Immensely popular and widely celebrated around the world, the joyous festival of Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christmas. Christmas is even more special in countries across Europe and the US, where markets are set up months in advance for festival shopping, souvenirs and plenty of seasonal food and drink. We’ve brought you some little bits from the world’s best markets – what to see, shop and eat. Here is a list of top 12 wonderful Christmas markets in the world.
Don’t worry about the planning. We have got you covered. Just pack your bags and get set!
1. Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg
Christmas Market in Nuremberg opens like this – People stare anxiously at the darkened gallery of the Church of Our Lady while the trumpets blow and the Christmas carols are sung. A bright light reveals the Christkind Angel reciting a prologue before opening the Christmas market. What an amazing opening ceremony!
Referred to as the ‘Little town from wood and cloth’, the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg carries around 180 wooden stalls decorated in white & red clothing and hence the name.
Grab a bite of Nuremberg Sausages & Gingerbread, say hello to the funny prune men, brave the cold with a glass of Gluhwein, take a picture with the Christkind, and go on a stagecoach tour driven by stately horses. Further, there is also a Children’s Christmas market that has a merry-go-round, a bakery, and a Santa-Claus house.
What’s Special: Nuremberg Sausages, Prune Men, Nuremberg Gingerbread, Hot Mulled wine, Children’s Christmas Market
Where: Hauptmarkt, 90022 Nürnberg, Germany
Stay: Around Mitte
When: 1st December 2017 – 24th December 2017
2. Striezelmerkt, Dresden
Celebrating its 583rd anniversary (yes, 500+ years!) in December 2017, Striezelmerkt in Dresden is the oldest Christmas market in the world. Set at the heart of the historical city of Dresden, the bustling marketplace stretches from the main railway station till Albertplatz and along the way are 11 different Christmas markets each offering unique flavor. The markets are ablaze with lights, the smell of mulled wine, and hum with joyous Christmas music.
Get your hands on the wood crafted smoking men who emit real smoke, ogle at the Christmas pyramids that rotate as the heat from the candle rises, take home some nutcracker dolls as souvenirs, and lose yourselves to the compelling aroma of baked apples.
What’s Special: Exquisite wooden handicrafts, Christmas pyramids, nutcrackers dolls, Christmas music
Where: Altmarkt 23, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Stay: Around Altstadt
When: 9th November 2017 – 24th December 2017
3. Medieval Market, Esslingen
Carrying a whole different vibe unlike any other Christmas markets in Germany, the Medieval Market in Esslingen is totally one-of-a-kind. Lined with over 200 booths, the adventure on offer in the Medieval Market is unrivalled. What’s more, you ask? The medieval half-timbered houses surrounding the market makes for a spectacular backdrop to click some stunning photographs.
But please be sure not to get lost in the medieval vibe of the place. It’s hard to trace your way back!
Pack some handcrafted candles and knives, buy some old lighters made of tinder & polypore, go on a gastronomic journey tasting grilled pork, duck leg, and stews, pair it with hot berry wine or hot spiced beer, and enjoy the cultural performance of the Europeans.
What’s Special: Medieval setting, handcrafted goods, Old lighters, Cultural performances
Where: Marktpl. 16, 73728 Esslingen am Neckar, Germany
Stay: Around Esslingen
When: 28th November 2017 – 22nd December 2017
4. Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg
Attracting over 2 million visitors every year, Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg is one of the top Christmas markets in the world and the fact that the market has been in the existence since 1570, also makes it one of the oldest operating Christmas markets in the world as well. Illuminated by glittery garlands and lights, the magic of Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg is inescapable.
Feel the compulsive fragrance of hot wine and spice as they create an interesting aroma, be charmed by the ornate decorations, glance through the arts & crafts on display, and take part in one of the 4 advent concerts.
What’s Special: Decorations, Mulled wine, Spices, Concerts
Stay: Around Petite France
When: 24th November 2017 – 24th December 2017
5. Wiener Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz, Vienna
Painted in white, Wiener Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz is a winter wonderland in Vienna that comes with a scintillating landscape. Diverse than any other Christmas markets in Europe, Wiener Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz carries over 151 stalls that sell stuff ranging from wood to chocolates to gingerbread. On top of that, there is a giant Christmas Ball which is sparkling enough to draw attention from all corners.
Be enchanted by the beautiful atmosphere, soak in the fascinating views of the town hall from the baroque picture frame, experience the best of both the worlds by tasting the sweetest of delicacies & the spicy punch of the lot, have fun at the ice skating rink, click pictures by the lit-up trees.
What’s Special: Sweet & Spicy delicacies, Ice skating rink, Christmas ball, Traditional gifts
Where: 1010 Wien, Rathausplatz, Vienna
Stay: Around Augsburg
When: 11th November 2017 – 26th December 2017
6. Christmas Market, Toronto
Catch the city’s biggest Christmas tree, go on a romantic walk with the seasonal decor as your witness, make a visit to the Santa’s house, bring out the child in you by riding on the Ferris wheel, be awestruck by the Pink trees, be entertained by the free award-winning performances, and get your hands on natural, earth-friendly personal care products on offer at Burt’s Bees.
