Christmas is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than visiting a Christmas market? There’s nothing more festive than a holding a warming mug of glühwein, strolling through stalls decked out with decorations all while listening to choruses of christmas carols. Here’s a roundup of the top 5 Christmas markets in Europe. Get ready to get festive!
Austria’s capital hosts a large christmas market every year, dating back to the 1200s. Over time, tradition has evolved, and now there are over 20 christmas markets scattered throughout the city. The market in front of City Hall is the most famous; Christmas lights alight against a backdrop of Neo-gothic architecture. Make sure you try a slice of Vienna’s famous export, the Sacher torte, or visit one of Vienna’s famous cafés as a refuge from the chilly winter air.
Strasbourg, a French city bordering Germany, also has a long tradition of hosting Christmas markets. In fact, the city is called ‘The Capital of Christmas’. The Strasbourg markets provide clear reasoning for it’s nickname; the stalls offering a plethora of typically Alsatian gifts (from the Alsace region). Try some foie gras, an essential for any French christmas meal or a Bredele, a traditional Alsatian biscuit resembling a christmas cookie. Christmas isn’t christmas without the food, after all.
Germany is the place to go for Christmas markets, and Munich hosts an annual Christmas market that can compete with the best of them. In addition to the normal Christmas markets, Munich hosts a manger market, where authentic nativity scenes are aplenty. Everyday at 5.30pm, live music is played from the balcony of the Town Hall, so head over in the early evening, grab some glühwien and a Kletznbrot pastry (a traditional bread made out of nuts and honey).
Importing the German tradition, Edinburgh, Scotland, hosts it’s own version of a German Christmas Market. Showcasing the best produce that Scotland has to offer, the market offers fresh Scottish seafood, locally produced sausages and Scottish brewed craft beer, to name a few. There are also plenty of activities for when the markets get a little busy, for example, ice skating, carousels and helter skelters. Plus, it’s a little closer to home.
Located in the foothills of the Italian dolomites, snowcapped peaks make Trento all the more festive. Trento’s christmas market is famous in Italy, selling traditional decorations, nativity scenes and of course, food. Try some polenta brustolada (grilled polenta), canederli (dumplings) and vin brulè (mulled wine), for a taste of Italian Christmas. It is Italy, after all.