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Christmas Markets Around the Globe to Add to Your Bucket List

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With the beginning of winter and the coming of Christmas, people around the globe are bound to be gearing up for the holidays with festivities and shopping. Christmas markets take place throughout the world and offer great shopping options as well as some great ways to celebrate the holidays!

A little bit about the history of Christmas Markets: Christmas Markets date back as far as the Middle Ages (1298). The Vienna Dezembermarkt is believed to be the first “Christmas Market.” At this time the “festival” was hosted for a day or two in early winter to allow people to stock up for the coming winter. After this what was called Wintermarkte (Winter markets) began to spring up across Europe.

Christmas Markets as we know them today are most associated with Germany, with the first Christkindlmarkt being held in 1384 in Bautzen, Saxony. The original markets sold mainly meat, but quickly developed into more complex markets selling everyday goods, decorations, seasonal treats, and homemade crafts. The markets eventually evolved to include singing and dancing. In the 16th century Christmas Markets got a huge boost as giving gifts on Christmas became more popular and developed into what we know today as Christmas Markets.

Here is a list of some of the best Christmas Markets around the world to add to your bucket list:

1.) The Viennese Dream Christmas Market (Vienna, Austria)

Why not visit a Christmas Market in the city where Christmas Markets are said to have originated? The Viennese Dream Christmas market is a popular market in Austria’s capitol that sits in front of City Hall. It showcases over 150 stalls selling anything from booze to food to gifts. The market also offers activities for children, such as cookie making, reindeer rides, a ferris wheel, an old fashioned merry-go-round, and an ice skating rink. The market also features the Nativity Path, which displays 12 handmade Nativity scenes. You can also catch some Christmas carols from an international choir on select days (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays).

  • When: Mid November to late December
  • Where: 1010 Wien, Rathausplatz, Vienna
  • For more information click here

2. Skansen’s Christmas Market (Stockholm, Sweden)

The Skansen’s Christmas Market takes places in Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum. It began in 1903. The market features food, treats, decorations, bon fires, leather goods, embroidery, hand made gloves, crafts, candy, and books. You can also enjoy the museum with decorated historic homes and farmsteads. Also enjoy dancing around the Christmas tree and decoration making in the Christmas workshop. While visiting the market be sure to stop over to the Skansen zoo, which features nordic animals, including reindeers.

  • When: Late November to New Year’s Eve.
  • Where: Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
  • For more information click here
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3. Tivoli Gardens Christmas (Copenhagen, Denmark)

The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen is home to an annual Christmas market featuring great food with many restaurants open and decorated for the holidays, traditional fair rides, Christmas decorations, as well as vendors in and outside of the Trainsbury Station for goodies and Christmas gifts. The market features three different light shows that take place in the park. There is also a band that offers entertainment to shoppers. On December 25, 26, and 31st the market also features a fireworks display at the gardens.

  • When: Mid November to Early January
  • Where:  Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 København V, Denmark
  • For more information click here

4. Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market (Berlin, Germany)

Enjoy the traditional food, treats, and gifts found at a Christmas Market, all set with the beautiful Französischer Dom as the backdrop. The market is well known for it’s gourmet dishes. The market features nightly international concerts with music ranging from classical and jazz to Christmas carols. The last day of the market, New Year’s eve, ends with a huge fireworks display.

  • When: Late November to New Year’s Eve
  • Where: Gendarmenmarkt 210117  Berlin
  • For more information click here

5. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park (New York, USA)

The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is one of New York’s most popular winter festivals. The market features over 125 vendors selling food, treats, jewelry, and handmade crafts. The market also features an ice skating rink with free admission. The market is home to Le Carrousel where shoppers can take a break and enjoy a ride, and may even be joined by Santa and his elves. Children can also visit with and get their photo taken with Santa at Santa’s Corner.

