Top Christmas markets in Europe
Lots of people look forward to Christmas, but there are some people who become nearly obsessed with the holiday season and take great pleasure in the celebrations. These are the people who start their Christmas shopping months in advance and spend hours on end searching for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. For these jolly gift-givers nothing could be more enjoyable than a festive tour of the very best Christmas markets in Europe. Engage in centuries’ old holiday traditions, taste the most delectable seasonal treats and buy exquisite hand-made crafts in these world renowned European Christmas markets.
Tallinn- Home of the World’s First Christmas Tree
The picturesque, snow - quilted medieval capital of Estonia is home to one of northern Europe’s most well attended Christmas markets. The first recorded Christmas tree was erected in Tallinn in 1441 by the local guild of unmarried merchants, who danced around the tree with local girls. Today a Christmas tree decorating contest is held in Rotermann Square and delightfully adorned and lighted huts are erected for local artisans and bakers to sell their handicrafts to the festive crowds. Holiday shows are performed on the cobbled streets, and market-goers buy buckwheat pillows, sea-grass animals, gingerbread and marzipan. The market opens the last week of November and continues through the first week in January.
Budapest-Traditional Hungarian Christmas
Vorosmarty Square in Budapest is magically transformed into a Christmas wonderland every year around the end of November. The façade of the impressive Gerbeaud building becomes a gigantic Advent Calendar with a wonderful light and music show every day a new window is opened. More than one hundred local artists and food vendors display their wares in decorated wooden stalls while the air is filled with the mouthwatering aromas of strudel, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine. The Budapest Christmas Market continues through the end of December.
Bath- An English Christmas
Fairytale lights and delightful decorations adorn the lovely streets of Bath for 18 days during the Christmas holiday season, welcoming shoppers to browse the 140 quaint wooden chalets ranging from the world famous Roman Baths to stunningly beautiful Bath Abbey. The 2012 Bath Christmas Market runs from November 22nd to December 9th, and offers a marvelous variety of handmade crafts, unique Christmas decorations and delicious holiday treats.
Edinburgh- Voted Best Place in UK to Spend Christmas
With the largest ice-skating rink in the United Kingdom and a magical view of the beautifully decorated city from atop a giant ferris wheel, the Edinburgh Christmas Market is a festival of lights, music and dancing. Beginning November 18th and continuing through December 30th, the Christmas markets of Edinburg are actually several separate venues including the German Christmas Market, a Traditional Highland Village, the Real Scottish Christmas Fair and the Ethical Christmas Fair for environmentally friendly businesses.
Krakow- Polish Christmas Cribs Contest
With a blanket of white softening the angles of gothic castles and Baroque churches, Yuletide in Krakow, Poland is an enchanting celebration of seasonal traditions. The Christmas market takes place in the city’s enormous Rynek Glowny Square in the Old Town historical district beginning the end of November and lasting through the 6th of January on the Festival of Epiphany. Fairyland scenery creates a marvelous backdrop for shopping for gifts made by local craftsmen, tasting sweet gingerbread and singing carols.
Manchester- Award Winning European Christmas Market
Considered one of the best Christmas markets throughout all of Europe, the beautiful city center of Manchester is transformed into a winter wonderland at Christmas time with quaint traditional wooden chalets and marvelous holiday entertainments. Stroll amongst the delightfully decorated stalls and enjoy mulled wine while perusing the selection of amber jewelry, hand-made leather bags, French soaps and other delightful crafts.
Prague- Sugarplums in Czech’s Oldest Christmas Market
The medieval center of Old Town Square sparkles with decorative lights and glittering decorations for the world famous Prague Christmas Market. Visitors flock to this wondrous festival to enjoy outdoor musical performances, a petting zoo, a nativity scene and the colorful traditional Czech dancers. Festive spiced wine and pastries are sold from beautifully decorated wooden huts as well as locally made handicrafts. From December 1st until January 6th, the Prague Christmas Market provides a wonderful winter wonderland experience.
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