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Christmas markets: 11 of Europe’s best Christmas markets

Europe’s famous Christmas markets are a great way to add some tradition and magic to the Christmas experience. Here are our picks of the best.

Main Square – Stockholm, Sweden

The Christmas Market in the historic district is not only the oldest Christmas market in Stockholm, but also a visual feast. The market has been set up on the main square (Stortorget) for over a hundred years without interruption. Visitors who complete their shopping for Swedish handicrafts also have the chance to satisfy their hunger with local delicacies such as pepparkakor (pepper cookies), saffransbullar (saffron bun) and glögg (hot wine). All these flavors will surely be enough to keep you full and warm!

Striezelmarkt – Dresden, Germany

The Dresden Christmas market, the oldest in Germany, has been around for 600 years. The region’s artisans fill around 250 market stalls with local produce. One of the highlights of the Christmas market is the annual fruitcake (stollen) festival, celebrated on the second Sunday in December.

Tivoli Gardens – Copenhagen, Denmark

The world’s second oldest amusement park is decorated with hundreds of Christmas trees and thousands of lights for the Christmas market. One of the most important activities of this place is the frozen lake, which has been converted into an ice skating rink. We can say that the food and drinks you can find in the market – especially glögg (spicy mulled wine) and hot apple ravioli – are as attractive as the atmosphere and the crafts on the stalls.

Cathedral Square and Palace Square – Salzburg, Austria

One of the most important aspects of Christmas markets is the feeling of being part of something special they give. There is no doubt that the Salzburg market, with an imposing church on one side, a medieval palace on the other, and a two-story avant-garde fountain in the center, can give this feeling. This fully illuminated square creates a wonderful decoration for the handicrafts you will visit.

Historic District Square – Prague, Czech Republic

While there are many Christmas markets in the city, we think the best ones are right in the heart of the historic district. Handcrafted wooden toys (including classic Czech puppets), handmade jewelry, candles and crystals sold in colorfully decorated huts set up around a giant Christmas tree…

Place Sainte-Catherine, Grand Place and Fish Market – Brussels, Belgium

It is possible to say that the Brussels Christmas market, which consists of approximately 240 wooden huts, is spread over a very large area. Although most stalls sell similar crafts and Christmas decorations, many countries are represented in this market. The main attraction of this place is the traditional Belgian food: waffles, donuts, free mussels, caricole… You can find anything you want here, of course, with a strong local beer so that it doesn’t go dry.

Albert Square – Manchester, England

Christmas markets are not unique to Continental Europe; these markets managed to reach the shores of England, and we can say that Manchester, in particular, fell under the influence of a full Christmas shopping frenzy during the festival. With more than 300 stalls offering crafts and delicacies from all over the world, Manchester’s Christmas markets are held in many different parts of the city, but Albert Square is at its center.

Historic District – Riga, Latvia

The main Christmas market in the Latvian capital is a place straight out of a children’s fairy tale. Set in the cathedral square in the heart of Riga’s historic center (an Art Nouveau masterpiece recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), this market is brimming with wonderful surprises for every taste. Don’t forget to check out their proprietary candelabra made of Latvian wood and an incredible array of amber ornaments.

Central Square – Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg’s Christmas market dates back to the 16th century and annually welcomes two million visitors from all over the world. Located in the Hauptmarkt (the central square of Nuremberg’s historic district), this giant market is a place where you can find traditional Christmas delicacies such as sweet gingerbread, Original Nuremberg Rostbratwurst and Glühwein (hot wine).

Central Square – Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s main Christmas market is held on the city’s main square, La Plaza Mayor. Established for more than a century, this market is famous for the nativity trinkets that adorn the front shelves of the square’s wooden huts and stalls. With the darkness of winter nights, the market regains its true color with its colorful lights that make you forget the cold and the darkness for a short time.

Red Square – Moscow, Russia

Moscow’s Red Square is an unusually spacious and oppressive atmosphere even at its best. Famous for its military parades, the square takes on a very warm and friendly atmosphere with the establishment of Moscow’s main Christmas market. In keeping with Russian Orthodox Christmas traditions, the Christmas market stays open until late January, so there’s still plenty of time to enjoy it.


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