Europe’s Best Christmas Markets
Trees full of lights twinkle in the night as locals and tourists alike come together to shop for handcrafted treasures, watch traditional performances, and warm up with yummy mulled wines. It wouldn’t be winter in Europe without the sites and sounds of Christmas markets waiting to greet you round every corner! It’s the perfect experience for those looking to get an inside look at a country’s culture – and to really get into the Christmas spirit. Here’s our list of Europe’s top destinations to check out this holiday season.
If you’re traveling with children, then the Viennese Christmas Market is for you. Held in front of the city hall, the backdrop couldn’t be more spectacular! Kids can venture inside the City Hall to the children’s area where they can learn to make Christmas cookies or candles. Parents can sip punch and shop for handcrafted goods with the sounds of international choirs floating through the streets.
There are dozens of Christmas markets located all over France, but perhaps the most magical is Christkindelsmärik. Held since 1570, it’s one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets, earning Strasbourg the title of “the Capital of Christmas.” Sip delicious mulled Alsace white wine while you watch skilled artisans practice their craft during a different show each week. Plus, its close proximity to Germany and Switzerland makes it easy to do some international Christmas market hopping!
If you happen to find yourself in Nuremberg on the first Friday before Advent, you’re in for a real treat. On this special day, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt holds its impressive opening ceremony – a ceremony that has remained the same for many, many years. In the dark of the evening, people from all over gather round the Main Market Square in anticipation. At 5:30, trumpets are blown and local choirs begin their singing. The lights of the market are switched on, and perched in the gallery of the Church of Our Lady, the Nuremberg Christkind begins her monologue.
Prague, Czech Republic
As you’re strolling through stall upon stall of Christmas goodies, you’re guaranteed to be greeted by the smells of all kinds of traditional foods wafting through the air. Large hams (aptly named Prague Ham) roasted on spits, barbecued sausages, and ham and cheese crepes are at every corner. For an extra magical experience, step into one of the many historic churches throughout Prague and enjoy an evening of classical music.
Although the always sunny Dalmation Coast might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Christmas Markets,” it has definitely earned its spot on our list. Dubrovnik’s Winter Festival brings the UNESCO-listed city to life with bright lights, festive carolers, traditional dancers, and more delicacies than you could possibly eat. You’ll even find snow machines and a skating rink to really get into the winter spirit!