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13 Top Christmas Markets Around the World

By alison - November 25, 2016 (Updated: November 29, 2016)

Travel Bloggers' 13 favourite Christmas Markets around the worldWe share travel bloggers top 13 Christmas Markets around the world from Canada to Europe, South Africa to the Philippines.

Our favourite winter activity is visiting Christmas Markets. Nothing makes us feel more festive than perusing decorated stalls filled with handcrafted goods while sipping a glass of mulled wine and eating a grilled sausage. We worked our way around the Christmas markets in Belgium, visited many holiday markets in Germany, and even found wonderful markets in northern Italy (see my contribution to the list below), but there are still plenty of markets around the world we have yet to visit. We asked our fellow travel bloggers for their favourite Christmas Markets, and they wowed us with this fantastic round-up.

Here are travel bloggers 13 favourite Christmas Markets from around the world!

1. Toronto, Canada

Christmas Market in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Christmas Market in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Situated amidst the cobblestone streets of Toronto’s historic Distillery District, the Toronto Christmas market is a hip festival filled with classic German and Canadian foods, delicious craft beers, and a wonderland of music, colour and shopping. You can treat yourself to delicious apple toddy’s while kids catch story time read by Christmas elves at the main stage. The food market offers scrumptious traditional dishes like sausages, poutine, and turkey legs, while the attached Mill St. Brewery gives you a place to recharge next to fireplaces while dining on flatbread pizzas and sipping on amazing local beer. No visit to a Christmas market is complete without a visit to Santa, and the Toronto Christmas market always knocks this out of the park.

By Christina of The Wandering Wagars

2. Brussels, Belgium

Winter Wonders Christmas Market in Brussels, Belgium

Winter Wonders Christmas Market in Brussels, Belgium

Christmas is a time to be with family, so for as long as I can remember I`ve always been home for Christmas. In Belgium, we always celebrate with a large family dinner and by visiting a nearby Christmas market. Almost every city has its own Christmas market, so there’s a lot of good choices!

Every year, Brussels organises one of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe. Besides the impressive spruce tree in the middle of the Grand Place, the main attractions are the Sound & light show , the Ferris wheel and the numerous Christmas stalls around the Fish Market.

Most people visit the Brussels Christmas market for the great atmosphere, the lights, the chalets full of Christmas presents and, of course, the genever and gluhwein! O n Saturday, there’s also a large Christmas Parade!

So if you are thinking of visiting Europe in Winter, I would suggest visiting some of the many Christmas markets , especially the one in Brussels!

By Geert of Inspiring Travellers

[Editor’s Note: Don’t miss our round-up of Belgian Christmas Markets!]

3. Krakow, Poland

Christmas in Krakow, Poland

Christmas in Krakow, Poland

The Christmas Market in Krakow is our favourite in Europe. It is located in the centre of Old Town, the biggest tourist attraction in the city. Winter in Poland is usually very cold, but you don’t need to worry. Even though you will walk outdoors, you can drink the famous mulled wine, Grzaniec Galicyjski. It is our favourite drink ever! Sweet and full of flavours, it will warm you up even on the coldest day.

At the Christmas Market in Krakow, you can try other specialities of Polish cuisine, like pierogi, bigos, or kielbasa. If you get tired of eating and drinking, it’s time for shopping! You can buy unique handicrafts, clothes, and souvenirs.

By Karolina & Patryk of KarolinaPatryk.com

4. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France Christmas Market (via Wiki)

Strasbourg, France Christmas Market (via Wiki)

The oldest Christmas market in FranceStrasbourg Christmas market dates back to 1577, and plays host to over 2 million tourists every year who flock to witness hundreds of miles worth of glittering Christmas lights, themed events, a giant ice rink, and the famous 100 foot ‘Great Christmas Tree’.

“Half-timbered houses sport giant red-and-white hearts; stars, angels and snowflakes garland the cobbled streets. No wonder Strasbourg won the title of “Best Christmas Market in Europe” last year.”

Visitors have the chance to sample some of the region’s finest food, including bredle Christmas cookies and Strasbourg’s traditional spicy hot orange juice. Be sure to visit before Christmas – this year it runs from 25 November (2016) and closes down on Christmas Eve.

By Megan and Mike of Mapping Megan and Waking up Wild

5. Nice, France

Village de Noël in Nice, France

Village de Noël in Nice, France

Celebrate the holiday season on the French Riviera at the Village de Noël in Nice, France! Visitors can experience the delight of Christmas without the pesky cold, wet snow. Buy handcrafted gifts including our favourite Provençal Santon’s, traditional nativity scene figurines. There are sixty wooden chalets set up in the Christmas Market so you can find that perfect gift.

Take time to eat socca, gingerbread treats, and chestnuts while drinking mulled wine. Then sit back and watch the kids play on bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, and in bounce houses.  Once you’ve shopped and had a bite to eat, you can ice skate or go up on the Ferris Wheel for stunning views over Nice.  The Nice Christmas Market is the perfect spot to get ready for the holidays in the South of France.

