Large to small, we love them all—but who doesn’t like shopping in a snow-dusted city with a mug of mulled wine in their hands? Below are 5 holiday markets across Europe that pile on the charm.
One of the oldest markets in Europe, the Salzburg Christmas Market, dates back to the late 1400s, when it was an ordinary city market. Now the nearly 100 stalls sell everything from homemade gebildbrot (yeast rolls shaped into figurines) to door latches that look like they were made for castles, as well as hand-carved wooden rocking horses.
Starting at the city’s historic Grand Place, then snaking through the narrow cobblestones down to Place St. Catherine and the Marché aux Poissons, Brussels’s holiday market is as food-centric as the city itself. More than 250 tiny cottages sell the country’s famous moules frites, waffles with crunchy pearls of sugar and puffs of whipped cream, Belgian chocolate, artisanal sausages and a variety of Belgian beer.
This cosmopolitan city on the Rhine goes old school every holiday season, when the historic Old Town near the Barfusserplatz transforms itself into a fairy-tale village, attracting nearly 1 million visitors each year. It’s no wonder—who wouldn’t want to pose for a selfie in front of the 46-foot-tall Christmas tree at the front of the Münster cathedral, then nibble on the city’s famous Basel Lackerli, hard cookies made of honey, candied orange peel, hazelnuts and kirsch liqueur?
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens amusement park becomes even more magical each holiday season, illuminated with 10,000 twinkling white lights. Vendors offer glogg (spiced mulled wine) along with the country’s famous donut-like pastry, aebleskivers. A short walk away on the old Copenhagen canal is the Nyhavn market, where you can find everything from hand-knitted sweaters to sugar-coated almonds.
Tivoli Gardens Market, tivoli.dk; Nyhavn market, visitcopenhagen.com
No wonder York is known as the most festive city during the holidays in Britain. From flickering candles at the 18th-century Castle Howard to the carousel in St. Sampson’s Square, the city of York literally lights up for the holidays. Its annual St. Nicholas Fair, with its rows of wooden huts, is where locals peddle goods, from Yorkshire wines and cheese to jewelry made from Whitby jet, one of the earliest known gemstones.
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