10 of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe

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The Christmas celebrations are just around the corner and we are already in a happy mood.

Trees decorated with fairy lights, delicious cakes, mulled wine and the air of generosity – Christmas includes all that and much more.

However, if you are planning on traveling the rest of 2021, we have a special treat for you. Known for its festive mood every Christmas time, Europe is touted for some of the best Christmas markets in the world.

Colorful rows of decorations that adorn the cobblestone streets, smacking food for the palate, cute shops that sell figurines, jewelry, wine and much more, the continent’s Christmas markets also offer various activities for all age groups.

Although the Christmas markets were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries in Europe have opened their doors to visitors. So put on those fluffy coats and mittens for some amazing traditional Christmas markets in Europe.

These are the 10 most magical Christmas markets in Europe that you must visit.

Prague Christmas Markets, Czech Republic

Photo credit: Michal Cizek / AFP

At this time of year, Prague is one of the best places to go if you want to experience the festive mood amidst medieval architectural marvels like domes, castles and towers. The Christmas markets will start here from November 27, 2021 to January 6, 2022.

In addition to the traditional Christmas cribs and open-air concerts, you can visit the markets in Staromestské Námestie (the Old Town Square) and Wenceslas Square. These beautiful markets feature melodic choirs, massive Christmas trees, and stalls selling locally made ceramics, embroidered lace, hand-blown glass balls, hats, gloves, and scented candles.

Food lovers should definitely try the delicacies of these markets. Visitors have to try trdelník or grilled pork – a pastry that is rolled in a mixture of cinnamon sugar and grilled – sausages, garlic and cheese, flatbread, pancakes, hot chocolate, mulled wine, honey wine and grog, a drink made from rum, water, lemon and sugar.

Tivoli Christmas Market, Denmark

Denmark
Photo credit: Visit Denmark

Tivoli Gardens is known for its lively stalls, gløgg or mulled wine and adventurous rides. This Christmas wonderland was turned into a market by John Loring in 1997 and is visited by over a million people every year.

From mid-November, more than 500,000 fairy lights and decorated fir trees light up the dark gardens, adding a touch of magic to the area.

For those with a sweet tooth this is bleskiver – Danish spherical snacks similar to pancakes, but light and fluffy like Yorkshire pudding – is a Danish delicacy that is a must-try. This is consumed with jam and powdered sugar. Christmas cakes from the well-known Cakenhagen confectionery are also not to be missed.

Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia

Christmas Market
Photo credit: Guillaume Speurt / Wikimedia Commons

The popular Christmas market was launched in 2001 and this year visitors can enjoy the festivities from November 19, 2021 to January 2, 2022. There are 60 chic and cozy wooden huts on Rathausplatz that are popular for selling handmade wreaths, lamps, sheepskin rugs, gingerbread, honey and mulled wine.

While people like to visit various cafes on Rathausplatz in summer, the place turns into an oasis for festivities with open-air concerts, fairs and many other exciting activities in winter.

During the festival, musicians and dancers delight the audience with their performances. Although the ornate snow sculptures look stunning, the eye-catcher is the huge Christmas tree, which has stood tall since 1441.

This towering spruce in front of the town hall is the first Christmas tree in Europe. The Visit Estonia website says: “The tradition of celebrating Christmas here dates back to 1441, when the Brotherhood of the Blackheads is said to have erected the world’s first Christmas tree.”

Christmas Market in Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh Christmas Markets
Photo credit: Ally Crockford / Wikimedia Commons

Christmas markets and Hogmanay celebrations come together to bring Edinburgh in the colors of joy and festivity. From mini-train rides and bumper cars for kids to a Christmas tree maze and a 108-foot tall Ferris wheel – the Edinburgh Eye – this “Santa Land” has everything to entertain visitors.

The popular Christmas market welcomes people to Edinburgh’s sprawling East Princes St. Gardens from November 20, 2021 to January 4, 2022.

Aside from the fantastic rides, there are special projections, performances, and works of art that highlight the local talent. Edinburgh’s famous George Street is also where people can skate. Children will love Santa’s Grotto, where they will meet Santa Claus and receive a gift too.

Don’t miss the delicious cinnamon and sugar chimney cakes and cotton candy. The hand-carved wooden candle holders, Harry Potter-themed gifts, wooden toys and tartan Christmas decorations available here will also make a nice addition to any home.

