Chrustmas Markets In Europe Index

Christmas Markets In Europe Index (Post 1 of 2)

  Helsinki In Finland, Budapest in Hungary, Salzburg In Austria, Dresden in Germany, Brussels in Belgium, Riga in Latviia, Brugge ( Bruges ) in Belgium, Oslo in Norway,

(Post 2 – other xmas markets in Europe)

tallinn_christmas

The origins of europes Christmas markets can be traced back to the    Christkindlmar in Vienna in 1294.    They were an extension of   markets at which people met to    buy and sell local goods. Many of these items were  home-made from tin straw and wood.. The markets were usually opened close to the entrances to churches in the hope that parishners would buy goods before  or after attending services. By the 17th century literally hundreds of these markets had become established in Germany and they began to  open in other european cities. Recent 21st century additions to the list of xmas markets in Europe are Tallin & Riga.

Some of the larger markets open at the beginning of Advent which in  Christian religions is usually the last weekend in November whilst others may not open until the beginning of December. All are open until Chtistmas and one or two may stay open for a few days afterwards. Generally these markets are open from mid morning to mid evening. At weekends  many will open earlier and close later to acommodate tourists on  weekend breaks

 

A Selection of The Best Christmas Markets In Europe

If you are  looking for Xmas gifts that are different from the presents you might normally purchase at home buying your presents at a european christmas market may be the answer.  Each market has its own uniques themes and some particulaly in places like Prague Budapest and Krakow offer quality goods and crafts at prices that you nornally would  only dream about. The musical background to  the market in Vienna gives it a truly festive ambience and the new market in Tallinn is good forhand made winter clothes

1. Oslo

The Christmas Market in Oslo is very much like a   fairytale land.  There is a stunning light display which adds to the ambience   and magic of the market.  It is near the water and so people are advised to   dress warm as it can get bitterly cold here.  There are a good range of stalls   with the traditional hand made crafts and gifts as well as Christmas decorations   and beautiful ornaments.

A few stalls sell traditional viking produce  to give   you the real feel of old Scandinavia.  There is even an ethnic African stall   which may surprise many visitors which sells clothes and goods with authentic   African flavour. Some come here purely for the delightful Norwegian food such as   Glogg, Polse and Palegrot.  Unlike some other markets in Europe Santa Claus only   visits once and if you want to catch the beardy fellow then you must visit on   Christmas Eve. More information about Oslo

2. Helsinki

Dec 13 -23rd Dec

    The huge market in Helsinki   is perhaps best known for its alcohol and in particular its Local Finnish Vodka   and mulled wine which keeps shoppers entertained to say the least.  They have   the typical stools which offer a good range of handicrafts, holiday cards and   ceramics.  They also have wonderfully scented candles for sale to give you that   classic winter feeling as well as  clothing suited for this magical yet freezing   time of the year. When all  is lit up the market makes for beautiful sight which   is likely to capture the hearts and minds of many who flock here. More information about Helsinki

3. Budapest

Vorosmarty Square 18 Nov to Dec 30 10-8 pm daily

The Market is thriving and atmospheric as you can watch cultural   programmes and listen totraditional Hungarian folk music as you shop.  There   are cottage style stalls selling authentic hand made decorations and applied art   products. The market is not short of a culinary treat or two and you can divulge   in strudel, grilled sausages as well as the typical Christmas cookies.

One of   its most unique features are the decorated windows which act as an advent   calendar for all the days of christmas. There is a religious feel  as is   highlighted by the mini Bethlehem scene which is portrayed by wooden figures.   Mulled wine is on sale here as  with most European Christmas markets so those   who like a drink at this time of year need not worry. More information about Budapest

4. Salzburg Cathedral Square

17 Nov-26 Dec

The Salzburg market takes place in the enchanting cathedral square.   They have a wide variety of items to purchase such as handicrafts, aromatic   ornaments and delicious baked goods such as cookies and Austrian pastries.   Salzburg has a particularly Christmas like feeling which just adds to the   excitement of this market. local Salzburg choirs come here to perform religious   Christmas songs which adds even further to the spine tingling joy of the festive   season. The Archbishop himself arrives here in mid November to open the fair to   the public. More information about Salzburg

5. Dresden, Germany The Strietzlmarkt

November 24th to December   24th

The Dresden Christmas market is the oldest in Germany dating all   the way back to 1434.  The main attraction which makes Dresden’s fair very   different is the ‘Streizel’ which is a sacred stollen cake. A  3,000 kg sweet   fruit cake is paraded around the town of Dresden during the Christmas season and   is viewed as  a delicacy in these parts. In the 16th century the Prince of   Dresden would cut the famous cake and hand out slices to the poor of the town.

It’s a market which is full of history and character. One of  it’s most popular   goods is  ‘Blaudruck’ which is a white and blue painted cloth. the stools sell   the obvious crafts  as well as another rarity which makes it  one of the more   interesting shopping experiences and that is the hand blown glass.

6.Brussels

Brussels market is  a must for  real food lovers whether it be the    steamed snails or Belgian speciality of Chocolates and sweets. Those with a   sweet tooth may also enjoy tucking in to the Father Christmas shaped Gingerbread   men.  If you are looking for a more gastronomic experience then you will have to   consider the belgian capital for your christmas market shopping.

The fish market   here is turned in to an ice rink on December 23rd  which is popular with both   kids and adults who feel like taking a break from shopping to have a leisurely   skate.  Another added attraction are the street musicians who some may find   irritating but most feel adds to the enjoyment of the fair.  The stools are   chalet-style wooden huts and you can find Christmas decorations for you home as   well as arts and crafts aimed particularly at the children.

7. Riga

The Dome Square Latvia 10 am to 8 pm

The Riga Christmas market has  the most welcoming and friendly   atmosphere. The Latvians and in particular natives of Riga are renowned for   their warm hospitality.  The fair here is small, one of the smallest in Europe   but is not without charm and fun. It’s located in Dome square which is next to   the Cathedral in Riga . Various Latvian craftsmen come here for business and   their leather and wax produce and are some of the main items sold at the market.

Their are some bizarre characters spotted here  like jugglers and various street   entertainers and so if you have a taste for the absurd then you may find you   feel at home. Wandering elves also frequent the market which fits in with the   type of entertainment on offer here.  Salamis and cheese are the most sought   after foods here and those who have sampled them seem highly impressed. More information about Riga

8. Brugge ( Bruges )

Market Square Nov 24- Dec 31

The market here is a medieval type affair which is typical of the   Belgian city itself. The square lights up fantastically  offering somewhat of a   visual spectacular. The market is actually very small but still has lots to   offer visitors who decide to venture here. Local beer  is on sale at the cosy   bars if you fancy  resting your feet from all that shopping. What else but   Belgian waffles are on sale and unsurprisingly most who have consumed them  were   more than happy.  They are famous for their chocolates and sweets  and so if you   are looking to lose a few pounds you may struggle to do so in Brugge.

Traditional carols are sung by church choirs  and there is a toy fair to keep   your little ones amused. Some who have come to Brugge’s Christmas market were   not thrilled as it is arguably too small but there are also many who would   disagree with that and say they had a great time. You will have to come here   yourself to see whether it’s you cup of tea. An Ice skating rink is an added   attraction  and decorations and alike are on sale at the stalls.

(Post 2 – other xmas markets in Europe)

Hungary Village + editorial comment

 

 

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