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Best Ten Beautiful Christmas Markets

Best Ten Beautiful Christmas Markets

The tradition of Christmas Markets go back to the late Middle Ages and originated in the German speaking part of Europe. One of the oldest Christmas Markets was the Bautzen Christmas Market and was first mentioned in records in 1384.

These modern versions of these original markets normally sell food, drink and seasonal items from open air stalls located within town squares, in large towns or cities across Europe. Tourists and locals alike love the atmosphere surrounding these markets, with traditional singing and dancing and some markets even welcome the boy “Jesus” (normally a local child) on opening night.

These markets are beautifully decorated with Christmas lights and decorations adorn every stall, some even display huge Nativity Scenes making them massive tourist attractions during the four weeks of Advent.

These traditional European Christmas Markets are great if you want something a little bit different or extra special for your loved ones or you just want to get in the mood for Christmas, as they sell handmade crafts and gift items, toys, books, Christmas tree decorations and ornaments. In recent years they have even started selling less useful gadgets too!!
So here is out Top 10 Christmas Markets to visit……….

1 – Dresden, Germany

It’s on this year from the 26th November until 24th December, Sunday to Thursday 10am – 8pm, Friday and Saturday 10am – 9pm, then until 2pm Christmas Eve
Dresden Christmas Market is romantic in a kind of festive way, selling all kinds of traditional hand made crafts and gifts.

The Focal point of the market is a 14 metre high Christmas pyramid and of course it is most famous for it’s Christollen (German Christmas cake). Tourist’s can watch glass blowers, bakers and even wood carver’s at work.

2 – Prague,Czech Republic

This one is on from the 27th November until the 1st January, Monday to Friday 9am – 7pm,Saturday and Sunday 9am – 8pm

The stalls here are set against the backdrop of the city’s Gothic architecture, they sell a variety of Czech crafts, including beeswax candles, pottery and straw ornaments, carved wooden ornaments but there biggest emphasis is on food and drink.

There is a Czech sweet pastry to try called trdelnik, dough rolled and topped with sugar and walnuts, and a hot cup of mead to keep you warm as you wander around the market.

3 – Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg Christmas Market,is more commonly know as “Christkindelsmarik” and has been held in the town centre in front of the Cathedral since 1570, it attracts between 1.5 and 2 million visitors each year. There are over sixty stalls to browse and they have a massive Christmas tree all lit up and decorated that stands over 100 feet tall. Each year they try to top  the previous year’s height.

4 – Helsinki, Finland

St. Thomas’ Christmas Market is on from the 7th December until 22nd December, Monday to Friday 11am – 7pm, Saturdays and Sundays 10am – 6pm.

Around 120 wooden stalls selling handmade crafts are surrounded by classical buildings on either side, with a view of the market square and the sea at one end. This place is just magical. Visitors can stock up on knitwear, such as hats and scarves. You can also sample the baked goods and Finnish Christmas specialities, visit Santa or watch the Blacksmiths at work.

5 – Vienna, Austria

This market starts the end of November and runs right up until Christmas Day.
The “Christkindlmarkt” in Rathausplatz is located on the square in front of City Hall,it’s the largest and most visited Christmas market in Vienna.

It’s set in the park amongst elaborately decorated trees and has a wonderful Christmas atmosphere. The tree with seals, the “Kasperl tree”, the Hearts tree, the “Herzelbaum” as well as the “Post Office in the Clouds”are perfect for a souvenir photo.

You can browse all the traditional Viennese Christmas fayre, Christmas presents and most importantly you can have a lovely hot punch while looking around.

6 -  Budapest, Hungary

This one is on from the end of November until Christmas day.
Located in Vorosmarty Square this Christmas market sells unique and original presents for all your loved ones.

This is basically the best place to buy quality folk art goods and decorations made of traditional materials. You can also enjoy listening to the traditional folk music while you browse.
Traditional Hungarian food  and cakes are also on sale, there are Christmas tree decorating competitions.

It even boasts a “small Betlehem” with it’s carved characters and crib, and also live animals to watch.

7 – Tallinn, Estonia

This market is held on the last week in November in the town square, it only began in 2001 so it’s not really your good old traditional Christmas market but it certainly makes up for it in atmosphere and ambiance. Colourful lights , music and hundreds of visitors make this market feel warm and inviting.

They seem to have some lovely things for sale, like handmade candles, wickerwork, ceramics, glassware, felted wool hats and slippers.

You can also sample their Estonian holiday food, soups, stir fries, pork, sausages and sauerkraut are normally on the menu. But there are also things for those of you with a sweeter tooth too,nuts, sweets, gingerbread, marzipan’s and loads of different honeys to buy and of course  a cup of hot mulled wine to keep you warm while you wander around the 50 something stalls.

8 – Erfurt, Germany

This one runs from the 23rd November until the 22nd December
Set in the medieval old town around the Cathedral Square makes this market have a unique and romantic atmosphere. They have an enormous Christmas tree, standing at 25m high and decorated with hundreds of candles, a 12m high Christmas pyramid and a nativity scene with almost life size hand carved figurines.

the market also has over 200 little wooden hut type stall which sell everything from gluhwein (mulled wine) to bratwurst, but also festive gifts.

9 -  Nuremberg, Germany

Opens on the 26th November (9.30am – 10pm) until the 24th November (9.30 – 2pm)
Monday  – Thursday 9.30am – 8pm, Friday and Saturday 9.30am – 10pm and Sunday 10.30am-8pm.

This is Germany’s most famous Christmas market, it has about 180 stalls set right in the middle of the city, on Nuremberg main market square.

The market is traditionally opened on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday.
Each year by Christmas Eve it has more than 2 million visitors from all over the world who will have enjoyed all the delights of this wonderful Christmas market.
The market of course has all of the traditional food, and wine but also has the most beautiful arts and crafts too. One of the favourite souvenirs are the “Nuremberg plum people” little figures made of prunes.

It has also been used as a picturesque backdrop for TV productions.

10 -  Lincoln, England

Lincoln market opens around 6pm on the 2nd December
You can really take a step back in time and walk over the historic cobbled streets at the magical  Christmas market. Located in the medieval square between  the Norman Castle and the Gothic Cathedral you couldn’t ask for a better backdrop for the Christmas market.

Enjoy the cultural entertainment as you stroll around the 250 plus stalls. This truly  is a festive experience for all the family, residents and visitors alike will love this wonderful tradition market.
On street entertainment provide by a local theatre group will include the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” and also a must see “Twelve Days of Christmas”

Father Christmas and his Elves will be there, rides and even a winter wonderland for the kids.
There is also a funfair for all the family too.Lots of traditional crafts to buy, such as long bows, hand struck coins, pottery, ironwork and beautifully carved leather work.


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