Advent is the season in Europe when thousands of communities–large and small–set up Christmas trees, colorful lights and craft stalls in their central market square. For decades, Europeans have been getting together at these unique Christmas markets to share conversation, to enjoy a glass of hot mulled wine, or to find just the right specialty gift for a family member or friend.
European Traveler offers a quick glance at some of these fascinating markets, which normally last until Christmas Eve.
|Every town in French-speaking Wallonia hosts its own Christmas Market. The central square of Liège and the neighbouring Place du Marché stage one of Belgium’s largest Christmas Markets, attracting more than 1 million visitors with 190 wooden chalets full of tempting goodies, sweets and original hand crafted products and presents.||If you’re in Brussels between November 27 and January 3, enjoy the Brussels Winter Wonderland featuring a Christmas Market with many stalls, a giant illuminated ferris wheel, street activities and a large skating rink.|
In Lucerne, a number of Christmas events take place, including the Christ Child Market at Railcity, the train station, between November 28 – December 21. Around 50 festively-decorated market stalls bring a Christmas atmosphere feel to the station.
Every year between December 3-20 Lucerne’s Christmas Market takes place at the Franziskanerplatz. There are a large variety of stands with Christmas decorations, sweets, food and beverages. The Christmas Tree Market usually starts one week before Christmas along the Schweizerhofquai. Then between December 17-20, 20 stands from 20 countries present typical Christmas items from their homelands. There is always a stage featuring Christmas productions from all over the world. For more information, go to www.luzern.com/en/welcome.cfm?
Montreux, Switzerland Christmas market
Thuringia is primarily famous for its festive Christmas markets and especially the large selection of glass Christmas tree decorations. The Lauscha Ball Market (always held during two weekends in Advent) has the largest selection, but these traditional decorations are also available at other Thuringian Christmas markets.
In Frankfurt you are invited to the large, time-honored Christmas market where you can become acquainted with the market’s many culinary specialities and its traditions. You can join tour guides in ascending to the rooftop gallery of St. Nicholas Church, from where you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the entire market and the Frankfurt skyline. Next, join young and old for a nostalgic ride on a vintage carousel. Warm yourself with a hot cup of mulled wine at the end of the tour and take in the wonderful view of the market’s beautifully illuminated Christmas tree. The 1 1/2 hour tours include a carousel ride, hot mulled wine and special marzipan candy. Tours are available in English and German from the first day in Advent until Christmas.
In Unterammergau, a small village next to Oberammergau, the Bavarian town where the Passion Play takes place every 10 years, the festive lights and decorations invite young and old to experience a meaningful Christmas. Rail service to and from Munich is available in this beautiful mountain town.
In Munich, the airport features a Christmas market and an ice skating rink.
Thanks to the Tourist Boards of Germany, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland for the photos in the report.