These Are the Most Magical Christmas Markets in Europe
Whether you have a meticulously planned itinerary for a visit to Europe this holiday season or are considering booking a last-minute getaway, make sure you stop off at one of these charming Christmas markets.
Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany
Head to the Mitte district, the most central borough of the German capital, and explore the Gendarmenmarkt this holiday season. The square, situated between the Französischer Dom (French Church of Friedrichstadt) and Deutscher Dom, is considered one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in the city. On offer are designs by various artisans, from wood carvers and belt makers to graphic artists, photographers and dressmakers. The culinary options are also numerous, and visitors can enjoy live jazz, classical and gospel music, along with various other forms of entertainment, including jugglers and fire-eaters. Once you’ve eaten and purchased your way through the market, warm up by exploring the “German Parliament” exhibition inside the Deutscher Dom.
Date: Runs until Dec. 31
Wiener Christkindlmarkt, Vienna, Austria
Though Vienna plays host to several Christmas markets throughout the festive season, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt is perhaps the most traditional. The nearly 720-year-old tradition takes place in Rathausplatz with the venerable City Hall acting as an impressive backdrop to the 154 stalls. Vendors sell everything from chocolates and handcrafted wooden toys to clothing and roasted chestnuts. Visitors can also enjoy daily entertainment, including a trumpet fanfare and performances by the Christ Child’s Choirs and the Science Pool Club for children. There’s even an ice-skating track called Little Ice Dream to add to the festive atmosphere.
Date: Runs until Dec. 26; Little Ice Dream runs until Jan. 14, 2018
Head over to the South Bank of London for views of the River Thames and a stroll round the Southbank Centre’s Nordic-inspired Winter Market. The wooden chalets that line the Queen’s Walk feature artisans from around the globe, selling handcrafted gifts and all manner of food, from Asian and vegan street fare to pies and bratwurst. And to keep warm while you browse the 30 different stalls, make sure to grab a cup (or two) of mulled wine. In keeping with the Nordic theme, visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of the Thames from the Finnish Rooftop Sauna, located on the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Terrace, part of the Southbank Centre.
Date: Runs until Dec. 31; the Rooftop Sauna runs until Dec. 30
Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie, Strasbourg, France
In December, France’s Strasbourg morphs into a holiday wonderland, featuring one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. And though there are numerous stalls dotted around the city, each location offering its own charm, visitors should make their way to Christkindelsmärik, located near the Opera House and City Hall. Everything from handcrafted tablecloths, pottery and glass jewelry to traditional Alsatian Christmas decorations is on offer among the 100 different chalets. Food options are also plentiful and include delicious Alsatian pastries, cakes, mulled wine and beer.
Date: Runs until Dec. 24
Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
To capture some truly Instagram-worthy, holiday-themed snaps, head to the Christmas market in Prague’s Old Town Square, located between Wenceslas Square and the Charles Bridge. Visitors can browse the brightly lit stalls while snacking on gingerbread and mulled wine. Vendors sell everything from wood-carved toys and glassware to confectionary and Christmas decorations. Food stalls serve up hearty fare including barbecued pork, blood sausages and conkers. Those with little ones will want to check out the many workshops and activities such as craft demonstrations. And don’t forget to stick around for the tree-lighting event, which takes place several times a day and features two different light performances.
Date: Runs until Jan. 6, 2018
Ashley Bess is an editor turned freelancer writer who describers herself as short, opinionated, recently repatriated, lover of gin and travel and with a head full of useless song lyrics and movie quotes.