What’s Special: Pink trees, Free performances, Ferris wheel, Carrousel, Natural products
Where: 55 Mill St, Toronto, ON M5A, Canada
Stay: Around Downtown Toronto
When: 16th November 2017 – 23rd December 2017
7. Vorosmarty Square Christmas Market, Budapest
Well-known by the locals, the lovely Vorosmarty Square in Budapest turns into a spectacular Christmas market destination during the festive season. The ideal postcard location blooms with all kind of colors and the festive sounds that come along make the location even more enticing. Considered as one of the richest Christmas markets in Europe, the seductive fragrance of cinnamon, honey, and mulled wine is enough to keep you occupied.
Enjoy the free entertainment in the market, stock your bags with handmade gifts, savour the company of sausages & mulled wine, hang out at Cafe Gerbeaud, snack on the roadside delicacies of Langos & Dodolle and be moved by the impressive singing of the choir.
What’s Special: Setting, Cafe Gerbeaud, Handmade gifts, Free entertainment
Where: Vörösmarty tér, Budapest, 1051 Hungary
Stay: Around Lipótváros
When: 10th November 2017 – 28th December 2017
8. Weihnachtsmarkt, Aachen
Overflowing with a homely, family atmosphere the Weihnachtsmarkt in Aachen set against the backdrop of a shimmering Aachen town hall is one of the most popular Christmas markets in the world. During the festive season, it is not just the Aachen city hall that comes alive but the neighboring alleys and the square too glow with excitement and is packed with friends & families.
Keep your kids entertained by taking them on a ride on a carousel, discover handcrafted treasures as you wander around the market, interact with the exhibitors, satiate your appetite by bingeing on the Christmas biscuits, and enjoy the warm taste of mulled wine.
What’s Special: Homely atmosphere, Children’s carousel, Christmas biscuits
Where: Marktpl., 52022 Aachen, Germany
Stay: Around Aachen Mitte
When: 18th November 2017 – 23rd December 2017
9. Colmar Christmas Market, Alsace
Characterized by cobblestoned streets, half-timbered houses, and Renaissance buildings, Colmar Christmas Market carries the ambiance of an Old Town. While the commune looks just splendid even in normal days, visiting it during the season of Christmas when it is fully decorated makes it extra special. Come during Christmas & Colmar resembles a fairy tale town and the stunning lighting blends in harmoniously with the city, elevating it to a whole new level.
Glance through the authentic collections on display, be surprised by the size of each market which resembles a mini-village, get a closer look into the impeccable craftsmanship, go on wine-tasting tours, and make full use of the free concerts & events.
What’s Special: Atmosphere, Decorations, Authentic collections
Where: Place de l’Ancienne Douane, 68000 Colmar, France
Stay: Around Colmar Centre Ville
When: 24th November 2017 – 30th December 2017
10. Christkindlmarket, Chicago
Inspired from the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Christkindlmarket in Chicago carries a traditional German vibe and presents it with a mix of international and local Chicagoan flavour to it. Highlighted by unique German foods and drinks on offer, Christkindlmarket in Chicago is now a popular Christmas market destination and the holiday entertainment is just brilliant.
Glance through the wide range of eclectic ornaments, go on a gastronomic journey discovering the classic German eateries of sausages, strudel, & potato pancakes, sip through a hot spiced Glühwein, and satiate your love for sweet-tooth by gorging on the sweet cakes and pastries.
What’s Special: German food & drinks, Ornaments, Tradition
Where: 50 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602, USA
Stay: Around Michigan Avenue
When: 17th November 2017 – 24th December 2017
We did say 10 of the world’s best markets, but well, someone just came back from a trip and told us about these two markets as well. So here goes!
Marienplatz Christmas Market, Munich
Dating back to the 14th century, Marienplatz Christmas Market in front of Munich Town Hall is one of the oldest & the most traditional Christmas markets in the world. Situated in the heart of Munich, the prime location of Marienplatz Christmas Market makes it a cultural hotspot and the traditional Bavarian produce along with the distinct Christmas Souvenirs just makes it even more tempting.
Awe at the incredibly huge Christmas tree that is 30 meters high, shop for bee wax candles, be bowled over by crib figurines, and relish the taste of traditional lebkuchen. Illuminated by over 2,500 candles, Marienplatz Christmas Market glows in the dark.
And surprisingly enough, there is also an exclusive workshop called ‘Heavenly Workshop’ dedicated to Children from where they can get their hands on art and craft.
What’s Special: Christmas Tree, Christmas Candles, Souvenirs, Bavarian Produce
Where: Marienplatz 1, 80331 München, Germany
Stay: Around Altstadt-Lehel
When: 27th November 2017 – 24th December 2017
Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia
Just the fact that a Christmas Market from Estonia made it to the list of the top Christmas Market is enough to excite anyone. Now carrying on, the Tallinn Christmas Market held at the Town Hall Square of Tallinn has a special star. It is none other than the Christmas Tree. Finding a place in the premises of the Town Hall Square from as early as 1441, this Christmas tree is of utmost importance and Tallinn Christmas Market is incomplete without it.
Wander around the market adorned with Christmas trees, have a taste of the Estonian Cuisine which ranges from Black pudding to hot Christmas drinks to sour cabbage to gingerbread, choose from the wide range of gifts, rejoice to the performance of the singers & dancers and get souvenirs for your loved ones.
What’s Special: Christmas Tree, Estonian cuisine, Souvenirs
Where: Raekoja plats 8-9, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia
Stay: Around Kesklinn
When: 17th November 2017 – 1st January 2018
Have you been to any of these Christmas markets? Share your experience in the comments section.
Interested in planning a trip to these scintillating spots? Plan it here, your itinerary is just a click away!