  • When: October 31st to early January
  • Where: New York, NY 10018-located between Fifth Ave. and Avenue of the Americas.
  • For more information click here
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6. Toronto’s Christmas Market (Toronto, Canada)

Based in the Historic Distillery District, Toronto’s Christmas Market is one of the largest Christmas Markets in North America. The district transforms into a wonderland of Christmas lights, rides, vendors, and of course-Santa! In the center stands a 50ft. Christmas tree. Throughout the week different entertainment options are offered-including bands and carolers.

  • When: Mid November to Mid December
  • Where: 373 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1G4, Canada
  • For more information click here

7. Basel Christmas Market (Basel, Switzerland)

The Basel Christmas Market is said to be the biggest and best in Switzlerland. It is held in the city center on Barfüsserplatz  and Münsterplatz. In the center sits a large Christmas trees with decorations designed by the Johann Wanner, a very well known decorator. The market features over 160 vendors in small, wooden chalets selling gifts, food (including Basel Läckerli, a form of gingerbread), glühwein (mulled wine), Swiss raclette (cheese), and grilled sausages), handmade toys, and jewelry.

  • When: Late November to Late December
  • Where: Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, Basel, Switzerland
  • For more information click here
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8. Frankfurt Christmas Market (Birmingham, UK)

Held in Victoria Square in November and December, the Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of England’s largest and most traditional Christmas markets. The market features over 80 vendors selling food, booze, handmade crafts, and handmade toys. A trip to the Frankfurt Christmas market wouldn’t be complete without a visit to see Chris Moose, a singing moose located right outside the entrance of the Council House.

  • When: Early November to Late December
  • Where: Victoria Square, New Street, Birmingham
  • For more information click here

9. Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival (Budapest, Hungary)

The Budapest Christmas Fair takes places at Vörösmarty Square. The fair features over 120 vendors selling traditional fair desserts and Hungarian dishes, such as Sekler Cake, stuffed cabbage, roasted goose, pulled pork sandwiches, and duck sausage. The fair also offers many children and family entertainment options, including music, puppet shows, and craft workshops.

  • When: Early November to January 1st
  • Where: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér, 1051 Hungary
  • For more information click here
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10. Old Town Square Christmas Market (Prague, Czech Republic)

The Old Town Square Christmas Market was named one of the best by CNN In the center sits a 22 meter tree decorated with angels and gingerbread. Below the tress is a nativity scene and Christmas village that serves as a photo booth. Vendors are set up that offer handmade goods, gifts, decorations, and food, including mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread. Theater performances and concerts also take place throughout the festival.

  • When: Late November to Early January
  • Where: 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
  • For more information click here

11. ICE Village (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

ICE Village in Amsterdam is a winter festival located beside the Amsterdam skating rink on Museumplein. The festival features over 50 vendors lined along the skating rink and sell items including food, gifts, decorations, and fashion items. The festival also features fire pits and live entertainment. And of course-ice skating!

  • When: December
  • Where: Christmas Village on Ice, Museumplein 1071 DJ AMSTERDAM
  • For more information click here
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12. Fira de Santa Llúcia (Barcelona, Spain)

The Fira de Santa Llucia takes place annually on Avenida de la Catedral in the Gothic Quarter. The market features over 280 stalls that offer Christmas decorations, homemade gifts, nativity scene figures, and Christmas instruments (zambomba).

  • When: Late November to Late December
  • Where: Plaça Nova, 40, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
  • For more information click here
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For some ideas on where to visit this Christmas, click here.

 

 

11 Comments »

  1. I have been to every country you have listed, but l have yet to visit at Christmas time when the markets are in full swing. I would love, love to visit Vienna and Dresden for their Christmas markets. My plan is to do at least one in 2020. I love Christmas markets, so festive.

  2. I feel like I need to make a new goal to see all these Christmas villages! Thanks so much for putting this awesome list together! So far I only have Bryant Park!

  3. Xmas is coming soon and as I’m reading this post, I just wanna book a flight ticket and go to visit all these markets immediately! The Ice Village in Amsterdam sounds especially amazing! I hope I can enjoy the Christmas atmosphere there soon.

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