42 Reasons Why I Love European Christmas Markets

Cologne Germany Dom

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.

  1. Feeling as if you’re a local, if only for a few hours.
  2. Seeing how Santa changes from one country to the next.
  3. Hanging out at the markets in front of the Eiffel Tower – bucket list experience for sure.
  4. Learning that even countries not known for their markets have amazing markets – looking at you Netherlands!
  5. Enjoying the massive Winter Wonders festival/market in Brussels.
  6. Buying fun and unusual presents from cookies to special holiday gifts.
  7. Reibekuchen potato pancakes GermanyTaking cooking classes and learning how to make festive foods back at home.
  8. Eating hot Reibekuchen – fried German potato pancakes.
  9. Experiencing them on a river cruise, seeing small villages festooned with holiday decorations along the way.
  10. Learning that each market has its own vibe and experiences to offer visitors.
  11. Eating kouglof and pretzels in Strasbourg, France.
  12. Listening to local musicians add holiday cheer to the festivities.
  13. Discovering foods and regional favorites you won’t see any other time of the year.Colmar, France
  14. Enjoying how the Alsace region combines the best of German and French Christmas traditions.
  15. Getting lost in the crowd at one of the world’s largest markets in Nuremberg, Germany.
  16. Discovering Regensburg’s unique take on sausages and sweet mustard.
  17. Staying warm with hot Glühwein.
  18. Learning the differences in how Christmas is celebrated from Western to Central and Eastern Europe.
  19. Taking some time out to discover what else there is to experience in every new city.
  20. Understanding that grey days can be fun when you’re at a market.Milan Christmas
  21. Seeing iconic sights in Italy decorated for the holidays.
  22. Leaving the markets and experiencing the cities in a very not-so-touristy time of year.
  23. Seeing the look of wonder on the faces of all the kids exploring the markets.
  24. Learning about local holiday customs and traditions.
  25. Marveling at the special pastries created just for the holiday season.
  26. Ice skating in the middle of a centuries-old village.
  27. Relaxing at a nearby café, bundled up and watching everyone tackle Christmas errands.Viking River Cruise Basel Switzerland
  28. Taking a Viking River Cruise to see different markets in a variety of cities and countries.
  29. Collecting Glühwein mugs at each market.
  30. Buying Christmas ornaments in each new country I visit.
  31. Chatting with locals and learning how they celebrate the season.
  32. Participating in special events that always seem to be going on in the markets.
  33. Hot cocoa and freshly made pastries – enough said.Paris Christmas
  34. Learning that the City of Lights is extra special around Christmas.
  35. Discovering Lebkuchen – not your typical gingerbread cookie.
  36. Appreciating that Italian markets are both stylish and feature amazing food – true to how Italians enjoy life.
  37. Ferris wheels and other rides at many markets.
  38. Enjoying steaming hot chimney cakes anywhere in Central and Eastern Europe.
  39. Eating spätzle and handbrot in Speyer, Germany.
  40. Deciding that it’s ok to buy one more sweet treat.
  41. Enjoying more modern interpretations of a classic Christmas market.
  42. Because I know there are always unexpected moments that transform the experience into something truly special.

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

3 Responses

  1. DrSue

    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.

    Reply
  2. DrSue

    pS Top it off with a Christmas Concert at Dublin National Concert Hall and a meal at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

    Reply
  3. Walter E Swearingen

    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

    Reply

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