Christmas markets are a fun and highly-anticipated holiday tradition in Europe. Though there are plenty of other similar festivities around the world, the ones in the Old Continent are something else. It's not just that they sell snacks, toys, and other great items for the season, but they have a certain charm to them too. Some, like the Cologne Christmas Market in Germany, make you feel like you're back in time. While Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market in Paris, on the other hand, offers up such delectable treats that are perfect for the holiday season. Whichever of these European Christmas markets you choose to visit, you're guaranteed to have a good time!
Cologne Christmas Market - Cologne, Germany
At any other time of the year, Cologne is already one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Arguably even more so than the more famous metropolises like Berlin and Frankfurt
. But come Christmastime, the true old-world charm of this place takes over. The Cologne Christmas Market is absolutely enchanting. Wooden stalls topped with red gables surround the city's majestic Gothic-style cathedral. The entire scene looks straight out of a Christmas fairytale. Especially when it snows. And with the twinkling Christmas tree at the center, you'd swear you're living in a storybook. It's extraordinary!
Salzburg Christmas Market - Salzburg, Austria
Having started all the way back in the 15th century, the Salzburg Christmas Market is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. It's even safe to say that it's the oldest of its kind in the world. The fact that the annual market still opens to this day is a testament to its true holiday magic. Part of it is that they lay out all 95 stalls so well. There's more space for people to walk around and hang out while the vendors aren't too tightly positioned between each other.
The Christmas Markets - Budapest, Hungary
Instead of just one, the Hungarian capital hosts two Christmas markets. There's one on Vörösmarty Square, right smack in the center of all the neighborhoods of Budapest
, and another near the famous St. Stephen’s Basilica. The former is the oldest one in the city, featuring all sorts of food stalls and craftsmen displaying their amazing works. This is where you can indulge in delectable holiday treats and buy adorable gifts for your loved ones. The latter, on the other hand, features an ice skating rink and presents folk dance performances. It's where you and your family can enjoy some local entertainment.
Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market - Paris, France
Although there are plenty of magical Christmas markets in Paris
, the Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market stands out on its own. Located in the 4th arrondissement
, having the traditional stalls, well-lit Christmas trees, and colorful carousel against the palatial Hôtel de Ville makes for quite the extraordinary scene. But the charming ambiance isn't the only worthwhile thing about it. The Christmas market is actually quite fun, complete with fun games, great music, and of course, delicious food too! Despite how busy you are during the holiday season, this is one place you shouldn't miss when you're in Paris.
Liseberg Christmas Market - Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg, Sweden may not be among the most famous European cities out there, but the Liseberg theme park here is definitely a favorite for both locals and tourists alike. And every year, it hosts an annual Christmas market that will take your breath away. The nostalgic, old-world charm is a great contrast to the exciting rides and modern attractions that the theme park offers. At the same time, the treats they serve here are a must-try! From the mulled wine to the hot chocolate, they're they will warm both your body and your heart just in time for the holiday season.
Poznan Christmas Market - Poznan, Poland
Poznan is one of the oldest cities in Poland, possibly even in the entire continent too. No matter the time of year, it remains an enchanting destination with so much history to offer. But if you come here around the holiday season, you simply cannot miss its annual Christmas market. Suddenly, this historic city is brightened by twinkling fairy lights, glowing Santa Claus statues, and carnival rides. You can also indulge in all sorts of interesting delicacies such as warm bowls of goulash and smoked cheeses, among many others. And you can't forget the handmade trinkets here too! They're the perfect gifts for your loved ones!
Old Town Christmas Market - Prague, Czech Republic
Held in the beautiful Old Town district of Prague
, going to the Christmas market here will feel like you traveled back in time. Just seeing that giant Christmas tree set against the wonderfully Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn will take your breath away. You almost couldn't believe that it was real! But the moment you smell the traditional treats, you'll instantly remember to explore the market. Make sure to taste the trdelník
, a holiday cake rolled in cinnamon sugar. They offer them in various fillings like ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, fruits, and more! What's not to love?
Some of the best parts about the holiday season in Europe are the annual Christmas markets. They're utterly magical! From traditional treats to nostalgic charms, you can't help but feel the holiday spirit when you go to any one of them!