Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

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Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin Christmas Markets

Berlin lights up in the lead up to Christmas as sixty Christmas markets set up shop to usher in the festive season. From early November Potsdamer Platz kicks off the season with Europe's largest mobile toboggan run (complete with views of the Brandenburg Gate), an outdoor skating rink, curling and a number of traditional huts offering local seasonal treats. Head on over to the Dahlem Museum campus for the market of the continents where more than fifty dealers offer handicrafts from different regions of the world — from hand-woven African fabrics and jewellery from India to felt goods from Kazakhstan and colourful Mexican tin toys. For more than forty years, the small streets and squares in Spandauer Altstadt (Berlin's largest continuous pedestrian zone) have played host to more than 250 market stalls selling everything from handicrafts to the local Glühwein — a great way to keep warm on a cold December eve.

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Europe Germany Berlin Christmas Markets Christmas December
Budapest Christmas Fair

Budapest Christmas Fair

Vörösmarty Square will again be festive season central in Budapest with a packed Christmas programme, guaranteed to delight the whole family. More than 100 carefully selected vendors will offer up a wide selection of arts, crafts and hand-made gifts including traditional leather and bone items, ceramics, blue-dyed textiles, felt goods and hand-made jewellery from cottage-style wooden huts. If you're feeling a little hungry, try some local Hungarian festive cuisine like stuffed cabbage, fried fish or fish soap. When you're done, wash it all down with a little mulled wine or a recent festive favourite, krampampuli. Two stages play host to a range of music styles from folk and jazz to world music and there's even puppet shows for the kids.

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Europe Hungary Budapest Christmas Markets Christmas December
Dusseldorf Christmas Markets

Dusseldorf Christmas Markets

Downtown Dusseldorf turns on the festive cheer each year from mid-November, during the annual Dusseldorf Christmas Markets. Make your way to Marktplatz, Dusseldorf's Christmas market quarter at the heart of her old town. Here you'll find lovingly created wooden huts modelled in the colour and style on the city's renaissance City Hall, from which artisans work iron, blow glass and turn wood in traditions dating back centuries. Pick out some hand-made traditional gifts for friends and family, marvel at the life-sized manger or take a spin on the antique carousel. From here it's only a short stroll to Heinrich-Heine-Platz for the Engelchenmarkt (Little Angel Market) where Market huts are adorned with floral motifs and angel figures in wrought iron. Here you can sample traditional or contemporary festive fare or warm up with a splash of fragrant mulled wine. Finish up with a skate at Gustaf-Grundgens-Platz where a winter workout on the 450m2 ice-skating rink will get you in the mood to sample some delicious Reibekuchen (potato pancakes).

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Europe Germany Dusseldorf Christmas Markets Christmas December
Fira de Santa Llucia

Fira de Santa Llucia

Get into the Christmas spirit, Catalonian style with Barcelona's annual, Fira de Santa Llucia. With a traceable history dating back to 1786, today's Fira still maintains strong ties with the past featuring parades, performances by choirs and traditional dance. Take in the numerous nativity scenes or learn to create your own at one of the nativity scene courses or workshops. Shop for Christmas trees, knick knacks and decorations. There's plenty of arts and crafts, clothes, jewellery, decorative objects and traditional musical instruments on offer at the numerous stalls that may just make the perfect Christmas gift.

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Europe Spain Barcelona Christmas Markets Christmas December
Frankfurt Christmas Markets

Frankfurt Christmas Markets

Join more than three million annual visitors as they take in the history and splendour of Frankfurt's age old Christmas market — believed to have been held as far back as 1393. Visitors can stock up on local gifts and decorations from the 200 stalls, warm up with a cup of mulled wine and enjoy the life sized nativity scene or the lovingly maintained carousel.

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Europe Germany Frankfurt Christmas Christmas Markets December
Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hanseatic Hamburg turns on the Christmas charm each and every December with a wide range of Christmas markets and a packed festive programme. The most charming of Hamburg's Christmas markets takes place on the market square directly in front of their iconic Neo-Renaissance Town Hall (Rathaus). Take a deep breathe and savour the seasonal scent of roasted almonds, gingerbread and fir or grab a warming cup of gluhwein. Wander the stalls where you can watch artisans working their age-old crafts. Children will want to head straight for Spielzeuggasse (Toy Street) where merchants from around the world offer up a colourful range of gifts. If you time your visit well you might even catch a visit from Santa Claus hovering above.

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Europe Germany Hamburg Christmas Markets Christmas December
Helsinki Christmas Markets

Helsinki Christmas Markets

By December, the north's dark canvas of winter has descended upon Helsinki. The distant sun pokes it head above the horizon at about 10am, hangs around for a spell, before dipping again by 4pm. When there's a sprinkling of snow on the ground and you're wrapped up in your warm winter gear, it's a great time to wander the stalls of Helsinki's Christmas Markets. Large outdoor candles burn and there's the smell of cinnamon and wood smoke in the air. Meander through the Christmas stalls in Heslinki's Senate Square and you'll come across a wide variety of beautiful handicrafts, delicious baked goods and other uniquely Finnish Christmas gifts and delicacies. Those more energetic souls can head to the Railway Square and pop on the ice skates for a few laps. Hungry? Chow down on some hot salmon soup served with crusty bread and finish it off with some freshly baked pulla. But to really warm the insides, try glögi, Finland's delicious take on warm winter wine, at its best when served with almonds and raisins. Ho ho ho indeed.

