It’s our favourite time of year at Wealth of Geeks
! Full of family traditions, one too many mince pies, and most importantly- the return of Christmas Markets. Christmas markets fill Europe’s cities during the holiday season and offer a chance for families, kids, and couples to get involved in holiday season activities. A Christmas market, also known as an Advent market, is a street market that celebrates Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. Originating in German-speaking countries, they have now spread to many other places and are a festive way to get into the holiday spirit. Let’s look at some of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets.
Christmas Market History
Whether you’re wandering the backstreets of Paris with a glass of mulled wine, or exploring the cobbled roads where Edinburgh’s markets lie, Christmas markets hold a special place in the heart and history of Europe. Saxony, Germany, is the origin of Christmas markets. As part of the Advent celebration, nativity scenes, Christmas tree sales, and food and beverages were offered. In German, Christkindlmarkt means “Christ Child Market,” in reference to Christkind. Since the country’s reformation, Christkind has been a traditional gift-giver in Germany and other German-speaking countries.
Magical Yuletide traditions
Twinkling lights transform Christmas shopping into a magical experience. Each market has unique traditions, but some common themes include Christmas trees, Nativity scenes, and Santa Claus. Every year in Manchester, the city’s Christmas markets boast spectacular stalls that are set up by their most popular local cafes, restaurants and businesses. Many markets also offer a variety of food and drink, including traditional German dishes such as Bratwurst (a type of sausage) and Glühwein (mulled wine).
Christmas Markets You Can’t Miss
In Europe, you’re sure to find a Christmas market that fits your festive itinerary. Here are five of the top Christmas markets in the world that you need to check out:
1: Frankfurt’s Christmas Market
One of the oldest and most popular Christmas markets in the world is the Frankfurt Market. Researchers at Wealth of Geeks found the first market dates back to 1393, beginning and continuing in the heart of the old town. More than 200 stalls keep visitors entertained, and the market attracts over 3 million tourists annually. Atypical of other European markets, Frankfurt stalls sell wooden toys, rocking horses, dolls, and ornaments. Christmas culinary delights like mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages, and gingerbread fill Frankfurt’s air with delicious holiday scents. It’s a must see, smell, touch, taste and listen kind of experience.
2: Salzburg’s Christmas Market
Whilst Wealth of Geek’s know a visit to any Christmas market can cost a pretty penny, Salzburg’s Christmas market stands out as one of the most inexpensive and traditional in Europe. The market features a Nativity scene, a Christmas carousel, and live music. The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is a one-of-a-kind event held in the city’s UNESCO-protected Old City. The market’s distinctive location in the centre of Salzburg’s World Heritage-designated Market Square and its long history makes the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt an extraordinary event.
3: Budapest’s Main Market
There are so many ways to spend the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Budapest. From the main Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square to the popular Advent Feast at St Stephen’s Basilica, visitors will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding exciting and entertaining holiday activities. The most famous food delicacies on offer are paprika spiced goulash, a Hungarian family favourite stew, and chicken paprikash, a comforting meat dish served in homes across the country. More than 100 booths showcase a variety of handmade local crafts and delectable Hungarian specialties are open for business. It is without a doubt a must-see Christmas market.
4: Prague’s Main Christmas Market
Here at Wealth of Geeks, we are adding this one to our festive bucket list. Prague’s Christmas markets provide a cosy and Czech holiday experience. A standout in Europe, the market features hundreds of wooden stalls selling traditional Czech blown-glass balls, glass pearls, straw goods, hand-embroidered tablecloths, wooden toys, and biscuit cutters. Adults often enjoy classic mulled wine, while children may be fond of Czech Christmas cookies and hot roasted chestnuts. While you may buy beautiful items from the stalls, the markets are more than just shopping. There are many local cuisines and drinks to try, made on the stands in front of you. Old Town Square, in the city’s center, and Wenceslas Square, located in the city’s heart, are the main Christmas markets. The two squares are only a 5-minute walk from each other.
5: Metz’s Christmas Market
At Wealth of Geeks, we’re in no doubt that the Metz Christmas market is among the most beautiful markets in all of France. This quaint city has five Christmas markets that light up and circle the magnificent Gothic cathedral. It’s easy to see them all on foot or catch one of the free buses that pass through the city. Its transformative atmosphere offers traditional French foods, including crepes, macarons, and baguettes. The market’s lantern trail is both breathtaking and heartwarming, guiding tourists and locals through the city’s stalls. A visit will leave you feeling inspired and warm your heart like hot cocoa.
With so many different Christmas markets to choose from, our guide makes it easier than ever to find the one that’s right for you. So, whether you’re looking for traditional goods, food, and drink, or you’re looking for a unique experience, you’re sure to find a Christmas market out there that’s perfect for you.
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