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- Posted:Friday, October 24, 2014
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The Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in All of Europe
Christmas doesn’t get much better than wandering around a snow-coated market with a hot mulled wine in hand. The smell of roasted chestnuts and the twinkling lights will put even a Grinch into the Christmas spirit. Although Christmas markets can be found in most cities around Europe, some can be way too big and commercial. Below are a few of the most beautiful and atmospheric markets to visit this holiday season.
Prague, Czech Republic
Surrounded by pastel colored buildings and dominated by a stunning gothic church, the Christmas market in the Old Town Square of Prague couldn’t be more enchanting. Pick up some unique Czech ornaments or traditional Christmas cookies while visiting. If you happen to still be in Prague for New Year’s Eve then join in on the excitement in the square by watching (and lighting your own!) fireworks from right within the square!
The market is held every day from November 28th- December 23rd from 10am to 10pm (food stalls staying open later).
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The Christmas markets in Cologne (there are a few!) are some of Europe’s most adored. The one in front of the illuminated Cologne Cathedral is the city’s most impressive. Within the 160 festive wooden pavilions you will find the largest Christmas tree in all of Rhineland. Just 200 meters away is also the ‘Alter Markt’ in the heart of Old Town, another favorite. Here it is said that gnomes are responsible for the holiday splendor and keeping out mass-made goods. What good little gnomes!
The markets open from the 23rd of November until the 23rd of December. Most are open until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on weekends.
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The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is home to the most luminescent Christmas market with over 120,000 twinkling lights. A mix of traditional Scandinavian culture with a Russian twist, the centerpiece is the colorful Russian basilica with its colorful onion shaped domes. The Tivoli Gardens also has food and rides, so make an entire night out of it.
The market is open from November 14th until January 3rd 2016 (closed December 24th & 25th) from 11am-11pm nightly. Entrance to the Tivoli Gardens cost 99 DKK but it’s free with a Copenhagen Card.
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One of the world’s first Christmas markets, Vienna’s city hall has been hosting a market dating from the Middle Ages. The city hall acts as a stunning backdrop for all the excitement and joy. Roam within the small wooden cabins while munching on candied fruits and sipping mulled wine.
The market always coincides with Advent, opening on November 14th and closing on December 24th. Open daily from 10am – 9:30pm (10pm on Friday and Saturday)
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One of Europe’s prettiest towns acts as the backdrop to one of Europe’s most beautiful markets. Colmar is located in the Alsace region of Northeastern France, an area which has been German territory twice in history. During the holiday season, crooked timber houses line the market while garlands and candles hang from the stalls. Five markets are spread across the charming city center, each offering something a bit different.
The markets are open daily typically from the 20th of November until the 31st of December.
Book your stay in Colmar
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The Christmas market in Rothenburg, a medieval town in Bavaria, is known as being one of the most romantic in Europe. In fact, Christmastime is so special in Rothenburg that you can purchase Christmas decorations from its shops year round. Some people say the town almost looks too picture-perfect, but it’s only because the locals have fought so hard to preserve the architecture over the years. Unlike in larger German cities, the market in Rothenburg is a bit smaller but it makes it all the more intimate.
The market opens on the 27th of November and closes December 23rd. Open 11am-7pm on weekdays and 11am-8pm on Friday & Saturday.
Book your stay in Rothenburg
Have you visited any other stunning Christmas markets? Tell us about them in the comments...
Jessica Wray is a Californian, an over-thinker, a spicy-food lover and a serial expat. She has studied and lived in Latin America, taught English in South Korea, backpacked Asia and now lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow along with her on her blog, Curiosity Travels, as she tackles her mid-twenties all while calling different parts of the world home.