The holiday season is not only marked by Christmas trees, cakes and carols, but also Christmas markets in some parts of the world. Christmas markets are, often, open-air markets that sell Christmas trees and lights and have stalls selling food, handicrafts and gifts for the holiday season.
Here’s a look at five of the most famous and happening Christmas markets of this year.
Tallinn Christmas Market (Tallinn, Estonia)
The Town Hall Square finds itself home to the annual Tallinn Christmas Market. The market is open from December 1, 2023 – January 7, 2024. The Christmas tree, which is the first-ever public one to be erected, has been standing tall and proud since 1441 and is, indeed, the star of the market. The market offers local handicrafts and a wide range of delicacies, ranging from mulled wine to Estonian Christmas dishes like Sour Cabbage and Black Pudding. Musical groups and dance troupes put on a show for the visitors.
Advent Feast at the Basilica (Budapest, Hungary)
This Christmas market – open from November 17, 2023 to January 1, 2024 – has been crowned the best Christmas market in Europe since 2019. It is located in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica and offers visitors a variety of Hungarian and international cuisines and local handicrafts. In the middle of the market, there is an ice rink that circles the Christmas tree. While the stalls, ice rink, and free concerts are enough reasons to visit the famed Christmas market, what usually seals the deal for visitors is the 3D light show, the biggest one in all of Europe.
Striezelmarkt Christmas Market (Dresden, Germany)
The biggest Christmas market in Germany is also its oldest. Located in Altmarkt, the market’s origin can be traced all the way back to 1434. This year, the market is open till December 24 and has attraction such as Elf Cottages, Puppet Theatre, and Santa Claus’s House. The market’s Christmas Pyramid, which is 45-foot-tall, and the Stollen, a German Christmas bread, often steal the show. Visitors can buy locally produced wood crafts and fabrics as well as enjoy the Christmas lights, food, and rides like the Ferris Wheel.
Viennese Dream Christmas Market (Vienna, Austria)
Vienna’s biggest Christmas market, also referred to as ‘Christmas World’, is located in Rathaus City Hall. It is open till December 26, 2023, and has around 150 stalls. Vanillekipferl, or vanilla crescent cookies, mulled wine and gingerbread man are some of the must-try items at this Christmas market. It has an area dedicated to children where they can experience Christmas in their own fun ways – by making Christmas cookies and candles. The ‘Tree of Hearts’ is another attraction at this Christmas market.
Prague Christmas markets (Prague, Czech Republic)
Prague’s two main Christmas markets are at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square with many smaller markets scattered around the city. Every year, a theme has to be followed and this year’s theme is ‘Cinderella’, paying homage to the Popelka, the Czech version of the fairytale and a Christmas tradition. A few things to try at the Prague Christmas markets are traditional Christmas fish soup (rybí polévka), smoked meat dumplings (sladké knedlíky), barbequed sausages (klobása), chimney cake, as well as Grog, a drink made of rum, water, lemon, and sugar. The plates, cups, and straws are 100 per cent biodegradable and whenever possible, the ingredients are sourced locally. They are open for visitors starting on December 2, 2023 to January 6, 2024.