Christmas in Europe is a time for mulled wine, medieval cooking, and local traditions. Instead of buying Christmas presents in shopping centers and high streets, many enjoy the experience of attending a Christmas market outside. They are filled with fresh food, warm beverages, unique gifts and local entertainment. If you don’t buy a single present, it is at least a way of getting into the Christmas spirit! Many travel across the continent to discover the experience of wandering around Europe and exploring the beautiful log cabins filled with Christmas gifts.
Most Christmas markets around Europe begin four Sundays before Christmas Eve and finish on the 24th December. From Prague to Stockholm, we’ve created a list of the top Christmas European markets to add to your bucket list. Here’s everything you need to know before heading overseas to these Christmas markets. Get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy these markets with a heart full of festive cheer!
The Vienna Christmas markets go back to the 13th century. With 10 markets and over 150 stalls, you will not leave empty-handed! If you want to get a head start on your Christmas shopping, Vienna begins its markets in mid-November. It has over three million visitors that come to here to eat cream-filled pastries and watch choirs singing between the market stalls. It is best to come at night-time when you can see the Christmas trees filled with lights and hot- air balloons. To finish off your Christmas shopping, enjoy some Weihnachtspunsch – a Christmas punch of brandy, wine, and schnapps with warm fruit juices – A Vienna Christmas is an experience you won’t forget!
With 81 wooden Christmas chalets, it is filled with plenty of Christmas gifts for your loved ones. The Christmas market is located in the Place Rhiour town square with a huge Ferris wheel, transforming the town into a winter wonderland. It opens on the 18th November and has plenty of arts and crafts stalls. Compared to other European Christmas markets that focus on pulled pork buns and mulled wine, Lille is filled with gourmet food. From Maroilles cheese, French macarons and babeluttes (soft caramels). Spend a week in London shopping and grab the Eurostar to Lille. You’ll be there in just 80 minutes!
Prague, Czech Republic
Wander through the city of Prague from Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square, located under the National Museum. You will see plenty of Christmas markets filled with traditional Czech food such as barbecued pork, mulled wine and Czech muffins. If you are looking for gift ideas for your family and friends, stock up on wood-carved toys, classic Czech marionettes, glass-work ware and famous Prague Christmas decorations for your house. When wandering the streets, eat some honeyed gingerbreads and watch the nativity scene in the square.
When visiting Stuttgart, you are spoilt for choice with 300 Christmas stalls! It is not only on the oldest Christmas markets, dating back to 1692 but it is one of the largest and most popular Christmas markets in the whole of Europe. Located on the cobbled Marktplatz, Stuttgart town hall is transformed into a gigantic Advent calendar with each day a ‘door’ being opened! Enjoy some roasted chestnuts and a grab a warm class of Gluhpunsch wine with cinnamon and vanilla.If you are visiting the market with your family, there are carousels, Ferris wheels and a mini steam railway for your children to enjoy. Not the mention a nativity scene with live animals!
If you are looking for a white Christmas, look no further! Compared to other European markets, you are guaranteed snow at the Stockholm Christmas markets. There are 3 main Christmas markets you could attend when visiting Stockholm – Christmas Market in the Old Town (Gamla Stan), Skansen Christmas Market and Rosendal Palace Christmas Market. Today’s Old Town Christmas Market has been around since 1837. However, the very first Christmas market was held in the Old Town of Stockholm in 1523 – that’s a 500-year tradition that you must experience! All markets offer a wide range of handmade toys, ornaments, and traditional Swedish food.
Perhaps one of the prettiest and diverse European markets is located in Hamburg. The Hamburg Town Hall Christmas Market is filled with woodcarvers, pottery, gingerbread makers and their famous printed cookies. Compared to other European markets, Hamburg offers more interactive stalls that allow you to taste and join in on their Christmas gifts. Over three million visitors attend this market every year. Grab your Christmas shopping in Hamburg, watching the Christmas parade and grabbing a mug of gluhwein.
It is never too early to start talking about and planning your Christmas. The beauty of being a BUCKiTDREAMER is that you can constantly dream of new adventures to go on. If you are interested in any of these European Christmas markets, put these in your BUCKiTDREAM planner. Take some Christmassy photos of yourself drinking in a Christmas beer hall and be sure to share them with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.