Tis the season for some merry market getaways! With Christmas around the corner, the excitement of wandering through a traditional Christmas market is unbeatable. Tired of struggling in the store crowds and scurrying through bargains behind your mobile screens? How about doing Xmas shopping with a zest for travel? A snow-clad Christmas market can get even the whiniest among us in the holiday mood. When it comes to retaining the quintessential essence of a traditional Christmas market, Europe rises to the top. Among the spectacular lot, we picked out three most breathtaking European Christmas markets, read on to know more:
During Christmas time, Vienna honours its ancient traditions and is home to one of the largest Christmas markets in the world. The Austrian capital flaunts a massive variety of spectacular Christmas markets, each offering its own uniqueness. Amongst the plethora of markets available, the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt market takes the crown. Held in the Rathausplatz square, facing the Vienna town hall, the grandiose place hosts the infamous tree of hearts and a massive ice skating rink. The festive market boasts 150 exquisite stalls selling fancy gifts, souvenirs, and accessories available in all sorts such as sparkling baubles, miniature snow globes, and artisanal handicrafts made from glass, wood and ceramic. Amidst all the sightseeing and shopping, indulge in the market’s special Christmas spiced drinks including Gluhwein – a hot mulled wine, and traditional liquor made from spices, fruit juices and wine. On the food front, pamper your taste buds with some Viennese krapfen doughnuts filled with apricot jam, cheesy Spaetzle pasta, authentic Raclette bread and the forever-classic – gingerbread cookies.
Often regarded as the Christmas capital of Europe, Strasbourg hosts its annual Christmas market unveiling all its sparkle and finery. Established in 1570, the French Christmas market is among the oldest in Europe. When in Strasbourg, stroll around the breathtaking timber chalets situated in the very heart of the city’s historical hub and take lovely pictures at the magnificent Christmas tree located in Place Kleber, flaunting an ensemble of lights. At the market, indulge in a glass of the classic French Vin Chaud (mulled wine) while reeling in the alluring backdrop of the country’s finest gothic Cathedrals. Enjoy a shopping outburst at the endless stalls offering exclusive glass jewellery, handicrafts, artisanal pots and much more. While on the lookout for some authentic fancy treats, make sure to visit the Alsatian Delicacies Market for native specials like manele, Bredele, craft beers and flavourful wines from the Alsatian community; while the food connoisseurs can gorge on delicious artisanal food like truffles, sausages, crepes, aromatic herbs and cheeses, flammkuchen, and of course, gingerbread and warm pretzels. Don’t forget to try the Nut’Alsace – a tempting and decadent hazelnut chocolate spread!
Christmas in Belgium is an enchanting affair. The annual Christmas market is held in central Brussels with over 250 antique wooden chalets engulfing the capital. The largest Christmas market is held at Marche aux Poissons, where more than 200 wooden chalet stalls with snow-clad roofs and sparkling lights sell quality ornaments, gifts, souvenirs, winter accessories, Belgian beer and traditional festive delicacies. For a cultural mix at the Brussels Christmas Market, make sure to visit the La Tour Noire and Place Sainte Catherine where you can marvel at handicrafts and taste delicious cuisines from other European countries like France, Hungary, and Germany. For all the foodies visiting the Christmas market, don’t miss out on the sumptuous Belgian treats such as Tartiflette – a steaming hot comfort food packed with potatoes, cheese, bacon, onions, and white wine, made in large skillets. Do try the Gluhwein/Vin Chaud – hot mulled wine blended with a mixture of spices like cloves and cinnamon and of course, the OG Belgian waffles!