“Tis The Season! What can possibly get more festive than glittering Christmas trees, red hats, the smell of cakes and let’s not forget the traditional turkey shopping. December surely does leave you smiling with its sizzling markets and chirpy atmosphere. Shopping in December is inevitable, and to add to the Christmas charm, there are a few annual markets that carry just that right amount of glitz with them that make them so special. Here is a list of all those top Christmas markets in the world worth visiting once in a lifetime.
The capital of Christmas, this French-German city is said to host the oldest Christmas market in Europe. If you happen to visit France during December, then Strasbourg (in the Alsace region) should definitely be worth a visit. The Christmas market starts on the 24th of November every year and goes on till the first week of January. The week before Christmas is especially the most interesting one as the illuminations and the Giant Christmas Tree also grace the huge market across the Cathedral Square and Place Broglie. A visit to this age-old market will not only leave you thrilled but will also give you the opportunity to buy special hand-crafted traditional Christmas gifts for your friends and family!
Dates: 24th November to 24th December (Christmas Market) 25th December-6th January (New Years)
Timings: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The oldest market in Germany, dating back to the 15th century, this market attracts millions of festival shoppers from across Europe and is a festival in its own. The city hosts 11 different markets all over, which gives buyers a plethora of options to choose from. However, the most visited one are the stalls in Dresden Altmarkt Square. One can enjoy traditional Saxon treats, the Christmas carols on repeat and the scent of warm wine on a visit to this lively place. What attracts tourists to this place is the folk art of the Erzgebirge region, such as the miniature pyramids along with the traditional crafts from the nearby towns.
Dates: 29th November to 24th December
Timings: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Christmas City, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
One of the largest Christmas markets in the U.S., the Christkindlmrkt in Bethlehem is one of the oldest in the country and is a blend of arts, culture and traditions. The city was christened in the 18th century and has held the Christmas spirit and tradition ever since. You are sure to love the small German Christmas products and the wonderful delicacies offered. Watch out for the festival lightings, there are plenty of them to choose from.
Dates: 17th-19th November, 24th November-24th December
Timings: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Hong Kong Winterfest
The one month long Winterfest that graces this previously colonized country, sees a massive tourist boost especially from neighboring countries. The highlight of this is definitely the tall Christmas Tree at Status Square, that is laden with fairy lights and star and appears to be straight out of a Christmas movie. This is the perfect time to visit Hong Kong, especially with family as the city comes alive (especially at night) and is merrier than ever! Watch out for the Symphony of Lights show, which is a hit amongst tourists and locals alike and the New Year’s Eve Countdown.
Dates: 1st December to 1st January
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
Denmark surely knows how to surprise us, and the most exciting surprise of them all is probably the Christmas market held each year in the famous Tivoli Gardens. The entire city bursts with festive cheer during this time, with plenty of opportunities for you to experience the Danish tradition of hygge- cozy warm feeling with friends/family. Winter can certainly get cold up in Scandinavia, but that’s just another reason to celebrate. Experience the true Nordic Winter land by trying out local goodies like aebleskiver (sweet dough balls with jam) and glogg (mulled wine). So dive into the spirit of ‘Jule Hygge’ (Christmas coziness) and have a great festive season in this land of wonders.
Dates: 18th November to 31st December
Timings: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Entry Fee: Adults: 99.0 DK
Toronto Christmas Market
Canada surely seems like a winter wonderland during the magical month of December. To add to its charm, the country hosts wonderful Christmas markets all over, however the one in Toronto is like no other. One of the greatest Christmas Markets in North America, the Toronto Christmas Market is great to visit with families and friends alike, and be a part of the various activities throughout the month. Do watch out for the Santa Claus House and the celebrations of St. Nicholas Day.
Dates: 16th November- 23rd December
Timings: 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Mondays closed)
Entry Fee: $6
Come November and the entire capital city comes alive at the Main Market Square. Krakow’s Christmas market is definitely one of the highlights of the year for the Polish people residing there. The market presents one with jewelry in Baltic Amber, Bohemian glass, Christmas idols and nativity scenes. One can even enjoy local shows put up by stage actors in an open space, these include traditional folk dances and depictions of the Polish Nativity Scenes. To add that extra bit of zeal to the festive spirit, take the carriage ride along the market.
Dates: 24th November-26th December
Timings; 8: 00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
When thinking of Christmas markets, one doesn’t usually think of Estonia to feature in the list. However, the Jouluturg is one the most attractive Christmas markets in Europe. Hope to witness lots of lights at the historic town square, which has a huge glittering Christmas, a stage for multiple entertaining performances and beautifully decorated houses selling folk crafts and Christmas delicacies. Do try the delectable gingerbread with some mulled wine.
Dates: 18th November- 6th January
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Prague Christmas Market, Czech Republic
The capital city of Prague is the dream destination for many, with its historic monuments and a romantic atmosphere. However, the city surely does know how to celebrate Christmas, with its numerous markets during the season, the largest one being in Old Town Square. The month long market not only entails great eateries, decorations and ceramic, glassware as gifts but also has cute Christmas-themed workshops and performances. Don’t miss out the carols sung by school children who travel from all over the country to perform.
Dates: 2nd December- 6th December
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Bath Christmas Market, United Kingdom
Attracting thousands of visitors per year, the Bath Christmas Market is one of the most popular one in U.K. The market attracts tourists as well as domestic residents to try the local produce and wander around the chalets. There are nearly 200 wooden chalets in the market that carry all the Christmas goodies. Moreover, numerous plays are performed by theatre students and actors.
Dates: 23rd November to 20th December
Timings: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.