It’s that time of year again – we’re just a few short weeks away from Christmas and the cheer is overflowing wherever you go. This is also my favorite travel time of year because it’s when I make my annual pilgrimage to Europe to explore new areas and eat my way through all of the Christmas Markets I find along the way. I have come to cherish my yearly exploration of European Christmas Markets and as I prepare to pack up and once again make the trek, I thought I’d share just some of the many reasons why I love this tradition so very much and what makes European Christmas Markets one of the best travel experiences in the world.
- Feeling as if you’re a local, if only for a few hours.
- Seeing how Santa changes from one country to the next.
- Hanging out at the markets in front of the Eiffel Tower – bucket list experience for sure.
- Learning that even countries not known for their markets have amazing markets – looking at you Netherlands!
- Enjoying the massive Winter Wonders festival/market in Brussels.
- Buying fun and unusual presents from cookies to special holiday gifts.
- Taking cooking classes and learning how to make festive foods back at home.
- Eating hot Reibekuchen – fried German potato pancakes.
- Experiencing them on a river cruise, seeing small villages festooned with holiday decorations along the way.
- Learning that each market has its own vibe and experiences to offer visitors.
- Eating kouglof and pretzels in Strasbourg, France.
- Listening to local musicians add holiday cheer to the festivities.
- Discovering foods and regional favorites you won’t see any other time of the year.
- Enjoying how the Alsace region combines the best of German and French Christmas traditions.
- Getting lost in the crowd at one of the world’s largest markets in Nuremberg, Germany.
- Discovering Regensburg’s unique take on sausages and sweet mustard.
- Staying warm with hot Glühwein.
- Learning the differences in how Christmas is celebrated from Western to Central and Eastern Europe.
- Taking some time out to discover what else there is to experience in every new city.
- Understanding that grey days can be fun when you’re at a market.
- Seeing iconic sights in Italy decorated for the holidays.
- Leaving the markets and experiencing the cities in a very not-so-touristy time of year.
- Seeing the look of wonder on the faces of all the kids exploring the markets.
- Learning about local holiday customs and traditions.
- Marveling at the special pastries created just for the holiday season.
- Ice skating in the middle of a centuries-old village.
- Relaxing at a nearby café, bundled up and watching everyone tackle Christmas errands.
- Taking a Viking River Cruise to see different markets in a variety of cities and countries.
- Collecting Glühwein mugs at each market.
- Buying Christmas ornaments in each new country I visit.
- Chatting with locals and learning how they celebrate the season.
- Participating in special events that always seem to be going on in the markets.
- Hot cocoa and freshly made pastries – enough said.
- Learning that the City of Lights is extra special around Christmas.
- Discovering Lebkuchen – not your typical gingerbread cookie.
- Appreciating that Italian markets are both stylish and feature amazing food – true to how Italians enjoy life.
- Ferris wheels and other rides at many markets.
- Enjoying steaming hot chimney cakes anywhere in Central and Eastern Europe.
- Eating spätzle and handbrot in Speyer, Germany.
- Deciding that it’s ok to buy one more sweet treat.
- Enjoying more modern interpretations of a classic Christmas market.
- Because I know there are always unexpected moments that transform the experience into something truly special.
3 thoughts on “42 Reasons Why I Love European Christmas Markets”
Love Christmas Markets too. We will be visiting DublinTown’s markets soon. St StephensGreen has some brand new stalls. The lights are lit and all is a go for Christmas.
pS Top it off with a Christmas Concert at Dublin National Concert Hall and a meal at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.
Hello from Germany , my husband and i have visited friends in my home country for the last three years just for the Christmas markets , as it is amazing it truly feels like Christmas , growing up in Germany as a child i remember how important The holidays were to family and the German people , and you are correct , the food is wonderful , i love your web sight my husband and i are also avid travelers , growing up as a diplomats daughter i have traveled since i was eight years old it is a passion of mine and can never get enough , thank you for your web sight and wish you also safe travels enjoy reading your web page . Walter and Ruth
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