Have you ever been to a Christmas Market? If you said yes, it may be because you have visited a vendor event during the holiday season here in the US. Or maybe you have gone to one of the few actual Christmas Markets in the US. However, if you have never been to an authentic Christmas Market in Europe, you truly do not know what you are missing out on! These Christmas Markets really bring out the magic of Christmas. Lush Christmas trees are decorated with all types of ornaments. Delicious local foods fill the stalls at the markets. And the atmosphere is like nothing you have ever experienced before.
Those are all excellent reasons to schedule a family vacation to visit at least one of the Christmas Markets in Europe! During this type of vacation, you will find yourself making memories with your family. All while exploring new parts of the world and having unique experiences you can’t have back home.
One of the very first Christmas Markets in the UK was opened in Manchester back in 1999. The Manchester Christmas Market is one of the newer Christmas Markets in Europe. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t popular. Thousands of people arrive in the UK to attend this Christmas Market.
This market is close to Canal Street, which is where a lot of Manchester’s action is located. When you visit this market in December, you will quickly find Christmas cheer. During your time at the market, you must indulge in a little Hungarian goulash, traditional bratwurst, or an old-fashioned hog roast.
The very first Christmas tree in the world was placed in Tallinn in 1441. The tree is always decorated with hearts. When your family visits this market, you will have the chance to see some of the three thousand performers up on stage.
And when you are not at the Christmas Market, you can wander along the streets, admiring the century old buildings.
One of the best Christmas Markets in Europe is the one held in Budapest each year. There are more than one hundred vendors selling everything from local cuisine to artisanal wares. Every day, a lightshow is projected onto the façade of the Basilica. And on Sundays, a new candle is lit on the advent wreath.
The Copenhagen Christmas Market can be found within the Tivoli Gardens. The gardens are decorated to create a winter wonderland, complete with fairy lights. There is a large amusement park at this market, so going on all the rides is a must during your visit. I recommend you also attend the illuminated parades, listen to the live music, and have a family picture taken with Santa.
There are actually six different Christmas Markets in Vienna, Austria! The biggest one is the Viennese Dream Christmas Market. This market can be found in front of the town hall. There are more than one hundred stalls that sell everything from gifts to delicious treats.
A live brass band with choir stands near the Christmas tree and provides live music to those passing by. I recommend purchasing a cream-filled pastry and standing near the tree to listen to the music.
The historic marketplace of Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is where you will find the Basel Christmas Market each year. This is the largest Christmas Market in Switzerland. There are one hundred eighty wooden huts selling unique festive gifts. The glowing lights and festive music really add to the holiday spirit.
While at this market, I recommend trying a little Basel Läckerli (gingerbread), Swiss waffles, and Glühwein, which is mulled wine. Don’t forget to add your advent wish to the Basel Wish Book before you leave!
The locals in this country take Christmas very seriously, which is why it isn’t surprising that they have some of the best Christmas Markets in Europe! Millions of people arrive in this country each year to go to these markets. The wooden chalets are all filled with decorations, handcrafted gifts, delicious food, and craft beer.
Live entertainment is available every day. But the main even is the lighting of the Christmas tree every evening.
There are quite a few Christmas Markets in Germany. But a favorite is the Nuremberg Christmas Market. During your family vacation in Germany over the holidays, you must visit this market. When you’re there, you can indulge on some traditional Nuremberg bratwurst. The bratwurst are little sausages that are prepared over an open beech wood fire.
One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe is the one in Strasbourg, France. This Christmas Market opened in 1570. The Strasbourg Christmas Market has three hundred different stalls. Each one sells gifts, food, and drinks.
I recommend spending time in front of the lit Christmas tree, as you listen to live music. I recommend you arrive at this market earlier in the day, because it can become quite crowded. That doesn’t mean you need to leave early though. Simply secure your spot and enjoy the festivities for as long as you wish!
As an exotic island, Madeira is known for being quite warm during the Christmas season. However, that shouldn’t stop your family from enjoying the fabulous Christmas Market there! At this Christmas Market, you will find traditional Portuguese foods, exotic flowers, and multiple souvenirs.
Throughout your visit, you can listen to Christmas music, watch folklore performances, and attend other live shows.
The Govone Christmas Market is held at Govone Castle each year. During your visit, you can wander amongst the hundreds of wooden chalets. Each chalet sells something different. Be prepared to purchase ornaments, handmade gifts, hot chocolate, and mulled wine.
A couple of the more unique items you will find include farinata, which is a chickpea pancake, and Piedmontese beef hamburgers.
The Bruges Christmas Market is one of the best markets for drinks and delicious foods. You will find everything from hot chocolate, mulled wine, and Belgian beers to local waffles and cheese.
If you decide to take your family to this Christmas Market while on vacation, it is best to plan on gaining a few pounds. Or at least doing a little extra walking to get rid of the extra calories you are consuming! You can even do a little ice skating on the floating ice-skating rink over at Minnewater.
These are some of the incredible Christmas Markets in Europe you will want to consider visiting during a holiday family vacation. Each one offers something unique, so do not be afraid to visit more than one while traveling.
One of the best ways to see a some of the Christmas Markets in Europe is by taking a Christmas Market River Cruise. During the cruise, you can visit different ports without the hassle of figuring out how you will reach each one. Simply board the boat at the beginning of your cruise and have it take you to every destination.
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