So, what is a Christmas market?
While Christmas in the USA has become a modern, commercialized holiday, Christmas in Europe is still largely rooted in the traditions of preindustrial times. In Europe, Christmas markets still serve as the central point of community life. They are places where people meet their fellow townsfolk, and it is common to see everyone in the town visit them. Over the course of the day, you will find a variety of food stalls, artisans, costume sellers, and musicians.
In fact, the festive atmosphere, and the excitement of buying presents at Christmas are such that it is a good idea to buy something for yourself along with presents for your family and friends.
Which Places Have the Best Christmas Markets?
The Christmas markets of Eastern Europe are the best. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the small family-run market at your local Italian village to the massive open-air markets in the capital. But the best of them are the markets in Eastern Europe, which are indeed the best. After all, markets in the East are way more festive and fun.
If you are planning for your next holiday in Eastern Europe, here are some great places that have the best eastern European Christmas markets:
- Kraków, Poland — this place is no stranger to Christmas markets, as it has the largest market in Poland, and it also comes with one of the largest Christmas markets in the world. The Kraków Market (in fact, it is the largest market in Poland) is a must-visit for any tourist who wants to get a taste of this city in the Christmas season.
- Riga, Latvia — Every year in November, Riga, Latvia transforms into a winter wonderland filled with Christmas-themed markets, cultural events, and more. The event draws over a million visitors, and Riga’s Christmas market is the biggest and most-visited seasonal event in the Baltic States. The atmosphere is festive, with festive shopkeepers, traditional music, children’s rides, huge Christmas trees, seasonal food stands, and more.
- Ljubljana, Slovenia — Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, and largest city, is home to at least 120 Christmas markets, more than any other European city other than Vienna. The city of Ljubljana is situated on the Sava River in the Julian Alps, the highest mountain range in Slovenia. The wide, flat river valley is flanked by towering peaks, and the city is surrounded by a deep green pine forest. The Christmas market in Ljubljana, Slovenia, is a prime example, with more than 100 stalls—many selling the same goods. The city’s market usually opens on the first Sunday of Advent, with the market’s finale occurring on December 23.
- Bratislava, Slovakia — Christmas is upon us once again, and if you are looking for something to do in Bratislava, you should check out the annual Christmas Market. The biggest Christmas Market in the city is located in what is known as the Old Town Square, and as the name suggests, the 200-year-old square is full of atmosphere. You can wander around the stalls and find everything from traditional Christmas decorations to delicious confectionery. And if there is one thing Bratislava is known for, it is having some of the best Christmas markets in the entire region.
- Lviv, Ukraine — Lviv, Ukraine is one of the best places to visit Eastern Europe for Christmas markets. There are so many Christmases markets all over the city, and they are not only traditional but also unique. Crazy crab market, where people can buy crabs for free; Ukrainian handicraft market, where it is possible to buy everything from German toys to Polish dishes; Christmas church market, where you can find wooden sculptures, paintings, and figurines.
- Bucharest, Romania — Christmas is nearly here, and it is time to start planning your Christmas celebrations. If you are looking for a great holiday to spend with your loved ones, the Christmas markets in Bucharest, Romania, are a must-see. The country has a long tradition of Christmas markets, and this year you will have more than 100 to choose from. This year’s markets have an assortment of traditional Christmas markets, with a selection of markets and fairs.
There is that time of year when people go to Christmas markets in Europe. Walking around in these markets, you see stalls selling all sorts of handmade crafts, Christmas decorations, food, games, flowers, sweets, souvenirs, and souvenir-type stuff. Markets are a great way to get a feel for different cultures and spend time with friends and family.
Which of the above Christmas markets are you going to visit?