Although it was a balmy 98º last week here in the Washington DC area, it looks like Fall is finally here with a slight chill in the air. Which directly leads us to trips to Europe and Christmas Markets!
Even though the better-known markets like Strasbourg (France), Vienna (Austria), or Nuremberg (Germany) are always fun to visit, it may be time to discover some hidden gems. It's never to early to plan and here are some of the best Christmas markets off the beaten path that most people don't visit.
Tallinn, Estonia - With a walled, cobblestoned Old Town, Tallinn is considered one of the best-preserved Hanseatic town centers in the world. In recent years, the Tallinn Christmas market has been voted one of the best in the world, as the market delights everyone with its coziness, historical location, wonderfully preserved medieval old buildings and long traditions. More Info
Budapest, Hungary - Decorations, ice-skating, crafts for sale, food: everything you could possibly want from a Christmas market is here. Located in front of Budapest’s grandest cathedral, St. Stephen’s Basilica, you can take in the dazzling lights while noshing on traditional Hungarian delights like Floyd I and Kurtoskalacs cakes. While the market is certainly steeped in tradition, it’s also added some modern elements including flash mobs, contemporary art for sale and a light show on the facade of the basilica that spectators watch with 3D glasses. More Info
Erfurt, Germany - Erfurt is home to Thuringia’s largest Christmas market, the Erfurter Weihnachtsmarkt, spread across the city with over 200 different booths where you can find the best of traditional German food, drink and handmade decor. Glass-blown Christmas ornaments and handcrafted woodwork (from Santa Clauses to nutcrackers to Christmas pyramids). More Info
Seville, Spain - The Feria del Belén in Seville offers visitors a different kind of Christmas market, specializing only in figurines and sets for Nativity scenes, known as Beléns in Spanish. Extremely delicate and intricate, you can buy anything from Mary, Joseph and The Three Kings to mini market places, shepherds, and even moving water wheels. Located in the historic centre, near the Cathedral, it runs from November 18th to December 23rd. More Info
Edinburgh, Scotland - Don't miss the festive markets in the city center. Enjoy delicious food & drink and traditional crafts at the Scottish Market on George Street, pick up unique gifts and goods at the European Market in the Mound Precinct, or choose presents for the wee ones in the Children's Market, part of Santa Land in Princes Street Gardens. More Info
Prague, Czech Republic - In Prague, travelers will find not one, but two sensational Christmas markets within a five-minute walk of each other (old Town Square and Wenceslas Square). Both are dotted with traditional wooden huts brimming with gifts, klobasa (Czech sausages) and Pilsner Urquell. At night, when the tree in Old Town Square twinkles with lights, the scene becomes even more charming. More Info
Basel, Switzerland - This Christmas market is so large that it’s actually split into two parts: Barfusserplatz and Munsterplatz. Between them, you’ll find nearly 200 decorated stalls serving regional fare and selling local handicrafts. And the kids will especially love this spot, because Munsterplatz’s is home to a “ fairytale forest” and hosts activities like decorating gingerbread houses and making holiday ornaments. More Info