Every year the magic of Christmas can be seen and felt deep within all our main cities. The long dreaded dark nights are fittingly lit up with an array of diverse market stalls that mesmerise us in the weeks before and after Christmas.
Walking around a Christmas market gives us that extraordinary feeling of the Christmas spirit. adults Jubilate with one another. hands keeping warm wrapped around the mugs of their hot mulled wine and cider. surrounded by the sound of children laughing around their feet, with satisfied bellies full of homemade Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies), decorated with the most beautiful Christmas designs.
And as we go from stall to stall, city to city, it’s easy to understand why attracting millions of tourists to the Markets year after year is so fruitful. In all these cities there is a common theme of sellers, the cosy knit stalls where you will find hand knitted jumpers, hats and scarves.
Christmas Market Stalls
The beautiful craft stalls, offering an abundant of handcrafted Christmas decorations and trinkets. Food and drink stalls create an amazing aroma circling above the markets, filled with all different flavours and scents.
The most noticeable scents being the gebrannte mandeln (roasted walnuts), and the ever popular German sausage Bratwurst. The sweet and sticky smells from the sweet stalls where you will find the mouth-watering Gebrannte Mandeln, these sugared almonds can be found served in paper cones.
Christmas markets or German markets as they are often referred to, have a history that goes as far back as the middle ages. The most earliest known date is the Christmas markets of Munich from 1310. Although we could also argue the ‘December Markets’ Of Vienna as being the most earliest known Christmas Markets that date as far back as 1298.
These Christmas markets were taking place all over Europe during the period of ‘Advent’, which ran for 4 weeks between Christmas. It is thought that the markets started as a way for priests to encourage church goers through their doors. They would set up stalls inviting all local tradesman to participate outside the local church, setting up stalls selling crafts, and food and drink. The priests were hoping that those shopping around the markets would be lured into the church.
In towns and Cities throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Advent would begin with a celebration and welcoming of the ‘Christkind’— which literally means ‘Christ Child Market’ in German. This event is regarded as the official opening of the Christmas market. The ‘Christkind’ is supposed to represent Jesus Christ, but the role would more commonly be acted out by an elected local child acting as an angel. These events would be held within the towns square, where there would be performances of acting and singing. There would be an array of open aired stalls around the square, selling food and drink, and a vast selection of seasonal items, such as ornaments and decorations.
The Christmas markets that we see today haven’t changed all that much in traditional terms. Most cities continue to sell food and drink that are accustomed to their own culture, and crafts that represent their respective cities. But alongside these stalls we are also seeing Christmas Market sellers from all over Europe selling their own cultural cuisines in different countries, allowing locals to experience the variety of tastes that can be found in The Christmas markets all over Europe.
Alongside the traditional stalls, cities have now added entertainment to their Christmas markets. With fairground attractions and ice skating rinks to name a few.
We take a look at five of the most popular Christmas Markets throughout Europe.
Vienna Christmas Market
Vienna’s Christmas markets are full of tradition that can be traced as far back as 1772. These traditions are indisputably recognised during the weeks of advent. Each year Vienna creates a spectacular display of Christmas markets throughout Its city centre. You will find over 20 festive villages to keep your eyes dazzled, selling traditional foods and crafts [Read More]
Salzburg Christmas Market
What could possibly be more festive than walking beneath the snow-covered rooftops of Salzburg’s Christmas Markets? The breathtaking views that engulf the city during the festive period is reason alone to visit during the weeks of advent. Salzburgs Christmas Markets are one of the oldest in the world, and can be dated as far back as the late 15th Century. Back then the markets were known as ‘Tandlmarkt’. [Read More]
Munich Christmas Market
Since the 1970’s Munich’s biggest Christkindlmarkt has prime location in Marienplatz (St. Mary’s Square). nestling in front of the City’s main town hall. the beauty of this is seen every night during the Christmas period.
As Advent music is performed on the town halls balcony, spreading the seasonal cheer all over the busy stalls below. With its central location, Marienplatz is by far the most crowded of Munich’s Christmas markets [Read More]
Paris Christmas Market
Every year during the period of Advent, Paris the city of light hosts on average 15-20 Christmas markets.
The Champs-Élysées Christmas Market returns to 2018 after closing last year due to disputes between organisers. This year, Paris’s biggest and most famous market returns with a new name and location. The newly named La Magie de Noël (The Magic of Christmas) is now in Tuileries Garden next to the Louvre. This huge market will host around 100 chalets mostly selling traditional French food products. It’s no secret that the French love their waffles, and at the Christmas markets you will find sweet and savoury flavours to try. An absolute must on those chilly evenings is the Beignets. [Read More]
Edinburgh Christmas Market
Voted the UK’s best Christmas Market last year. It’s no wonder that visiting Scotland’s capital during the Christmas period really is a magical experience. Edinburgh’s famous gardens on Princess street become a lit up Christmas spectacle. Sitting below a beautiful backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the views are simply stunning.
Christmas in Scotland only became a public holiday in 1958. Recognised worldwide for its love and celebration of Hogmanay (new Years Eve). The Scots didn’t celebrate Christmas with the same jubilation as most countries until later on. These days Edinburgh deservedly takes its place at the top of the Christmas markets, along with the worlds best [Read More]