Oyku Cicek Butun Staff reporter, The Pawprint
Christmas markets are street markets that open during the four weeks of advent, the tradition first originated in Germany, and is a great way to celebrate Christmas. Many countries have adapted their own Christmas markets to show their Christmas spirit.
- Nuremberg, Germany
The Christmas market in Nuremberg is said to date back to the 17th century with its special parade tradition of the holy cherub Christkind (‘Christ child’) – the traditional giver of gifts at Christmas time, played by a child in the city – through Nuremberg’s central square, the Hauptmarkt. The Christkindlesmarkt (‘Christ child market’) opens at the start of Advent and runs until Christmas Eve. The unique souvenirs on sale include specialties from the Franconian region, such as brandies, fruit jams and clothes made from local wool.
- Berlin, Germany
Berlin’s many Christmas markets are as diverse as the city itself. Many diverge from the traditional to champion multiculturalism or environmental sustainability, such as the Christmas edition of the Green Market vegan lifestyle event. While markets like the famed Gendarmenmarkt deserve an honorable mention, a favorite among locals is the Lucia Christmas Market that is presented at the Kulturbrauerei in the eastern district of Prenzlauer Berg. Here, visitors can enjoy a fusion of German traditions and Scandinavian influences: Nordic flags wave from the stalls, traditional songs sound across the market square and vendors prepare traditional foods, including elk bratwurst.
- Winchester, England
Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is one of the best in Europe, renowned for its bustling atmosphere and stunning location in the shadow of Winchester Cathedral. Inspired by traditional German Christmas Markets, you’ll be captivated by the sights, sounds and smells of the Christmas Market, with tempting seasonal treats and delightful Christmas gifts. Discover 112 chalets filled with high quality exhibitors, hand-picked for their unique and exclusive products. At the heart of the Christmas Market you’ll find a spectacular covered Ice Rink, the perfect winter playground.
- Trento, Italy
Trento Christmas Market is one of the most festive in Italy’s Trentino region. Spreading from Piazza Fiera to Piazza Cesare Battisti, the market has very Alpine in feel, with mini-chalet stalls selling a wide selection of the region’s delicious specialties. These treats include bread dumplings known as Canderli and the very Germanic strudel. There are also plenty of Trentino wines to choose from, as well as local crafts.
- Colmar, France
The Town is decorated which creates a whimsical ambiance. Colmar town center is essentially pedestrian, which comprises numerous architectural treasures such as monuments, churches, museums and alleys, full of imposing buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Marvel at the Maison Pfister, the Koïfhus, Unterlinden museum, Little Venice, the maison des têtes and Saint Martin’s Collegiate church. The whole town is decorated, as in a dream, turning the old center into a veritable open-air theater where the warm Christmas mood envelops the heart of the town.
- Madrid, Spain
In the run up to Christmas, Madrid’s cobbled Plaza Mayor is transformed into a Christmas market with more than 100 picturesque wooden cabin style stalls dedicated to Christmas fare. This is where you will find Christmas trees, Poinsettia and mistletoe as well as hundreds of different traditional figures for nativity scenes alongside Christmas lights and outrageous wigs.
- Ukraine , Kiev
The authorities of the city install a real Christmas tree (brought from the Carpathians’ dense forest) on one of the main squares in Kiev — at St. Sophia Square. It is decorated with toys of different shapes and designs, while the whole market will sparkle with 22 mile (36 kilometers) of neon flashlights. Except for these decorations, there will be various holiday lights, a large chain carousel, food and drinks stalls, festive souvenirs and continuous performances of local musicians or artists. An entertainment town with all sorts of attractions and rides will be located on the Mikhailovskaya Square, opposite the main Christmas tree of Ukraine.
- Innsbruck, Austria
Nestled beneath snowed-covered mountains, Innsbruck offers one of the most romantic settings for Christmas markets in Austria. Twinkling lights are just the beginning to this city’s celebration. There are several markets to choose from, but the Old Town Market might be the most atmospheric. There are 70 stalls to browse, and the entire market is known as Fairy Tale Alley, so you know it is beautiful.
- Roppongi Hills, Japan
Tokyo’s oldest Christmas market is held at Roppongi Hills’s Oyane Plaza. The Christmas market has been held to recreate the one in Stuttgart, Germany, which is known as the largest Christmas market in the world. At the market, traditional German Christmas food, beverage and over 2,000 Christmas crafts are sold. Along with the jolly Christmas atmosphere in the market, enjoy the romantic illuminations at Roppongi Hills held at the same period, including a huge Christmas trees and the famous Keyakizaka Street illumination. The Christmas live concert will be also held on 24th and 25th December at Roppongi Hills Arena.
- New Taipei city, Taiwan
New Taipei’s City’s Christmasland festival embodies all things Christmas! With jaw-dropping fairytale-like installations, this annual fair offers guests a multi-sensory immersion into the holiday spirit. Highlights of the fair includes an extensive Christmas market, fun-packed family friendly rides, Christmas carols and even a Christmas concert! Get ready to be wowed and be sure to snag yourselves cute handmade goodies such as bags and pouches made by the locals.
- Washington D.C. , America
If you love outdoor shopping and all things festive, you’re in for a treat! Located in the heart of Washington DC, Downtown Holiday Market features a rotating selection of exhibitors and artisans selling unique gifts that the big stores can’t offer. With over 150 exhibitors, you’ll be sure to find something special for everyone on your list! Find anything and everything from funky t-shirts to handmade jewelry and even soap. There will also be a wide array of live entertainment and food stalls to make those tummies happy! Trust us, this magical market is worth multiple trips.
- New York City, America
Columbus Circle Holiday, Widely known as one of the most stunning Christmas markets in the world, this delightfully festive fair will be decked excessively in fairy lights and Christmas ornaments. Brimming with over 100 vendors and stalls, be amazed by the glittering aisles of ravishing art pieces, jewelry, home goods from local artisans and designers as you walk along the booths.
- Pennsylvania, America
Koziar’s Christmas Village is exactly how we imagine Santa’s house looks like. As you drive over the darkened countryside, find yourself in the middle of over a million sparkling Christmas lights. Celebrating over 72 years of festivities, this family-owned market is run by the Koziar family and hosts visitors from all over the country.
- Vancouver, Canada
This market is the place to be for couples! Grab your lover’s hand and take a romantic stroll down the Lock and Love Lane – an Instagram-worthy 20-foot long tunnel adorned with 10’000 twinkling lights and mistletoe. Don’t forget to snag a kiss! And if you feel like taking your relationship to the next level, grab a lock and literally lock down your love. Visitors can purchase a heart shaped lock for $2 or bring their own. Other market highlights include: a walk-in Christmas tree, Christmas carousel, scrumptious fair grub like raclette, live musical performances and even a meet-and-greet with Santa.
Most places in Africa have the same concept and execution.
- Capetown, Africa
Christmas Light Shows at the V&A Waterfront. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and visit the Watershed where more than 150 stalls offer African arts and crafts and offer locally-made products and gifts galore.