A trip to Europe in December is not complete without visiting the Christmas markets. This is a great place to get a feel for local traditions and culture, while getting a taste of some of the best food you can find! The Christmas markets are also the perfect place for you to buy presents for your loved ones - you can find ornaments, home decorations, handmade soaps and lotions, and hand-knitted hats and scarves for gifts. Of all the Christmas markets in Europe, here are the seven that you should make sure to see.
This Winter, Visit These 7 Christmas Markets In Europe
Elegant, mysterious Brussels makes Christmas more of a mystical winter wonderland at St Catherine. Warmed alcoholic drinks, hearty hot dogs and toasty waffles keep you going through the many stalls with crafted gifts and souvenirs. The carousel with fantasy creatures spins around and around with quaint music, and the ice rink keeps the whole family entertained. The ferris wheel overlooks the entire market, so you can watch the vendors' little wooden huts from above.
The “yuletide” Christmas craft market at the Tivoli Gardens features miles and miles of lights that illuminate the market — making it cosy in the cold. Try iced donuts with blackcurrant jam as well as glogg (mulled wine) which is infused with cloves, raisins, cinnamon and almond steeped in schnapps. There are sure to be elves wandering around the market in the Christmas spirit, and to the delight of the children.
Germany is known for its elaborate Christmas celebrations, with stalls lined around an incredible Christmas tree at the Marienplatz. Potato pancakes and gingerbread will keep you warm, along with the mulled wine. The over-the-top lights and decorations fit perfectly in the historic and ornamented square.
One of the oldest markets in Europe can be found in Salzburg, as its origins go back to the 15th century. The market is smaller and with fewer stalls than most Christmas markets, meaning that each stall’s importance is heightened. Downtown Salzburg is adorned with beautiful white buildings, and the fountains are kept running underneath modern-looking glass for the season. Roasted chestnuts fill the air, along with the sound of the church bells.
Strasbourg is the centre of the Alsace regions, bordering Germany and sharing its love for Christmas markets. Under the gothic weight of the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, this winter wonderland is the largest Christmas market in Europe. The market has hundreds of stalls in different sections all over the city. A circus, merry-go-round, and tons of concerts give you entertainment in-between the food and craft stalls. Try some “bredele,” Alsace’s traditional Christmas cookie in all kinds of seasonal flavors.
With numerous markets all over the city, the Alter Markt is the most popular in Cologne. The Cologne Cathedral overlooks the market, along with the largest Christmas tree in Germany. Potato pancakes, gingerbread, and mulled wine hit the spot while you search through many crafted stalls to finish up your Christmas list. A puppet theater and the legend of the gnomes who created the Christmas festivities keeps the market as absurdly whimsical as you could imagine.
In the Old Town Square, school children singing carols and a nativity scene acting as a petting zoo keeps the market traditional. Warm rum or wine keep the festivities going, along with delicious cinnamon pastries. Dolls and puppets keep the kids entertained, while the grand Christmas tree twinkles.
This article was written by Clara Hudson.