By Dana of The Talking Suitcase

6. Lille, France

Lille, France's Marche de Noel

Lille, France’s Marche de Noel

Lille is a small city in Northeast France, only two hours away from Paris and less than an hour away from Belgium. It’s got the functionality of a big city with traditional architecture that reveals its position as a city on the border between two beautiful countries. It also has small town charm, which makes the Christmas market there such a treat! Lille is well known in France for its winter market, and it’s a great alternative to the larger markets located across Europe.

Lille is easily accessible by train, and you can get to the market on foot. Christmastime there is a family event, and it’s rare to come across tourists from other countries. I was so excited to try the traditional Christmas foods like Raclette, which is basically a small bowl of steamed potatoes smothered in cheese and mixed with bits of meat, and “vin chaud,” which is hot spiced wine. Both are winter staples in France, and you can find them here for as little as 5 euros, and I promise both are delicious! When you finish walking through the market, make sure you hop on the giant Ferris wheel for a panoramic view of the city!

By Francesca from One Girl: One World

7. Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas Market in Prague, Czech Republic

Christmas Market in Prague, Czech Republic

Travelling to Europe to visit some of the best Christmas markets in the world? Well, make sure to head to Prague! Prague is an amazing city to visit year-round with tonnes of things to do in Prague but my favourite time of year to visit is December. There are several Christmas markets set up throughout Prague, but the biggest and prettiest is right in Old Town Square. The square is transformed into a magical Christmas market filled with tasty treats and unique Christmas gifts. For the best view of the Christmas market head up to the top of the Old Town City Hall, wait until the night falls, and the market is lit up by Christmas lights. I loved just spending the day wandering around Prague and stumbling across the Christmas markets set up throughout the city.

By Hannah of Getting Stamped

8. Copenhagen, Denmark

Christmas at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

Christmas at the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark

Winter in Copenhagen may be cold and dark, but the city’s holiday season is bursting with festive cheer. Markets scattered throughout the centre will lift your spirits and offer up plenty of opportunities for hygge – Danish coziness. Copenhagen’s most popular Christmas Market is at the famous Tivoli Gardens. The historic park is transformed into a Nordic-style winter wonderland, featuring wooden huts offering up everything from handcrafted Scandinavian gifts to local goodies like æbleskiver (dough balls with cream and jam) and gløgg (mulled wine). Copenhagen also has a traditional German Christmas Market spread over two of the city’s charming squares, several stalls along the city’s colourful Nyhavn waterfront, and even a Hans Christian Andersen-themed market. God jul!

By Caroline of Love Live Travel

And More on Copenhagen…

Copenhagen is a great place to experience the Christmas spirit. Already since mid-November, the whole of Denmark dives into the spirit of ‘Jule hygge’, which is a special Danish expression for warmth and coziness during Christmas time.

There are numerous places where Copenhagen hosts Christmas markets, Nyhavn, Christiania, and Kg. Nytorv among others. However, the best places to experience that to the fullest is the market on Højbro Plads in the city center. Here, apart from Christmas decorations from pine trees and wooden kiosks, you’ll get the chance to drink some spicy gløgg (warm wine) and purchase some Nordic delicacies and decorations.

Visiting Tivoli gardens will give you another tremendous opportunity to get that Christmas spirit. Though you need to pay to get in, you’ll get a rewarding experience: incredible decorations that change according to the yearly theme, cozy winter lights, many cute kiosks serving gløgg and warm winter snacks, such as traditional Danish æbleskiver. Tivoli is a perfect place to spend a winter day in a warm atmosphere.

By Lena of Travel Monkey

9. Nuremberg, Germany

German Christmas Cheer at Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

German Christmas Cheer at Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt was first mentioned in 1628, though the locals will proudly tell you that the Christmas market is much older than that. And it’s still traditional, which honestly can be a bit hard to find in these modern times when many of the wares sold at Christmas markets are mass produced. The charming wooden stalls are still constructed from regional spruce, and most of the goods sold by the market’s 180 vendors are regionally manufactured, some still entirely by hand. It’s the perfect place to shop for unique gifts and Christmas decorations you won’t find anywhere else in the world, like the famous Prune Men that have been crafted and sold there since the 18th century. Of course, one of the best parts {okay, my favourite part} is stuffing your face. Nuremberg is the most famous exporter of gingerbread, or Lebkuchen as it’s called in German. You can also find plenty of stalls selling the original Nuremberg grilled sausages and the GERSTACKER stall is a personal favourite of mine with their unique blueberry Glühwein, that they have been selling at the market for over 35 years.

By Jennifer of Luxe Adventure Traveler

10. Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Christmas Market in Northern Ireland

Belfast Christmas Market in Northern Ireland

Belfast Christmas Market oozes buckets of charm and festive spirit, and a visit is guaranteed to make you embrace your Christmas cheer! Despite being smaller than many of its European Christmas market counterparts, what it lacks in size it makes up for in atmosphere, festive fun, and the famous Northern Irish ‘craic’!

