Hello, lovely ones!
I know it’s still November, but the most wonderful time of the year starts in a few days! Christmas Markets all over Europe open their gates for visitors worldwide and we must know which one we’ll visit this year. I’ve already decided to spend my time in Austria and also wrote down some ideas for 2018. If you are still trying to figure it out which European city offers the best pre-Christmas experience, you should definitely read my list below with my favorite choices (including 3 markets I’ve visited in the previous year – Sibiu, Paris and Strasbourg).
When? November 17 2017 – January 3 2018
Where? Grand Square
Of course I will start with a beautiful town in my country…Sibiu which has been offering the most colorful Christmas Market in Romania for 11 ten years. The big event is organized with the help of the Embassy of Austria and this year’s theme is “Christmas in Sibiu – Food.Fun.Culture. 2017”. In the Grand Square there will be over 100 exhibitors from around the country and abroad. Also, you will find a small Street Food market where you can taste the mulled wine, hamburgers, loaded fries, hot cocktails and sausages. The atmosphere is pretty special during the evening, when all the lights are twinkling and people gather around to celebrate. A skating rink, nativity scenes, concerts and a carousel are just some of the things you should try when in Sibiu during this lovely time. Another charm is represented by the spectacular animations, which bring the Grand Square’s elegant buildings to life with bright and colorful projections recreating this year an enchanted forest with a magic snowfall. So, check the flights to Romania (there is an international airport in Sibiu also) and book your tickets. Us, Romanians, are very friendly and Sibiu is a gorgeous place to be in any season but during winter it just glows! You will see that Romania is a great surprise and you will want to come back very soon.
More details HERE
When? Depending on the location, November 10 2017 – January 3 2018
Where? Hyde Park, South Bank, Tower Bridge and Tower of London, Greenwich, Kingston, Clapham Common, Crystal Palace park
I’ve never been to London, but I would love to see the Christmas Market in Hyde Park and enjoy the festive atmosphere at Winter Wonderland. I have done some research upon this city and the magnificent Christmas shows it offers each year and I really think it’s a perfect destination for those who want to feel like children once again. So either you wish to skate on an open-air ice rink, browse the lovely wooden chalets for handmade crafts and delicious snacks, see the town sparkle from the Giant Observation Wheel or simply marvel at the huge Christmas tree, London is a great idea. Almost every corner of the city’s main quarters is picture perfect, starting with the stunning views of Tower Bridge and Tower of London up to the magical Santa’s Grotto in Greenwich. No more waiting because London is calling and you don’t want to miss the glitzy lights of the Christmas extravaganzza.
More details HERE
When? Depending on the location, November 17 – December 26 2017
Where? City Hall, Belvedere Palace, Maria-Theresien Platz, former general hospital, Schonbrunn Palace, Spittelberg
Can’t wait to walk the beautiful streets of Vienna in search of the perfect Christmas decor and winter treats. This year I will experience the Austrian traditions in the imperial capital. The Christmas markets in Vienna are age old, dating back to the Middle Ages (1298) when Albrecht I granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or “Krippenmarkt”. I have a long list of winter attractions in Vienna and I plan to see them all but the one I think I will enjoy the most is the Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall. Having that unique backdrop, the market has its own charm and the the aromas of lebkuchen and cinnamon, delicious chestnuts and hot punch that will transport the visitors in to a Christmas wonderland. Vienna is a city that charms and seduces from scratch, but even more the longer you stay. Whether for fast-track travel or slow-paced sightseeing, and regardless of how many times you’ve been before, there’s a seemingly never-ending wealth of things to do and see throughout the year. It’s also both culturally and musically one of the richest cities in the world, and has a good, lively mix of cool cafés and bars, galleries, shops and street markets. I will tell you all about the Vienna Christmas dream once I’ll be back home, but don’t forget to follow me on Instagram in the meanwhile for real time photos and instastories full of flavor.
More details HERE
When? November 24 – December 30, 2017
Where? Place Broglie, Place de la Cathedral, Place du Marché-aux-Poissons, Place Benjamin-Zix, Place Kleber
I remember with so much joy about my family trip to Strasbourg back in 2002 and especially the wonderful Christmas decorations all around this town: the impressive Christmas Tree that shines even brighter than the cathedral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg in Place Kleber, the illuminations that cover the buildings, the pretty wooden cabins with the best of treats, the delicious bredele cakes and hot wine. But what I loved the most was the idea of reconnecting with your family members, going together and having a great time in a traditional way. Also known as Capitale de Noel (“Capital of Christmas”), Strasbourg has been hosting such lovely events way before 1570, making it one of the oldest in Europe and the very first in France. Explore arts and crafts, pick up some traditional Alsatian Christmas decorations or, if food’s your thing, tuck into some local culinary specialties. Get into the festive spirit exploring the crafts, walking the narrow winding streets and canals that go across the district and make you time travel and enjoy the Alsatian history. The magic of Christmas comes to Strasbourg every year with a fine new touch and make each season even more enchanting than the previous one. A great tradition is that each year the city invites a guest country to join the Christmas markets with the intention to bring an extra flavor. 2017 is about Iceland – so should not miss the Icelandic Village at Place Gutenberg.
More details HERE
When? December 1 – 23 2017
Where? City center
The Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas Market has become over the past 500 years of existence a symbol of an authentic Christmas celebration. This medieval town transforms each December in a marvelous winter fest. If you want to get the best out of German traditions then you should treat yourself with a Rothenburg snowball or roasted chestnuts. Get lost on the tiny and chic decorated streets while looking after handcrafted treasures or souveniers, warm your hands with a big cup of white mulled wine and have a German Christmas pastry. Search all the picturesque squares around the town hall and its archways that are lined with wooden booths, making the season even more jolly and bright. For an unforgettable experience and great photos, you must go on Fridays or Saturdays until 8 pm and soak in the Christmas spirit of the ‘Reiterlesmarkt’ from the town hall tower.
