A Christmas market is a street market associated with celebrating Christmas, that usually takes place during Advent. Nowadays, markets open as early as mid-November and some close as late as the Epiphany (January 6). Whether the Christmas fairs are large or small, they reflect the local culture with its traditional foods and drinks, handicrafts, and carols.

In this article, the Christmas elves at BookCulinaryVacations.com are taking you on a tour of the world’s most beautiful Christmas markets.

 

Cologne, Germany

 

Christmas Market in Cologne

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 21 – December 23, 2016

Five Christmas Markets will open this year in Cologne. The most famous and popular is Cathedral X-mas Market, which opens on the last Monday before the Advent. You can stroll through 150 wooden pavilions to find interesting handicrafts, drink mulled wine and enjoy the German culinary delights. Colorful lights and music help to create a festive atmosphere.

 

Dresden, Germany

 

Christmas Market in Dresden

 

November 29 to December 24, 2016

The Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest documented Christmas Market. Founded in 1434 as a one-day market, today it lasts all through Advent. At the center, there’s a 20m spruce, decorated with lights. The market is famous for wooden ornaments and candle pyramids – a decoration which is thought to be the predecessor of the Christmas trees -, nutcrackers, Pflaumentoffel – chimney sweeps made of prunes-, gingerbread, and mulled wine.

 

Manchester, England

 

Christmas Market in Manchester

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 10 – December 21, 2016

The Christmas fairs tradition in Manchester only dates back to 1999. Spread across the city center, this year there will be about 300 stalls offering international food, handicrafts, jewelry and toys. If you are craving Hungarian goulash or German bratwurst, look no further than the markets in Manchester.

 

Vienna, Austria

 

Christmas Market in Vienna

Photo credit: Cris Puscas

 

November 12- December 24, 2016

In 2016, eight Christmas Markets will open in Vienna. The most popular one, Vienna Christmas World at the Christmas Market, takes place in front of the Town Hall. There will be 150 wooden cottages with a lot of on offer: mulled wine, punch – a combination of tea, wine, rum and spices -, handicrafts, gingerbread, and food. For the first time this year, two ice rinks will delight visitors.

 

Bruges, Belgium

 

Christmas Market in Bruges

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 18, 2016 – January 1, 2017

If you are looking for a fairy tale setting then look no further than Belgium’s capital city of Bruges. Also known as “Venice of the North”, Bruges is home to several Christmas Markets but the main one takes place in Grote Markt. There’s an ice rink for those who want to warm up. For an amazing view, climb the bell tower. There are a lot of Christmas items on offer at the market, from handicrafts to hot chocolate and mulled wine.

 

Strasbourg, France

 

Christmas Market in Strasbourg

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 25 – December 31, 2016

Founded in 1570, "Christkindelsmärik" in Place Broglie, the most famous Christmas Market in Strasbourg is the oldest in France. As night falls, the magic sets in. The shops, as well as the magical Christmas lights and the smell of cinnamon, are certain to bring back memories of childhood. Many streets and squares are home to stalls and vendors. Take the time to explore the area and indulge in the food and drinks on offer.

 

Bologna, Italy

 

Christmas Market in Bologna

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 20, 2016 – January 6, 2017

Bologna is synonymous with good food and the Christmas Market makes no exception. Christmas Markets are a beloved tradition in Italy and the one in Bologna, La Fiera di Santa Lucia, is one of the first to open. Take a walk along the stalls and enjoy the roasted chestnuts, cotton candy, Christmas decorations and traditional Italian cuisine.

 

Stockholm, Sweden

 

stockhokm christmas market

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 23 – December 23, 2016

Fight the cold at Stockholm’s Christmas Markets with glögg (mulled wine). And while you are at it, check out the handicrafts and the candy. There are six markets open during Advent in Stockholm and if you are after a genuine local Christmas experience, head to the one in the Old Town. It’s the most traditional and most famous in the city, offering smoked sausages, reindeer and elk meat, as well as a wide range of sweets.


Prague, Czechia (Czech Republic)

 

Prague Christmas Market

 

November 26, 2016 - January 1, 2017

The main Christmas markets in Prague take place at the Old Town Square and in Wenceslas Square. Five other smaller markets also open during this festive time of the year. Very popular with tourists, the market in the Old Town Square becomes the center of all pre-Christmas activities. Visitors can enjoy the excellent mulled wine, the sugar-coated nuts, sausages, and bratwurst. Traditional arts and crafts are also on display.

 

Baltimore, USA

 

baltimore christmas market

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 28 – December 24, 2016

Since 2013, Baltimore has been home to a German Christmas Market, called Christmas Village. It is located at West Shore Park/ Inner Harbor and runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. Vendors sell traditional European food, sweets, and drinks, such as  bratwurst, waffles, gingerbread, and mulled wine, alongside Christmas ornaments and handicrafts.

 

Chicago, USA

 

Chicago Christmas Market

 

November 18 – December 24, 2016

Christkindlmarket Chicago is no longer just a German tradition. It has become a Chicago institution. Dating back to 2013, the Christmas market offers visitors a unique shopping experience. Among the items available there are classic German nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, as well as jewelry and handicrafts. The traditional German food is represented by sausages, potato pancakes, strudel, roasted nuts, pastries as well as the mulled wine. Beer lovers be happy: this is one market which does include the popular German drink!

 

Toronto, Canada

 

Toronto Christmas Market

Image credit: Flickr.com

 

November 18 – December 22, 2016

The Christmas market in Toronto captures the tradition and charm of the European markets while adding the local flair. Beer gardens and a Ferries Wheel will keep the visitors entertained. Among the food and drinks available are Bavarian nuts, Belgian waffles, poutine, cider and mulled wine. Do note that the Christmas Market is free to visit only Tuesdays to Fridays, while tickets are required for weekend visits.

 

Osaka, Japan

 

Osaka Christmas Market

Image credit: Flickr.com

November 20 -December 25, 2016

Umeda Sky Building is home to a German-themed Christmas Market. It is one of the largest events to take place during winter in Osaka. Visitors can enjoy mulled wine, beer, grilled sausages, gingerbread, candied nuts and shop for interesting ornaments.


Dreaming of visiting a traditional Christmas Markets in Europe and learning how to cook traditional food? Browse the many European culinary vacations on offer and choose the ones that will fulfill your dream.