‘Tis the season celebrate the holiday season with the ones you love, and this year why not take your gift shopping out of the mall and to a local Christmas Market to explore some handcrafted treasures?
Christmas markets originated in 14th century Germany, dating all the way back to 1434 at the Strielzmarket in Dresden. During the holiday season local artisans and farmers joined together to sell and exchange their goods just in time for Christmas and the winter months.
So, while you’re bundling up to brave cold winds, here are ten Christmas markets that you should visit all around the world:
1. Heidelberg, Germany
With scents of roasted chestnuts and other treats lingering in the air, the Heidelberg Christmas Market has over 140 stalls in six different areas around the city. Surrounded by historic castles, the skating rink in the Old Town is known for being one of the most beautiful in Germany. Be sure to also take the time for a fairy-tale Advent stroll through the decorated woods at the Kornmart.
2. Dordrecht, The Netherlands
The Dordrecht Christmas Market brings the holiday spirit to rows of stalls that are filled with handcrafted gifts, warm Christmas treats and live entertainment in the historic city center and inland habor. For an authentic experience, snack on freshly baked kerstkranjes (Christmas wreath cookies), kerststos (Chrsitmas loaf) or the spiced speculaas cookies.
3. Québec City, Canada
Québec City is welcoming the Marché de Noël de Québec where they will serve bratwurst, mulled wine, gingerbread and other locally-sourced dishes under twinkling lights in the Old Port. This year, carolers and choral singers will grace the stage for nightly performances while you can shop for holiday goods and decorations. There will also be a Kindermart for the little ones to have a visit with Santa Claus.
4. Gothenburg, Sweden
Gothenburg is home to Sweden’s largest Christmas market set in the Liseberg Amusement Park where wooden huts will be adorned with over five million fairy lights. If you’re looking for something quieter, there are also a number of smaller markets throughout the city in the Haga district or in the old artillery Kronhuset. Be sure to try their age-old recipe of glögg, mulling red wine with local spices and nutmeg with a saffron bun or lussekatter.
5. Salzburg, Austria
Austria is home to some of the most romantic Christmas markets in the world. The Salzburg Christmas Market is tucked between the many churches and looming domes of century-old buildings. Underneath the snow-covered roofs at the market you’ll find a number of stalls filled with Nativity scenes, wooden ornaments and knitted gifts along with the aromatic smell of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts and freshly baked apples.
6. Nottingham, England
Set in a city that has a long history with tales and legends, the Nottingham Winter Wonderland brings festivities to the Old Market Square that surrounds the town skating rink. The square is decorated with Victorian-style market cabins where guests can shop locally-made gifts and enjoy live music from the bandstand or a drink at the Ice Bar.
7. Toronto, Canada
Taking place in the Historic Distillery District, the Toronto Christmas Market transports you to Europe erecting traditional wooden market stall huts where they serve traditional German fare along with creative carnival eats. The market is illuminated at dusk with strings of overhead lights and a 50-foot white spruce Christmas tree decorated with over 18,000 lights.
8. Edinburgh, Scotland
The Edinburgh Christmas Market welcomes locals and visitors to St. Andrews Square to celebrate the holidays in true Scottish fashion. Set around a circular ice rink, the Christmas Market extends to the East Princess Street Gardens where you can ride the Big Wheel or Star Flyer. This year the market returns with a selection of one-of-a-kind gift items from Scottish artists and crafters, as well as from all over Europe.
9. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Christmas City has welcomed over two million guests over the last quarter-century where over 125 international and local vendors join together to celebrate the holidays. The city was first inspired by the traditional Christmas Markets in Germany and offer a space where guests can enjoy live music, watch the artisans hard at work and shop holiday ornaments, decorations and gifts under their four tents.
10. Wiesbaden, Germany
The Wiesbaden Christmas Market transforms into a winter wonderland where the town comes together to decorate many of its main buildings in the downtown center. The town’s Yuletide cheer has been preserved for centuries; merchants and vendors still sell handcrafted items like wooden ornaments, Moravian stars and advent wreaths from wooden huts and serve roasted chestnuts, Christstollen cake and lebkuchen (gingerbread) from age old recipes and German traditions.
Have you visited a Christmas Market this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.
Feature Image via Alisa Anton