It’s that time of year again, and everyone knows that Christmas shopping can be a little bit frustrating, especially if you seek unique and handmade items.
Instead of typical big box stores on online shops, Christmas markets have always been an excellent spot to catch up on your shopping, get a delicious mug of gluhwein, and get into the Christmas mood.
Christmas markets trace their origin as far back as the 15th century, with Dresden’s market in Germany opening on Christmas Eve in 1434.
Today, you will find numerous Christmas markets across the globe. Here are the most amazing Christmas markets in the world.
With elaborate fairy lights perched on the roofs of houses, a shimmering giant fir tree, and blissful carols resounding throughout the city, it is no wonder that Strasbourg is hailed as the “Capital of Christmas.”
Strasbourg is one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets, with the first edition running in 1570.
Strasbourg has about 300 stalls in over 12 locations, making it an ideal spot to pick gifts, decorations, and some Alsatian wine.
Be sure to check out the giant Christmas tree in Place Kleber, enjoy scrumptious pastries and local beer at Christkindelmarik, and finally, the fairy lights at the remarkable Place de la Cathédrale.
Every which way, Christmas in Strasbourg is one to cherish forever.
Where to stay: Hannong Hotel & Wine Bar (Downtown near the markets)
Going back to the roots of the global trend sounds like a brilliant idea.
The Dresden Christmas market opened on Christmas Eve in 1434 and has since been an exceptional destination for many people traveling from all corners of the globe.
With numerous stalls lined up, Dresden is one of the most authentic ways to experience German culture.
Walking through the booths, travelers get a full sensory arousal thanks to the glistening nativity scenes, scents of sweets and pastries, and Christmas hymns.
In addition, the unforgettable experience of wandering among the ligneous elf cottages and Santa Claus’ house offers travelers a whimsical ecstasy.
Where to stay: Hyperion Hotel Dresden Am Schloss (Downtown near the markets)
Christmas festivities in Vienna have always been upbeat since the first edition in the 16th Century.
From the eccentric lighting and decorations to the boozy Christmas punch and scrumptious Austrian sausages, the Viennese Christmas market is a delightful experience you don’t want to miss out on.
The market also has many unique offerings, such as hand-painted ornaments, an ice skating rink, and train rides for the kids.
In addition, Christkindl’s workshop runs up to December 24th and has craft stations for cookie baking and tea candle decorating.
Where to stay: K+K Hotel Maria Theresia (Downtown near the markets)
If the holidays find you in Croatia, consider yourself blessed. The idyllic Christmas market in Zagreb is slowly clawing its way up the list as one of the best in the world.
As a result, you might be tempted to spend a few more days with many activities for kids and adults.
The Jelacic Square market offers various activities and attractions, such as curving ice sculptures, an ice rink, pop-up bars, music stages, and street food.
In addition, the jolly Christmas tram, which courses through the city, delights the kids.
Where to stay: Angel Main Square Center Zagreb
The Christmas market, which was first editioned in 1996, has since become a global sensation and one of the best in the world.
Inspired by the one in Nuremberg, the Chicago Christmas market held at Daley Plaza has become one of the authentic sources for Americans to find traditional German goods.
These goods can include but are not limited to ligneous handcrafts, nutcrackers, glass ornaments, and beer steins.
The market also offers a culinary experience like nowhere in the country, with doner kebabs, strudel, and schnitzels on the cards.
The German-style bazaar attracts over one million visitors every year and has its eyes set on the crown as the best Christmas market in the world.
Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Chicago
Distillery District, Canada
Recently rebranded from the Toronto Christmas market, the Distillery District is an intimate event with a significant focus on shopping and a memorable culinary jaunt across 75 retailers and restaurants.
But don’t get me wrong, there is still a light show, Christmas hymns, and nativity scenes at this market.
The market opened in 2009 and is an endearing escape with plenty of activities such as music performances, carolers, brass bands, and others.
However, the centerpiece of the market is the glistening 50-foot Christmas tree.
The Christmas festivities in the town have always been high, and the market attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Where to stay: InterContinental Toronto Centre
If you fancy the elaborate light works, you should book a trip to Brussels for the next edition. Christmas in the Belgian capital is a memory that will live with you long after the season.
Also, at the core of this exciting event held at the Grand Palace are the hundreds of vendors selling handcrafted gifts, mulled wine, artisan goods, fondue, and Belgian waffles from numerous wooden chalets spread across the city.
Nothing prepares you for the Christmas spirits in Brussels, with the Grand Palace coming to life in the night as shades of royal blue, yellow, and red blanket the façade of white and gold buildings.
It is a beautiful spectacle; thousands travel to the capital annually to record the light show.
Where to stay: Les Chambres de Martin
If you love the aroma of cinnamon, tasty wines, and a mouthwatering pork knuckle, you must check out the Budapest Christmas market.
The culinary experience makes Budapest a delectable culinary stop for many travelers to stroll the city and catch up on the local delicacies.
However, there is more to Christmas in Budapest than tasty delicacies.
The Christmas lights on Deák Street are postcard-worthy, whereas the wooden lodges in Vörösmarty Square leave many travelers to the Hungarian capital awe-struck.
Where to stay: Gerlóczy Boutique Hotel
Whether you seek to immerse yourself in aromas, reward your taste buds or find the perfect handcraft to gift a loved one, there is no better place to do so than Christmas markets.
The best part, you have eight excellent markets to pick from.