Christmas markets might be one of the highlights of December for many people, despite us knowing that everything on those stalls is overpriced! If you’re looking for somewhere to soak up the festive atmosphere in there is no place better than a Christmas market; here are some of our favourites from around the world.
Just about every list you’ll come across for Christmas markets will feature Strasbourg, and for good reason! The Strasbourg Christmas Market has been celebrating all things Christmas since 1570, featuring more than 300 stalls across ten different locations filled with festive delights. It isn’t just about sampling the local Christmas delicacies like hot Alsatian wine and Mannele (a type of brioche shaped into little men), buying a gift or two, or getting lost in the decorations. In Strasbourg you can get yourself an education in all things Christmas. You’ll learn about the traditions of food and toy making, the history of the Christmas tree, and so many other things besides.
Budapest’s Vörösmarty Square gets transformed into a festive extravaganza every year. Clutch on to your mulled wine as you browse the stalls, watch the projected light displays on the nearby buildings, and soak up the atmosphere around you. There are beautiful hand-made gifts as well as plenty of food to sample like beigli, a poppy seed bread, or gingerbread cookies available from more than a hundred stalls. But what really makes the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival special is the Gerbeaud Coffee House, whose window display transforms into a giant advent calendar! There are also concerts and dancing to get you into the festive spirit. Why aren’t you packing already?
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The Basel Christmas Market is held at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, and rightfully boasts as being the best Christmas market in all of Switzerland. There are around 180 traders who offer their wares from beautiful wooden Christmas chalets, and decoration is a key part of the market itself. The Christmas tree that serves as the market’s centerpiece is decorated with handmade ornaments created by Johann Wanner, who has almost as many years of experience making Christmas decorations (40) as the market has been run (41)! If you’re going with children you can easily keep them entertained with gingerbread decorating and decoration making, though you might just want to join in with those things yourself!
Advent in Zagreb is truly magical. On and around Jelacic Square you will find ice rinks, live ice sculpture carving, and concerts — and that’s before you get to everything the Christmas stalls have on offer! But the street food and gifts available aren’t what make this such a magical place to go, it is all the events and various amusements that will melt even the coldest of hearts! There are Santa fun runs, a Christmas tram, and festive music to keep you literally dancing in the streets all night long! Though this tends to happen most in fuliranje, meaning fooling around; an area of the square dedicated to festive merriment!
Christmasland in New Taipei City is truly a spectacle. Predominantly this is a 3D light projection display that will leave you in awe for its sheer scale. There is the world’s tallest 3D projected Christmas tree, lantern areas that will keep you craning your neck, and dancing Christmas lights everywhere you look. Among the numerous stalls selling all kinds of handmade goods and food, there are Christmas games, concerts, and performances that will keep you occupied and spoilt for choice.
Christmas in Edinburgh is a beautiful experience, and it’s bound to make a Christmas believer out of even the most fierce of bah humbugs out there! The Christmas Market on East Princes Street Gardens has a Santa Land that is a mini festive fairground and a Santa’s grotto combined. There are stalls and stalls of Christmas toys on offer here so be ready to avoid puppy eyes pleading for last-minute purchases. The market itself is teeming with stalls filled with all kinds of Christmas goods, and there is plenty of food and drink on offer if you need a little boost to keep going.
Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be a last-minute rush or a dreaded event. Get yourself to a Christmas market and indulge in everything around you!