Nowadays you will find Christmas markets all over Europe. Towns and cities are transformed into winter wonderlands, full of colourful stalls selling gingerbread, German sausages, decorations, hand-made gifts and mulled wine.
Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival, Hungary runs from 11 November, 2016 to 6 January, 2017 in Vorosmarty Square in the heart of the city, directly in front of the prestigious Gerbeaud Coffee House.
The scents of mulled wine, spices, cinnamon and fir will lure you to the market which boasts 160 attractions and events for children and adults, including live jazz, blues, folk and soul bands. Weekend puppet shows are popular with the kids and entry to all attractions is free.
If you are looking for something unique to buy as a gift, you will find a wide choice of unique hand made goods, traditional honey biscuits, decorations and arts and crafts. If you are feeling peckish you can’t beat the Budapest fair for variety. Sample the traditional plum and walnut cakes, the stuffed cabbage or the pumpkin roasted in goose fat.
Children’s workshops include candle making, beading, basketry and baking gingerbread.
The Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas Market in Barcelona, Spain will take place from 25 November to 23 December, 2016. This lively market may not feature snow-dusted scenes, but it is fast-becoming one of the most popular events in Cataluña.
The Fira de Santa Llucia Christmas Market has been held since the 19th Century and offers over 300 stalls selling local food delicacies, handicrafts, Christmas decorations and mistletoe. There are plenty of places to enjoy a festive drink around the market, and the Barcelonés sure know how to throw a party.
Situated in front of Barcelona Cathedral, most stalls at the market sell ‘figuritas de Belen,’ which are the small figures used in crib scenes. If want to put together the full nativity scene, start collecting early!
Taking place between 25 November and 24 December, 2016, the Munich Christmas Market, Germany dates back to the Nicholaus Markets of the 14th century.
With something to suit all tastes and budgets, the Munich Christmas Market offers a vast choice of festive food and handicrafts and live music. Don’t miss the gospel choirs who perform on the Theresienwiese and attract visitors from far and wide.
Stunning Christmas decorations can be seen in the city centre in Marienplatz and Odeonplatz.
The 500-year old tradition of the “Krampus Run” takes place on Sunday afternoons during the course of the market. This historical fun run dates back to the Christian mythological character of Bishop Saint Nicholas and his companion, “Krampus”. The members of “Sparifankerl Pass”, Munich‘s first “Krampus group”, dress up in archaic costumes, take a thrilling run across the Christmas Market and show up in the most unlikely places.
The Vienna Christmas Market, Austria will run from 12 November to 24 December, 2016 in front of the city hall.
This spectacular festive highlight with its unique backdrop gives the market a certain charm of its own and the delicious aromas of home baked cakes and mulled wine hit the senses before you reach the market.
A special hall on the ground floor is dedicated to children, where they can learn how to make Christmas candles, cakes and sweets.
Live music featuring international choirs singing Christmas carols is performed on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and entry is free.
The Rathausplatz outside the City Hall is transformed into a winter wonderland with over 150 stalls selling everything from Viennese smoked meat with sauerkraut and dumplings to punch and chestnuts. Warm up with a hot drink at one of Vienna´s famous old coffee houses situated close to the market.
Stockholm’s Christmas markets are spread out around the city, although the most popular event is the Gamla Stan in the middle of the Old Town.
With cobbled streets, church bells ringing and chestnuts roasting, the festive atmosphere at Gamla Stan takes some beating. If you are looking for some Christmas gifts, visit the Kungstrdgarden market in the heart of the city’s shopping district.
Scores of brightly coloured stalls sell a range of traditional Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, meatballs, gingerbread and hot glogg!