As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter across Europe, many traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas markets are taking over our favorite cities.
Heading to Europe this season, or just want to get into the holiday spirit? Grab a glass of glühwein and read about eight of 2019's best markets...
Open since late November, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has become a Christmas institution for Londoners. Combining spectacular funfair attractions with a huge range of Christmas stalls and eateries, it takes over a large swathe of the city’s central Hyde Park with its trademark neon festive glow. Attractions for 2019 include Paddington on Ice, a circus, ice skating, ice sculpting classes, winter karaoke and a comedy club.
Birmingham’s huge Frankfurt Christmas Market is the world’s largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria. Everything you love about a German Christmas market is on hand - glühwein (mulled wine), schnitzels, bratwurst - as well as over eighty stalls selling traditional and hand-made gifts. Accompanying the market, a program of live music and carols takes over the city’s Victoria Square, adding that extra bit of Christmas cheer to proceedings.
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Brussels’ Winter Wonders takes place throughout the city during the month of December centering around the spectacular light show of the Grand-Place. At its heart, over 2.5 million visitors descend on a huge Christmas market made up of more than 200 chalets with fairground attractions and a covered ice rink also present for plenty of Christmas merriment.
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Poznań’s Christmas market - also known as Poznań Bethlehem - takes over the city’s Old Market Square and Plac Wolności each year from mid-November onwards. As well as the usual attractions, what makes it unique is the International Ice Sculpture Festival. Held in Poznań every December, this festival sees international artists make shining, glass-like ice sculptures in the main square.
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A cold winter morning in Oslo calls for a steaming beverage and kanelsnurrer (cinnamon twist). Make your way to the Spikersuppa Julemarked (Christmas Market), and revel in the festive stalls and ice skating here. In December folk museums such as the Norse Folkemuseum arrange special concerts, crafts and gingerbread house workshops alongside traditional markets.
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Christmas markets spring up all over Rome in December, with the most famous one hosted at the Piazza Navona daily from 10am until 1am. Those staying in the city on Christmas Day can make their way to the Vatican to see the Pope give his Christmas blessing on Piazza San Pietro.
Every year for centuries, Vienna has transformed into a winter wonderland with lights twinkling in the frosty nights and open-air Christmas markets popping up all over the city.
As you wander through the maze of stalls, the smell of roasted chestnuts, glühwein, punsch and lebkuchen (a moulded gingerbread) drift through the air, tempting you to try the Christmas fare.
Berlin fights the winter gloom with festive Christmas Markets. There’s no central one to visit - in fact there’s over seventy of them to explore - some indoors, some outdoors, some with rides, some intimate, some spectacular. However, they all offer glühwein, snacks and an assortment of gifts and entertainment.
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