As soon as the gloomy autumn rolls in, I start dreaming about flickering Christmas lights, the intoxicating smell of mulled wine and gingerbread and the occasional sight of wooden cabins filled with colourful hand-made goods. Come December, and you can experience this comforting holiday atmosphere in cities across Europe.
Here are 5 Christmas markets I really think you should visit during this holiday season. But I’m also aware that it is quite impossible for most of you to go to all of them in person, included yours truly. Therefore, I’m giving you a few ‘Do It Yourself’ tips on how to create the same multicultural Christmas feeling without leaving the comfort of your own home.
Copenhagen — Tivoli. Denmark
Due to its Nordic location, chilly temperatures, occasional snow and the Scandinavian talent for beauty and simplicity, Copenhagen turns into a true wintertime dream during the holidays. Tivoli Gardens, right in the centre of the town offers incredible decorations, fine-dining, and fun activities for the entire family. Stroll around the historic gardens and admire the snow-covered wooden houses. Breathe in the smell of apple pancakes and gløgg and get a first-hand experience of why the Danes are the happiest nation in the world.
DIY: Create a “huge” feeling — have a look at how to do it.
Vienna — The Magic of Advent. Austria
Majestic and enchanting every month of the year, but there’s something special about Vienna during Christmas. The largest Christmas market in Vienna — The Magic of Advent, can be found in front of the City Hall. The Christmas market tradition in Vienna dates back to the 13th century, and it’s no wonder the custom has sunk into the hearts of not only locals but also visitors from all over the world. From joyful music and colourful stalls to delicious treats, you’ll be wishing Christmas lasted forever in this town.
DIY: Snuggle with a warm blanket and a glass of traditional Austrian Christmas punch (Weihnachtspunsch). Check out my collection of all things punch.
London — Winter Wonderland. United Kingdom
It’s hard to imagine anything not being wonderful in the scenic backdrop of one of the most magnificent European capitals. Hence, it’s not a surprise Hyde Park’s annual Winter Wonderland Christmas Market would melt even the grumpiest of Grinches. Carol singing and mince pies while on the Giant observation Wheel — what else does your heart desire? Perhaps some wintery fun on the charming ice rink illuminated by a canopy of more than 100 000 lights?
DIY — Pack a thermos of hot tea and go ice skating in the outdoors. I’ve assembled some tips on how and where to do it.
Nuernberg — Christkindlesmarkt. Germany
I can already smell the roasted almonds and bratwurst. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany. There’s countless of festive activities you can do, but German Christmas markets might just be the most delicious and appetising ones you will ever go to. Indulging with traditional gingerbreads can only be matched with the culinary wonder that is the traditional Nuernberg grilled sausages. But remember, the sausage can only be called an “Original Nuremberg” if it is produced within the city limits, weighs exactly 23 grammes, and is about as long and thick as your little finger.
DIY — Make your own Lebkuchen and check out what I’ve gathered about your new favourite Christmas treat.
Tallinn — Jõuluturg. Estonia
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Often called one of the most picturesque Christmas markets in the world, the Tallinn Christmas Market simply doesn’t disappoint. The Market is the smallest one on this list, but consequently also the most quaint and cosy and most likely to be covered in snow during the winter months. Mulled wine, Santa’s cabin, snug hand-made socks and mittens, and the world famous Estonian blood sausage for the not-so-faint-hearted. Located in the City Hall Square in the UNESCO-protected Old Town, it’s everything you could wish for to create that special holiday feeling, and then some.
DIY — Warm up with a pair of hand-made mittens or woollen socks. I’ve assembled some inspirational materials for you.
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