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Top 10 European Christmas Markets

Christmas is a time of year when families spend those special moments with one another and Christmas Markets with its festive music, food and surroundings add to this festive time. We have created a list of Europe’s top 10 Christmas Markets. There are hundreds of great markets across Europe, but these are our top ten we feel you should check out.


1.     Munich Christmas Markets

Where: Marienplatz, Munich, Germany
When: Nov 24-Dec 31, 2010
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Munich has loads of Christmas markets, but the main one is at the famous Marienplatz, which is in the heart of the old centre. This market has been going since the 17th century and there are hundreds of stalls dotted around the square. The 100ft tall Christmas tree and the lights that surround the square are the focal points are lighten up on the Friday before the first Advent. Every night there are song dance with people singing and dancing.

If you are there with the kids there is kids area in the town hall, which is called ‘Heavenly Workshop’. It’s a free area for the kids to have fun to paint, dress up as angels, arts and crafts, just to name a few of the exciting things to keep the kids busy. For the adults you can enjoy a drink at Hofbrauhaus in Munz-Brauhaus, which the city’s most famous beer hall and popular during Oktoberfest.

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2.     Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Where: Old Town Market Square, Nuremberg, Germany
When: Nov 26-Dec 24, 2010
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The world-famous Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of best in Europe, as it attracts over 2 million visitors and it dates back to 1628 when they had the event for the first time.

The Old Town Market Square is decorated with thousands of lights over top of the cobbled stone streets and there are over 200 stalls selling everything from toys and candles to mulled wine and grilled Nürnberger Bratwurst. The festival also has a tradition, as every two years a new ‘Christ child’ is appointed, a young man or woman who opens the market and rushes around town spreading Christmas cheer, dressed in elaborate gold and white and sporting a large golden crown. It seems like a silly tradition, but the thousands of people in attendance love it.

If you have kids with you they can check out the Kinderweihnacht (Children's Christmas), which has a steam train, steam-powered merry-go-rounds and loads of other things for them to keep them entertained. For the adults there are live bands that play ever night and of course you have the mulled wine and German beer to enjoy.

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3.    Prague Christmas Markets


Where: Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic
When: Nov 27- Jan 2
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The Germans are known for their Christmas markets, but the Czech take it pretty serious as well. The cobbled stone Wenceslas Square, which is located in the Old Town of Prague, is decked out with thousands of lights and hundreds of wooden huts selling Bohemian Crystal and wooden toys to sausage and great Czech Beer.  

The highlight of this particular market is the live entertainment they have playing. In the backdrop of a Bethlehem scene and huge Christmas tree, there are Christmas choir groups signing the songs of the season.  

If you have kids with you there is a petting zoo that has ponies, sheep and goats and all keeps the kids entertained for hours.

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4.     Old Town Tallinn Christmas Market

Where: Tallinn, Estonia
When: Nov 27 2010-Jan 9, 2011
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This 15th century cobbled stone medieval town square of Tallinn provides the perfect backdrop for a Christmas market, which has only been going since 1991, but has become one of the best in Europe. Because there is a strong Russian influence in Estonia, this Christmas Market stays open till the Christmas Eve of the Russian Orthodox Church on 7 January. Tallinn was apparently the setting for the world’s first ever Christmas tree in 1441 and back then would put it up then set it on fire and dance around it.

This festival today gets over 500,000 visitors every year and the hundred plus 100 traditional huts selling a range of Estonian arts and crafts, mulled wine, sausages and other local treats. The Medieval Town Square is laminated with thousands of lights and a massive Christmas tree that stands in the middle of the Square for everyone to take a picture.

If you have kids with you, Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is there every night for kids to get their picture with him and for the adults there are several restaurants and bars to have a drink.

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5.    Copenhagen Christmas Market

Where: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
When: Nov 20- Dec 29
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The magical setting of Copenhagen’s market is in Europe’s oldest amusement park, the Tivoli Gardens, which hosts this annual Christmas market. The setting is out of Hans Christian Andersen, with hundreds of Christmas trees, millions of lights and hundreds of stalls. These stalls sell everything from hot apple dumplings, to glögg (Danish mulled wine mixed with liquor and spices), to wooden dolls and toys for the kids.  

Something a little different than the rest of the European markets, is the outdoor skating rink.  This gives people a chance to skate on the frozen lake with the all the lights in the backdrop. It's truly a magical place!!

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6.     Wiener Christkindlmarkt

Where: Vienna, Austria
When: Nov 13- Dec 26
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This festival dates back to the 15th century and it’s located on the cobbled stone square in front of the Town Hall. It’s one of the most popular events in Europe with millions visiting annually.  The square is surrounded by trees that are decorated with thousands of lights and hundreds of wooden huts selling everything from gingerbread men and mulled wine to candles and toys for the kids.

Another attraction of this event is that Advent windows that have been painted by local artists. Also, if you have kids with you there are daily workshops that kids can make Christmas cookies and other areas that have games to entertain the kids.

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7.     Krakow Christmas Market

Where: Rynek Glówny Square, Krakow, Poland
When: November 27 – December 27
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The annual Krakow Christmas Market is located on Kraków's Rynek Glówny square, in the historic Old Town. The Christmas Market starts four weeks before Christmas and it attracts millions annually. The square is surrounded by thousands of lights and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the square. Also, there are hundreds of wooden huts selling everything from handmade jewellery, to great Polish food and of course many different types of vodka to keep you warm.

The one thing that will make this Christmas market different than others is that if you almost always guaranteed to have snow, which adds to the surroundings. Also, the live music on display and the Polish hospitality is what makes this one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.

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8.    Christmas Markets in Berlin

Where: Berlin, Germany
When: November 22 to December 24
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Berlin has over 60 Christmas Markets and all of them are fantastic, but the one that sticks out is the one at Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church), which attracts millions every year. The market itself isn’t big, as there are only around 100 stalls set up, but it’s the surroundings and atmosphere, which makes this place. The area was heavily bombed during World War II and it still hasn’t fully recovered, but also its traditional wooden huts with its lights and great music that make the place.

Every night there is live entertainment singing Christmas songs and all the people get in the spirit drinking and dancing. This is a market you don’t want to miss.

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9.    Cologne Christmas Markets

Where: Cologne, Germany
When: Nov 25 2010 – Dec 24th
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In Cologne there are several Christmas Markets set up around the city, which attracts millions annually. The largest Christmas markets are located at Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt (Home of the Heinzel Christmas Market), on the Neumarkt (Angel's Market) and on the Rudolfplatz (Fairytale Christmas Market).

The Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral is arguably the best due to its 200 plus wooden huts and the backdrop of the Cathedral, which gives it that Gothic look. You will thousands of Christmas lights and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the market that adds to the environment. The traders sell everything from toys to mulled wine and sweats for the kids.

If you have kids with you there’s an area for the kids that includes games, a merry-go-round and other games to keep them entertainment for hours. For the adults there are several places to have a traditional German beer or mulled wine.

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10.    Edinburgh Christmas Market

Where: Edinburgh, Scotland
When: Nov 25 2010 – Dec 24th
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The Edinburgh Christmas Markets are based in Princess Street Gardens and it’s the time of year when all of Edinburgh comes alive. The Market itself isn’t that big with two areas with stalls, but it’s the surroundings that make this Christmas Market one of the best in Europe.

Edinburgh makes the surroundings like it’s a carnival with merry go-rounds, Ferris wheels and arguably the most popular attraction, which is the biggest outdoor ice rink in the United Kingdom that is only put up at Christmas time. With the backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle and great German beer and sausages, this is one festival you don’t want to miss.

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