With their origins in the Late Middle Ages of German-speaking Europe, it is hard to believe that the tradition of Christmas Markets has not only survived to the modern day, but increased in popularity, size and worldwide appeal. Now heralding the Christmas season, this week we take a look at some of our favourite Christmas Markets around the world to get your fill of festive cheer.
As soon as the festive season rolls around Austria becomes awash with Christmas cheer, but it’s Vienna in particular that truly impresses the crowds with its annual markets. From 16 November – 26 December, Rathausplatz (the main square in front of the town hall) welcomes hoards of crowds to Vienna Christmas World. Expect up to 150 stalls selling everything from Christmas punch, cream-filled pastries and roasted chestnuts, to gifts, decorations and handcrafted goods from artisans in Austria and beyond. There’s also going to be an ice rink, reindeer train, mesmerising light installations and a children’s world with carousel.
This year, with a new location at the heart of Montreal’s Latin Quarter, Grand Christmas Market is bound to become a top must-see sight for locals and visitors to the city this holiday season. Open from 30 November – 23 December, the market will feature log cabins occupied by local artisans selling homemade gifts and tasty delights, plus photo-worthy installations, thematic live shows and gourmet experiences.
The Christmas market in Bruges is one of the most popular and vibrant markets in the country – thanks in part to the iconic and colourful guild houses that serve as its backdrop. Situated in the city’s medieval town main square, the Christmas market will be running from 23 November – 1 January, bringing with it plenty of food, drinks, crafts for the whole family to enjoy.
BLACK FOREST, GERMANY
The home of traditional Christmas markets, it’s no surprise that Germany does them best. Although you may be tempted by Berlin, Cologne or Dresden, for something a little different this year head to Ravennaschlucht Christmas Market. Nestled in the Ravenna Gorge of the Black Forest, it is a must-visit for its truly magical location. Under the arches of a monumental 40m-high viaduct lies this picture-perfect market, surrounded by the spectacular scenery of the Black Forest and renowned for local specialities and traditional handicrafts.
BATH, UNITED KINGDOM
Leave London behind on your quest for Christmas cheer. One of England’s most picturesque towns, Bath hosts an award-winning Christmas market. Lining the roads surrounding the imposing Bath Abbey, these charming chalets sell a range of products from jewellery and homewares to food and drink, with an emphasis on local and handcrafted items. Better yet, it’s within easy reach of the capital, making it the perfect spot for a day trip or weekend break.
The Danish know how to do Christmas right. With multiple iconic Christmas markets in the city centre, where better to soak up the festive atmosphere than magical Copenhagen? If you’re looking for romance, the pretty harbourfront market in Nyhavn may be just the ticket, set against the backdrop of traditional coloured houses and the harbour’s wooden boats. For Christmas lights, rides and entertainment, make your way to Tivoli Gardens, their most famous amusement park, for the Christmas market. Last but no means least, make your way to the market at Kongens Nytorv; this expansive plaza, surrounded by some of the city’s most historic and grandiose buildings, makes for a truly spectacular setting.
CHICAGO, UNITED STATES
Now in its 23rd year, Chicago’s Christkindlmarket is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. The city’s largest open-air market brings traditions from one of Germany’s oldest markets in Nuremberg to the Daley Plaza. Think authentic German food and drink, trinkets and handicrafts, surrounded by iconic Chicago skyscrapers.
HONG KONG, CHINA
The aptly-named Winterfest is not so much a market as a Christmas festival, a collaboration of light shows, tours and events throughout December. At the centre of the festivities lies Statue Square, with a sparkling 18-metre Christmas tree, Santa’s lodge and choirs singing Christmas carols. In honour of the season, make sure you don’t miss the new light show, Pulse, which will be lighting up Victoria Harbour from 5 December – 1 January.
Interested in visiting one of our favourite festive spots for the holiday season? Get in touch with our travel managers for more information. Exclusive benefits and amenities apply. No booking fees.