Germans just know how to create the most incredible festive feeling around the Christmas holidays. We’re not sure if it has to do with all the decorations in the streets and on buildings and houses, the abundance of chocolate and other sweet delicacies, or the fact that there’s an exciting Christmas market around every corner.
Indeed, in the bustling city of Berlin, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to Christmas markets (there are almost over 100 markets in Berlin alone!)
If you’re into unique handmade products and unique art, drop in at Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt and shop till you drop. You can expect glassblowers, candle makers, and jewellers in addition to the origami master, embroiderer, a milliner and an ivory-carver. When you’re done gaping in awe at all of this, you can indulge in the delectable foods and special delicacies.
The Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus is probably one of the oldest and most popular Christmas markets in Berlin. You might actually just feel like you’ve walked into another era, like the early 1900s when the market first started, thanks to the old-world decor of the stalls.
This is the market for those with a bit more energy, or those wanting to warm up with something other than Glühwein. There is a massive ferris wheel as well as a large ice skating-rink to add a touch of fun to the food, drink and other goodies for sale.
Attracting roughly 2,5 million people every year, this market is known for turning Potsdamer Platz in the heart of the city into an enormous winter wonderland.
Another market offering more physical fun, there are lots of fun to be had and memories to be made at this market. Think toboggan run, an outdoor skating rink, Eisstockschießen (a game which is best explained as a mix between bowling and curling), and stalls offering heart-warming, seasonal treats.
Prague is a wonderful city all-year round. But at Christmas time, it becomes alive with pure winter wonderland magic.
These are the two main Christmas market locations in Prague where you can expect to find brightly decorated wooden stall stocked with local handicrafts such as ceramics, jewellery, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costume.
Best of all is all the food and all the beer and other warming drinks such as Glühwein and hot chocolate. Think roasted ham on the spit, grilled sausages, flatbreads, and trdelník (hot cinnamon-sugar coated pastries) and other sweet delights.
There are also a couple of other, smaller markets at Republic Square, at Havel’s Market, on Kampa Island, and on the square in front of St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle.
Did you know that the Hungarian capital, Budapest, was voted the most affordable Christmas Market destination in Europe by the British Daily Mail?
Set on Vörösmarty Square, the market is made up of 100 stalls – all set up around the slender, colourful Christmas tree. You can expect unique arts and crafts products, music, tasty local food and drinks as well as great programmes for kids and families.
What a great place for a Christmas market! Among other things, the market at St. Stephen’s Basilica in downtown Budapest offers four and half weeks of entertainment leading up to Christmas as well as special artisan gifts, a 200sqm ice skating rink, a light show and, of course, plenty to eat and drink.
Vienna simply becomes a place where dreams are made when its streets and stately buildings are covered in snow.
In Vienna, Christmas is celebrated in the classic, traditional way which includes Christmas decor, food, drink, and lots of gifts. The Viennese Christmas Market takes place in front of City Hall and guests enjoy everything from reindeer rides to an ice rink for skating and curling, to hot drinks, pancakes, and pretzels.
Other markets in Vienna include Schonbrunn Palace Christmas market, Spittelberg Christmas market.
At the famed Christkindlmarkt in the center of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old City of Salzburg, you can perhaps expect a more “Sound of Music” feel as there are daily sing-alongs and traditional wind music performed above the square on Thursday and Saturday nights music (in addition to all kinds of delectable treats in the form of Austrian specialties, mulled wine and hot punch). It’s one of the world’s oldest Advent markets – dating back to the late 15th century.