As the holidays surround everyone in the US, it’s hard to deny the childhood excitement that comes over us. Twinkling lights, homes decked with decorations, family traditions and so much more have become part of many people’s way of life this time of year.
However, for those who love the handcrafted ornaments, homemade candies and gingerbread, and personally carved wooden toys, the stalls of European Christmas Markets would literally transport you to another place and time. Here are a few highlights of some of the must-see Christmas Markets:
This is one of the largest and most popular Christmas Markets in all of Europe. Stalls are plentiful with the area’s famous sausages and gingerbread. Visitors enjoy a ride on the yellow stagecoach with the horses and coachman – a memorable way to experience the nostalgia of this festive city.
Looking for something truly unique to Nuremberg? Check out the Nuremberg Prune Men, which can be found as piano players, waiters, football players and much more. They typically sit on a small piece of wood and are literally created out of dried prunes and figs.
Be sure to meet the Nuremberg Christkind with his blond locks, big crown and golden dress.
Viennese Christmas Market
While many holiday markets are among breathtaking settings, Vienna’s iconic City Hall may be one of the most beautiful. Set within the Townhall Square, the unique backdrop gives this market a charm of its own. Visitors are encouraged to step inside to experience activities as the the building’s ground floor has an area dedicated to children. There kids can learn how to make Christmas cookies or candles, among other fun interactions.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are free to enter and feature international choirs singing carols. More than 150 stalls of handcrafted ornaments, toys and local foods (lebkuchen and cinnamon, chestnuts and hot punch to name a few) are sure to help spread the joy of the season.
Winter Wonders in Brussels
This legendary market experience in Belgium offers a two kilometer stretch of stalls, entertainment and activities through the historic town center. It has become known for traditional attractions, including the Ferris wheel, merry-go-rounds and the slalom.
The area’s ice skating rink was recently moved to the Place de la Monnaie. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the incredible “videomapping” on the façade of the St. Catherine Church and the Christmas Parade.
Budapest’s Advent Feast at the Basilica
The holidays reign supreme in front of one of Hungary’s most beautiful churches – St. Stephen’s Basilica. It serves as the perfect location for shoppers who seek the best Hungarian contemporary handcrafted products and for culinary explorers eating their way through delicious Hungarian and international food such as the all-time favorite ‘flódni,’ the Hungaricum chimney cake, mouth-watering burgers and a range of fish dishes.
Don’t miss the monumental light show that, with 3D glasses, will give a new dimension to the façade of St. Stephen’s Basilica. The church serves as the screen several times every evening.
Want to read even more about these and many other special markets? Check out CNN Travel’s recent article 8 of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.
Interested in visiting Europe during the 2018 holiday season (or any other time!)? Email LindaB@PiqueTravel.com.