Now that we’re into the Holiday Season, we are captivated by European Christmas Markets and found a few guides to help find the best of them, or at least fuel our coffee table conversations! Most people think of Germany when it comes to Christmas Markets, where Christkindlmarkt – an Advent season holiday market – has been a tradition since the Middle Ages. Today, they are found around the world and the best of them evoke an enchanting and romantic holiday atmosphere.
There is a great listing of German Christmas Markets, or Weihnachtsmarkt from the UK’s GermanChristmasMarkets.org, complete with dates and locations, which truly cover the country! They also have some good information on the traditions of Advent and Christmas celebrations, the products you’re likely to find at Christmas Markets, and several photos and videos.
For a more continental listing, head to Lonely Planet’s listing of “Ten Delightfully Different Christmas Markets in Europe,” which explores the season’s celebrations from Austria to Switzerland (Europe’s highest Christmas Market on Mt. Pilatus!) and many points in between.
British Airways capitalizes on the popularity of Christmas Markets and, actually, has a nice collection of destination information along with packages (from the UK) on their site. Meanwhile, UK-based ChristmasMarkets.com has a larger global directory. While it’s a good resource for basic information, many listings have not been updated with current information.
While it’s a little late to arrange travel for this year’s markets, it is not impossible. If you happen to be traveling to or in Europe this winter, it would be easy to incorporate a trip to one (or more!) of the markets in or near cities you’ll be visiting. But, if you’re sitting at home, miles or maybe continents away from Europe, and reading this has made you certain that this year’s ultimate gift is a trip to an authentic Christkindlmarkt, a chat with your travel agent is in order.
If nothing else, you can find your ideal holiday destination and daydream…until next year!