The most beautiful Christmas fairs in Europe (12 photos)
Christmas and the New Year are just around the corner, it’s time to get in the right mood. You can feel the holiday before the Xmas, when you choose presents for your loved ones or decorate the Christmas tree with the whole family, when you walk past decorated shop windows or when you think about the menu for the feast.
1. Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, Germany
Around 600,000 people come to Berlin’s most colorful fair every year. Join in for entertainment, an ice rink, toboggan runs, great food and an extensive selection of handmade and gourmet goods – from jewelry to hot white chocolate and cheeses from all over the world.
2 Tallinna Jõuluturg, Tallinn, Estonia
This cozy fair on Town Hall Square greets its visitors with the aroma of fried sausages, mulled wine, bright lights and Christmas music. A traditional Estonian dinner of sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut, an introduction to a reindeer family and a varied entertainment program awaits.
3. Marchés de Noël, Strasbourg, France
Once in the “capital of Christmas,” don’t limit yourself to one fair location – explore them all. Taste Alsatian beer with salted pretzels, browse through colorful books about Christmas, wander through craft shops, visit the children’s village and go on a treasure hunt.
4. Christmas on Covent Garden, London, UK
From Christmas trees decorated with thousands of lights to Christmas carols, merry-go-rounds and reindeer, Apple Market and raspberry jam doughnuts, and lots of pubs and boutiques, the Covent Garden Christmas Market has it all.
5. Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt, Frankfurt, Germany
The Römerberg Market is not only about colorful stalls with traditional treats like cinnamon and clove honey or candy and marzipan. It’s also bell-ringing, colorful merry-go-rounds, walking tours and a spectacular view of the festive city for those who are not too lazy to climb the tower of St. Nicholas Church.
6. Wiener Christkindlmarkt, Vienna, Austria
Near the huge fir tree next to the Vienna City Hall every winter grows an entire town with Christmas crib, souvenirs and sweets. And in the town hall itself there are concerts of classical music and holiday performances for children. A classic souvenir from this fair is a pretty mug whose design changes from year to year.
7. Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
Carousels and children’s shows, exhibitions and concerts, pavilions with souvenirs, toys and traditional Nuremberg treats – sweet almonds, sausages, gingerbread and mulled wine. This is one of the most colorful and popular fairs in Europe – every year it is visited by about 2 million people.
8. Mercado navideño en la Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
In late November, Madrid’s main square transforms into the setting for a fabulous fair with an ice rink, colorful lights and, of course, shops with souvenirs, sweets and local liquor. There are concerts and competitions as part of the fair, and city tours, including those for children, start from here.
9. Vánoční trhy na Staroměstském náměstí, Prague, Czech Republic
At the Old Town Square Christmas Market, you’ll find a giant Christmas tree, a crib, a petting zoo, and stalls with gingerbread, sweet mulled wine and wine sausages. And on December 5 you can see the mischievous Mikoláš (Czech Santa Claus) accompanied by an angel and a demon in the fair crowd.
10. Adventi Ünnep a Bazilikánál, Budapest, Hungary
Handmade candies, palinka, strawberry wine and winter salami can all be enjoyed at the fair in front of St. István’s Basilica. Then you can send the children to the skating rink, dance to folk music and watch a spectacular light show in the evening. Or maybe you have time to visit all the other Christmas fairs in Budapest?
11. stortorgets Julmarknad, Stockholm, Sweden
It’s impossible to leave Carlson’s hometown hungry-especially at Christmas! Stockholm’s oldest square turns into a fabulous buffet these days: here you’ll find the famous cinnamon cannelloni, gingerbread cookies, smoked reindeer fillet, and spicy glögg. And to find out how they baked bread, brewed beer and cooked lightly salted sprat in the heat of the day, go to Skansen. In the open-air ethnomuseum Christmas sounds and scents can be heard from November 30 to January 6. And here you can learn how to make funny candle figurines, which will become a warm souvenir from the Swedish New Year.
12. weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom, Cologne, Germany
Meeting Christmas in Cologne is a classic! The central market lights up right next to the Cologne Cathedral which, let’s face it, steals the lion’s share of admiration from the city’s main Christmas tree. And people flock here to admire the jugglers and glassblowers. Children should also visit the Fairytale Christmas market on Rudolfplatz, where the Grimm fairy tales come to life. For visitors with the motto “Come, see, buy” head for the oldest market in the city, the Angel Market, which ironically is located in the Neumarkt district. For romance, head to the Cologne Harbour Christmas Market near the Chocolate Museum.
