Christmas markets have a long history around Europe. The tradition of these markets goes back to the 14th and 15th century in the German-speaking part of Europe. Christmas markets are great places to find beautiful and unique gifts, from jewelry and crafts to fashion, toys, and sweet specialties. Explore the world-famous holiday markets with us!
Vienna is arguably the home of Christmas markets. Have they been held there since the 13th century? The Vienna “December market” was a kind of forerunner of the Christmas market and dates back to 1294. Now, more than ten markets can be found in various parts of the city. More than a hundred stalls fill the Rathausplatz in front of the City Hall. The trees of the surrounding City Hall Park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights. The cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace offers incredibly romantic atmosphere. You can buy here traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and an extensive children’s program. Another place you should visit in Vienna during the holiday season is the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung. You can buy there handicrafts, glass decorations, traditional cribs and ceramics.
Berlin could easily be described as the capital of the Christmas market if judged on quantity alone. The market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche is the biggest and most popular receiving around 2 million visitors each year. This is a place where you can feast on warm fruity ciders, glazed fruit and, of course, grilled sausages! Where to go next? In front of the Roten Rathaus, you can find the Christmas market called Berliner Weihnachtszeit. You will be able to spot this Christmas market if you just look out for the massive Ferris wheel (50 meters high). Besides the gigantic Ferris wheel and the unique stalls, the Berliner Weihnachtszeit also offers a large ice-skate-ring. With a total surface of 600 square meters of ice.
For a real taste of Danish flavor, visit elegant Christmas Market of Tivoli Gardens. You will find there local specialties such as the hot and spicy red wine drink Glogg, and Aebleskiver usually accompanied with a pan-fried cake, sugar, and jam. The permanent points of sale are supplemented by around sixty stalls of varying sizes, selling Christmas decorations, knitted products, leather products, crafts, deli items and more. Visitors can enjoy Tivoli’s unique Christmas attractions such as Pixie Band playing at various points around the Gardens, as well as the daily illuminations and the fireworks festival (from 25 – 27 December, and 31 December – 3 January). Copenhagen offers you a unique, authentically ‘Christmassy’ atmosphere that you will love.
Skansen’s ultra-traditional Christmas market has been held annually since 1903 at the Bollnäs Square and in the Town Quarter. This is the best place to feel the Christmas spirit and taste traditional Swedish delicacies such as sweet pancakes or grilled herrings. The Skansen’s Christmas Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1st Advent until Christmas.
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From the sweet smell of fresh waffles to the twinkling fairy-lights reflected in the canal, Bruges is hard to beat for a fairytale Christmas break. The heart of the Christmas markets in Bruges can be found in the Market Square. The center is dominated by a huge ice rink and colorful stalls crammed with Christmas goodies. You can find here elegantly-packaged chocolates, brightly-coloured sweets, local Belgian beers and unusual hand-made decorations. Across the city, there are some smaller Christmas markets open to exploring.
Prague, Czech Republic
The Christmas market takes place at Prague’s Old Town Square, called Staromestske Namesti. Its center point is a huge tree. The market consist of brightly decorated wooden huts selling traditional handicrafts, such as glassware, jewelry, embroidered lace, toys made of wood, Christmas tree decorations, puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costumes. You should taste there some traditional Czech foods (smažený sýr or trdelnik) and drinks (hot wine – svařené víno or warm honey liquor called medovina).