Great Way To Get Into The Christmas Spirit
Christmas markets have been popular in Europe for centuries. Millions of people visit traditional xmas markets in Europe every year and so called traditional 'German Christmas markets' can now be found in most parts of the world.
Why Christmas Markets?
Christmas markets go back to the late middle ages in the German speaking part of Europe, hence also commonly known as Christkindlmarkt, Weihnachtsmarkt and Adventmarkt.
Germany, Austria and the Alsace regions in France are generally considered as the original home of the traditional xmas market.
Christmas markets originated in Europe
The first German xmas market, Bautzen, is mentioned in the records in 1384. Though the Vienna December market, dating back to 1294, is generally considered the forerunner of the traditional xmas markets.
Originally, Christmas markets were held during the four weeks of Advent though most xmas markets now start in mid November.
Christmas markets are street markets to celebrate Christmas. Normally they are in the centre of a town, usually around the town square. The markets open-air stalls sell wide range of food, drinks and seasonal items, like Christmas decorations and cool Christmas gifts.
Most xmas markets offer some form of seasonal entertainment, like Christmas carol singers and nativity displays.
Christmas markets are great for meeting people and people watching. The atmosphere is relaxed and festive...
Adorned Christmas trees, father Christmas, festive music, hot punch / Glühwein, ice skating, hot dogs / bratwurst, handmade cool Christmas gifts, wooden huts, cold air, warm and cozy pullovers, xmas cakes and biscuits, roasted chestnuts, candles, carol singers, traditional craftwork, Christmas lights and decorations, nativity displays, narrow streets, impressive architecture, concerts, Christmas angles, street musicians, decorated xmas stalls, seasonal food, festive atmosphere...
There is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Christmas Markets Around The World
Traditional Christmas markets are very much European phenomenon, though this lovely xmas tradition is rapidly catching on around the world.
Popular Christmas markets in the US include New York, Chicago and Denver. You can even find so called traditional German Christmas markets further afield, like in Sapporo, Japan. See list of Christmas Markets Around the World.
However, our chosen Top Ten Christmas Markets are all located in Europe... at least for now.
Planning Your Perfect Christmas Market Trip
Flights And Accommodation
It is recommended to book flights and accommodation sooner rather than later, as the cities with the most popular xmas markets tend to be fairly busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas. However, if you are flexible about which Christmas market to visit, then you might be able to find good last minute deals.
For city breaks, it tends to be more economical to buy the flights and hotel together.
Top Travel Tips
When choosing hotel for short city break, start by determining what you want to get out of your stay. If you are like us, out and about from dawn to dusk, then the first criteria is likely to be the location, not the hotel amenities. There is no need to pay for fancy amenities you do not have the time to enjoy, so look for clean comfortable room in central location.
However, if you want to take the opportunity and enjoy some time relaxing, then the hotel amenities might be as important as the location, and even more so.
Packing And Luggage
Most Christmas market trips tend to be relatively short, either long weekend or one week maximum. This means you should be able to travel light, i.e. fit all you need into carry-on bag only.
However, it is wise to expect to do some shopping during your Christmas market trip! So either take check-in suitcase or pack extra bag inside your carry-on bag, e.g. soft duffel bag. Our luggage tips article on how to Choose The Right Luggage will help you with finding appropriate luggage for your Christmas market trip.
Xmas markets tend to be busy places and as such can attract pickpockets. Stay alert at all times and do not forget your Travel Insurance Policy. Even though your Christmas market trip might be short, you still need adequate insurance.