Cinnamon swirling in rich mulled wine, Christmas cookies of all kinds in generous quantities from shortbread to gingerbread, twinkling trinkets, glittering Christmas decorations, and nostalgic handmade toys. Festive traditions spike the season and initiate one of the year’s best holiday traditions that encompass all of this – the Christmas market. Here are 6 Christmas markets to see this year:
The dark gothic skyline glitters with twinkling colourful Christmas lights and glows with canopies of warm white string lights while festive Christmas trees, wreaths, bows and boughs punctuate the landscape – generously. Prague illuminates, all dressed for the occasion with halls decked out to the nines. In the heart of this festive annual tradition are Prague’s Christmas markets. Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are the two main ones, about a five-minute walk from each other. Old Town Square buzzes with a live nativity scene complete with a stable of friendly sheep, donkeys, and goats that kids can pet; folk music; choirs; stalls of traditional Czech bites, from spit roasted ham and barbecued klobasa sausage, to trdelnik, a sweet pastry roll wrapped around a stick, roasted over an open flame and dusted with sugar. Sit back with a Czech beer or some mulled wine and peruse the stalls of traditional handicrafts, toys, puppets, and Christmas ornaments.
When: Dec 3, 2016-Jan 4, 2017
Sweet baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, Saxony delicacies and delights, and famous Dresden Stollen cakes are aplenty and abundant at one of Germany’s oldest and most delicious Christmas markets, the Dresden Striezelmarkt. Dating back to 1434, the medieval streets of this historic old town lead the way to over 230 market stalls filled with handmade treasures, toys, and Christmas decorations. Stroll through rows of lovingly crafted Erzgebirge wooden folk art beautifully carved into Nutcrackers, Lausitz indigo prints, and traditional Moravian stars, a symbolic 26-pointed star families hang the first Sunday of Advent.
When: Nov 24, 2016-Dec 24, 2016
Circus shows with high-flying aerial acts and contortion brings applause to the big top. An observation wheel impresses with views of London from great heights. Christmas markets twinkle and glow with string lights. London’s rosy-cheeked winter lovers bring the spirit of Christmas to life at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, celebrating 10 years of ice sculptures, ice dancing, and ice skating on the largest outdoor rink in the UK.
When: Nov 8, 2016-Jan 2, 2017
Cinnamon spice and everything nice is in the air at Vienna’s foremost annual Christmas market, Weihnachtsmarktm, with interrupting wafts of gingerbread, traditional Viennese hot punch, fresh baked vanillekipferl cookies, and more Victorian-style sweet treats throughout. One of the smaller Christmas markets with only about 80 exhibitors, delicious food stalls are sprinkled throughout, next to stalls with limited edition handcrafted toys and Christmas decorations made by seasoned artisans from candlemakers to wood carvers to potters. Visitors browse as they wander through stalls, watch Hungarian dancers, hear the sound of music by the holiday choir, and admire the majesty of the Schonbrunn Palace watching over in the background.
When: Nov 19, 2016-Jan 1, 2017
New York City
In the city that never sleeps, snow lightly blankets Central Park, taxis maneuver through traffic, and the warm glow of neon lights illuminate Times Square. At Christmastime, this magical borough comes alive with Christmas trees, ice rinks, string lights, and decked out department store window displays. It’s in the midst of all this that the nearby open-air Christmas market in Winter Village, Bryant Park, welcomes guests with one-of-a-kind handmade goods, artisanal treats and goodies, and artwork.
When: Dates, TBD
Lamplit laneways light the way through this Victorian-era London with little orphan Oliver Twist, grumpy old Scrooge, and the noble Nicholas Nickleby strolling through the narrow streets. At the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, more than 700 of Charles Dickens’ beloved characters roam the streets on a night that’s perpetually Christmas Eve in the exhibition halls of San Francisco‘s Cow Palace. Quaint shops, pubs, and tearooms are recreated with the enticing aromas of roasting chestnuts bringing Christmas to life every night for one month of the year just before the holidays.
When: Nov 19, 2016-Dec 18, 2016