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The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Spectacular Christmas Markets

20.11.2023 04:06 AM
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The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Spectacular Christmas Markets
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The Ultimate Guide to the World's Most Spectacular Christmas Markets

Nothing quite ignites the Christmas spirit like a lively festive market, an age-old tradition tracing its roots back to Vienna in 1298. Over time, this tradition has traversed the globe, embracing Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, New York, and many other cherished destinations, each hosting an extraordinary annual advent market.

Some of these markets have become iconic tourist attractions in their own right, drawing crowds from far and wide to revel in the holiday cheer.

Let's journey through some of the world's most remarkable Christmas markets this year.

Wiener Christkindlmarkt, Austria

Vienna's Wiener Christkindlmarkt, nestled in front of City Hall, is among the oldest and most traditional of the Austrian capital's 20 Christmas markets. From reindeer rides to a magnificent nativity scene, this magical spectacle captures the essence of the season splendidly. Visitors can skate on a 150-square-meter ice rink and admire the stunning Tree of Hearts adorned with hundreds of glittering hearts. The aroma of Austrian sausages, gingerbread cookies, and homemade Christmas punch wafts through the air. This enchanting market runs from November 10 to December 26.

 

Basel Christmas Market, Switzerland

Switzerland boasts an unparalleled festive atmosphere during Christmas, and Basel Christmas Market stands as its largest and arguably most captivating attraction. Spanning Barfusserplatz and Munsterplatz, this market features over 150 beautifully adorned stalls offering Christmas spices, decorations, and candles. Families can explore the Christmas fairytale forest, engage in activities like gingerbread and candle decorating, and delight in a festive train ride. Climb St. Martin's tower for breathtaking views or indulge in mulled wine by the 13-meter high Christmas pyramid. The market opens on November 23 and continues until December 23.

 
 

Strasbourg Christmas Market, France

Dating back to 1570, Strasbourg's Christmas market has evolved across more than 10 locations, illuminating the city with countless twinkling lights and festive ornaments. Drawing over two million visitors annually, it showcases wooden chalet stalls offering everything from local Alsatian wine to exquisite decorations. Place Klebe, home to the impressive Great Christmas Tree, is a highlight among many enchanting sights throughout the city's narrow alleys and picturesque squares. The market commences on November 24 and concludes on December 24.

 
 

Brussels Winter Wonders, Belgium

Brussels bursts with life during Winter Wonders, resembling more of a festival than a mere market. Extending across prominent locations like Grand Place, Place Sainte Catherine, and Marche aux Poissons, this extravaganza boasts a light and sound show, ice skating, fairground rides, and around 200 chalets serving delights like glühwein, Belgian beers, and waffles. The enormous Christmas tree in Grand Place is a mesmerizing sight amidst the festivities.

 

Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square Christmas markets, Prague, Czech Republic

Prague transforms into a winter wonderland during Christmas, particularly at Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These neighboring markets offer diverse experiences within a few minutes' walk. Old Town Square hosts live shows, dance performances, and creative workshops, while Wenceslas Square is perfect for unique gifts and local treats like Czech sausage and mulled wine. These markets will be open from December 2 to January 6, 2024.

 

Fira de Santa Llucia, Barcelona

Originally a one-day celebration dating back to 1786, Fira de Santa Llucia has expanded into a three-week extravaganza outside Barcelona Cathedral. Divided into sections featuring nativity scenes, greenery, crafts, and musical instruments, this bustling market offers festive activities like storytelling, a Christmas parade, and the caga tio, a unique candy and gift-filled Christmas log. The market will be held from November 24 to December 23.

 
 

I Mercati Natale, Piazza Santa Croce, Florence

Set against the magnificent backdrop of Santa Croce's Franciscan Basilica, this enchanting market, transported annually from Heidelberg, Germany, to Florence, exudes Italian charm. While Italian treats like panforte dominate, the market also offers gingerbread, strudel, and traditional Heidelberg Lebkuchen cookies. Nearby Piazza del Duomo boasts a grand nativity scene and a stunningly illuminated Christmas tree ahead of December 8. It begins on November 18 and ends on December 17.

 
 

Advent in Zagreb, Croatia

Voted the "best Christmas market destination" for three consecutive years, Zagreb's Advent boasts around 25 markets scattered across the city. It's a magical scene with live nativity scenes, ice sculptures, outdoor performances, and a vibrant atmosphere for street food and entertainment. Advent in Zagreb is scheduled from December 2 to January 7, 2024.

 
 

Christmas in Tivoli, Copenhagen, Denmark

Tivoli Gardens, often likened to Disneyland's inspiration, becomes a breathtaking wonderland during Christmas. Over 1,000 beautifully adorned Christmas trees, fairground rides, and a traditional Pixie Band enchant visitors. Noteworthy events include the Lucia procession on December 13 and captivating firework displays around Christmas and New Year's Eve. Christmas in Tivoli runs from November 19 to December 31, with the park closed on December 24.

 

Each of these markets and festivities offers a unique experience, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the magic of the holiday season across different corners of the world.

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