Tis The Season To Visit The Best Christmas Markets In Europe
Everyone loves a good Christmas market! And no one does a Christmas market like the Europeans. Imagine it now: twinkling Xmas lights hanging over traditional wooden stalls selling an array of Christmas goodies. With the smell of roasted chestnuts in the air and a cup of hot chocolate in hand as you wander the cobblestone streets with festive music echoing between the quaint historic architecture. Nothing can get you in the festive spirit quicker than visiting some of the best Christmas markets in Europe!
Luckily for you, we have put together a handy guide to the top European Christmas markets you must add to your list! So pack your bags and get ready for a festive-themed vacation that would warm any Scrooge’s heart.
Why is Europe known for its Christmas markets?
The very first Christmas market can be dated as far back as 1434 in Dresden, Germany. With so much history and tradition built into its Christmas markets, it’s no wonder why Europe is famous for them. Whilst Germany still reigns supreme in the number of Christmas markets it has, nowadays Europe has developed grand Christmas markets in almost every city and town, even the smallest of villages, throughout the continent.
What can you expect from European Christmas markets?
Much like American Christmas markets, European Christmas markets are lined with festive stalls. They typically sell everything from local Xmas treats, winter drinks and classic Christmas gifts, including ornaments, decorations, candles, pottery, jewelry, traditional toys and festive trinkets.
Each country will have its own unique spin on the classic Christmas market, adding its own traditions and history. Visiting these markets is the perfect opportunity to understand a country’s Christmas traditions and sample an array of local delicacies. So which are the best Christmas markets in Europe?
The best Christmas markets in Europe:
With countless Christmas markets all across Europe to enjoy, choosing which ones to visit on your European vacation can be tough. That’s why we’ve picked our top 5 Xmas markets in Europe to help you narrow down your options.
Located right next to the famous Rathaus building, Vienna hosts one of the biggest Christmas markets in the world! Dating back to the 13th century, this old traditional market is incredibly popular with tourists as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Every year the city center comes alive with over 100 traditional stalls and entertainment all around from festive live music to ice skating next to the city hall.
You can also visit several smaller winter markets that pop up throughout the city’s different districts. It is truly a spectacular and bustling Christmas market full of life! If you would like to add Vienna’s Christmas market to your vacation, why not create a custom tour?
Budapest may not commonly be considered a Christmas destination, but it is definitely up there as one of the best winter locations for tourists. Budapest has two Christmas markets to consider, Vorosmarty Square and Basilica. Vorosmarty Square Christmas market can be found in the heart of the city offering plenty of traditional stalls, local festive delicacies and free concerts to enjoy as you take in the picturesque architecture of this complex city.
If you have some extra time during your visit to Budapest, you should add the Basilica Christmas market to your itinerary. This classic Christmas market is equally as interesting, with the added entertainment of Christmas laser shows and a large ice-skating rink that has a grand Christmas tree at its center. Consider adding Budapest to your holiday plans when you book a tour with us.
Prague, Czech Republic
If you happen to visit Prague in the wintertime, then you are in for a real treat! Located in the center of Prague is a Christmas market that merges the classical market style with a modern vibe. The city itself is quite compact, making it easy to stroll around all the stalls without having to walk too far, but by no means is the market small. Plus, Prague’s intricate gothic buildings make for the perfect Christmas market backdrop.
Expect open-air concerts and traditional nativity scenes to keep you entertained as you explore the stalls selling plenty of Xmas treats from hand-blown glass baubles to juicy sausages right off the grill. Pick up a glass of grog during your visit, a tasty drink of rum, water, lemon and sugar that will have you going back for refills over and over again!
There are hundreds of Christmas markets in Croatia, scattered all across the country from its coastal cities to its secluded islands, but the most famous one can be found in Zagreb. If you consider yourself a bit of a foodie, then you have to travel to Croatia’s capital city for Zagreb Advent – a Christmas market that is sure to delight your taste buds.
Try all the festive local delicacies from spicy sausages to the tastebud-tingling sarma stuffed cabbage rolls. Treat yourself to some sweet foods as well such as fritule, a chocolate-covered fritter, which is perfect when washed down with some plum brandy or local wines. Add Zagreb’s Christmas market to a personalized tour of Croatia.
The entirety of Germany is known for its traditional markets, but one of the most interesting markets is located right in the country’s capital. Berlin takes a modern twist of the classic Christmas market, splitting its festive celebration into around 80 Christmas markets scattered throughout the city, each with its own unique points of attraction. It will be difficult to cover all of them, so here are some that may be of interest to you:
Spandau – the largest Christmas market in Berlin, if you’re looking for history and tradition wrapped up in one, then this is the market for you
Weihnachtszauber – located in Gendarmenmarkt square with special handicrafts for sale
Sirius – a Christmas market dedicated to dogs
Winter World – on Potsdamer Platz, this is a Christmas destination with a twist – forget shopping as this location’s focus is winter sports. Try tobogganing, curling and ice-skating
The greatest way to see the best selection of Christmas markets in Europe is to take a wintertime tour. Using Croatia as a base location is a great way to experience some of the oldest Christmas Markets in the world, fulfill your travel wanderlust, and get some of your shopping done while you’re at it!
Schedule a visit to Croatia between Christmas and New Year celebrations for an unforgettable European winter holiday. Get in touch today.