After a sad season in 2020 in which most of the Christmas markets in the world have not opened, it seems that 2021 is bringing them back, BIG TIME!
So where should you go? Which destination is suitable for families? And where is the best place to sleep in the city?
Well, every city and country in the world brings its own charm, but there is no magical period like the weeks before Christmas. The trees are filled with lights, the shop windows are painted red with Santa Claus dolls, and all over Europe travel to visit the various Christmas markets.
All major markets will open this year with most having special restrictions in the shadow of the corona. It is very important to check the exact guidelines before arriving at the market sites. Some, like the Winter Wonderland in London, require pre-registration.
The markets open between the end of November and the beginning of December, and are usually open until December 24 - Christmas Eve. Some are also open until the new year. But, and this is an important but - remember that most places close completely on the holidays themselves, which is December 25th and usually the day before. So alongside the markets that will be closed, also the shops, restaurants and in fact all the attractions in the city will not operate so it is advisable to arrive before the holiday.
More important information - Admission to most markets is free, and for attractions such as roller coasters and ice skating you will have to pay separately. And now, let's talk about the six most recommended markets in Europe thanks to their size, attractions, colors and mulled wine.
The Christmas Market Capital City - Strasbourg
Alsace is located in northeastern France on the border with Germany and Switzerland, and is called "Switzerland of France". The capital of Alsace is the picturesque Strasbourg, where you will find a particularly magical Christmas market. The city is crowned as the capital of Christmas and not for nothing: all the buildings are decorated, there are colorful fir trees everywhere and the atmosphere is mesmerizing.
The markets in Strasbourg are among the oldest in the world - from 1,570! They are in the city center within walking distance of each other, and are filled with hundreds of wooden pavilions offering mulled wine, excellent street food, wooden and glass gifts and more.
Among the attractions you will find in Strasbourg: street performances, puppet theaters and ice skating.
Where to stay: Strasbourg city center is picturesque and beautiful, it is recommended to stay in it and be within walking distance of the various markets.
Market dates: November 11 to December 26.
Nuremberg Market: One of the Largest Christmas Markets in the World
This year, out of a desire to maintain distances and crowds, the market - which is considered one of the largest in the world, is divided into several centers that are close to each other in the Old City. In the Main Market Square you can stroll among the picturesque pavilions with red and white roofs. The market in Nuremberg also boasts a combination of citizens with disabilities in pavilions, and you will find a variety of gifts that are also a contribution to society. On the market website you can download special phone tours on various topics.
Among the attractions you will find in Nuremberg: a whole area for children only with a Ferris wheel, special characters, games, and even a hot "wine" for children to make them feel like the big ones. There are also food workshops where children can decorate cookies, candle making workshops, glass sculpture, playground and more.
Adults will enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride, a tour of the Old Town on a classic train, and walks in the market. December is the perfect time to go up for a lookout over the old town with its ornate roofs and lights everywhere.
Where to stay: In the old town.
Market Dates: November 26 to December 24
Copenhagen Market: The Market that inspired Disneyland
Rumor has it that Disneyland was based on the "Tivoli Gardens" amusement park in Copenhagen, and rightly so. With 500,000 lights, the charming market is full of special Danish dishes like Aebleskiver - a kind of pancake balls dipped in powdered sugar. And Honninghjerter - a special honey cake filled with jam or cream and coated in chocolate.
The trees in the market are covered in snow and of course Santa Claus walks around the pavilions. The market has a spectacular audio-visual show and over 60 pavilions full of food, gifts, drinks and more.
Among the attractions you will find in Copenhagen: fireworks (on some nights), carnival games, roller coasters, honey cake decorations, plays and more.
Where to stay: Indre By.
Market Dates: November 12 to December 12
London's Winter Wonderland
London is mesmerizing even on normal days, but in December it becomes especially bright. While there are hundreds of markets in London on every corner, the highlight is the Winter Wonderland. The market is spread over a huge area in Hyde Park and boasts countless attractions for children and adults. In the market you can buy countless types of drinks, but water will always be plentiful and free - in fact, they encourage you to bring bottles from home that you will go to fill there.
Among the attractions you can find in London: a huge ice skating rink, circus, ice bar, ice sculpture Sanda, Ferris wheel, ice slides, roller coasters for young and old and the world of Santa, an area especially for the little ones.
Entry to the market this year is by pre-registration only and is free of charge during the quiet hours. During peak hours admission will cost between £ 5 and £ 7.5 per person, but if you purchase tickets to attractions for £ 20 or more - admission will also be free during peak hours. Please note that this year you can purchase tickets, food and drink tickets on the website.
Where to stay: London public transport is excellent, so there are plenty of recommended areas to stay. But if you want to sleep close to the market, look for a hotel in the Hyde Park area.
Market Dates: November 19 to January 3, 2022
Berlin: Abundance of Christmas Markets
Berlin has countless Christmas markets and each one is full of great gifts and food. For adults (without children), the Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful, with a variety of food and drink stalls and performances into the night. If you come with children, one of the most popular markets is
At Alexanderplatz you will find over a hundred gift and food pavilions and masses of facilities for all ages, including roller coasters, ice skating, a Ferris wheel and a pyramid made of 5,000 bulbs - the largest in Europe.
But just one stop away, at the Hackeshermarkt, there is a smaller market but also full of attractions - and less crowded. There too there is a Ferris wheel and ice skating, facilities for the little ones and lots of great food.
Where to stay: Mitte is the area where most of Berlin's attractions are located, but the Mitte area is huge. If you want to be in the center of things, Alexanderplatz boasts cheap hotels at great prices, all within walking distance of all the shopping and markets you would like to visit. If you are looking for a quieter place, the Hackersmarket is one stop (10 minutes walk) from Alexanderplatz, the picturesque neighborhood is full of restaurants and cafes and has all kinds of public transport in the city.
* The Christmas Market in Potsdamer Platz starts on October 29 and lasts January 22, 2022.
* The Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbrauerei will open from 22.11 to 22.12.21.
Vienna – Veteran of all Christmas Markets
The history of the markets in Vienna begins at least in 1298 - for over 700 years the breaking of Austria has been a tourist attraction during the Christmas period. The largest and most magnificent market is in front of the municipality, the Vienna Christmas Dream.
At the entrance to the market, you will pass through hundreds of lights and immediately enter the holiday atmosphere and directly to more than 150 booths that sell everything from everything: mulled wine, street food, gifts, sweets and more.
Vienna: Always at the top of the list of the most beautiful markets
Among the attractions you’ll find in Vienna: cookie decorating, candle making, ice skating, a carousel and a Ferris wheel.
Where to stay: Innere Stadt.
Market Dates: November 17 to December 26.