As we are writing this from Florida, warmth and sunny skies deceive us into thinking Christmas isn’t far away. After 5 cold Christmas’ we’ve gotten used to the crisp air and just as the days become short and dreary, suddenly colorful lights appear and cute little wooden stalls are constructed. Yes, it’s time to be warmed by Glühwein (mulled wine or warm spiced wine) and delicious treats. There’s nothing better than awesome European Christmas markets to lift the gloom of winter!
So who holds the title for best Christmas market? Well, the Germans started the tradition in the 1400’s, so they have amazing markets all across the country. Alex and I have been to the Christmas market in Nuremberg and Munich. Both were fantastic, however, the market at Nuremberg attracts over 2 millions visitors, so it is very crowded. Try and go in the evening as a lot of visitors are bussed in on tours during the day, so it’s even busier then. We personally preferred the market in Munich over Nuremberg because it was more spacious.
Outside of Germany most countries now hold markets. Amsterdam unfortunately doesn’t put on a good market, mainly because it is small, overpriced and the quality of food and merchandise isn’t great. If you are in the Netherlands you would be better off heading to Maastricht in the south as they apparently put on a better show.
We do however love the Christmas market held in neighbouring Brussels. It stretches 2km and offers everything you would expect from a Christmas market and more. They even have escargot stalls- yup, fast food snails. Brussels generally has awesome food, and their market reflects this. They have your typical bratwürste sausages but lots of other yummy treats, with a quintessential Belgian twist.
Most markets are held in the town square, however Dublin does things a little differently. We did not make it to Dublin’s Christmas market last year as we had just moved and didn’t have time. But we will change that this year and be sure to get back to you on what we think of Ireland’s take on it. There will be two market days (15th and 22nd) held in the crypt of Christchurch Cathedral, which should be pretty cool as the crypt has a distinct medieval feel to it. There will also be a market, the Dame Street Market that runs from the 14th until the 23rd.
We know there are loads of other great Christmas markets scattered around Europe so please let us know if you have a favourite!