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  • Michelle Pitcher

The Joy and Splendor of European Christmas Markets

It is beginning to be that time of year again where all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is underway. People all over the world celebrate Christmas in different ways. It can involve a variety of traditions like going to church, cooking special dishes or going shopping to buy presents for family and friends. But, the Christmas season in Europe is really something special and unique to experience. As snow falls and the towns are full of the Christmas spirit, you will find a variety of markets that just twinkle like a fairy tale. Covered with the most beautiful Christmas decorations and lights, you will find open air markets with craftsmen selling unique items while others are cooking gingerbread, serving mulled wine and knitting sweaters and scarves.


Some Christmas markets in Europe can be really great for the family to spend time together shopping for gifts and enjoying delicious food. The kids can run around and play games while the adults walk through the markets to enjoy the beautiful lights, decorations and shops. Next, I will highlight a few of the top Christmas markets in Europe and why you might want to visit them to enjoy your holiday season.

Travelers chose the Tallinn Christmas Market of Estonia as the Best Christmas Market of 2019. This is a must see market as Santa arrives on a reindeer pulled sleigh and then gives out candy from his little house. Here you will also see in front of the town hall, the first Christmas tree that was ever displayed in Europe, since 1441! You can enjoy Estonian dishes like black pudding and sour cabbage or fill up on gingerbread and hearty Christmas roasts.


Another great one is the Advent Feast of the Basilica in Budapest, Hungary. In front of Budapest's grandest cathedral, you will find this festive open air market to be full of charming gifts and delicious Hungarian foods like flodni, the Hungaricum chimney cake and a wide range of fish dishes. This is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world and even Santa Claus himself goes shopping there!


Surrounded by Gothic architecture and mulled wine stalls, the Christmas markets in Prague are one of everyone's favorite. You can visit both Prague's Old Town and Wenceslas markets, which are only 5 minutes apart on foot. You can try some trdelnik which is a hot, pastry rolled in cinnamon and sugar and cooked over a grill.



Another spectacular Christmas market is the Cologne Christmas Market in Germany. This is a classic German market, right next to the spectacular cathedral with more than 100 stage performances including Christmas swing music and gospel. You can enjoy bratwurst, gluhwein, crafts and decorations at the market and then go visit the Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse which are two of Cologne's most well known shopping areas.


The oldest Christmas market in France is Christkindesmakir in Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg, in the Alsace region of France, looks like a fairy tale and is even more magical during the holiday season. There are charming wooden chalets, an ice skating rink and nightly concerts that you can enjoy with the local foie gras and hot white wine. You can also go visit the Great Christmas Tree which is illuminated in the central square of Place Kleber.



Now these are just a few of the popular Christmas markets that you will find in Europe. Even if you are feeling like the Grinch, you will sure get into the Christmas spirit as you stroll through the twinkling lights, falling snow and exquisite crafts and foods all while hearing your favorite Christmas carols and spending time with your loved ones. You can enjoy some special holiday cuisine while visiting Santa and getting all of your Christmas shopping out of the way.


Christmas markets are very unique to Europe with the traditional way of walking around in the open air markets to see what the local people are crafting, cooking and selling. The goods, cuisine, entertainment and decorations are over the top in quality and filled with cheer. It really gives you the feeling that you are in a snow village or a fairy tale. By visiting some of these villages and cities in Europe, which are just alive with the joy of Christmas, you will for sure feel great this holiday season.


Lastly, make sure to keep an eye out for some stunning yoga retreats in Europe because that could make for a really great Christmas gift or just a chance for you to relax and unwind after all of the stress and activity of the holidays! So, if you still have some extra time off after your holiday celebrations, you can still book a yoga retreat to work off all of that delicious holiday food and get centered while the year wraps up. And there is no better way to warm up during the winter than to just retreat yourself to yoga!






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