More details HERE.
When? November 17 2017 – January 6 2018
Where? Town Hall Square
Everything is possible at the Christmas Market in Tallinn! The star of the market is of course the Christmas tree, which has been set up in Town Hall Square since 1441, making it the first Christmas tree ever to be put on display in Europe. The vibes are wonderful and the setting is like a winter postcard: the historical town square is surrounded by cute booths adorned with shining lights selling local delicacies from the Estonian Christmas cuisine (black pudding, sour cabbage, gingerbread and hot Christmas drinks) to seasonal handmade crafts. Every guest can enjoy the various shows that entertain the crowds every night: concert, merry-go-rounds or actually meeting Santa Claus in his own home together with his reindeer sleigh! I think Estonia is a nice surprise and will receive its visitors with a particular charm and a well selected program for the winter holidays.
More details HERE
Prague, Czech Republic
When? December 2 – January 6 2017
Where? Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Havel’s Market, Kampa Island, St. George’s Basilica, Prague Castle
The bohemian features of this town mixed with that vintage allure from the story of Arabela and Rumburak make Prague a perfect destination no matter the season. In December however, the beauty of this place reaches its highest point throughout the many Christmas Markets and fairy tale decorations that are set up in the main squares. The market at the Old Town Square has animal stables where you can pet the sheep, goats or donkeys, workshops where you can observe traditional food being made, a tall Christmas Tree and cute little houses where you can sample all manner of local food and drink and also shop some typical Czech Christmas tree ornaments, hand-blown painted glass balls, bells, warm wool socks and many more nicely made decorations. But the markets are not just about shopping. They are also about feeling the Christmas spirit with your loved ones, listening to Christmas carols and having a great time in one of Europe’s biggest and most beautiful urban spaces. If you want to have a look from above, the best place to get the whole picture of the event and take some panoramic photos is on top of the Old Town Hall Tower. You can relax afterwards with traditional Czech food, such as barbecued pork, Czech muffins and of course a big glass of beer.
More details HERE
When? December 2 – Ianuary 7 2017
Where? The streets surrounding the Jelačić Square, Upper Town and New Zagreb
Zagreb has been voted two years in a row “European Best Christmas Market”, a title the city proudly deserves. Never been there but the pictures I’ve seen speak more than words. During this time of the year, the capital of Croatia offers an amazing atmosphere that simply has to be lived. From local manufacturers, good food and elegant lights all over the streets, the Advent holiday transforms the town in a traditional winter festival. Some of my friends are visiting Zagreb in short time and I’m so curious to find out more details and who knows maybe even book a last minute weekend getaway.
More details HERE.
When? Depending of the location, from November 15 to December 28 2017
Where? La Defense, Notre Dame, Invalides, Montparnasse, Galeries Lafayette
You already know that Paris is always a good idea, but seeing Paris get all dressed up for the holidays is a bucket list experience. The city of lights attacks the November gloom with streets full of twinkling lights and Christmas Markets in the main areas. There are many things to do in Paris, visiting the Notre Dame cathedral in one of them. For the Christmas eve service, spending a few hours inside this impressive church can be a memorable and peaceful occasion, regardless any religious beliefs. Enjoy a few days in this gorgeous Parisian setting, take a wintery whirl at an ice rink, observe the department store windows filled with animated displays and go for a shopping spree at the Galeries Lafayete where you will be amazed of their annual Christmas tree inside. I had a lovely time two years ago at the Marche de Noel on Champs Elysees which will unfortunately be closed this year…Elegant wooden Christmas soldier where guarding the main squares, silver Christmas trees were placed in tiny groups, the entire avenue was shining like glitter and a big ferris wheel was set up on the Place de la Concorde. When in Paris, you should take a day to visit Disneyland because it is another way to soak up a little holiday ambiance during your stay in Paris. From early November through early January the theme park will be decked out for the winter season and it’s legendary! So you must enjoy a full-fledged Christmas theme on Main Street, a holiday parade, and other festive events that should help you and the whole family bring in the holiday season with joy and fun.
More details HERE
When? December 1-24 2017
Where? Nuremberg’s Main Market Square
Gingerbread and bratwurst – a typical combo in Nuremberg, especially in December. One of the oldest and most famous Christmas Markets in Germany brings back the magic each year when the Nuremberg Christkind opens the winter ceremonies on Friday before the first Sunday in Advent. Although the prologue has been the same for decades, thousands eagerly wait on the Main Market Square to hear the familiar words with which the Christkind opens “her” market. With its blond locks, the big crown and the golden dress, it’s the symbol and most important representative of the Nuremberg Christmas Market – the Christkind. A nice and unique thing to do while in Nuremberg in December is to join a stagecoach tour and experience a nostalgic trip around the festive city sitting in the coach, passing by the sights of Nuremberg and listening to the Christmas songs the coachman plays on his trumpet. You should also climb the stairs of the main church and be rewarded with a wonderful view on the red-white colored booths, the lights and the people strolling around the market.
More details HERE
After reading about these wonder places, I hope to have inspired you in booking a weekend getaway or even a whole week and enjoy the holiday spirit in a fairy tale way. Make it a December to remember because we all know this is the most wonderful time of the year. This season, we should all open our hearts, take our loved ones and spend time to appreciate the little things…together. Pack your bag and your good mood and get lost in a winter wonderland!
It is after all the season to sparkle…so where to, lovely people?