10 famous Christmas markets around the world
When Christmas time comes around, there is no longer such a thing as age. From 1 to 99, we all want the same thing: bathe in the magic of the season. This common craze for the spirit of the holidays inspired the creation of larger-than-life playgrounds also known as Christmas markets. These dreamy miniature winter villages popping up all over the world when the mercury drops are the perfect place to spend a snowy December afternoon to shop for your gift exchange and sip mulled wine until well into the night. Of course, the experience varies from one market to the other, but if you are looking for the full experience, try one of these 10 famous Christmas markets to make the most of this precious time of the year.
The very first Christmas market in Strasbourg dates back to 1570, making it the very first in France. The city itself transforms into a winter wonderland come November which is reason enough to make the trip. But of course, a visit to the self-proclaimed Christmas capital wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the famous Christkindelsmärik, or marché de l’enfant Jésus, to experience kilometres of fairy lights, shows and concerts, over 300 stalls and the majestic Great Christmas Tree for a dreamy Christmas celebration.
The stunning Vienna architecture gives their Christmas market tradition an extra dose of enchantment. Alive since 1298 in the capital, multiple holiday markets come to life in mid-November. One of the most popular has to be the Viennese Dream Christmas Market which takes place in front of the stunning City Hall. Seasonal treats, handcrafted goods, gorgeous stalls, international choirs singing carols and even an area for children to make cookies or candles, Austria sure knows how to do Christmas.
Canada has nothing to envy Europe when it comes to the art of winter Market. The Toronto Christmas Market in the Distillery Historic District, offers a romantic holiday experience like no other. The stunning installations include a giant Christmas tree, an illuminated countdown to Christmas, a beer garden featuring a clever “naughty or nice” neon sign, multiple vendors as well as entertainment and activities. While the place is gorgeous in daylight, it’s definitely a sight to be seen—and experienced—when the sun goes down.
The renowned Tivoli Christmas Market is a great reason to head to Copenhagen during the holidays. The Tivoli gardens transform into the jolliest of places for the occasion. Dazzling decorations, the abundance of which is equalled only by its tastefulness, transport visitors into the magical spirit of the season. An old-fashioned train travelling through a corridor of baubles, Christmas treats and warm drinks, charming stalls and holiday-themed performances, Tivoli is the place to enjoy Danish-style hygge, the Christmas way.
Moscow is no stranger to winter and what better way to forget the cold than keeping warm with the Christmas spirit. Moscow certainly has mastered the technique with multiple annual Christmas markets appearing at the end of November. The most popular and impressive has to be the one taking place in the iconic Red Square. The impressive installation with its merry stalls and colourful decorations also doubles as a fair with fun rides.
Assure yourself a festive and romantic Christmas by planning a trip to Colmar. The antique feel of the city serves as a perfect background for this Christmas wonderland straight out of The Grinch. Among the six markets offering decorations, original gift ideas and traditional delicacies such as Alsatian specialties, foie gras, charcuterie, wines and alcohol, the ones at Place des Dominicains and Place Jeanne d’Arc are the most popular.
No matter what the French town of Strasbourg might claim, Germany is the Christmas capital. The place pretty much invented Christmas as we know it (actually, Christmas was first celebrated in Rome). What it did invent, however, are Christmas markets. The country’s mastering of the art of Christmas markets make it very hard to select only a few, let alone a single one, but Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg certainly has made a reputation for itself.
As stated above, it is impossible to stick to a single German Christmas market. The choice is hard with options such as the Römerberg Market in Frankfurt, the Lucia Christmas Market in Berlin, the Engelchen Market in Düsseldorf, the Am Dom Markt in Cologne, the Marienplatz Christmas Market in Munich and the Leipzig Christmas Market, which are all more majestic than one another, but the Dresden market is a great choice for a jolly evening.
The beautiful Spikersuppa Christmas market in Olso benefits from the added value of a Ferris wheel, a carousel and the park’s skating ring. A humongous Christmas tree overlooks tastefully decorated wooden stalls offering a selection of crafts as well as different seasonal delicacies and drinks to keep warm while enjoying a festive day or evening surrounded by a stunning magical landscape.
Experience a Finnish Christmas in the best way possible at Helsinki’s biggest Christmas market, Tuomaan Markkinat or Saint-Thomas Market. The event offers a modern take on the age-old tradition in the city’s historical centre. The magical cozy winter installations include over a hundred sellers displaying an array of local treasures, an old-fashioned merry-go-round, as well as a food court where restaurants and food stalls serve regional specialties. Yet, the highlight for any outsider might be their traditional Christmas sauna for visitors to experience.
These 10 most famous are must winter destinations for any Christmas lover. And if you are treating yourself to a magical holiday trip in a winter wonderland, don’t forget to dress warm and to plan a budget for special finds as well as sweet treats.
Cover photo credit: @katie.one | Instagram