13. Håndlavet JuliTivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark
From mid-November the “Danish Disneyland” turns into a huge magical grotto, where the rules of the game are dictated by the Christmas gnomes of Nissi. In addition to the amazing rides, for which the park Tivoli is famous all year round, you can enjoy light shows, theatrical performances, concerts and a festival of fireworks. At the skating rink, you can perform a couple of spectacular touloups to reward yourself with a knitted or tasty prize from the souvenir “gingerbread houses”. Be sure to try the rød pølse sausages and homemade cookies and don’t miss the gift wrapping workshop from Santa himself.
Europe’s Christmas Markets: Come, see, buy. Part 1
Soon the world will be immersed in the fantastic atmosphere of Christmas. In almost all Western Europe, since mid-November, preparations for Christmas are in full swing. In anticipation of the magical holiday, the streets of cities, villages, and towns are decorated with a variety of fabulous bright lights, garlands, and Christmas decorations.
On the central square is installed the most beautiful and tallest – the main Christmas tree of the city. The stores are just flooded with gifts with staggering discounts, and the streets and parks are saturated with the spirit and mood of the most joyful holiday. The smell of cinnamon, marzipan, and ginger-honey cookies wafts in the frosty air of the cities.
And it all begins, as usual, with the Christmas fairs. For centuries now, they have been a constant European tradition that has spilled over to other continents.
The traditional stalls selling household items and various useful items have been replaced by attractions rather than bazaars, which now sell the “atmosphere” of the holiday: souvenirs, sweets, the traditional mulled wine and good spirits. So let’s choose where to go for shopping and Christmas gifts.
PARIS The beginning of Christmas holidays in France is at the end of November. In the last numbers begin to decorate the Louvre in the Christmas style, and from December 5 fairs on Saint-Germain open.
A favorite spot among tourists from the Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde, where there are many surprises and goodies, including the French delicacy, foie gras. Adults can warm themselves with mulled wine (hot wine with honey, spices and cinnamon), and children and young people can eat sweets with Pere Noel (French Santa Claus). And not far from Paris, in Lille, Christmas celebrations begin on November 19.
- -The fair is held from November 25 to January 6.
- -What to buy: pretty trinkets, Christmas decorations
- -What to try: specialty cheeses and sausages made according to old family recipes, flavorful crepes with sweet fillings, all kinds of toffee, hot cocoa, cotton candy, mulled wine or vegetable soup, roasted chestnuts
STRASBURG . But the oldest fair in the French is the Christmas Fair in Strasbourg . The entire historic center of the city turns into a huge fair!
Traffickers tempt visitors not only with the traditional pre-holiday food, but also with the zest of Strasbourg – Christmas cookies “bredle”. And what not only souvenirs you can not see here! The famous music boxes and wooden mosaics, ceramics and French handmade embroidered tablecloths. And why not go skating on the famous skating rink on Place du Château!
- -Fair takes place from November 28 to December 31
- -What to buy: Handmade Christmas decorations from the 16th century.
- -What to try: hot wine, Alsace pastries, apples in caramel or chocolate…
CELN. Numerous Christmas markets have been held in Cologne since 24 November each year, and it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the variety and beauty of these markets. It’s easy to find just about anything you like – for every taste and age. Here you can also enjoy with parents or friends hot herbal teas, chocolate, and even take part in baking holiday sweets – gingerbread men and houses.
On the main town square, opposite the Cologne Cathedral, for little money or sometimes absolutely free, you can try a variety of national dishes from different European countries. And for the best handmade gifts go to the fair at the House of the Dwarfs. The oldest fair in the city is the one on Neumarkt square called the “Angel Fair”. Children will enjoy the Rudolfplatz, which holds an annual fair in the style of the Grimm fairy tales.
- -The fair is held from November 24th to December 23rd.
- – What to buy: wooden Brittlestones, children’s toys, Christmas decorations.
- -What you can try: hot cinnamon mulled wine, roasted migdal, baked apples
MUNICH . The city of Munich has a responsible and creative approach to decorating with lights just before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And at the fair itself, as they say, there is often “nowhere to fall”.
