Enjoy the Christmas spirit at Europe’s best Christmas markets
Christmas is truly the festival of joy, when city squares sparkle with countless glittering lights from hundreds of stalls. Exquisite handmade Christmas gifts, the music of merry-go-rounds and carnival rides, the aroma of grilled sausages, roasted chestnuts and spiced mulled wine, and faces painted with smiles are the trademarks of the best Christmas markets. These are mostly held from late November, upto Christmas Eve. For locals and visitors alike, taking a stroll through a Christmas market is a shopping delight infused with the festive spirit.
It is said that “If the Frankfurt Christmas Market doesn't put you in high spirits and get you in a special festive mood, no other Christmas market in Germany will”. This is no exaggeration as Frankfurt Christmas Market, particularly that in Romer Square, is one of the most lively and beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
You can browse more than 200 stalls for a variety of gifts and treats like chocolates, Christmas cookies and Christmas decorations. There is also a major art exhibition in St. Paul's Church and Romer Square, where you can buy paintings, sculptures, photographs, ceramics, graphics, jewellery, textiles, and other crafts.
Home to numerous famous Christmas markets, the beautiful Austrian capital of Vienna is even more charming during the festive season. Visiting Christmas markets in Schonbrunn, and especially at the Rathaus (Vienna City Hall), is a must if you’re in town over the Christmas period.
The traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent” turns the City Hall square into a shining fairy tale land where you can browse and buy decorations like hand-made Christmas ornaments, made from different materials such as papier mache, and terracotta dolls, as well as other souvenirs like chocolate, honey and colourful iced biscuits. Also not to be missed are Vienna sausages, pretzels and mulled wine, all there to fill you with Christmas cheer.
The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg is where you will find something associated with Mozart on almost every corner. Held at Cathedral Square, with the magnificent cathedral and fortress as a backdrop, Salzburg Christmas market is filled with the fragrances of baked apples and incense wafting through the air.
As well as the stalls selling food and Christmas decorations, there are interesting cultural programmes, concerts, and performances.
Set against the illuminated backdrop of The Grand Place, one of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful squares (and a UNESCO World Heritage site) is home to the Brussels Christmas Market.
It is hailed as Europe’s most distinctive, with a real-life Winter Wonderland featuring some 200 sparkling wooden chalets filled with an endless choice of gifts, delicious Belgian chocolates and waffles, besides an ice skating rink, carnival rides, a light and sound show, and much more.
Arguably, Moscow Christmas Market is the most beautiful in Europe because of its location in Red Square, which is surrounded by brightly illuminated iconic landmarks and the coloured onion domes of St Basil’s cathedral. Unique to the market are bric-a-brac and Matryoshka nesting dolls, with the seasonal design of Ded Moroz, Old Man Frost.
Moreover, Moscow Christmas Market is home to the world’s biggest ice rink. Since Russians celebrate Orthodox Christmas on 7 January, you can enjoy celebrating the festive season a bit longer here.
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