Christmas is a merry time of year. Full of holiday cheer, good food, quality time with family and friends, and fantastic decorations, this highly-modernized winter holiday is one of the biggest holidays in the Western world.
Christmas, in many cities, is accompanied by the opening of Christmas markets. In Europe, these are particularly popular, popping up all over the country.
What are the best Christmas markets in Europe? It’s hard to decide, but here are a few of our favorites.
Estonia: Tallinn Christmas Market
With temperatures barely hitting zero, this time of year in old world Estonia is the perfect time for a market. The Tallinn Christmas Market turns this small Estonian city into a shopping haven.
Here, you can find an overwhelming selection of vendors selling traditional Estonian crafts, food, decor, clothing, and gifts. To keep goers entertained, the market also hosts a variety of live performers and choirs.
Fresh mulled apple cider and wine can be smelled from miles away – delicious!
Finland: Tuomaan Markkinat
One of the oldest events in Helsinki, the Tuomaan Markkinat is a yearly tradition.
During this market, the city is usually bathed in a blanket of fresh snow that compliments the twinkling Christmas lights that the citys eager residents hang in the streets.
At the market, tables and tables of handmade clothing, crafts, artwork, food, and jewelry can be found. Some vendors even sell local produce, fish, and meat. To end a night at the market, goers are encouraged to enjoy the Christmas merry-go-round.
From the word “striezel” meaning long, plaited bun, comes the Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany.
This holiday market is one of Dresden’s oldest yearly markets, offering everything from glass blown trinkets and carved wood statues to fine jewelry and gifts, the market has something for everyone.
However, one of the markets most iconic events is the Christmas cake competition which has bakers from all over the city vying to make the biggest holiday cake. The cake that wins is paraded through town by hundreds of bakers.
Visitors who stop by should also be sure to try the handmade Stollenfest, as it’s a Dresden holiday staple.
Brussels Christmas Market
Love Belgian chocolate? You’ll love Brussels’ Christmas Market. Serving a wide variety of festive, tasty chocolates and homemade Belgian food and sweet treats, you won’t go home hungry.
Although this market is known for its food vendors, it also has a ton more to offer.
Other vendors include gifts and jewelry, while those who aren’t interested in shopping can partake in outdoor skating or stay for the annual Christmas tree lighting.
As if Austria wasn’t already one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, it gets better each year during the holiday season.
Each year the Christkindlmsrkt in Salzburg draws thousands of guests with its mulled wine and good food, vendor booths, reindeer rides, and ice skating.
The market also hosts sing alongs and live entertainment. Traditional wind music is played live on Thursdays and Saturdays from the square.
Sweden: Christmas Market at Skansen
An open-air festival based out of Stockholm, the Christmas Market at Skansen is as traditional as the holiday season gets.
Historic homes and farms are decorated, sugared almonds, smoked turkey, and other delicacies are sold by vendors, and traditional dances are held around a lit Christmas tree. Visitors could also choose to make their own holiday decorations in the public workshop.
Hopefully these amazing markets have sparked your interest – they sure got our imaginations going! If you’re in the area of any of these markets, we’d recommend taking a few hours to browse and enjoy the festivities.