Hundreds of stalls sell Christmas gifts and souvenirs, handmade candles, jewelry, gingerbread, candy and other sweets. And that’s where you can try the Viennese Apfelstrützel (a large puff pastry with apples cut into big chunks), which children and young people drink with plum non-alcoholic beer, just like the legendary Harry Potter in the relevant film, while the adults have a delicious and healing mulled wine.
- -The fair is held from November 27 to December 24.
- -What to buy: Murano glass souvenirs, wooden crafts, silverware and handmade stone products
- -What to try: mulled wine, sausages, baked potatoes, roasted peanuts and many other national delicacies
BERLIN . The capital of Germany, Berlin, starts to prepare for Christmas in the last week of November: festive clothes and decorations, accessories and sweets, cards and various creative gimmicks turn up in the markets and stores.
Christmas spirit is in the air, Christmas music is playing at the fairs, and entertainment with raffles and door prizes and surprises. This in itself is already a bonus to Christmas shopping. Exactly here, on the Christmas Eve you can buy exclusive things at minimal cost.
- -The fair is held from November 25 to December 26.
- -What to buy: Christmas gifts, handicrafts, antique and modern jewelry
- -What to try: gluhwein, mulled wine, roasted sausages, spit meats, sweet pancakes
DRESDEN . In the German city of Dresden, the magical celebration of Christmas began back in 1434. That’s why every year the city’s decorations are approached very seriously, based on years of experience and modern creativity! At the beginning of December in the center of Dresden they put up a big Christmas tree around which vendors put stalls with Christmas gifts and decorations, traditional German wooden toys and textiles.
Tourists enjoy not only sellers of handmade and souvenirs, but also local chefs and confectioners. Especially surprised all the guests of the city – the “highlight of the program” – a festive “Stollen” (such Dresden Christmas cake with nuts and raisins), which sometimes weighs 3 tons.
They cut it up in small pieces and give it to everyone who wants it for a small charitable donation, which is collected during the holiday and then given to charity. Children have fun on the rides and merry-go-rounds on Neustadt Square. Every year an antique Ferris wheel is set up on Neustadt Square.
- -The fair is held from November 27 to December 24.
- -What to buy: ornaments – window paintings and window sill arches, crackers and pyramids, music boxes, cuckoo clocks, Christmas decorations, honey “Lebkuchen”.
- -What to try: Christmas cake “Stollen”, roasted chestnuts, sausages, gingerbread and cakes, mulled wine
NURNBERG . The opening of the market in Nuremberg begins with the greeting of the “Angel of Christmas.”
Dozens of wooden huts are set up in the central square, where artisans and traders offer their work and seasonal products typical of the south of Germany to the buyer.
And what would a Christmas fair be without the famous fried sausages, fragrant mulled wine, and gingerbread! There’s plenty to try and buy. You can hear the sounds of the organ grinder and the songs of street musicians everywhere. And Christmas carols blare through the stores and market stalls.
Never leave a tourist in Nuremberg without a fairy tale feeling. Public favorites – the Plum Man and his girlfriend – are decorated not only with dried fruit, now they’re dressed as skiers and doctors, and what not to embellish them. People come to the fair not only for Christmas shopping, but also for a great pre-Christmas mood.
- -The fair is held from November 28 to December 24.
- -What you can buy: Christmas tree decorations, wooden toys.
- -What to try: Stollen, eggnog, freshly baked sweet bread with nuts and dried fruit, Nuremberg gingerbread and sausages.
It’s worth visiting the Christmas Market in Zurich . This is an unusual place, because it is indoors – on Christkindli-Markt. And if it’s raining or snowing outside – it does not spoil the atmosphere of the holiday and walk for souvenirs. The fair is located in the hall of the railway station.
There are more than a hundred stalls, colorfully decorated and selling Christmas gifts. And in the center of the market stands a huge Christmas tree, decorated with Swarovski crystals. Switzerland, after all! Locals and visitors alike throng the stalls with roasted chestnuts, all kinds of sausages, and melted raclette.
- – The fair runs from November 20 to December 24.
- -What to buy: souvenirs, handmade candles, Christmas decorations
- -What you can try: Swiss cheeses, hot sweet mulled wine, delicious pancakes, raclette, or treat yourself to some local sweets.
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