The festive season is upon us and with Christmas just around the corner, it is that time of year when we all need to start to think about a gift to give to our loved ones.
Why don’t you make this year an extra special one and take your loved one, your family or even just yourself, to one of the many amazing Christmas markets around Europe?
There are many of them to choose from. You can wander through the markets where you will be pulled into the Christmas spirit. You will be able to choose from local, handcrafted gifts, or, you can enjoy some mouth-watering Christmas dishes and treats.
Whatever you preference and whether alone or with others, you are sure to enjoy the atmosphere. Today I will do a roundup of some of the oldest and best Christmas markets to choose from.
Strasbourg – France
Strasbourg in eastern France is where you will find one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. The first edition of this famous market took place in 1570 and is still going strong today. After 448 years you can be assured they know what they are doing.
If you attend this one there is plenty of choice. Across 10 locations with 300 stalls, this is a Christmas market that takes more than one day to explore. If you want to really indulge and enjoy then I would suggest at least a long weekend break. That way you can take advantage of the festivities, pick up some new decorations for the tree at home try the local Alsatian wine.
The really special feature of this market is the ‘guest country market’ and the colossus christmas tree that puts the New York Rockefeller Centre effort to shame.
Viennese Christmas Market – Vienna – Austria
With the first market here appearing in 1928, Vienna have worked on all the magical elements that make up the perfect Christmas market. If it is your first time then I would strongly suggest going and checking out the Viennese Christmas Market.
Set out in front of the City Hall, the Viennese Market consists of 151 stalls. With everything from boozy Christmas punch to tummy pleasing Austrian sausages, the market also boasts an ice rink, reindeer rides for the kids (and adventurous adults maybe) and of course the classic nativity scene all for your delight. And if you are feeling sporty then perhaps give curling a go on the dedicated curling rink.
This year the event runs from 17th to 26th December
Medieval Town Square – Kraków – Poland
The Christmas market in Krakow is renowned as being one of the best. The main square (Rynek Główny) in Kraków is the biggest medieval square in Europe. Rich in history it delivers the perfect setting for the Christmas market.
Here there are traditional wooden huts lined up, offering up plenty of hand-crafted gifts among other presents and decorations for the tree or house. Food is a plenty, you will find, traditional Polish Pierogi (dumplings) a national dish, great polish sausage grilled in front of you and definitely some mulled wine or hot beer to wash it all down with.
This year the event runs from Now until the 26th December (officially, although last year it ran until early January)
Old Town Square – Prague – Czech Republic
Here in Prague, there are two markets. There is the main market on the Old Town Square, and then another, just five minutes walk away, on Wenceslas Square. You can easily explore them both on a full day excursion.
Each of the markets has the traditional wooden huts found in the Krakow market and other similar ones in Europe, but what makes the Czech market stand out are the treats. You can grab a klobása (Czech sausage) and then wash it all down with a Pilsner Urquell.
Each year both markets are open from the start of the festive season right through to January 6th, including Christmas Day.
Winter Wonders – Brussels – Belgium
You could call this a Christmas Market, or you could call it a Christmas Festival. I think the latter would be a better description. There are over 200 chalets serving everything you can imagine including, glühwein, Belgian beers and waffles.
The festival covers a huge area. Across, Bourse, Place de la Monnaie, Grand Place, Place Sainte Catherine and Marche aux Poissons. There is ice skating, a Ferris wheel, light shows galore and, as you would hope, a huge Christmas Tree.
Every year it opens from 30th November to 6th January
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