Copenhagan - Best Christmas markets in Europe

Europe’s best Christmas markets

Europe’s famous festive markets are a great way to infuse a little tradition, magic and authenticity into your Christmas (shopping). Here’s our pick of the best. The featured image of the Swing Carousel in Tivoli is by Stig Nygaard.

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Dresden Christmas Market, Germany

Dresden Christmas Market. Photo by Paleontour

 

Dresden – Münzgasse

The oldest in Germany, Dresden’s Christmas market has been going almost 600 years. Craftsman from the region flock to its 250 or so stalls – as a result the wares here are more traditional and unique than most other markets. The highlight is annual fruitcake (stollen) festival held on the second Sunday in December.

 

Tivoli at Christmas, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli at Christmas, Copenhagen. Photo by Mollenborg

 

Copenhagen – Tivoli Gardens

Europe’s oldest amusement park is dressed with hundreds of Christmas trees and thousands of lights for its Christmas market. Frozen over, the park’s main lake is turned into an ice-skating rink. The food and drink here is as much a draw as the atmosphere and arts and crafts on offer – particularly the glögg (spiced mulled wine) and hot apple dumplings.

 

Christmas in Austria

Christmas in Austria. Photo by Outburner

 

Salzburg – Cathedral Square and Residence Square

One of the most important aspects of a Christmarket is its sense of occasion. Loomed upon by an imposing church, looked over by a medieval hilltop castle and centred on a two-storey high fountain encased in an avant-garde glass cone, Salzburg’s market certainly has that. All floodlit, they make the perfect backdrop for browsing arts and crafts.

 

Prague Christmas Market, Czech Republic

Prague Christmas Market. Photo by kimkubrick

 

Prague – Old Town Square

While there are lots of markets around town, we think the best is in the heart of the old town. Rows of colourfully decorated huts organised around a giant Christmas tree sell a mix of hand-crafted wooden toys (including classic Czech puppets), handmade jewellery, candles and crystals. Be sure to try the medovina, a honey wine known as mead in English.

 

La Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium

La Grand-Place. Photo by Nenyaki

 

Brussels – Grand-Place

With around 240 wooden chalets, Brussels’ market is nothing short of expansive. Many countries are represented here, though many of the stalls offer similar crafts and Christmas decorations. The real attraction is the traditional Belgian food: Waffles, doughnuts, free mussels, caricoles, you name it they’re all here, ready to be washed down with a typically strong local beer.

 

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Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…

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