The time before Christmas is approaching fast – in Germany this period is used to visit one of the many great Christmas markets, making it one of the most beautiful cultural events of the year.
But Christmas markets are not only popular in Germany, there are also a few particularly worthwhile abroad, some with even very long country-specific tradition:
- Basel, Switzerland
The most visited Christmas market in Switzerland is called the Basler Weihnacht, awarded as the “Best Christmas Market in Europe 2021″. It is traditionally located in the popular Adväntsgass in Glaibasel. Situated along the Rhine, the city gives off a very special charm during this time. The picture-perfect Christmas market with around 200 stalls stretches from the “Barfüsserplatz” across to the “Münsterplatz“. There you will find a magnificent Christmas tree decorated by the famous decorator Johann Wanner. A magnificent view over the shining sea of lights can be enjoyed from the “Pfalz“, this is a terrace high above the Rhine behind the cathedral.
- New York, USA
A slightly different type of Christmas market than we actually know, is located the Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan in New York. Here no traditional stalls attract, but over 125 stores, similar to boutiques, offering a very exquisite range of jewelry, decorative items, local food and much more. Therefore, this market is also known as being the ” Winter Village “. Opening its doors at the end of October already until the beginning of January, with a huge ice-skating arena, which is even open on weekends until midnight.
- Budapest, Hungary
At Vörösmarty Tér (Vörösmarty Square), the most famous and popular Christmas and winter festival in Budapest takes place from the beginning of November until the end of December every year. The famous Gerbeaud Coffee House is then being transformed into a gigantic Advent Calendar, where every day from December 1st. to 23rd. a new window is being dressed and illuminated with a new and enchanting decoration. On the local Christmas Market, you can find traditional Hungarian handicrafts and many delicious dishes, which smell from afar, causing you to get hungry. Many benches and tables invite you to sit down and just enjoy. For the little guests there is a Christmas decorated train in which they can travel even free of charge.
- Copenhagen, Denmark
The Christmas Market in Copenhagen, Denmark is being called Tivoli Gardens, a historic amusement park dressed up with beautiful decorations all over the gardens. Many Christmas booths offer souvenirs and food, paired with the illuminated parades of the Tivoli Youth Guard and Christmas Music in Tivoli’s Halls. Especially recommended is the traditional fireworks display on December 25th / 26th / 31st in Tivoli Gardens.
- Prague, Czech Republic
Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí) and Wenceslas Square (Václavské námestí) are the two major Christmas markets in the city of Prague. Only a five-minute walk away, you can easily explore each in one day. Both markets are open every day from December 2nd to January 6th from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Thanks to its significant landmarks such as the Teyn Church, the monument to Jan Hus and the Old Town Hall with the world-famous astronomical clock, the Old Town Square offers a very special ambience. A huge Christmas tree with thousands of lights illuminates Prague’s night sky. Christmas concerts are held here daily and the manger truly comes to life by using real animals.
On Wenceslas Square, however, friends of Bohemian handicrafts especially find what they have been looking for. Strengthened by the warming mulled wine (svarák) and the smell of fresh plaited cake (vánocka), you can either admire the artistic glasswork or even listen to the steel and iron works of art handcrafted by the local blacksmiths just in front of your eyes.
- Strasbourg, France
One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe (since 1570) is located in Strasbourg. Not to be ignored, located in the middle of the old town at the Place Kléber, a 30-meter high Christmas Tree, which is also an indispensable symbol of the city of Strasbourg during the Christmas Season. Visitors are welcomed by a sparkling and magical golden-white gate of lights, with two giant bears standing by it. Walking along the cobbled streets, many attractions can be explored, such as concerts, performances and exhibitions. The traditional Christmas Cookies “Bredele” are a must. Since generations, many families have been baking these delicious Christmas Cookies, so there are almost as many different baking recipes as there are families in Alsace.
- Vienna, Austria
Back in 1298, the first Christmas Market in the capital of Austria had been held. The Vienna Christkindlmarkt is spread across the “Rathausplatz” Square and the surrounding parks. It is an unforgettable highlight for all, who want to catch the pulse of the season and enjoy having delicious food. Visitors are also greeted here at the entrance by a meter-high tower with candles. In addition to 151 booths, there is also a huge ice track for skating, reindeer rides and a 12-meter-high bunk carousel for children, as well as a classic Christmas manger.
Even if most of the time the snow is not necessarily present; the glowing chains of lights, the smell of hot mulled wine or punch, salty and sweet treats, and the overall ambience of the beautifully decorated Christmas booths give the feeling of living in another less hectic time. Memories from long ago childhood days return every year.
We wish everyone a wonderful Christmas Season and peaceful hours with their families.