Make a wish on Santa Claus’s lap, immerse yourself in the holiday atmosphere, and try popular Christmas treats. As Christmas approaches, you want to soak up the atmosphere of the holiday, fairy tales, and the anticipation of miracles. Visiting one of Europe’s Christmas markets is an excellent way to brighten up your everyday life and immerse yourself in a real winter fairy tale.
In anticipation of Christmas, European cities seem to magically transform into a paradise for lovers of noisy festive celebrations. Cozy towns of wooden houses emerge on vast squares. Here tourists can purchase everything from fragrant hot pretzels to handmade Christmas decorations from local craftsmen. The scents of mulled wine, cinnamon, and fresh pastries will carry you away from your troubles and worries.
Many Christmas markets in Europe start operating as early as November. Which direction to choose, what to visit and to do and what souvenirs to bring back from Christmas fairy tale?
Germany has long been famous for its Christmas markets, where you can enjoy the holiday atmosphere and buy souvenirs. In addition to traditional sausages and mulled wine you can find decorations, toys, sweets here, as well as attend master classes on making crafts.
Every German Christmas market can offer unusual treats and entertainment. Choose what you like best.
The Nuremberg Fair, or “Christkindlesmarkt,” is famous for its rich history and traditions. Its symbol is the “Christ Child,” for which a girl from the townspeople has been chosen for over 50 years. According to tradition, the girl goes out onto the balcony of the Church of Our Lady and announces the opening of the Nuremberg Christmas Market. This custom is very popular among local residents and tourists, and it is not surprising that the fair has been attracting the attention of guests from all over the world for many years.
Every year about 200 wooden stalls with red-and-white roofs are constructed for the fair. Here you can buy handmade products as well as local snacks, including Nuremberg bratwurst and lebkuchen (gingerbread). After a walk through the market, visitors can take a guided tour and listen to the history of the origin of the fair.
The Weihnachtszauber Christmas Market in Berlin is famous not only for its beauty but also for its scale. Every year, the market is visited by more than 600,000 people. It’s not surprising: numerous stalls with delicious treats and charming local souvenirs, fun entertainment, rides and a warm atmosphere make Weihnachtszauber a real center of attraction. On New Year’s Eve there’s a chance to attend concerts of famous singers, dance performances and festive fireworks displays.
Walking through Weihnachtszauber you can purchase handmade items of glass, bone, wood, decorations, candles, soap, crafts, and much more. And when it comes to treats, be sure to try juicy German sausages, salty pretzels and fragrant mulled wine.
The Striezelmarkt is considered one of the oldest markets in Germany and combines traditions and modernity. The history of this fair dates back almost six centuries, and during this time it has turned into a real holiday of Christmas atmosphere and crafts.
Long ago it was a market where people came to buy some meat, but very soon it turned into a place where you could find everything for the Christmas table. Later it turned into a huge market with an exhibition of folk crafts. Today more than 240 traders, bakers, masters and craftsmen gather at the Striezelmarkt to offer visitors unique products and decorations.
Doll figures on the roofs of stalls depicting biblical scenes create a unique atmosphere and add special charm to the fair. And the main installation with shepherds and magi who came to worship the newborn Jesus is a piece of art that gathers true art connoisseurs around it. A huge Christmas tree and a wooden pyramid-carousel add to the festive mood. Visiting the Striezelmarkt on the eve of Christmas is a real fairy tale.
Despite the apparent leadership in the number of Christmas markets, Germany certainly does not lag behind other countries. In Europe, there is definitely something to see on the eve of Christmas!
Vienna is truly a beautiful place to celebrate Christmas! Bright lights, sounds of waltz, and the aromas of mulled wine fill the city with magic and atmosphere of joy.
Vienna’s Christmas markets create a cozy atmosphere in the city and offer various entertainments for all visitors. The largest market in Vienna is located in the Town Hall Square. The square is decorated with a huge Christmas tree, which is traditionally donated by one of the federal states. You can find numerous stalls with festive treats and souvenirs, and the town hall itself hosts concerts and workshops for children.
Fans of entertainment shows and bright attractions will enjoy the winter market at Rathausplatz. And if you want to escape to Christmas Vienna for a romantic date, it’s better to choose the Christmas village in the Belvedere Park. Several decorated Christmas trees and forty wooden stalls where you can buy original Christmas decorations and artisanal products made of ceramics, leather, and wool create cozy Christmas atmosphere here. The market is enhanced by gospel choirs, brass bands and real tower trumpeters. And little visitors can have fun riding on an antique carousel or in a reindeer sleigh.
All of Vienna’s Christmas markets offer a wealth of traditional treats, including Alpine macaroni, sweet omelets, goulash soup in bread, roasted chestnuts, Viennese pastries, punch and mulled wine. Equally interesting are the handmade toys, ceramics, Mozart chocolates, and Austrian Eiswein wine presented at these unique fairs. Visiting Vienna’s Christmas markets will be an unforgettable experience for all lovers of festive atmosphere and authentic Austrian traditions.
Belgium impresses with its Christmas traditions! The main highlight of Belgium is the Brussels Christmas market, which is one of the best in the world. The fabulous illumination, entertainment for every taste, beautiful festive installations – it’s really magical here on Christmas Eve. And in a couple of hours drive from Brussels located charming town of Bruges, which is simply irresistible during the holidays.
The main Christmas market in Brussels bears the poetic name “Winter Wonders”. Every year neat wooden houses are set up at the fair. The Winter Wonders Christmas festival is held here annually and attracts thousands of tourists. Another decoration of the square is the Ferris wheel. Illuminated by 18 thousand LED lights it is a true symbol of Christmas in Brussels.
Tourists can taste traditional Christmas treats, national dishes from different countries, and various delicacies. Make sure to try the cougnou bun (“Bread of Jesus”), the festive chocolate cake “Yule log,” Belgian waffles and Christmas bread with candied fruits, kerstbroden.
As a souvenir from Brussels make sure to bring Belgian lace, porcelain items, Christmas sweets and Belgian chocolate.
Christmas time in Europe is magical. It’s impossible not to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit, as it’s everywhere. Friendly people at the market, delicious treats and a sense of enchantment will accompany you throughout the entire trip.
To ensure a joyful and comfortable journey choose the most suitable destination for yourself. The itinerary for a romantic couple and the one for a family with two children are often different, so keep that in mind.
Remember that Europeans are practical people in everything, including clothing. To feel comfortable in the pre-holiday hustle and bustle choose comfortable and warm clothing and footwear. And don’t bring a large amount of belongings with you. It’s better to leave space in your suitcase for souvenirs that you can take home.
A: Yes, you can. Since there are no borders within Schengen, there is also no control over the movement of rented cars.
A: There are no border controls between Schengen countries. This means that while in the Schengen zone you can move freely between its countries. Just make sure that your visa does not contain a note that it gives the right to stay in only one country.
A: Pay attention to the Scandinavian countries. Here you can stay in unusual hotels made of snow and ice and admire the magical northern lights. For families with children Finland is an excellent choice, as here you can visit Santa Claus.
A: The most popular souvenirs from Germany are local handicrafts, gingerbread and traditional Christmas stollen. In Vienna pay attention to ceramics and the famous “Mozart” sweets. And the best reminder of Christmas Brussels will be lace, porcelain and Belgian chocolate.