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The 10 Most Charming Christmas Markets Around The World

12 Nov 2019


Picture this; Bavarian wooden stalls glowing with Christmas lights. Roasting peanuts wafting in the air. A mug of mulled wine in one hand and a plate of currywurst in the other. The quintessential Christmas market experience where the night comes alive with music, laughter and food. 


Every Christmas market is unique and to help you decide on which one to explore, we have curated a list of the 10 most charming Christmas markets around the world. 


1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, United Kingdom


Image by Ethan Hu


Winter Wonderland is huge and the ultimate highlight of any trip to London in winter. 


It runs from 21 November to 5 January 2020 and has everything from ice skating shows to roller coasters, ferris wheels and carnival games. There are also plenty of stores selling quaint handcrafted gifts, pretzels, hot chocolate or mulled wine. 


If you venture deeper into its grounds, you will find a huge section cordoned off for its annual Bavarian village. Riotous singing, mountains of currywurst, German pork knuckle and barrels of beer all in one area to make you feel like you’ve transported into a German village! 

2. Viennese Dream Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria


Image by Alisa Anton


Vienna is one of the grandest and most stunning cities in Europe. The city also has a long history with Christmas markets, having held its first market since the early 13th century. 


The Viennese Dream Christmas Market runs from 15 November - 26 December 2019 in front of the City Hall. There is an area dedicated to the children to learn how to make Christmas cookies, an owl money box or wood-burn a box. You can also ice-skate on 3.000 m2 of ice, go on a ferris wheel or a merry-go-round. If you ever drop by, you know you won’t be bored!


3. Brussels Christmas Market, Belgium


Image by City of Brussels


Brussels Christmas Market runs from 29 November to 5 January 2020. It has over 200 chalets stretched over a distance of 2 km. Located in the heart of the old town, this incredible Christmas market has a magical vibe you would be hard put to find anywhere else. Cobbled streets, warm brasseries, lively street performances, ice sculptures and Christmas parade all add to an unforgettable December night out with the family. 


If you are looking for the quintessential European Christmas market experience, then this is one place you should visit. 


4. Wroclaw Christmas Market, Poland

Photo by home_sweet_somewhere from Instagram 

Wroclaw Christmas Market is one of the largest and best Christmas markets in Poland. It is located across Plac Solny and runs from 21 November to 31 December 2019. 


There is always a lively atmosphere at the Wroclaw Christmas Market with plenty of attractions for the entire family. Animatronic characters to entertain the children, performances and amusement rides are some of its features. And if you ever get hungry, there is plenty of mulled wine, sausages and traditional “oscypek” sheep cheese to go around. 


5. Krakow Christmas Market, Poland

Photo by channel4travel from Instagram 

If you don’t get a chance to drop by Wroclaw, you should at least drop by Krakow Christmas Market! It is the oldest Christmas market in Poland. And in 2008, the Times even considered it to be one of the most beautiful European Christmas markets around.


Usually draped in snow and surrounded by baroque architecture, Krakow Christmas Market has plenty of colourful toys, traditional handcraft goods like pottery, metalwork and painted glass to beautify your home or give away as a present. The food is a big draw - multi-coloured candy, smoked cheese, grilled meat and mulled wine. So don’t forget to come with an empty stomach!


6. Nuremberg Christmas Market, Germany



Image by Nuremberg Tourism


Nuremberg Christmas Market (otherwise known as Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt) is Germany’s most famous Christmas market. It attracts a whopping 2 million visits annually so get ready for some shoving!! 


The earliest records of the Nuremberg Christmas Market date back to the early 17th century, although records suggest that the Christmas market began even before then. One of its unique features is that it is officially “open” on the last Friday of November via a Christmas welcome speech given by the Christkind. The Christkind being a young, local blonde girl resembling an angel. 


If you can’t attend the opening speech, you can still come throughout December for the mulled wine, which comes in boot-shaped jugs. Nuremberg has some of the finest Bavarian wine around so it is definitely a drink to have. If that isn’t to your taste, you can also unique local dishes like Nuremberg sausages and Lebkuchen, which is a gingerbread glazed in honey, chocolate and almond.  


7. Old Town Christmas Fair, Riga, Latvia

Photo by raamitravel from Instagram 

The Old Town Christmas Fair in Riga, which is the capital city of Latvia, is a unique but charming Christmas market that often gets overlooked. 


Located on Doma Square, the Old Town Christmas Fair is actually the main Christmas market in Riga. There are three Christmas markets in Riga, with the second located in Esplanade Park - a favourite among children, especially with its small ‘village’ of real-life rabbits. The third Christmas market can be found in Livu square and sells all sorts of traditional Latvian food and handcrafted goods. Best of all, all three markets are within a 5-minute walking distance from each other!


If you only have time for one Christmas market, we would recommend the Old Town Christmas Fair. For the foodies, be on the lookout for sausages with sauerkraut, hot Black Balsams cocktails, Latvian honey, and grey peas with bacon. If you’re on the hunt for gifts, we recommend the handmade socks, amber jewellery and ecological wooden toys. Finally, you can participate in a creative workshop like log dragging and traditional Christmas cooking for a truly memorable Latvian Christmas experience!


8. Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague, Czech Republic 



Image by Radisson Blu


The Old Town of Prague is one of the most gorgeous sites in Europe, even outside of the Christmas season. But towards the end of November, a huge and glittering Christmas tree is set up, stables are constructed for donkeys and goats and carol performances will fill this square with Christmas cheer. 


As with any Christmas market, many wooden huts are constructed to form part of the Old Town Square Christmas Market. You will find all sorts of vendors here, including those selling traditional dolls, jewellery, glassware and Czech Christmas potpourri. If you love eating (don’t we all?), make sure you try the Czech Christmas biscuits, trdelnik (a sugar-coated cake roasted on a spit!) roast ham and love-shaped gingerbread!


9. Budapest Basilica Christmas Market, Hungary



Image by Krisztian Tabori 


Budapest Basilica Christmas Market (also known as the Advent Feast) is widely considered to be one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. So much so that a local belief holds that Santa Clause visits the Advent Feast to do some of his own shopping!


This Christmas market is located in front of the stunning Basilica. if you are looking for a Christmas market with a view, this is the place to go. Here are some unique things to do at this Christmas market:

  • Go on the artificial skating rink located in the center of the Christmas Market; 
  • Watch traditional dances given by the Goncol Folk Dance Ensemble every Friday and Saturday (they sometimes give a surprise flash mob performance too!); 
  • Try local dishes like the Hungarian chimney cake and ‘flódni’ (a Hungarian Jewish confection); and
  • Come between 4.30pm and 10pm every day to see a Christmas visual narrative shown on the front of the Basilica! This year, there will be a 3D projection shown on the Basilica. It can be seen from all corners of St Stephen’s Square. Just make sure you have a pair of 3D glasses!


10. St Nicholas Christmas Fair, York, England



Image by Yorkshire


York is a lovely medieval city in England that turns magical in December when the St Nicholas Christmas Fair is set up. Located along Church Street and Parliament Street, you can’t miss the bright Christmas lights that adorn the trees and wooden chalets. 


If you decide to pop by St Nicholas Christmas Fair, be sure to try its chocolate and pastries. The chalets also sell many varieties of cheese and most of them offer free samples so don’t forget to try some before making your purchase! 




Are you ready to visit these charming Christmas markets? 


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A faith-driven Sarawakian lawyer who believes that it is never too late to start crafting a socially impactful legacy. When not grappling with warranties and liabilities, she loves pursuing adrenaline-fueled adventures, improving her Español and playing the violin. You can find her at @vidadeliya or https://www.vidadeliya.com