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Europe Finland Helsinki Christmas Markets Christmas December
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Despite whether you've been bad or good, from late November through early January, Santa and his pint-sized helpers serve up lashings of Christmas fun at London's very own version of the North Pole. During Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland there's a little Christmas something for the whole family. For the youngsters there's thrilling rides, the Magical Ice Kingdom and trips to Santa Land where you may just get the opportunity to meet the jolly bearded fellow in the flesh. Grown-ups can browse the Christmas markets, enjoy the festive fare or take to the sky on the Giant Observation Wheel for a spectacular panoramic view over Winter Wonderland and beyond. Winter Wonderland is free to enter.

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Europe England London Christmas Christmas Markets December
Prague Christmas Markets

Prague Christmas Markets

Magnificent Prague has been spellbinding tourists for centuries. A visit when the snow is falling and the Christmas markets are in full swing adds yet another layer to the city's abundant charm. Head for Prague's Old Town Square or Wenceslas Square where the handsomely decorated wooden huts offer up all manner of traditional handicrafts, from glassware, jewellery, embroidered lace and wooden toys to scented candles and puppets and dolls beautifully decked out in traditional costume. Fill your belly with spit-roasted pig or the local sausage and wash it down with some svařené víno (mulled wine) or a glass of the world famous, Czech Pilsner. If you arrive after five, you'll see the impressive Christmas tree (shipped in from the Krkonose Mountains) lit up in all it's glory. With the Gothic spires of Prague as a backdrop, it really is a spectacular site.

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Europe Czech Republic Prague Christmas Markets Christmas December
Stuttgart Christmas Markets

Stuttgart Christmas Markets

From late November right up until Christmas Eve, more than 250 traditional wooden stalls, decorated with fir branches and baubles, take over Stuttgart's inner city (Marktplatz, Schillerplatz and Schlossplatz, as well as Hirschstraße and Kirchstraße) forming one of Europe's largest and most visited Christmas Markets. Take in the the scent of burnt almonds and roast chestnuts as you browse the stalls offering all manner of gifts, from Christmas tree decorations through toys and woodcrafts to lambskin slippers, hats, candles and puppets. When hunger strikes sample a grilled Swabian sausage or two and wash them down with a little local mulled wine. Children will enjoy a visit to Santa's Grotto on Schlossplatz. The miniature railway drawn by a real steam locomotive which passes through the snowscape is a hit with children of all ages.

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Europe Germany Stuttgart Christmas Markets Christmas December
Tallinn Christmas Markets

Tallinn Christmas Markets

Tallinn's UNESCO listed, medieval old town centre feels almost custom made for Christmas. With her narrow cobbled lanes and imposing spires, her inviting cafes and bars often set haphazardly into 500 year old stone walls, it's a wonderful city to rug up, take to the streets and just soak in the Christmas atmosphere. You can start out in the Town Hall Square and take in Estonia's most famous Christmas tree before exploring the Christmas huts that dot the cobbles selling a manner of handicrafts, local fare and gifts. There's a petting zoo for the little ones including real reindeers and if you look carefully you might even spot Santa Claus with a little helper or two in tow. Move on from the Market Square and Tallin's old town is an art-and-craft lovers paradise, where dozens of local shops selling all manner of crafty nic-nacs make for a fantastic Christmas shopping experience.

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Europe Estonia Tallinn Christmas Markets Christmas December
Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna Christmas Markets

During the festive season, when her squares are bathed in a symphony of light, it's a magical time to be visiting historical Vienna. Head for the spectacular Rathausplatz where more than 150 traditional wooden stalls offer up hand-made arts, crafts and gifts. Not too far away, between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum is the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz where you'll find a further 70 stands featuring traditional handicrafts and original Christmas gift ideas. The cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace offers a touch of Christmas romance with an imperial backdrop and offers traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and an extensive children's program, including a Christmas workshop.

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Europe Austria Vienna Christmas Markets Christmas December
Winter Wonders

Winter Wonders

Brussels bursts at the seams with Christmas cheer each year at their annual Winter Wonders festival. Along its two kilometre course, visitors are greeted by a series of wonderfully lit shops, chalets, attractions, activities and outdoor eating and drinking areas. You can take to the ice-skating rink or the ferris wheel or perhaps Andréa's magnificent merry go-rounds are more your style. Check the website before attending as a full calendar of Christmas events forms part of the Winter Wonders programme.

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Europe Belgium Brussels Christmas Markets Christmas December

Christmas Markets on the Map