When buying Christmas presents, people usually try to avoid the overcrowded shopping malls by either buying the presents in advance or by using online shops. However, there are places crammed with people, which can give you a great shopping opportunity as well as a unique festive spirit and a charming Christmas atmosphere. What are these places? Traditional Christmas markets. Originated in Europe but now spreading all over the world, the Christmas markets are guaranteed to get you in the right holiday mood. From the iconic German Christkindlmarkts to their spectacular American imitations, check out these 25 awesome Christmas markets.
Where else should we start out other than in the country which is considered the place where the Christmas markets were born. Numerous Christmas markets take place in Munich between the 1st advent and the Christmas Eve, but the most famous one is the Christmas market at the Marienplat where you’ll find all manner of stalls selling crafts, sweets, cakes, food, mulled wine and other delights.
When in Germany, you shouldn’t miss out the Nuremberg Christmas markets. Held annually in the Hauptmarkt, the central square in Nuremberg’s old town, these markets rank among the largest and most famous in the world, attracting over 2 million visitors every year. On the Friday preceding the first Sunday in Advent, the markets are always opened with a prologue recited by the Christkind.
First mentioned in 1434, the Dresden Striezelmarkt Christmas markets are one of the oldest in Europe. Dominated by a 48 feet (14.6 m) high wooden “Christmas Pyramid” in the centre, the markets consist of hundreds of stands, taking up a large part of the Dresden downtown. The word Striezelmarkt comes from Strüzel, which was the name of a fruitcake sold at the market. In addition to this delicacy, the area is also known for the pflaumentoffel, a good-luck charm made from dried plums.
The city of Cologne offers several Christmas markets with the most famous and popular ones located at the iconic Cologne Cathedral. Dominated by the giant cathedral, the markets include hundreds of festively designed wooden pavilions where you can watch artisans at work, enjoy Christmas mulled wine, or you can choose from an unlimited choice of sweets and local delicacies. The spectacular background makes this place a major Christmas destination attracting almost 2 million visitors annually.
Germany´s neighbor, Austria, can also boast some of the most beautiful and romantic Christmas markets. The most famous ones are held in the capital. Their unique location in front of the City Hall and the delicious aromas coming from numerous delicacies sold at the markets make the Vienna markets a very popular Christmas destination for tourists from all over the world. Preparations for the markets often start as early as in mid-November.