This week’s #ApstrofiLeisure destinations are urban and not out-of-the-way like the last. Instead of choosing one place we find ideal for a holiday, we picked out the top five Christmas Markets we’d most like to visit if we were travelling across Europe. Christmas markets are all very similar, with stalls selling handmade crafts and sweet Christmas treats, but we figure that different cities have different things to offer. Hearing Christmas carols on a cold winter evening and sipping on hot cocoa or mulled wine and smelling the scent of Christmas roasts or warm pastries are just some of the things we dream about when we imagine ourselves standing on the cobblestone streets of a European Christmas Market. And with each having its own distinct charm, here are our top picks, based on what experience you're hoping for.
If you’re looking for…
Thrill-seekers and all of the young-spirited would love Christmas at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens. Forget the extraordinary light display that spans some 6km across the park and on the trees surrounding the park lake, market-goers can not only look at the crafts market but also take on Christmas rides. A twilight tour is also available to be led through those glittering light displays, as are Danish iced doughnuts to munch on throughout the night.
London’s Christmas Markets lie at the very centre of the City, and pass through many famous landmarks such as Trafalgar Square, Somerset House, and the Natural History Museum. Checking out these markets as a tourist would also mean crossing all of London’s prominent features of your sightseeing list, and to top it all off is London’s signature Christmas attraction: Winter Wonderland. Essentially a carnival that runs until after the new year, it’s complete with a Ferris wheel, as well as the largest outdoor skating rink in London.
Traditional German delicacies such as potato pancakes and German sausages. For anyone who’s a sucker for traditional Christmas music, they can be heard live at the market. Christmas markets come up everywhere throughout the city and each are designed with different themes — there’s a Medieval Market, as well as a market that boasts a number of plays about the origins of Christmas.
The oldest Christmas market on this list, the Christkindlmarkt is about six hundred years old and one of the oldest in Europe. Located in downtown Salzburg it’s a more intimate choice compared to the others on this list, so it’s well-matched for anyone who would tire from a larger market with more stalls. This one has under 100, and the medieval castle towering over them makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time to when the Christmas market had first began. Odd knick-knacks can be found here due to the market’s history, and church bells can be heard while you shop for them.
Because Strasbourg lies near the border between France and Germany, Christmas traditions in Strasbourg have both French and German influence and they can all be tried out in the city’s Christmas market. Though not as old as the one in Salzburg, it remains the oldest one in France, and includes nativity plays. Not only is there a revered gingerbread bakery on site but also roasted chestnuts, pretzels, bredele cookies, and German pizza-like treats, making this one a must-visit for those adventurous enough in food.