If you’re planning for a long weekend in the days to come, get into the festive, jolly Christmas mood and head off to one of the cities with the best and brightest Christmas markets on the continent. My first thought was, obviously, Vienna, where the city literally lights up under the magic Christmas chandeliers, and the mulled wine with cinnamon is served everywhere – from the beautifully decorated log cabins in the main square to almost every other city corner. Yet, I’ve kept on searching for other cities that put together these fabulous Christmas markets, true must-sees during this fairy-tale December. And I’ve found them :).
In the capital of Spain, more specifically in Plaza Mayor, it’s held, by more than one hundred years now, an absolutely splendid Christmas market. From the delightful ornaments – one more picturesque than the other – to the figurines depicting scenes of the baby Jesus birth are carefully arranged in log cabins. Plus, you’ve goy plenty of shows everywhere: local artists dress up, dance and sing together in the middle of the market.
The famous Red Square is worth visiting any time of the year. However, around Christmas, the ornaments, decorations and carefully crafted embellishments simply take your breath away. And that’s not all! The good news is that you don’t have to rush at all, as the market stays open even in January. Buy traditional Russian souvenirs, especially the famous Matryoshkas: a set of wooden dolls. Open one and you’ll reveal a smaller one inside, then open another which has, in turn, another tinier figure inside of it, and so on. Otherwise, it’s cold in Moscow, but you can quickly warm up with a shot – or more – of Russian vodka.
In the Tivoli Gardens, opened in the summer of 1843, you’ll find one of the most famous amusement parks in the world. In winter, the gardens are decorated with thousands of Christmas lights, while both locals and tourists come here for the light and fireworks shows. You can buy traditional decorations, sweets, snacks, and everyone gets warm sipping from a glass of glögg (spicy mulled wine).
Gamla Stan, the old town of the Sweden’s capital, hosts a fabulous Christmas market since 1914. The charmingly adorned wooden houses painted in red and decorated with traditional elements await you with thousands of handcrafted Christmassy objects and toys, sweets, smoked sausages or mulled wine.
In this baroque town is held the oldest Christmas market from all Germany. All of Dresden is dressed for celebration, and, in the Altmarkt Square from the historical centre, everybody flocks to buy handmade objects, decorations, and the most beloved sweets.