It’s official, Christmas is coming. The festive season is fast approaching and what better to mark its arrival than a Christmas market. Big or small, Christmas markets are a grand tradition all over the world, each celebrating the cultures of that region. We’re a big fan of markets here at Maria Allen, they provide excellent opportunities for local creatives to sell their wares and for visitors to pick up something unique.
Here's our top 10…
1. Vienna, Austria
Viennese Christmas markets are an age-old tradition dating back to the 13th century. The Wiener Christkindlmarkt has over 150 stalls set in front of the magnificent city hall. From traditional wooden toys to chocolate statues, there's something for everyone at this magical winter market. (November 12 - December 24, 2016)
2. Budapest, Hungary
The Budapest Christmas Fair in Vörösmarty Square is a sensory experience.
Food is a top attraction here with stalls serving a range of traditional delicacies from cinnamon chimneycake to hungarian goulash. It's also a great chance to pick up some Hungarian embroidery. (November 13, 2016 – January 6, 2017)
3. Cologne, Germany
Cologne hosts many markets in the run up to Christmas but the most famous is held in the shadow of Cologne Cathedral. With Glühwein (mulled wine) a plenty, this traditional German market has a lot to offer including a spectacular Christmas tree at the heart of the market square. (21 November - 23 December, 2016)
4. Bologna, Italy
Bologna is host to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Italy. It is based in two locations, the Fiera di Natale market and the smaller original Antica Fiera di Santa Lucia. Bologna is all about great food, the market stalls are filled with everything from festive nougat and marzipan fruits to homemade hot chocolate.
(November 20 - January 6, 2017)
5. Bruges, Belgium
A great destination for chocoholics, the main Christmas stalls in Bruges can be found in Market square. The picturesque city is a great place to find handmade gifts, fresh waffles and of course lots of Belgian chocolate. (November 18, 2016 – January 1, 2017)
If you can't make it to the real deal, don't fret there's plenty of Christmas market action here in the UK as well! Here are the highlights:
6. Birmingham, England
Birmingham is host to Frankfurt Christmas market, the largest German market held outside of Germany and Austria. (November 17 - December 29, 2016)
7. London, England
London is home to many Christmas markets but Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is the most spectacular, full of fun for the whole family.
(November - January, 2017)
8. Edinburgh, Scotland
As well as a traditional German market, Edinburgh also hosts a Scottish market showcasing a range of locally produced food and drinks. (November 17 - December 29, 2016)
9. Bath, England
Lining the streets around the picturesque Roman Baths and Abbey, Bath Christmas Market showcases a huge range of crafts and produce from the local area. (November 24 - December 11, 2016)
10. Brighton, England
Here in Brighton we do things a bit differently, instead of a market we host Christmas Artists Open Houses. For three weekends local artists open their homes, workshops and studios to sell directly to Christmas shoppers.
(November 26 - December 11, 2016)