- It’s that time of year again! With Christmas fast approaching, many people are thinking about starting their shopping. Across the world, a large number of Christmas markets offer a great selection of top-notch gift items from handcrafts to traditional local foods. Here, we’ve put together a list of some of the top Christmas markets so you can combine your shopping with an enjoyable stay in one of these top destinations.
1. New York, USA: Holiday Market at Columbus Circle
New York, a magical city at any time of the year, becomes even more captivating at Christmas. As well as carol singers and twinkling lights aplenty, the Big Apple also has a popular annual Holiday Market at Columbus Circle. Modelled after its hugely successful European counterparts, this colourful market is jam-packed with stalls offering a variety of Christmas gifts and holiday decorations from around the world.
Location: Intersection of Central Park West & Central Park South.
Dates: November 30th to December 24th.
2. Vienna, Austria: Wiener Christkindlmarkt
Dating back to the 13th century, Vienna’s landmark Christmas market attracts around 3 million visitors each year. Over 140 stalls feature at this market, offering everything from children’s toys to Christmas tree ornaments. Food stalls serve up fortifying mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and many more seasonal treats.
Dates: November 12th to December 24th.
3. Prague, Czech Republic: Vanocni trhy%%IMAGE3-LEFT%%
Taking place in a few different locations across the city, Prague’s famous Vanocni trhy or Christmas Markets offer up a plethora of Christmas treats. Wooden stalls present a unique selection of potential gifts, lots of the them handmade, including candles, jewellery and even puppets! The food here is special too, with a huge array of local specialities to be sampled while you soak up the festive atmosphere.
Location: Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, Namesti Republiky, Namesti Miru & Havelske Trziste.
Dates: November 26th to January 8th.
4. Budapest, Hungary: Budapest Christmas Fair
On the go for over 10 years, this is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe. Visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year, this central market plays host to a large variety of traditional wooden stalls. What’s great about the stalls here is that they sell handmade items, all of which have been vetted by the Association of Hungarian Folk Artists. Food is hugely important too, with strudel, traditional kürtös kalács and sausages all offered to tickle your tastebuds.
Location: Vörösmarty Square.
Dates: November 18th to December 30th.
5. Sapporo, Japan: German Christmas Market
Initially established in 2002, the German Christmas Market was set up to celebrate the link between Sapporo and its sister city Munich. Throughout this popular event, a number of stalls sell a selection of gift items, decorations and foods. Mulled wine is the tipple of choice with visitors to the market, who sip it as they wander between stalls and check out the various Christmas-themed events also taking place.
Location: Odori Park.
Dates: November 25th to December 24th.
6. Munich, Germany: Christkindlmarkt
This long-running Christmas market is one of Germany’s most well-loved Yuletide events. Sparkling at the heart of the city, the market’s focal point is a 30-metre high Christmas tree complete with 2,500 lights. The stalls themselves, of which there are over 160, offer a huge selection of handicrafts. Here you’ll be able to pick everything from delicious sweets to carefully crafted Christmas angels. While you stroll from stall to stall you can enjoy a cup of the traditional mulled wine.
Dates: November 25th to December 24th.
7. Chicago, USA: Christkindlmarket Chicago
In the tradition of Germany’s popular Christmas markets, Christkindlmarket Chicago is now one of the city’s major events in the lead up to the holiday season. Crowds flock to this particular market to check out the large variety of foodstuffs on offer. From sauerkraut to sausages, it can all be washed down with a hot cup of traditional Glühwein. Other vendors, many of whom hail from Germany, offer up some great potential gifts including cuckoo clocks and beer steins.
Location: Daley Plaza, 50 Washington Street.
Dates: November 23rd to December 24th.
8. Stockholm, Sweden: Stortorgets julmarknad
Held in Stockholm’s much-loved Old Town area, this Christmas market has been in operation since 1915. Around 40 stalls take part in the market, all of them selling Swedish products. As well as top-quality handcrafts, you’ll find a great choice of foodstuffs to sample as you peruse the stalls. Gingerbread and sweets keep the younger crowd happy, while the traditional glögg (mulled wine) will warm up the adults.
Location: Stortoget, Gamla Stan.
Dates: November 19th to December 23rd.
9. Dresden, Germany: Striezelmarkt
Dresden’s Christmas Market dates back to the 15th century and is traditionally known as Striezelmarkt. Here you will find a charming market oozing all things festive from local food specialities to hand crafted treasures. You can also watch the craft makers in action with carvers, bakers and glass-blowers making some of their produce at their stalls. The focal point of the Dresden Christmas Market is the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid along with the world’s biggest nutcracker.
Location: In the historical part of the city, close to Frauenkirche.
Dates: November 24th to December 24th.
10. London, England: Winter Wonderland
The German-style Christmas market is just one part of Hyde Park’s hugely successful Winter Wonderland. Around 40 wooden stalls make up the market and these offer handmade items, holiday decorations and lots more. At the food stalls, you can sample traditional treats like gingerbread and other German favourites such as Bratwurst. Once you’re done shopping and snacking, you can check out the big wheel, Europe’s largest outdoor ice rink and lots more.
Location: Hyde Park.
Dates: November 18th to January 3rd.