Wrap up warm and pop your wallet in one of your most accessible pockets as Christmas market season is upon us. With wooden huts popping up in more cities than you can count these days, here’s our handy guide to some of the best Christmas markets in the world this year.
Image © LenDog64
Prague. With bone chilling temperatures almost guaranteed, Prague’s Christmas markets or “Vanocni trh” as the locals call them are mixed with other festive events like nativity scenes and carol singing. Descend on the Old Town Square for the most lively of the city’s Christmas markets and try local pastries, Czech beers and heart and stomach warming sausages while listening out for the chimes of the stunning Astronomical Clock. With a mini zoo and locally made puppets for sale this is a very family friendly Christmas market.
Prague Town Square © ninjapotato
Berlin. Germany is considered the home nation of Christmas markets and evidence suggests that the Germans are among the best at organising a plethora of Christmas markets across the country. With markets being held across Berlin, it’s well worth heading to the one that takes place within the grounds of Kaiser Wilhelm Gedaechtniskirche, a church bombed during the Second World War that has been left in partial ruins as a memorial. Here Berlin in its typically hipster way has reinvented the Christmas market with local artists, designers and other creatives selling a wide range of contemporary goods alongside the typical Christmas Kuchen and gingerbread hearts.
Weihnachtsmarkt © Gertrud K
New York. The inclusion of New York City in this list not only changed the title of this post from Europe to World, but also opened eyes to the spread of Christmas market fever to the shores of the USA. With several popping up throughout Manhattan – including the civilised indoor Holiday Gift Fair inside Grand Central Station – there is also the popular Christmas Market on Main over in Brooklyn keeping families warm with hot cider and craft stalls.
Image © WanderingtheWorld
Bath. Set against a backdrop of the regal Regency properties surrounding Abbey Churchyard and spilling out down winding back streets, Bath’s Christmas market adds extra character to a city already dripping in romance and charm. Choose from several different streetfood ‘huts’ to have something sweet or savoury (or both) to nibble on while admiring locally crafted goods on sale. A must visit at night when the winter sky is lit up with bright white lights reflecting off the Abbey.
Bath Christmas market © Craig Sefton
Lille. Not to be outdone by the Brits or Germans, France has finally established a Christmas market worthy of visiting. Not only does Lille’s market in Place Rihour combine the traditions associated with Christmas markets – mulled wine and hot chocolate hugged in take away mugs, roasted almonds and a celebration of locally crafted goods and grown produce – but there is an undeniable French twist with taste bud enticing pastries and tarts being sold alongside French cheeses and wines. Lille’s Christmas market ‘chalets’ are also next door to a funfair so you have two reasons to brave the chilly temperatures.
Lille Christmas market © darounet
Stockholm. Again a city scattered with Christmas markets, the Swedish ones also adopt a minimalist Scandinavian flair. Perhaps the smallest but most picturesque market in Stockholm is the one in Stortorget in Gamla Stan. Surrounded by bars, restaurants and cafes that you can roll into to warm up it’s easy to make an evening of a visit to these red wood huts. A funkier version of a Christmas Market can be enjoyed at Folkuniversitetet where students sell jewellery, household items and artwork they’ve created.
Image © -12°C
Vienna. One of the prettiest Christmas markets on this list, Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt takes place in the already very beautiful Rathausplatz and is a veritable winter wonderland for children and adults of all ages. With wooden huts surrounding a grand Christmas tree you can pick up virtually everything you need here to make Christmas a truly festive event for all your friends and family while sipping a glass of glühwein, before then hopping on one of the fairground rides that are also featured.
Christmas in Vienna © weisserstier
Cover image © A.Currell