As Christmas time rolls around, people look to tradition for that warm, fuzzy feeling they get during the holiday season. But wouldn’t it be great to see what things were like back when the traditions were still new? While time machines might not be available just yet, here are four charming Christmas markets from around the world that harken back to a bygone era.
Strasbourg Christmas Market, France
If you’re looking for authenticity, it’s hard to beat the Strasbourg Christmas Market in western France. The first market was held in 1570, making it one of the earliest in Europe and the first in France. Since its inception 450 years ago, the market might have grown, but the traditional feel has remained much the same.
Not only is the market set up in the traditional style, the surrounding city dates back to the middle ages. There is history radiating from every building in the area and the entire city of Strasbourg joins in the festivities. Hundreds of wooden stalls offer homemade gifts and treats while millions of Christmas lights twinkle overhead. The Christmas tree in the center of Kleber Square is the highest decorated tree in Europe. If you truly want to enjoy the traditional spirit of Christmas, Strasbourg Christmas Market is a must-see.
Few cities on Earth are as breathtaking as Vienna. With its old-world palaces and architecture, the city is magical even without being decorated for the holidays. Once Christmas hits, the city reaches a new level of amazing.
Christmas markets can be found throughout the city. Many of them are put on right in front of palaces and state houses, which makes you feel like you’ve been transported to a different time. With so many charming markets, it’s hard to pick just one.
The markets open in mid-November and are open until Christmas. After Christmas, many remain open as New Year’s markets. Shops sell homemade candies and gifts sure to satisfy even the pickiest shoppers. There are also crafts and activities for the kids, live music, and some markets even have ice skating rinks.
Old Town Square Market, Czech Republic
The Old Town Square Market is the most beautiful and busiest market in Prague. In a city so rich in history and beauty, being the best market is quite the accolade. At Christmas time, the market transforms into something purely magical.
Decorated trees are scattered throughout the market grounds. Food and gift vendors fill the area, selling local homemade gifts and treats. Live concerts and plays are put on almost nightly. If, somehow, you get through visiting all the stands and admiring the spectacle, another charming Christmas market at Wenceslas Square is only a five-minute walk away.
In addition to the two major markets, many smaller Christmas markets are scattered throughout the historic city.
Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market, Germany
If you’re looking to be taken back in time, what could be better than going to a Christmas market in front of an 800-year-old cathedral? The the incredible Cologne Cathedral serves as a backdrop for this charming market. More than 150 vendors set up in wooden pavilions beneath the massive Christmas tree in the center of the square. The red roofs of the tents along with thousands of lights can put the Christmas spirit into even old Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
In the market you can find every kind of sweet treat and handmade gift that you could hope for. In addition to the wonderful goods, more than 100 scheduled performances take place throughout the season along with crafts and a traditional carousel for the kids.