Whilst you may not be fortunate enough to jet off to one of these far-flung destinations so close to Christmas, there may be one on your doorstep that you simply didn’t know about. Christmas markets have risen in popularity over the years and have been known to make the Scrooges of the world feel even a tickle of festive spirit. We take you around the world’s best Christmas markets and we expect you’ll be planning a trip for December 2018.
Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria
Vienna is a stunning city, with palatial architecture and a regal air. Install tasteful Christmas lights and an ice rink and you have one of the most beautiful and celebrated Christmas markets in the world.
The Austrian capital first hosted their Christmas market in 1298 and, today, the city has 20 events to choose from throughout the festive period. However, making a beeline to the Viennese Christmas Market is a must for any visitors and the ice rink at the foot of City Hall is a real highlight.
It is by far an extremely traditional market, romanticised by the starry skies and snow underfoot. The 151 market stalls sell delicious Austrian sausages to boozy hot chocolates and locally made gifts and trinkets. Children can also get up close and personal with Santa’s reindeer until they head off to work on December 24th.
Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic
The Czechs don’t do anything by halves at Christmas and both their markets are open every day over the festive period until 6th January. The two main markets are just a five-minute walk from one another in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Each of the wooden hut market stalls are home to the usual Christmas market treats, but it is the Czech food and drink which many cannot help but indulge in. Order a klobasa (Czech sausage) and a Pilsner Urquelle and enjoy the festive vibes around the huge Christmas tree in the Old Town Square.
Fira de Santa Llucia, Barcelona
Whilst many assume temperatures in Barcelona will be balmy in December, be ready to don your coat and hat if you head to Fira de Santa Llucia – Barcelona’s oldest Christmas market. The concept of a Christmas market in Spain can seem alien to those who associate the country with summer holidays but, since 1786, this market has been an annual tradition.
The three-week Christmas fair runs from November 24th to December 23rd. 300 stalls line the streets in front of Barcelona Cathedral and sell handmade jewellery, nativity figures, traditional foods, Christmas decorations and musical instruments.
One of the highlights for those of all ages is a giant piñata-style Christmas log which is loaded with sweets and gifts which are released when hit with a stick!
Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham, UK
Hailed as the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany or Austria, Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham is held in Victoria Square every year up until Christmas Eve. The look and feel of the market echoes its European counterparts and the 180 stalls sell everything from jewellery and handmade toys. However, is it the 30 stalls in the Christmas Craft Market section in Centenary Square that many make a beeline for. These stalls sell local beers and tasty produce and you will see many devouring sausage baps in the street.
Grand Christmas Market, Montreal, Canada
2017 will only be the second year that Montreal has hosted its Grand Christmas Market. It is based on the traditional European format and runs from the 1st to the 24th December on the pedestrian thoroughfare of Ste Catherine Street. The market is also open on New Year’s Eve, with DJs and entertainment through the clock chiming midnight and into the early hours.
The 60 market stalls offer winter warming drunks and Christmas handicrafts that make wonderful gifts or stocking-fillers. However, children are at the heart of Montreal’s Grand Christmas Market, with Santa’s sleigh, an igloo, and ab elves’ workshop for them to enjoy!