On Christmas Eve, ancient European cities are permeated with a fairy-tale atmosphere. But Christmas markets are traditionally considered to be the holiday’s epicenter. The streets are decorated with welcoming garlands, shopping stalls are filled with souvenirs, and the magic aromas of roasted meat, sausages and bakery are in the air. Christmas markets become a place for musicians’ performances, street carnivals and fun.
Travellizy recommends visiting one of the European street marketplaces on winter holidays, in order to fully experience the Christmas spirit.
Christmas festivities in Vienna, Austria
At the time of New Year holidays, Vienna changes and even gets younger. In the evening, the city is illuminated by thousands of garlands lights, as if Vienna itself is going to a ball. The city becomes merry and mischievous not only for one evening, but for a whole month. The liveliest Christmas market of the city is located on the square in front of the City Hall. There are hundreds of cinnamon cakes, a hot punch, and flavorful meat is smoking on spits. The Christmas markets tradition in Vienna dates back to 1294. In those days, the market had a practical goal: to help a citizen buy food for the winter. Slowly, the custom turned into a beautiful tradition.
Exclusive souvenir market in Cologne, Germany
The Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral is considered as one of the most beautiful in Europe. And the market at Neumarkt Square is the oldest one. It is called the Angel's Market, as they establish little fairy-tale houses. On this street holiday, you can buy unique pieces - souvenirs, clothes and toys, handmade by German masters; they do not sell goods from big stores here. Each gift is unique.
Gourmet Paradise in Brussels, Belgium
The Brussels Christmas Market at the Grand Place (Central Square) is considered as a gathering place for gourmets. You can taste spicy veal sausage with truffles, oysters and Escargot grapes snails, fried potatoes with mussels and boar meat with a glass of excellent beer. Hot mulled wine and punch are also served at the stalls here, and children can enjoy Belgian chocolate and jam.
A fairy-tale Market in Prague, Czech Republic
Prague's biggest market takes place on the Old Town Square. On the morning of December 2, in the center of the square, they light a luxurious Christmas tree, entwined with 5 kilometers of garlands. The tree is decorated with thousands of balls and toys and also is a piece of art. They turn on the Christmas tree lights every evening from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. In different parts of the square, the Christmas nativity scenes are set up, theatrical performances start in the evening.
Fun before Christmas in Tallinn, Estonia
A colorful story takes place at the Tallinn Town Hall Square. For six centuries, they have been building shopping stalls around Christmas, which are used for selling handmade souvenirs, local honey and hot wine. From food, try roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut, elk stew and salted fish on black rye bread. Every evening, open ensemble performances are given at the square, and they create a special Christmas spirit.
Carefree holiday in Stockholm, Sweden
Holiday decorations give comfort and colors to gray winter Stockholm. The market is located in the center of the Old Town - at Stortorget Square near the Royal Palace. The shopping stalls are decorated with live Christmas trees, gnomes and bright red poinsettia flowers. A warming glögg with almonds, dried fruit and spices is worth trying, as well as local Marabou chocolate.
Fountain Show in Copenhagen, Denmark
After sunset, come see Tivoli Gardens, one of Europe’s oldest amusement parks, in order to feel the Christmas spirit at Copenhagen’s most famous market. In the evening, you can watch the fountain show there: dancing water jets in laser beams to the Nutcracker Suite. Trees are entwined with kilometers of Christmas garlands. There is also an ice rink there. And visitors can be warmed with mulled wine and hot apple dumplings.