Swedes seem to love Christmas. And the season starts in November. The lights and candles start emerging, trying to ward off the oncoming darkness. Christmas decorations go on sale in shops throughout the country. People start discussing their holiday plans. It is also when many Christmas markets start opening.
It’s not hard to find a Christmas market in Stockholm at the end of November or beginning of December, but there are three that really stand out.
1. Gamla Stan Christmas Market
First off is the market in Gamla Stan. Set in Stortorget, a small square in the shadow of both the Royal Castle and the church, Storkyrkan, the Gamla Stan Christmas market is beautiful. The small stands offer homemade Christmas gifts and traditional Swedish Christmas foods from sausages to delicious baked goods.
The market opens November 21, and because it is in the middle of a square in Old Town, there is no entrance fee, although I would suggest that you pay 20 SEK for glögg and pepparkakor. Glögg is a traditional spiced wine served during the Christmas season and pepparkakor can best be described as ginger cookies, but Swedish.
2. Kungsträdgården Christmas Market
Next is the market in Kungsträdgården. This market is quite a bit bigger than the one in Gamla Stan and is located in the large park in the middle of the city. This market also offers a lot of homemade gift ideas, but is a bit more open and kid friendly than the one in Gamla Stan. This has a lot to do with the ice skating rink set up around the statue of King Karl XIII.
The Christmas market at Kungsträdgården opens November 27 and entrance is also free, but again, I suggest spending a few kronor on a little snack. “Brända mandlar” are roasted, candied almonds. You’ll be able to smell them from wherever you are in the market, and they do taste as good as they smell. Speaking from experience, be careful before you pop them in your mouth. They are hot when you first buy them. Wearing gloves, you don’t realize just how hot they are. You’ve been warned.
3. Skansen Christmas Market
Finally, there is the Christmas market at Skansen. This is one of the few that will cost you to get in. Technically, you’re actually just paying to get into Skansen, which is an open-air museum and park that gives you a look at the history and culture of Sweden. It even has a zoo with Nordic animals. During the Christmas season, Skansen sets up a wonderful Christmas market in the middle of the park.
This is one of the larger markets, and of course homemade gifts and delicious Swedish foods are available here as well. The difference is that most of the people behind the counters are dressed in traditional regional folk costumes. The Christmas market at Skansen opens November 28.