Europe’s Top 5 Christmas Markets
It’s the 13th of December and it can only be expected that most of Europe is diving head first into a deep pool of festivity (quite often we do feel like we’re drowning in festive cheer). Nothing says Merry Christmas better than a collection of stalls filled with handcrafted gifts, mulled drinks and seasonal snacks. Here’s our top list of the best Christmas Markets to visit this month:
1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Denmark’s Christmas market is set in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, Europe’s oldest amusement park. There are around 70 chalet stalls; many are filled with traditional Christmas crafts and hot glasses of ‘gløgg’, the Danish speciality of spicy mulled wine. Be sure to take a tour around the world famous "Pixie Ville”, an obscure part of the fair that contains around 136 mechanical pixies!
Renowned for: sheepskin rugs, handmade dolls and ornaments
Dates: November 20th - December 30th
2. Vienna, Austria
Since the 13th Century Vienna has been the host to several Christmas markets, or “Christkindlmarkts”. The biggest market occupies the Rathausplatz square and contains over 150 stands. This particular advent fair is famous for attracting international families, as it takes pride in it fair rides and cookie workshops that are aimed at the little ones.
Renowned for: Scented beeswax candles, Viennese baked goods and traditional miniature wooden toys
Dates: November 14th – December 24th
3. Nuremberg, Germany
One of the world’s most famous Christmas markets lines the square of the Old quarter in Nuremberg, Germany. Each individual stall within the fair competes for a prestigious design award, so standard shopping displays become great spectacles. Favourite souvenirs include the "Nuremberg Plum People" which are tiny figures made from prunes.
Renowned for: Christmas tree angels, wooden and enamelled music boxes
Dates: 29th November – 24th December 2013
4. Prague, Czech Republic
Located amongst the medieval architecture of both Wenceslas Square and the Old Town Square, Prague offers a festive food display that rivals many. The market’s most famous servings are ‘ánoční cukroví’ (Christmas cookies) and’ vánoční rybí polévka’ (Christmas fish soup).
Renowned for: glassware and jewellery, embroidered lace
Dates: November 27th to January 2nd
5. Gothenburg, Sweden
Sweden’s Gothenburg Christmas market is slightly less traditional as it is set in an amusement park and is filled with an impressive display of 500 million lights. Each separate area is themed and visitors often flock in their numbers to experience sections such as the medieval camp and santa’s Lapland.
Renowned for: Swedish candy cane ('polkagrisar'), smoked fish, baked goods
Dates: 15 November to 29 December