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HC Strath’s Top 5 Must See Christmas Markets In Europe

HC Strath’s Top 5 Must See Christmas Markets In Europe

The festive season is nearly upon us, bringing with it the aromatic aroma of mulled wine and spices, carol singing and  tinsel. Where better to enter into the yuletide spirit than at a traditional Christmas market? Taking a journey through Europe, we discover our favourite places to brave the frosty chill and get into the spirit! 

1. Strasbourg [FR]

November 25 - December 31

Dating back to 1570, this was the birthplace of the first ever Christmas market- the Christkindelsmärik.  Traditional and authentic, the annual market in Strasbourg lives up to everyone’s expectations… even ole’ Saint Nic himself!  The cute half-timbered houses are decorated, and the cobbled streets are full of stars and snowflakes.  The highlight has to be the towering fir tree in Place Kléber; a 400-year-old custom that is beautifully decorated.  

Be sure to check out: 

  • the different themed ‘villages’
  • stalls selling the bredele biscuits- super tasty and super christmassy

 

2. Vienna [AU]

November 13 - December 23

With over 150 stalls set up in the square outside the City Hall, Vienna’s Christmas market offers an array of delicious Christmas baking and hot punch to warm your cockles on a frosty day.  From unique Christmas gifts to carousel rides, sweets to fun craft workshops for kids - this is a Viennese experience you’ll definitely not want to miss! 

Be sure to check out: 

  • the lanes of Spittelberg market for unique handblown glass, silverware and ceramic gifts
  • Rathauspark; the perfect place for a romantic stroll through the lit up trees

3. Zagreb [HR]

November 26 - January 8

Croatia is becoming more and more popular amongst tourists, and the capital is no exception to this- especially during the time of Advent.  If you want a weekend filled with entertainment, then Zagreb’s Christmas Market is the one for you!  As this year’s winner of Best Christmas Destination, there’s a unique atmosphere which must be experienced with singing and dancing through the city streets and squares.  

Be sure to check out: 

  • live ice sculptures on the Gradec plateau- intricately carved and see through, revealing the amazing Zagreb view behind
  • Artomat- an exhibiton of unusual art which is sure to spark interest in the biggest Christmas grouch 

4. Cologne [DE]

November 21 - December 23

Sizzling bratwurst, Glühwein and cinnamon baked apples- Cologne is no exception to Christmas magicalness.  With seven (yes, 7… nobody panic!!) different markets to experience, you’re bound to find something you’ll enjoy whether that be local food & drinks or unique handmade gifts for your loved ones.  With the Kölner Dom Cathedral as an eerily fantastic backdrop, Cologne’s market is sure to put anyone in the Christmas mood!

Be sure to check out: 

  • the Imhoff Chocolate Museum to learn about all things chocolate.  What diet..?
  • the Rhine- the perfect setting to warm up with a mug of mulled wine

5. Barcelona [ES]

November 25 - December 23

Otherwise known as La Fira de Santa Llucía, Barcelona’s was originally organised to celebrate Santa Llucía on the 13th of December, but has now expanded into a Christmas extravaganza over three weeks.  You’ll be able to find lots of stalls selling artisanal gifts, including the slightly odd Caga Tió- a typical Catalan tradition.  As a tip, visiting the market by night is a must- the lights twinkling against the Cathedral is an impressive sight! 

Be sure to check out: 

  • the Artesania, with it’s array of hand-made products such as jewellery, toys and ornaments
  • the one day festival on the 17th of December- Diada de les tradicions nadalencs
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