Set in the grounds of the beautiful City Hall, the backdrop of one of Belfast’s most stunning buildings only adds to its charm.

The market is full to the brim of delicious Christmas treats from mulled wine to crepes with stalls selling lots of quirky gifts in between. It’s the absolute highlight of my Christmas’ at home, and I always have my festive jumper on standby for our annual visit!

By Elaine & David of The Whole World is a Playground

11. Bolzano, Italy

A handcrafted Christmas at the Bolzano, Italy Christmas Market in South Tyrol

A handcrafted Christmas at the Bolzano, Italy Christmas Market in South Tyrol

Italy may not be the first European destination that springs to mind when you think of Christmas Markets, but the picturesque mountain landscapes of South Tyrol are the perfect backdrop for holiday cheer. The region’s capital, Bolzano, hosts a stunning Christmas Market filled with handcrafted goods featuring local woodcarving, wool, and glass. There are plenty of tasty treats for foodies too. Warm up with a knödel (the local dumplings) or grilled sausage.

For a one-of-a-kind gift, the nearby Walther Square is home to another Christmas Market. The Rassegna Mercato Artistico, or Artist’s Market, founded in 1970, is the oldest Christmas Market in Italy.

You can also visit the slightly smaller but equally impressive Christmas Market in nearby Merano. Afterwards, you can recover from your holiday stress at the stunning Terme Merano spa. Consider it a Christmas present to yourself.

By Alison of CheeseWeb

12. Cape Town, South Africa

Handmade gifts at Made in the Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Handmade gifts at Made in the Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

Located in Cape Town’s southern suburb, Claremont, Made in the Cape is a year-round, hyper-local market established in 2012.  For 11 months a year, Made in the Cape features about 25 stalls. Each December, Made in the Cape swells to the size of Santa’s belly after a night of cookie chomping with 60 vendors shilling everything from hand-forged jewellery, pottery, skin care items, and raw honey. Two of our favourite aspects of Made in the Cape: it’s located indoors at Cavendish Square mall, so no rainy days, and makers are on-site, so shoppers can ‘meet their maker’ and learn a bit more about their process, materials, and personality. Who says Table Mountain is the only beauty in the Mothercity? Made in the Cape runs from December 6-18, 2016.

By Miranda of Anchors and Proteas

13. Manila, Philippines

Christmas cheer in Manilla, Philippines

Christmas cheer in Manilla, Philippines

Christmas markets around the world are so looked forward to. They are popular mostly in Europe and the USA. The hustle and bustle, the delicious food, especially mulled wine and cheese, the music and dance, and the shopping. They lift the mood for the festive season.

Once I had the chance to celebrate Christmas in Manila, Philippines.

Christmas in Asia? I was wondering how different it would be from a wintry Christmas. Yes, it is different. First and foremost, Manila has the longest Christmas sales in the whole world! The Christmas markets start in September and continue util well beyond the New Year. Manila is the city of malls, and one can see every mall decorated with their goods on sale. During peak time, you may have to stand in a line to enter. Cakes, gifts, clothes, shoes, beauty products, jewellery, designer dresses and every other item you can think of is on sale. In fact, there is a special market called the Gift Market. You may learn some gifting etiquette if you visit.

I have visited the Philippines three times, and I make it a point to go there in the last quarter of the year for the very cheap clothes, shoes, and pearl jewellery.

By Nisha of Lemonicks

Find even more Christmas Markets for your holiday fix on our Christmas Markets Resource Page.

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We share travel bloggers top 13 Christmas Markets around the world from Canada to Europe, South Africa to the Philippines.

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Alison

Alison

Big Cheese at CheeseWeb
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of Cheeseweb.eu. She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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7 comments

  1. Comment by Sand In My Suitcase

    Sand In My Suitcase Reply November 25, 2016 at 17:43

    The Christmas markets in Europe are famous – and would be lovely to see and experience! Maybe on a river cruise? But for closer to home, we could check out the one in Toronto (and visit family too). Sounds like a plan, eh?

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison Reply November 25, 2016 at 17:50

      We’d love to see what the Toronto market is like too. Surely there must be some more here in Canada as well…

  2. Comment by Meg Jerrard

    Meg Jerrard Reply November 25, 2016 at 22:47

    Some fabulous markets here I weren’t aware of – can’t wait to get to Europe over Christmas next year!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison Reply November 25, 2016 at 23:53

      Europe at Christmastime is fantastic Meg! If you need any tips for markets in Belgium, France, Germany, or the Netherlands just let us know!

  3. Comment by Rich

    Rich Reply December 2, 2016 at 17:26

    I was just in Prague last month, had I know it had a great Christmas market I would have waited! Thanks for sharing.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison

      Alison Reply December 2, 2016 at 17:58

      Our pleasure Rich! We hope you enjoyed Prague even without the Christmas Market.

  4. Comment by Nisha Jha

    Nisha Jha Reply December 5, 2016 at 20:06

    Thanks for featuring me & my favourite Christmas market. 🙂

    Lovely read and I got to know of many Christmas markets around the world that I wasn’t aware of.

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