Visitors arriving in Europe in winter need not be deterred by cold weather and snow, they simply add to the perfect setting for Europe’s infamous Christmas markets. The top markets are scattered about Europe and although they all offer similar items and feel: each local market brings its own cultural background. For real flare and authenticity, have a wander around this variety of Christmas Markets in Europe.
Visit Barcelona and its traditional Christmas fair
Fira de Santa Llúcia dates back to 1786. There’s a range of choice among more than 300 stalls, where all sorts of Christmas gifts and handcrafted decorations are sold as well as Christmas essentials for the home: your Christmas tree, mistletoe and in Spain, the Star of Bethlehem. The markets here have an intriguing feature: They hold a number of obscene figurines, which are not in any other Christmas Markets in Europe’s. The figurines are traditional Catalonian and known as caganer or crapper, a very interesting Catalan small figure that is crouching over a toilet. There is a children’s version with a smiley-faced giant, called caga tió in the same position. During your stay in Barcelona, you can enjoy musical parades, Nativity scene contest and exhibitions, and all the regular tourist attractions decorated in festive theme. The Christmas fair in Barcelona is opened for visits from November 25 till December 23.
Christmas Market in Berlin
Germany is the most renowned country in Europe for its Christmas Markets. They are a central point of winter culture in Germany and are located in every city and town.
Visit the capital of Christmas Markets to enjoy the best quality and quantity in Berlin. The Christmas Market in Berlin is opened from November 24 up to January 1. It is located at Kaiser Wilhelm and is the most popular and the biggest one with more than 2 million of visitors for the Christmas period. You can find a perfect gift here, like decorations, jewellery and artwork, in addition to mulled wine and chestnuts.
Brussels and its Plaisirs d’hiver
This market extends more and more each year and now covers about 2 kilometers of space, so it is really hard to take a decision what to buy here, due to the great variety. The 240 stalls of the market are actually little huts with wooden roofs, where you can find different food and drink crafts and arts. It is opened from November 30 till January 6, one of the longest opening periods of all of Europe’s Christmas Markets.Visit this place in Christmas time to become a part of the greatest national festivals. You may enjoy a giant wheel with 18,000 lights, as well as a skating rink about 200 feet long and many other winter surprises.
While you are in Belgium, you can visit some other great Christmas markets located in Bruges and Antwerp.
The Christmas Fair in Budapest
Hungary is famous for its traditional folk dances, live music and delicious food, especially during festival seasons, so Christmas is the perfect time to visit and join the noisy celebrations of the local people. The Christmas Fair in Budapest is opened from November 18 up to December 30 and offers about 150 stalls, where you can buy items typical for the local culture and art. The puppet theater here is quite popular, so you can find many of these puppet dolls on sale. All the products found in this market are handmade and approved by a professional jury of Belgian merchants.
Tivoli in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is simply a fairy-tale in this time of the year with all its illuminations and decorations. Unlike most Christmas markets in Europe, the atmosphere in Copenhagen is not as commercial, so you can really fill the Christmas spirit in this place. Tivoli is opened between November 16 and December 30. You will be amazed by different themes presented, like Russian and Nordic. You will plunge into Scandinavian and Danish customs, while ambling round the multiple handicraft stalls. This is your best bet for seeing that picturesque snow covered Christmas Market.