European Christmas Markets: Round-up

Christmas market in Brussels, Belgium-photo by Ipoh 7
Christmas market in Brussels, Belgium-photo by Ipoh 7

‘Tis the season to visit the European Christmas markets, Cheapos!

The Christmas Market Tradition

Europe’s holiday market tradition began in Germany and Austria. Today, many well-known markets, like those in Nuremberg and Munich, draw record crowds. Heck, there’s even a company that specializes in European Christmas market tours around the holidays.

The most popular markets can still be found in Germany and Austria, but cities in our other countries, like Copenhagen, Denmark and Prague, Czech Republic, throw their own festive fairs. Markets typically open during the last week of November and remain open until the day after Christmas.

Here’s a very merry round-up of the most notable Christmas markets In Europe. If you happen to be nearby, we recommend a browse-through.

Salzburg

The annual “adventmarkt,” filled with stalls, good eats, and more, takes place in Julius-Raab Platz. Check out the fantastical “Christkindlmarkt” web site for more info, or simply visit the Salzburg Tourism Info site here.

Vienna

Mozart’s main stomping ground is the veritable creme de la creme for Christmas market gurus. Fairs are open in multiple locations and feature live DJ music, petting zoos, gospel choirs, and authentic handicrafts. Visit the Vienna Tourism Board for info, dates, and directions to the markets.

Munich

Another mother lode when it comes to Christmas markets in Europe, the Munich Advent “markt” is expansive, boasting concerts, traditional food, and free historical tours of the market. The tourism board has more info, including how to get there, and where to park if you’re arriving by car. (Anyone who wants to offer their own caption for the photo that appears on this page, please pass it on. “Nordic vikings attack unsuspecting child at Munich Christmas market“?)

Berlin

Whether you like your markets authentic or chock full of special effects, Berlin’s the place to be if only for the number and sheer size of some of its markets. Most notably, the market in Potsdamer Platz, titled ”WinterMagic,” features a 4,000 square-foot outdoor space with a Ferris wheel, Legoland structure for kids to play in, and more. A comprehensive list of all markets can be found here.

Bonus: Download a FREE PDF history of the markets here, or watch this YouTube video for more info on the tradition of the German Christmas market. You can also visit the ‘markt’ section of the Berlin Tourism site for more info (in German only).

Copenhagen

The largest market can be found in Tivoli Gardens and has become an infamous go-to spot for getting into the spirit. Here, elves in full costume bounce among revelers and the light displays -orchestrated by the lead designer for Tiffany & Co – hang overhead. Games, ornaments, and much more are available. Check out the “Visit Copenhagen” site for info on this and many more Copenhagen markets.

Brussels

This year, the Christmas market kicks off in Place St. Catherine. Ice skating is available. Be sure to buy some chocolates, and don’t forget to stop to see Manneken Pis in full Santa regalia. The “Visit Belgium” site has more info.

Prague

The Czech city really does it up with major fests in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Smaller fairs occur elsewhere throughout the holidays. Check out the “Prague Experience” site for info, dates, and more.

Stay tuned this week as we take you through the European Christmas market circuit in daily photo montages.

Tell us: And, if you’ve been to a holiday market in Europe, tell us about it! What was it like? What did you buy or sample?

Happy Holidays, Cheapos!

About the author

Meredith Franco Meyers
About the author: Meredith earned an MFA in fiction writing at The New School in New York City. Her feature stories and articles have appeared in Ladies' Home Journal, American Baby, Self, Bridal Guide, Time Out New York, Fitness and more. She joined EuroCheapo in summer 2007.
Posted in: holidays
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Cheapo Comments

11 Responses to “European Christmas Markets: Round-up”
  • While it isn’t as big as some of the markets you’ve included, I am partial to the Christmas market at Piazza Navona in Rome. The piazza is filled with stalls most of which are selling creches (presepe in Italian). You can buy an entire presepe at once, but it is much more fun to shop the stalls and build your creche piece by piece. Italian creches are not limited to Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, either. You can buy tiny baskets of fish and oranges and zucchini. And why restrict the animals to just cows and sheep when you can include peacocks and goats and pigs?

    The market also sells toys and other trinkets as well as food, but the presepe stalls are predominant.

  • [...] » You are here: Home | EuroCheapo Blog | Blog article: Munich: Marianplatz Christmas Market Webcams! Watch now… « European Christmas Markets: Round-up [...]

  • [...] » You are here: Home | EuroCheapo Blog | Blog article: Munich: Marienplatz Christmas Market Webcams! Watch now… « European Christmas Markets: Round-up [...]

  • Gemma says:

    Nice round-up. If you’re planning a trip to the UK this Christmas, I’ve just written an article on the Auto Europe blog ( http://blog.auto-europe.co.uk/) about some of the best festive events taking place across the country.

    Britain has some great Christmas markets – not on the scale of those listed in this article, but very quaint and full of seasonal cheer.

  • Meredith Franco Meyers Meredith Franco says:

    Thanks Gemma. I’ll take a look at your story. As I recall, from the year I spent the holidays in London, there was lots of good cheer to be had at the pubs! And, Harrod’s was quite the scene, even if I just wanted some chocolate.

  • [...] out even more webcams from Munich and our round-up of Christmas markets in Europe. Also, if you’re heading over, be sure to read our list of recommended budget hotels in [...]

  • Diane says:

    I’ve been to several markets in Austria and Prague and they’re lovely, but my favourite will always be the Christmas market in Budapest. Everything there is handmade by local artisans and each night there is live entertainment. As a bonus, it’s not nearly as crowded as those in Vienna and Salzburg.

  • Euro Trains says:

    We live near London and I always visit Harrod’s at Christmas. Its got a fabulous lights display and traditional indoor Christmas markets. This year we are planning to spend New Years on a local break in Europe, we have a two week holiday booked off work, but have not bought any tickets yet. With so much happening in the different regions we don’t know where to start. We are planning to take the train and leave the car at Ebbsfleet. We understand that if we get a Euro pass we would be able to visit several locations on the same pass/ticket, so these locations all seem really great.

    We expect that I will be cold in the north, so may be South France seems a better option. Anyway this was a great article to start off our travel plans.

  • We noticed the above comment by Euro Trains, a name which contains a live link to a so-called Euro-Trains website, allegedly based in the UK, that purports to sell rail passes and train tickets at discounted prices. We highlight the point here because we are just a shade suspicious about this company and would counsel caution on the part of EuroCheapos who might be tempted to purchase tickets. If you’ve used them and have a positive experience to relate, we’d really love to hear it, but they’ve failed to respond to our requests for information and the terrible spelling and plain misleading content on their website just makes us wonder if they really are licensed retailers of rail passes and European rail tickets.

  • Lizelle says:

    The Christmas market in Prague will forever be imbedded in my memory! Doesn’t get more magical than that! Here is a list of some more popular markets http://www.studentsineurope.com/2009/12/09/europe-christmas-markets

  • Barb says:

    For smaller, wonderful markets in Germany try – Augsburg, Regensberg Bamberg Passau and Straubing. There are also some good ones at even smaller towns but generally they are only open on the weekends.

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