The tradition of Christmas markets dates back to medieval Europe. The first so-called “December markets” were organized in Germany. They were very convenient during Christmas preparations, especially before shops functioned practically on every corner. Today, regardless of whether we want to buy presents or meet with loved ones, Christmas markets are the best places to soak up the magical atmosphere. And in the process… soak up lots of gingerbread.
Christmas markets in Poland: Gdansk, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Krakow
In Poland, practically every major city organizes a Christmas market. In Gdańsk, many attractions await you apart from lovely illuminations and about 120 stands. Including, among others, Santa’s House! It is worth mentioning that the Gdańsk fair is valued worldwide. It was honoured with third place in the European Best Christmas Market 2020 competition.
The Christmas Market in Wrocław, on the other hand, has been distinguished for years thanks to its fairy-tale scenery. There is also no shortage of local gifts and specialities to choose from – over 200 stalls with handicrafts and ecological products await visitors. The Christmas house is worth visiting. From its terrace, you can admire the panorama of Solny Square and Market Square.
December markets also returned to Warsaw this year. In the Barbican, there are dozens of stalls where you can buy Christmas tree ornaments, baked nuts and wooden products. There is also an ice rink in Old Town Square to enjoy ice-skating.
In Kraków, the fair evokes the commercial traditions of the Main Market Square. Nearly 70 stalls await the visitors and offer, among other things, handicrafts made of flax and wool or ceramics. Gourmet-lovers will undoubtedly be tempted by highland specialities, including oscypki (smoked sheep cheese) with cranberry or mulled wine. All this to the accompaniment of festive carols and the glow of Christmas lights is sure to enchant anyone who can’t wait for Christmas!
Christmas markets in Germany
Whether you’re around the most popular Christmas markets or the smaller ones set up in quaint towns, the Christkindlmarkt is unquestionably a genuine Christmas experience.
The Christmas market in Düsseldorf is highly recommendable. It is safe to say that in December, the aroma of roasted almonds and mulled wine spreads throughout the city. That’s because the Christmas market is not one, but seven different locations scattered around. Each one has its theme, but they are all full of picturesque lights, gingerbread houses and lots of charming stalls with gift ideas and festive treats.
When in the south of Germany, the Nuremberg Christmas market is well worth visiting. The Christmas market in this Bavarian city impresses with its size, number of stalls and variety of offers, and unique attractions. The program includes Christmas carol concerts, and nativity plays in the baroque St. Egidien church.
Of course, Berlin has its own Christmas spirit, with as many as 15 different markets and dozens of special events this year alone! One of the most bustling markets in the city is the one on Alexanderplatz. More than 100 stalls with a wide range of products, aromatic gingerbread and mulled wine await the visitors. There is also a Ferris wheel. You can admire the view of the lantern-lit surroundings and a traditional wooden hut where people dance until the morning from the top. But the highlight of the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market is the Christmas pyramid. Try local delicacies sold at the foot of the pyramid. The view from the top of the pyramid is breath-taking!
Christmas market in Budapest
If you hear “jó reggelt” on every corner – go to Vörösmarty Street. This is where you’ll find the most famous Hungarian Christmas market. In Budapest, just like in other cities, it’s a mirage of colourful stalls with crafts, Christmas decorations, bells and gift ideas. However, only here you can taste countless varieties of langosz, goulash and all kinds of peppers. There is also plenty to do! Concerts of carol singers, laser shows, the ice rink in the municipal park stretched around the giant Christmas tree…
Christmas market in Vienna
In Vienna, in fact… it’s hard to miss a Christmas market! The Christmas markets in this city take place in many different locations. One of the most beautiful is the one held on City Hall Square. Special attractions strongly emphasize the festive atmosphere of this place. These include, among others, a unique path along which as many as 12 full-size Christmas cribs have been set up. These are hand-made works of art, full of detail.
Another unique attraction at the Vienna Christmas market is the Herzerlbaum, a giant plane tree decorated with heart-shaped lights. It is a local romantic hotspot that attracts photo enthusiasts.
Christmas market in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is considered to be the French capital of Christmas. And for a good reason – the country’s first Christmas markets were held here. Every year, hundreds of merchants and artisans set up their wares in unique wooden huts, the streets and facades twinkle with lights, and the smell of cinnamon fills the air. The centrepiece of this fair is a 30-metre high Christmas tree.
Enjoy the festive atmosphere
If you plan to go shopping at the Christmas market, make sure you bring your own mug for hot chocolate or mulled wine, as well as a shopping bag. This way, you will reduce the additional waste. Take a look at what local vendors have to offer – buy locally to live sustainably!
Above all, choose a market that is next to you. The examples above are just the beginning of the list – there is definitely a Christmas market in your town, regardless of your place of residence. Merry Christmas!