The holiday season is magical. More so, when you’re out and about exploring the Christmas markets in Europe.
There’s nothing in the world quite like the European holiday season. With bedecked wooden chalets, seasonal cakes on window displays at bakeries, mulled wine served hot at just about every corner, and towering pines decorated with twinkling fairy lights, snowy alpine towns collectively turn the continent into a winter fairyland.
Known for its festive spirit every holiday season, Europe is touted for winter destinations with some of the best Christmas markets in the world. Here’s the ones we wish we could stroll through this winter.
The best Christmas markets in Europe!
Prague, Czech Republic
Witness the festive fever take over the medieval architectural marvels, including spectacular domes, castles, and towers. Enjoy traditional festivities, open-air concerts, melodious choirs, stalls selling local ceramics, scented candles, hand-blown glass baubles, and delicious native dishes like barbecued pork, pancakes, and local grog in the markets of Staromestské Námestie (the Old Town Square) and Wenceslas Square.
The Christmas market at the city’s centre, with the stunning Cologne Cathedral as backdrop, is everything that you’d expect a classic German spread to be: local crafts, glühwein, or local mulled wine recipe, twinkling lights, and over 100 stage performances. Head to nearby Hohe Strasse for a shopping spree next.
The annual Christmas market and Hogmanay celebrations come together to paint Edinburgh in holiday spirits, with tree maze, mini-train rides, 108-foot Ferris wheel aka Edinburgh Eye, special projections, performances, and stalls selling themed gifts, artworks, and cinnamon-sugar chimney cakes, and cotton candy.
Strasbourg in the Alsace region is home to Christkindesmäkir, the oldest Christmas market in France, famous for its wooden chalets, concerts, ice skating rink, foie gras, and the Great Christmas Tree illuminated in the central square of Place Kléber.
Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark
Come winter, more than 5,00,000 fairy lights and decorated fir trees illuminate the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. Experience Christmas hygge alongside market stalls with Danish delicacies like aebleskiver pancake puffs, chunky knitwear, wooden toys, and more.
Located in the Town Hall Square, the Christmas market of Tallinn boasts 60 chic wooden huts, popular for handcrafted wreaths, lamps, sheepskin rugs, gingerbread, local honey, and mulled wine. Expect musical groups and dance troupes to keep up the holiday spirit, as you enjoy rides and literally watch Santa arriving at his winter grotto on an authentic reindeer sleigh!
Visit the Skansen Open-Air Museum on the island of Djurgarden in the heart of Stockholm, if you want to see decorated historic homesteads, relish smoked turkey, and caramelised almonds, make your own Christmas props, and shake a leg at local dances.
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You can not think of Switzerland when it comes to European holiday season. Basler Weihnachtsmarkt in Basel is a famous Christmas market with over 190 vendors offering handmade toys, Swiss treats and culinary wonders, jewellery, and more.
Voted as the best Christmas market in Europe by European Best Destinations three times in a row, visit the one in Croatia’s Zagreb for live music, delicious drinks, colour-popping illuminations, souvenir stalls, and mouth-watering Medenjaci cookies — a Croatian Christmas special.
The Christmas market hosted by the largest church in Hungary, St Stephen’s Basilica at Szent István Square, brings 160 stalls, skating rink, folk dance shows and concerts, and laser projections around a giant bedecked tree.