Christmas markets are known as a German tradition, but have become quite popular in other countries especially in Europe. Strolling around a Christmas market is one of my favorite traditions. There is just something about the atmosphere that makes is so special. The decoration, the lights, the food and Christmas punch, all the handcrafted things you can buy and so much more. Every market is different and every market has something to offer that makes it unique. So I thought why not share this love with you and tell you about my five favorite Christmas markets.
1. Thurn and Taxis Castle, Regensburg, Germany
This is absolutely one of my favorites so far. It is located in the courtyard of the castle and the atmosphere is magic. You should definitely go there when it is dark, because that’ll make it extra magic. Another cute event is the arrival of the Christmas Fairy on one of the balconies, which happens every evening. Though there are many popular Christmas markets in Germany like the one in Nuremberg or Dresden, this one is my personal favorite, since the location alone makes it something special.
2. Wroclaw, Poland
During the weeks of December Wroclaw’s medieval market square is like part of fairytale. In the middle of the square is a giant Christmas pyramid, which is also surrounded by trees and wooden stalls. There are loads of events every day, like the children’s choir that makes a visit even more fun especially for kids I think. A huge plus is the food from all different countries, so if you’re not really a fan of the typical “Bratwurst” you will surely find something to enjoy like Spanish churros, French pancakes or Turkish Baklava.
Another fun activity: Join the treasure hunt, because there are over 160 dwarfs hidden all around the city. Sooo much fun!
3. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg itself with its baroque architecture is really really beautiful, but during Christmas I think it is even prettier. The market is located in the oldest part of the city. Its tradition can be traced back all to 1491. You can listen to a beautiful choir and there is a stall where you can even bake your own gingerbread. If you are able to see more of Austria, then be sure to make a detour to Vienna.
4. Starsbourg, France
The Christmas market in Strasbourg is one of the oldest ones in Europe, taking place almost every year since 1570. Strasbourg calls itself Capitale de Noël, which means capital city of Christmas and with over 300 stalls it is probably actually the biggest one in Europe. One of the highlights is for sure the giant and beautiful Christmas tree on the “Place Kléber”. What is even more breathtaking is the sea of light that Strasbourg has transformed into. I have read that over 30km (18 miles) of string lights stretch around the town.
5. Bruge, Belgium
Last but not least the Christmas market in Brügge. Though it is a littler smaller what makes it fun is the huge ice rink between the two markets. There is also an ice sculpture festival and an ice bar. What I think is even more beautiful is the city itself. All the houses around the market square are decorated in lights and I am such a fan of Christmas lights, especially when winter is so cold and dark (at least in most of Europe).
Though these are my favorites there are sooo many more beautiful Christmas market around the world. Especially when you are traveling in Europe during Christmas time you should make sure to check if the city has a Christmas market. I am sure you won’t regret a visit.
Continue with some more Christmas reading: My A to Z Christmas list