Mulhouse Christmas Market, France

Mulhouse
Photo credit: Tourisme Mulhouse

One of the most exuberant Christmas markets in the world is located on the Place de la Réunion in Mulhouse. The market is very popular because of its textile heritage. Christmas fabrics are made every year to decorate the facades of 100 festive huts.

In addition to fabrics, you can also choose from a range of original gifts in the boutique aux toffes or experience a “Christmas of the past” in the Écomusée – take part in the various activities of the Alsace Ecomuseum; Arrival of the Magi, where a procession of children passes through the village to collect offerings for the New Year; and meeting with Saint Nicholas. The market opens its doors from November 24th, 2021 to December 27th, 2021.

Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany

Striezelmarkt Dresden
Photo credit: Pixel Shaper / Wikimedia Commons

The market on the Altmarkt in Dresden starts on November 22nd, 2021 and lasts until December 24th, 2021. It was founded in 1434 as a one-day market and is the oldest in Germany. Twinkling lights and delicious food greet you for an unforgettable experience.

Shoppers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to feast on buttery fruit cakes that are packaged and have a special seal depicting the city’s former king, Augustus the Strong. Taste glazed apples and mulled wine as you shop and display wood carvings, pottery, and glassware at various prices. The market has over 240 stalls selling local products. But the highlight is the 14 meter high, breathtaking Christmas pyramid.

Visitors will also love to explore the famous wooden houses, elf huts, the puppet theater, and Santa’s house.

Plaisirs d’Hiver, Belgium

plaisirs dhiver
Photo credit: Plaisirs d’Hiver

When in Belgium, celebrate Christmas like never before. From November 26, 2021 to January 2, 2022, the market is known for its sweet delicacies. At the stands, buyers can browse stocking fillers, hand-blown glass decorations and much more.

Spend your time on the ice skating rink and the Ferris wheel before enjoying the marching band while enjoying fluffy Belgian waffles, caramelized and seasonal apples Croustillons (Sugar donut). The market also offers a variety of fun and creative activities, including concerts, board games, dances, choirs, and cartoon screenings.

Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Wonder), which stretches from the Grand Place to Place Sainte-Catherine, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. On their website it says: “At the end of the European Railway Year, we are presenting journeys and trains, topics that are subtly present throughout the route.”

Skansen Christmas Market, Sweden

Christmas Market
Photo credit: Skansen.se

The market is located in the Skansen open-air museum on the island of Djurgarden and is open from November 26, 2021 to December 19, 2021. Experience the beauty of Skansen as you stroll through the historic houses and homesteads, all of which are decorated for Christmas.

Those who want to give their celebrations a pinch of creativity can either take part in the traditional dances around the festive tree on Bollnäs Square or make Christmas decorations in the workshop.

Take a break and enjoy smoked turkey, waffles, and toasted almonds among other delicious foods in the market.

The historic Christmas market from 1903 offers everything from handicrafts and sweets to homemade candles and secret Christmas gifts.

Plaza Mayor Christmas Market, Spain

Plaza Mayor Christmas Market
Photo credit: Plaza Mayor Christmas Market

Shortly before Christmas, Madrid’s Plaza Mayor – which dates from the time when King Philip II moved his royal court to Madrid – turns into a sprawling market with 104 stalls. The stalls, which were renovated in the 1980s and look like small huts, display crib figures, Christmas decorations, musical instruments and toys.

Organized by the Plaza Mayor Christmas Market Association, the market usually starts on November 26th, 2021 and lasts until December 31st, 2021. This is certainly one of the many Christmas markets in Europe to visit.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, UK

Hyde Park winter wonderland
Photo credit: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Start your Christmas party in Winter Wonderland, which began on November 19, 2021 and will last until January 3, 2022. In addition to the many Christmas delicacies in the Bavarian village, you can also buy knickknacks such as candle votives, ornaments and handicrafts.

Take part in a variety of rides, including the Ferris wheel and Christmas tree ride, and have lots of fun ice skating.

With its fun rides and festive restaurants, Santa Land is a children’s paradise. Not to forget that you can meet Santa yourself.

Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk are other activities that you can enjoy.

Main and special image: Pixel Shaper / Wikimedia Commons


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