossible to miss out the traditional sausages and Glühwein (mulled vine) – you’ll be delighted even if you’re not much of a vine drinker yourself.
Dates: 15.11.2016 — 05.01.2017
Vánoční trhy na Staroměstském náměstí, Prague, Czech Republic
Christmas in the Czech Republic is celebrated in a special way. Prague hosts a traditional Christmas market in the Old Town Square, Staromestske namesti, which has a beautiful Christmas tree, daily performances by folk bands, and a variety of other events. The brightly decorated stalls sell anything, from traditional artisan products and crafts to the most amazing traditional foods.
Dates: 26.11.2016 — 06.01.2017
Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom
London does the festive season well. This is the place to go to experience a more modern Christmas holiday. The city streets are decked with wonderful Christmas lights and incredible installations. Perhaps, London’s most festive spot is Covent Garden — the perfect place to get into the present-giving spirit. Every year, Covent Garden’s Market Building is transformed into an insanely beautiful space, and this year is not an exception.
Dates: 15.11.2016 — 05.01.2017
Tallinna Jõuluturg, Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn is a great option, as it’s not a total bank breaker. The compact capital of Estonia has a Christmas market in the Town Hall Sqaure, which is transformed into a winter wonderland lined with medieval houses and a beautiful Christmas tree. The market features chalets selling Christmas delicacies, crafts and souvenirs. Loads of pretty lights add to the cosy atmosphere. Tallin is a real foodie destination and a gourmet’s delight. The air is scented with gingerbread and mulled wine, as well as a wide selection of traditional Estonian Christmas dishes such as sour cabbage, fish and black pudding.
Dates: 18.11.2016 — 07.01.2017
Marchés de Noël, Strasbourg, France
They call Strasbourg the capital of Christmas. It was this famous city that held the oldest Christmas market in Europe, called the Christkindelsmärik back in 1570. The city continues the long tradition, so nothing beats spending the holidays in Strasbourg to make this Christmas truly special. Wonderfully atmospheric, this is the perfect destination to gaze upon festive lights and try the delicious Christmas treats.
Dates: 25.11.2016 — 31.12.2016