Small wooden sculptures ready to come home in your bag and vibrant rows of sparkling fairy lights surrounding lovely cobblestone streets sound like a dream. With the holiday spirit in full swing and the chilly weather being just moderate enough to walk around, the holiday season is one of the greatest seasons to visit Europe. And one of the greatest ways to take it all in is the Christmas markets, which can be found in big and small cities.
From Strasbourg to Berlin to Amsterdam and beyond, browse through the stalls and chalets while sipping mulled wine and munching on little sweets. Here are five of the best Christmas markets in Europe, all of which take place from late November to late December or early January, whether you like to pack your suitcase with prune figures from Germany or gather plaid Christmas ornaments from Scotland.
- Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market: Berlin, Germany
Shoppers may get a traditional blown glass, wood carvings, and other items at this ancient market in Berlin, the capital of Germany. Take a look at the fairy lights that brighten the market. Go to the warming tents and fill up on Bavarian delights for meals. Watch the fireworks that the celebration tents set off on New Year’s Eve as they joyfully ring in the new year.
- La Defense Marche de Noel: Paris, France
With more than 350 chalets displaying crafts and thousands of square feet of holiday décor, this market is the largest in the greater Paris area. It is situated beneath the Grande Arche de la Defense. After a long day of shopping, you are in France, so indulge in some cheese, chocolates, or hot mulled wine from one of the vendors.
- Strasbourg Christmas Market: Strasbourg, France
This city on the Rhine River, where the Christmas market dates back to 1570, is illuminated by miles of fairy lights. Find the ideal memento by browsing the more than 300 market stalls, where you can purchase wooden toys and blown glass candles. After your shopping expedition, indulge in traditional Alsatian bredele or French-style foie gras.
- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: London, England
While shopping for candle votives, ornaments, crafts, and gourmet foods in London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, sip mulled wine or hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Then, before meeting Santa, enjoy ice skating or pick from various roller coasters after some much-needed shopping therapy.
- Edinburgh’s Christmas: Edinburgh, Scotland
At this festive event in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, stock up on goodies like cinnamon, sugar chimney cakes, and cotton candy while shopping for hand-carved wooden candle holders and conventional Tartan ornaments. Later, you can spend a few hours in Santa Land in the West Princes Street Gardens, where you can ride bumper cars and candy cane bungees (trampolines).