Sipping on glühwein, munching on Lebkuchen and stocking up on knick-knacks, Christmas markets offer a full-on festive fix. We know what you’re thinking – already?! We would usually agree, but if you want to get a good deal on a weekend away to visit a Christmas market, you need to start thinking early! The usual round up of ‘best Christmas markets’ is likely to feature the top 5 cities in Germany, so we decided to strike the particularly festive country off our list early on and look elsewhere, just to give you a few extra options. Looking far and wide, here are this year’s 4 favourite Christmas markets from around the globe!
Given the competition, earning the title of ‘Best Christmas Market in Europe’ is no mean feat, and Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik delivers ample helpings of Olde Worlde charm. Dating back to 1570, the market sees the timbered houses of the Alsacian capital festooned with seasonal decorations, while the narrow streets around Petite-France are crammed full of merry locals enjoying the region’s famous wines and some traditional Christmassy snacks, like the delicious bredele, pretzels or flammkueche. If you want traditionally festive, Strasbourg could be your destination.
Salzburg’s two Christmas markets have their own unique soundtrack, with background music coming in the form of the Turmblasen – traditional brass concerts held every Saturday during Advent. The city of Mozart’s Geburtshaus and the von Trapps goes full Christmas for its two main markets in Cathedral and Residence Square. The Christkind and her angels bring gifts for the children, while the adults look on with large glasses of glögg in hand. Things take a slightly darker turn with the arrival of the Krampusses, wild spirits who keep naughty children in line with a birch rod. If you want to wrap up and enjoy a European evening full of atmosphere during the Christmas period, Salzburg is a great option.
Stick with us here for a minute – it may not quite carry the same weight of tradition, but as an alternative brand of conviviality and festive fun, Hong Kong’s Winterfest is a great way to experience the festivities while in warmer climates! Perfect for anyone seeking to experience Christmas from a different perspective, start at Lantau Island, where visitors can explore a clutch of markets offering spectacular views of the city. Don’t think that you’ll be missing out on the Christmas traditions – fake snow, winter food and great shopping opportunities will ensure you get your festive fix! If given the choice, children will most likely jump at the chance to explore the ‘snow’-lined streets of Hong Kong Disneyland, while visitors to the large market in North Statue Square can soak up the atmosphere and crane their necks at the huge Christmas tree sitting amidst the skyscrapers. This would certainly be an experience!
Toronto’s large and vibrant population have certainly left their mark on its celebrated Christmas Market, which offers the best bits of European tradition and a laidback and typically friendly atmosphere. Browse the stalls in the distillery district to find the best price for souvenirs like maple syrup, fur hats and other winter warmers. Tucking into a hearty portion of poutine – a French Canadian dish of chips, cheese and gravy – will help you to beat the cold, as will the well-placed log fires and mulled wine vendors. Ride on the ferris wheel, marvel at the magical lighting and take your pet to get a photo with Santa – Toronto has it all.
These are just 4 of the best Christmas markets around the globe – there were so many to choose from!
If this has persuaded you to get moving and book a Christmas city break, take a look at some of our great December prices: