By Neelima Patel for Thecrazyindianfoodie.
Christmas brings with it festive spirits, delicious treats, warmth and love. The countdown for Christmas begins right with the advent of December. This magical holiday season is even more special in the cities and towns of Europe where snowmen, mulled wine, glitzy lights and warm smiles will enchant you.
Here is a list of top 10 Christmas European markets for you to explore this year :
1. Prague, Czech Republic :
Christmas markets in Prague are winter wonderlands waiting for visitors to soak up the holiday spirits. The two best Christmas markets in Prague are in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square which are only five minutes away from each other. The markets are full of cute medieval wooden huts selling all kinds of festive goodies that will light up your day. Stroll along the cobbled streets and try some local food, that makes the experience even more special.
Dig into a kobasa (Czech sausage) or indulge in a traditional chimney cake (Trdelník), grab a local Czech beer or sip on some hot chocolate as you watch the Christmas lights sparkling on Old Town Square.
Dates: From 1st December 2018 to 6th January 2019.
2. Florence, Italy :
Plunge into the Christmas atmosphere by visiting the best Christmas market in Florence in the spectacular Piazza Santa Croce. Ahead of Franciscan Basilica lies the market comprising of 50 stalls for you to buy your Christmas tree accessories, gifts and treats. For an early Christmas vibe, take a visit to Piazza del Duomo to see the Christmas tree lighten up as a part of the Feast of Immaculate Conception. Also, keep an eye out for gingerbread and strudel.
Dates: 1st December to 25th December 2018.
3. Salzburg, Austria :
Some of the oldest & largest Christmas markets in Europe have been taking place in Salzburg since the 15th century. It is held at the Cathedral Square every year where the choirs perform outside the Cathedral. This gorgeous city will fill you with warmth as you look out to the city’s snow-covered roofs, domes and towers.
For a sparkling view of the city, you can go to Hohensalzburg Fortress where you can find smaller markets. You can also visit the Hellbrunn Courtyard where children can enjoy a ride on a reindeer-drawn sledge. Christmas in Austria is truly magical!
Dates: 22nd November 2018 to 26th December 2018.
4. Strasbourg, France :
The popular annual Christmas market held in Strasbourg (Christkindelsmärik) attracts millions of visitors each year. Experience a magical Christmas with twinkling fairy lights, the majestic Great Christmas Tree, dazzling shows, delicious local food, exciting shopping and mulled wine.
Dates: 23rd November to 30th December 2018.
5. Munich, Germany :
Jingle along with the festive spirits by visiting Wittlebacherplatz which is dipped in the party vibe and has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. There are 24 markets for you to choose from where the traders are dressed in their best costumes. You can enjoy some traditional mead served in wonderfully designed goblets or visit the central market in Marienplatz, lift up your festive spirits at Tollwood Winterfestival, Theresienwiese or walk along the dazzling streets.
Dates: 27th November to 24th December 2018.
6. Stockholm, Sweden :
To enjoy light snowfall and local mulled wines, head north to visit a Nordic Christmas market. Skansen’s Christmas Market has been held annually since 1903 and is a beloved holiday tradition among Swedes. The markets boast of a wide range of Swedish crafts, Christmas ornaments and hand-dipped candles. On your shopping spree, munch onto some traditional fare like gingersnaps and some more wine. The Swedish Christmas markets are full of handmade delicacies like mustard, bread, cakes, sugared almonds, honey, crisp bread and smoked turkey.
Dates: 24th November to 20th December 2018.
7. Tromsø, Norway :
The streets of Tromsø, a northern Norwegian town, appear more magical than ever during Christmastime. The sparkling Christmas lights shine even brighter in the starlight sky making for a magical Christmas indeed. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, walk along the cobbled, snow-clad streets and even get a chance to view the spectacular Nothern lights from Tromsø, Norway.
Dates: 22nd November to 31st December 2018.
8. Budapest, Hungary :
If you fancy traditional food and dancing with live music to warm up your winters, then you must visit the Budapest Christmas Fair. It’s made up of over 150 stalls which have a panel of adjudicators to make sure that all the products sold in the market are traditionally handmade. Here, you will find quality handcrafts and special Hungarian delicacies. The Christmas markets in Budapest are more about buying small gifts, drinking mulled wines, nibbling Hungarian pastries and enjoying the Christmas concerts happening on the stages of markets.
Dates: 9th November to 1st January 2019.
9. Helsinki, Finland :
The Aleksanterinkatu street in Finland hosts one of the best Christmas markets in Europe with up to 100 stalls lining up and shining brightly in the starry night. The markets are inspired by Finnish traditions where the visitors can indulge in the traditional Finnish Christmas drinks and food. Visit St. Thomas Christmas Market in Helsinki Senate Square featuring 120 merchants in traditional wooden huts or shop for Finnish gifts and cards for your loved ones. In addition, there are a lot of performances, a children’s fare ground and visits from Santa Claus himself.
Dates: 1st December to 22nd December 2018.
10. Manchester, UK :
Manchester is a delightful place all year long. But during Christmas, its curled up in its twinkling lights along with the giant glowing Santa sitting atop the town hall. Launched in 1999 as just a single site in St Ann’s Square, the markets now sprawl across the city and attract millions of visitors each year. These Christmas markets light up the city with over 300 stalls offering traditional gifts and food.
Dates: 9th November to 22nd December 2018.
Don’t all these beautiful Christmas markets look magical? Which one are you going to visit?
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