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- Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013
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- Posted in:Festivals and Events
It’s that time of year when there’s a certain magic in the air as festive lights sparkle in the dark nights. It’s also around this time that town and city squares are taken over by little wooden stalls festively decorated and ice rinks packed full of young and old trying to get to grips with the ice. Christmas markets are a big festive tradition all over the world and a huge attraction for anyone looking for a pre-Christmas holiday. They are an ideal place to get your Christmas shopping started with plenty of gift ideas and traditional food and drinks to sample.
There are lots and lots of Christmas markets around the world, so we decided to put a list of our favourite ones together. And we’ve even added in some great hostels for you to stay in on your festive trip!
Christmas markets in Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg plays host to Germany’s largest Christmas market and is often duly called ‘Christmas City’. As well as all the great Christmas shopping that’s on offer, food is a big part of this German Christmas market. Gingerbread is a speciality of the region, as too is their famous sausages - Nuremberger bratwursts. The Christmas stalls are all based in the city centre in Nuremberg Main Market Square, and every year the markets are opened by the ‘Christmas Angel’. This German Christmas market is a popular choice with many locals and tourists every year. With over 180 festive stalls full of all kinds of gifts and surprises, Nuremberg is the perfect place to do your Christmas shopping in and offers one of the best European Christmas markets.
Christmas markets in Bruges, Belgium
This beautiful medieval town is a popular choice for tourists all year round. However, when it comes to Christmas, very few places can live up to the Christmas spirit that oozes from Bruges. This Belgian Christmas market is often regarded as one of the best Christmas markets in the country, and its location in the picturesque town centre only adds to its appeal. As you would expect from the nation that produces some of the world’s best beer, sampling some local brews and mulled wine are a big feature of this Christmas market. There’s also an open air ice rink for all ages and lots of markets and stalls for you to do your Christmas shopping in. Christmas markets in Belgium are a big feature of its festivities and are well worth visiting to get you into that Christmas spirit.
Christmas markets in Tallinn, Estonia
Christmas markets in the Estonian capital are still a relatively new feature as it was revived in post-Soviet times. Tallinn’s beautiful Town Hall Square is said to be the where the first ever Christmas tree appeared around 1441. Today they keep that alive with a huge, thick Christmas tree having pride of place amongst all the Christmas market stalls. There are plenty of cabins around the square selling all kinds of gifts for your Christmas shopping. And there’s even a special cabin for Santa Claus and his elves who give out treats. Tallinn’s European Christmas markets really are a beautiful sight and have an amazing atmosphere. For an ideal Christmas break get booking your stay in Tallinn here.
Christmas markets in Chicago, USA
This American Christmas market took its festive influence from the German Christmas markets and became Christkindlmarket Chicago. This is one of the most popular markets in the city of Chicago and every year it attracts more and more visitors for Christmas shopping. This Christmas market boasts some amazing stalls selling unique gifts, typical German food and drinks, and lots of entertainment for all ages. The city of Chicago is also a stunning place when it comes to festive spirit as the streets and the shops are lit up and excellently decorated against the city’s snowy backdrop. With all this on offer then why not take a pre-holidays trip to the Windy City and get involved in all this Christmas spirit and gift shopping! Take a look at some of the Chicago hostels we have available for a great Christmas break.
Christmas markets in Strasbourg, France
Home to the biggest Christmas market in France - and often regarded as the best Christmas market in the country - Strasbourg’s Christmas market dates back to 1570. This popular festive market is referred to as Christkindelsmarik, and takes place by the Cathedrale Notre-Dame and along Place Broglie. This area glows with Christmas lights and festive cheer each year as all things Christmas are bought and sold in the stalls. The build up to the Christmas holidays is a popular time for trips to Strasbourg and the perfect way to get into the festive spirit.
Christmas markets in New York, USA
New York’s Holiday Market at Columbus Circle is a popular and magical place to be in the weeks before Christmas. This area is home to one of the city’s best loved Christmas markets and draws large crowds every year. The Holiday Market at Columbus Circle is packed full of beautiful Christmas stalls selling all kinds of gifts, carol singers captivating audiences, and festive lights illuminating the market right into the dark night. New York is particularly busy at this time of year for shopping so if you are embarking on some Christmas market trips this season then don’t forget to visit this amazing Xmas market at Columbus Circle.
Christmas markets in Copenhagen, Denmark
At this time of year the only place to be in Copenhagen is the Tivoli Gardens. In the centre of Copenhagen, the Tivoli Gardens are awash with roller-coasters and other theme park rides. At this festive time of year the magic of this comes even more alive with Christmas trees, elves and lots of Christmas stalls. The centre-piece of this amazing Christmas market is the Tivoli Lights. These are 1,800 fairy lights that are hung around the willows of The Tivoli Lake. So if your Christmas market trips find you in Copenhagen then make sure you get all your Christmas shopping under wraps here.
Christmas markets in Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg is another European Christmas market that couples their festive stalls with their fairground rides. This Swedish Christmas market is held in Liseberg amongst thousands of lights. This is home to Gothenburg’s main amusement park and at this time of year it becomes a stunning festive theme park and Christmas market. There are lots of stalls in the markets selling all types of Nordic handicrafts and local fare offering some great Christmas market deals. There is also a large ice rink as well as many theme park rides. Gothenburg is Sweden’s second largest city and is an ideal destination to experience some Christmas markets.
Christmas markets in Vienna, Austria
The beautiful city of Vienna embraces the annual Christmas market tradition by playing host to many different markets and events throughout the city. Some of the best Christmas markets in this Austrian city include the markets at Schönbrunn Palace, the market in front of City Hall, the traditional Viennese Christmas market on Freyung, and those at Spittelberg, Am Hof and in front of the church of St. Charles Borromeo. These Christmas markets attract up to 3 million visitors every year. The many stalls all offer some great Christmas market deals including children’s toys, food stalls with mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and a lot more festive treats.
Christmas markets in Madrid, Spain
The Spanish capital of Madrid is also home to a popular Christmas market. Every December Madrid’s Plaza Mayor is overrun with little stalls and big festivities. Everything festive from Christmas trees to nativity scenes will be on display in this popular city square in the build up to Christmas. All sides of the square will be covered with stalls offering many ideas and gifts to help you with your Christmas shopping. This festive market is one of the best Christmas markets in Madrid, and that coupled with the amazing shopping, restaurants and nightlife that is on offer in the city all year round, makes Madrid the ideal pre-Christmas break!
By Tracy Lynch