Lights, chocolates and love everywhere! Christmas brings joy to the heart even as a word. When the whole world comes together in celebrating a festival, it is only fair that it’s as grand as Christmas is. Whatever world may it be, religions, or even realms like Narnia and the magical community, celebrate December the 25th, in all its glory. After all the years of Christmas, it has come to be the celebration of life and a season everybody waits for, as soon as it is over. Christkindlmarket or Christmas markets are such markets that come into motion months before Christmas and set up to be tiny globes of Christmas itself. That is what makes Christmas so special amidst everything. A whiff of a scent could bring you Christmas in the middle of summer, snow on any normal day, the sight of snow-capped trees being lit up, tiny little figurines placed in a certain way, thick woollen socks, a particular song about a red-nosed guy, sipping chocolaty Starbucks- it goes on. But the point is, Christmas visits you any time of the year, all you need to do is hold on to it.
This feeling is what each of the below tries to sell. So trust that instinct and visit these Christmas markets in advance so you can wrap yourself inside the Holiday mood. Visit Pickyourtrail to book your next Europe trip.
Old Town and Wenceslas Square, Prague:
Prague’s smug Art Noveau buildings are turned into subjects of a winter wonderland come winter. The Old Town starts business at early hours to proclaim the start of this phenomenon. With massive trees that grow up to the size of the buildings themselves, the atmosphere soon starts catching up. The animal stable is stirring with kids coming in to pet them. Classical music starts blaring in from every nook and corner of the scene while stalls start frying sausages and ham; Chimney cakes sit baking along the pancakes. Stylish huts are selling handicrafts, stockings, ceramics, lace, wooden jewellery and decorations everywhere. This image is a typical scene from the Christmas markets of Prague. I would not miss it this Christmas, will you?
Winter Wonders, Brussels:
What’s in a name? Everything! Winter Wonders in Belgium is a Christmas treat that comes as a fanfare. It takes up the centre of the city as it’s venue and adds so much beauty to the already sparkling place. Five weeks of Christmas fair is much more than anyone could ask for. The whole nation is fuelled by this pre-festival wonder. Kids especially will have a great time, so pin this up if you’re going to travel with your tiny-uns. Merry go rounds, giant Ferris wheels, ice skating, and lots of Christmas shopping are promised.
Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna:
Viennese Christmas is a beautiful nostalgic event that we’ve all been needing for a long time now. Even more so are the Christmas Markets that come to bring warmth and culture to the city. There are so many ones happening within the city, each of them distinct in their taste. The Vienna Christmas market in Rathausplatz one of the oldest in the city, with at least 150 stalls and shops. Hot wine, Schnitzel and chocolate dipped strawberries accompany you all through the day of shopping. You could buy literally anything you need for Christmas and gorge on great food at the same time. Check out the markets on Belvedere, Schönbrunn and Stephensplatz too.
Dresden Striezelmarkt, Dresden:
A square saturated with blinding festival lights being balanced out by the fierce fir trees and red shops. That’s what world’s oldest Christmas market looks in the winter most days its glory. Germany‘s best, Dresden’s market is named Striezel or Stollen Cake. Since 1434, the place hasn’t changed much, so the old European Christmas’s soul has been left unaltered. Every year at least a million people check into this place to witness that. Be sure not to miss the annual Stollen festival, where a giant stollen is paraded through the streets till the Christmas market and is cut up into pieces and eaten. The marketplace, on the other hand, is full of decorations, food, jewellery, crafts, pottery and festival gifts.
Christmas Market at Skansen, Stockholm:
Christmas in Stockholm is signalled begun by the opening up of Skansen market. The place is filled with an unmistakable festive air. Snow arrives much sooner than Christmas does, so throughout the month, a beautiful backdrop can be seen encapsulating the premises. Spices, cheeses, leather, crockery, game, bread, cakes, fabrics and everything the land makes. You could shop as you skate on the layer of sleet too. There will always be something on the stove somewhere. So if you want to warm up, huddle next to the nearest fire and ask for a cup of cocoa.
Marché de Noël Cathédrale, Strasbourg:
Christkindelsmärik of Strasbourg is France’s oldest, dating back to 1570. Strasbourg Cathedral hosts this festival in it’s most elegant courtyards. Today it holds at least 300 shops during Christmas. When you see the Christmas tree standing tall in front of you, you will be glad you came. The aroma of fresh cinnamon and peonies will lure you in as soon as you’re close by. The feeling of roaming aimlessly through the alleys under the stars, and looking for things to buy is unparalleled. Especially, when there is such a pretty Baroque church in the background. You could do all this while munching on gingerbread, sauerkraut and flambe.
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen:
Tivoli Gardens is world’s second oldest theme park. What’s more interesting is, it is the real world replica of Disneyland. During Christmas, it is the true depiction of a wonderland. Fairy lights will be glittering all around the shops, giving all the right feels. The yuletide fair is again brimming till the neck with shops of all kinds. Do not miss out on the mini pancake pops or honninghjerter. They come in tiny puffs of joy, cream and buttercream filled and coated in chocolate glaze.