Start looking forward to Christmas and visit one of the traditional Christmas markets in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. Here, while sipping a glass of punch and eating gingerbread hearts and hot waffles, you can wander around the stalls and decide what Father Christmas will be leaving under the tree for your loved ones this year.
The best Christmas markets in Germany
Cologne - Christmas at the foot of the cathedral
With around 5 million visitors, the Cologne Christmas market held at the foot of the famous cathedral is one of Germany’s biggest. However, you should definitely also visit the ‘Weihnachtsmarkt der Engel’ (Angels’ Market) on Neumarkt.
Dresden’s ‘Striezelmarkt’: let’s go to the Stollen Festival!
The ‘Striezelmarkt’ Christmas market has been taking place regularly in Dresden since 1434. As you wander around the stalls you will be amazed by the world’s tallest step pyramid from the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) and the traditional carved wooden crafts. On the second Saturday in Advent drop by the Stollen Festival.
Meeting the Christmas Angel - at Nuremberg’s Christmas market
Meet the Christmas Angel in Nuremberg. Every year she opens the Christmas market - usually on the Friday before the first Advent Sunday - in the Hauptmarkt, the main market square in the heart of the historic old town. With around 180 stalls, Nuremberg’s market is one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world and is especially popular with visitors from Japan. Isn’t it time you visited too?
Dazzlingly beautiful - the Christmas tree on Munich’s Marienplatz
With around 2,500 lights, the 30-metre-high Christmas tree shines on Munich’s Christmas market on the Marienplatz, in front of the town hall. This is just the place for the visitor who loves traditional Christmas treats as well as traditional arts and crafts. The most beautiful, hand-carved crib figurines can be found at the ‘Kripperlmarkt’, a Christmas market specialising in the nativity, on nearby Rindermarkt.
A stroll through Frankfurt
Stroll through Frankfurt’s famous shopping district, the Zeil, across the Liebfrauenberg square in the old town, along Neue Kräme street and Paulsplatz square until you reach Römerberg square: en route take a look from time to time at the more than 200 stalls in Frankfurt’s Christmas market. Candles, puppets, tin toys and Christmas decorations are popular souvenirs.
The best Christmas markets in Europe
Christmas in the UK
Probably the “biggest authentic German Christmas market outside Germany and Austria” takes place in Birmingham, with 180 stalls and almost 3 million visitors.
London invites you to its ‘Winter Wonderland’: from around mid-November until a few days after New Year you can visit the Christmas market in Hyde Park.
More than a dozen to choose from in Vienna
The Viennese have had the right to hold a December market since 1294. What in the past was one market is today more than a dozen. The biggest Christmas market in Austria takes place in front of Vienna’s town hall, but you should definitely also visit the markets in front of Schönbrunn Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral and on the Karlsplatz square.
Only around 6,000 inhabitants, but 300 Christmas market stalls - in Switzerland
Did you know? With around 300 stalls, Switzerland’s largest Christmas market takes place in Bremgarten - a village of around 6,000 inhabitants only 16 km from Zurich.
Get your skates on - in Zagreb
At the Christmas market in the Croatian capital Zagreb there is an ice rink alongside the many Christmas souvenirs. So fortify yourself first with gingerbread and tea and then take a few turns on the ice!
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