The holiday season is a fantastic time to go to Europe, and there are many traditional Christmas markets – some that have been celebrating the holidays for over 400 years! These markets are simply magical, with twinkling lights, incredible aromas, handmade crafts, good food and lots of Christmas cheer!
Vienna, Austria – Magic of Advent
This market at the Rathausplatz has more than 150 stalls festively lit up, and it’s a great place to buy Christmas ornaments, handicrafts and toys. There’s live music, hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, fresh pastries, nativity scenes and even an ice rink and paths to skate through the park. All of this in front of one of the most beautiful town halls I’ve ever seen!
Bath, England – Christmas Market
Over 200 twinkling wooden chalets fill the picturesque streets surrounding Bath Abbey with traditional British goods from mince pies to handmade wooden toys. Ninety nine percent of what is sold is locally handmade. There are choirs and carols by candlelight as well as children’s shows. This uniquely British market has won several awards including Vogue’s favorite Christmas market!
Dresden, Germany – Striezelmarkt
This is the oldest continuously run market in Germany dating from 1434. It’s known for its array of crafts made from local artisans including nutcrackers, prune figures and smoking wooden men that breath out incense. It’s named after and is famous for Stollen, a traditional fruit cake that was traditionally sold at the market. The thing that makes this market stand out is a giant candle pyramid that’s almost 50 feet high! They also have the world’s largest nutcracker.
Strausbourg, France – Christkindelsmarik
Strausbourg is known as the Capital of Christmas, and this festive market dates from 1507. The incredible Christmas tree is almost 100 feet tall and is decorated with fairy and flashing lights, huge baubles, stars and other decorations! This is one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe with over 300 stalls spread over 11 sites. They have a variety of sweets including strudel and Bredeles– delicious little spiced biscuits in the shape of stars as well as a variety of local food, beer and mulled wine. They sell everything from pottery to spices for cooking!