Every December, nations worldwide immerse themselves in the festive spirit of Christmas, celebrating the occasion in a grand and traditional manner. The dazzling cityscapes adorned with shimmering lights, majestic Christmas trees, and elaborate decorations create a visually stunning spectacle. On Christmas Eve, numerous cities and towns host vibrant Christmas markets, showcasing a plethora of handicrafts, street food, and other captivating commodities. These markets offer a delightful and distinctive experience, making them well worth a visit. Explore some of the world’s finest Christmas markets below:
Dresden Striezelmarkt – Germany’s Best Christmas Market
24 November 2023, Saxony, Dresden: An oversized candle arch on the Altmarkt is brightly lit. The candle arch is part of the decorations for the 589th Dresden Striezelmarkt. Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Germany’s oldest Christmas market, the Dresden Striezelmarkt, is a must-visit destination. Every year, people from around the globe gather in the Baroque city to experience the festive charm. The market boasts numerous stalls offering special seasonal features, and local bakers tempt visitors with a variety of delicious traditional treats. The German Fruitcake, a bestseller, is a particular favorite. With its interesting events, delectable snacks like cakes and sugary dough balls, and an array of commodities, this market stands out as one of the world’s best.
Location: Altmarkt, Dresden, Germany
Strasbourg Christmas Market – Oldest and Most Visited Worldwide
A general view shows a giant Christmas tree (C-L), as people gather on the opening day of the traditional Christmas market at Kleber square in Strasbourg, northeastern France, on November 24, 2023. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP via Getty Images)
The Strasbourg Christmas market, situated in the enchanting French city, is not only one of the oldest but also one of the most visited Christmas markets globally. Held at the majestic cathedral center, the market dates back to 1570 and is steeped in Alsatian traditions. The entire city is aglow with decorative lights, creating a mesmerizing atmosphere. With over 500 events and an assortment of pastries, spicy bread, and sweets, this market offers a truly delightful experience.
Location: Place Broglie, Strasbourg, France
Zagreb Christmas Market – Capital City of Croatia’s Gem
Daily life in Zagreb,Croatia on 3 Dec 2016 during Advent Time and Christmas market in capital of Croatia. During the time of Advent, Zagreb offers a special atmosphere for tourists. (Photo by Alen Gurovic/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Zagreb Christmas market, held in Croatia’s capital city, is renowned as one of the world’s best. Spanning the streets around Jelacic Square, it features live ice sculpture carving, an ice rink, pop-up bars, music stages, and more. The market’s highlight is “Fuliranje,” a space dedicated to fulfilling one’s desires. The Jolly Christmas Tram, cruising through the city with Santa and his elves, adds to the festive charm.
Location: Jelacic Square, Zagreb, Croatia
Budapest Christmas Market – A Top European Spectacle
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – DECEMBER 16: Children skate around the Christmas tree at the Szent István Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica) on December 16, 2018 in Budapest, Hungary. The best-known Christmas Market of Budapest is organised from year to year in front of Szent István Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica) at the Szent István tér (St. Stephen square). (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)
Counted among the top 15 Christmas markets in Europe, the Budapest Christmas Market transforms the city’s center, Vorosmarty Square, into a spectacular wonderland. With quaint cottages and over 100 wooden stalls, the market exudes a magical atmosphere. The aroma of cinnamon, wine, honey biscuits, and roasted chestnuts fills the air on Christmas Eve. Visitors can savor traditional delicacies like stuffed cabbage and pork knuckle.
Location: Vorosmarty Ter, Budapest, Hungary
Copenhagen Christmas Market – Nordic Elegance at Tivoli Gardens
A view of Christmas Market in Tivoli Gardens, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on December 14, 2018. Christmas in Tivoli Gardens is tradition amongst Copenhageners and without doubt the citys number one Christmas market. (Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Held in Nordic style at Tivoli Gardens, the Copenhagen Christmas Market is a visual delight. The park’s pathways are lined with street stalls offering unique commodities, decorations, artifacts, and hot drinks to keep visitors warm. The market features wooden houses, ornamental glasses, magic bells, and snow-covered Christmas trees, providing an authentic Nordic Christmas experience. Visitors can even meet Santa’s reindeer and explore an Alpine village with activities like skiing and sledding.
Location: Vesterbrogade 3, Copenhagen, Denmark
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