The fact that the Feast of Love is not a national invention, but has always been an intercultural link between people, is demonstrated each year anew by the loving, man-made Christmas landscapes around the globe. They spring up like mushrooms during Advent. But only just under a dozen worldwide are among the real pearls of the pre-Christmas period. Let yourself be enchanted, look beyond the regional horizon and join us on a journey to the Christmas wonderland:
1st Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi – Finland
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The village of Santa Claus itself is the epitome of the festival par excellence. In Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, near the Arctic Circle, a special Christmas world opens up for you. Our mission is always to spread love and kindness and to promote the well-being of the children and the good nature of the adults. The Christmas market is like a huge village. In addition to arts and crafts and traditional delicacies such as piparkakku (gingerbread cookies), Omenalörtsy (apple berliner), Korvapuusti (sweet cinnamon rolls), you can look forward to a trip to the elf forest, reindeer sleigh rides and the control centre of authentic Christmas mail.
2nd Dresden Striezel Market – Germany
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Named after the “Striezel”, better known as the Dresden Christmas Stollen, here you enter one of the oldest international Christmas markets through the largest walk-in Erzgebirge Schwibbogen in the world. The highlight of the opening ceremony is the cut of a Christmas cake in the length of the current year, calculated in millimetres. The world’s largest Erzgebirge step pyramid with figures made of Saxon wood decorates the centre of the market. Enjoy genuine folk art from the Erzgebirge and try traditional Pulsnitz gingerbread in a town whose history has written world history.
3rd Christkindelsmärik Strasbourg – France
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Officially named “Christmas Capital” in 1992, one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe delights its visitors year after year: the famous Alsatian wooden huts where you can enjoy more than just bredele and mulled wine. Do you want a change of scenery when decorating your Christmas tree? The Strasbourg Christmas Market around Broglieplatz and Münsterplatz is known for its extensive selection. Sacred church sounds, festively decorated house facades and culinary Alsatian specialities bring the magic of Christmas to your hearts.
4th Tallinna Jõuluturg – Estonia
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The heart is a symbol of love – this is exactly what you will feel in Tallinn Old Town. With a visit to the beautiful Christmas market in Tallinn you will experience a highlight of the Estonian winter. On the medieval town hall square Raekoja Square you will find beautifully decorated market huts. Santa Claus distributes sweets from his hut to all those who recite a Christmas failure by heart. Try handmade Christmas cookies, warm cold feet with handmade wool socks and enjoy the cosy Advent atmosphere in the Baltic States. Around 1/2 million visitors a year can’t be wrong!
5th Mercatino di Natale di Trento – Italy
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Trentino delicacies and a varied programme of events have made Trento a popular Christmas city (Città del Natale). With the famous Christmas Market, visitors discover a jewel of sustainability in the midst of the snow-covered Dolomites. In Piazza Fiera and Piazza Cesare Battisti, 90 festively decorated stalls line up. At the gourmet corner of Sapori del Mercatino, try specialities such as Tortel de patate. Local products and regional scents convey “clean energy” for the conscience, so that nothing stands in the way of the plan for a calorie-rich Christmas roast.
6th Magic Forest Lenzerheide – Switzerland
© Cemil Erkoc / Schule Vaz/Obervaz
In the midst of a wintry mountain world, a small market village, fascinating light art, a first-class musical experience and a varied culinary programme captivate young and old. After a raclette, Heissi Schoggi and Tarte flambée, you will embark on a tour through the light installations of renowned illumination artists and will never be amazed again. The best storytellers in Switzerland bring fairy tales and legends to life. The open-air festival welcomes you from 13 to 30 December 2019. Experience the romantic atmosphere of the squirrel forest with your family.
7th Upper Canada Village, Ontario – Canada
Set back in the 1860s, this small village enchants you with a winter wonderland that seems to have sprung from a picture book. December and January are marked by Christmas music, traditional horse-drawn carriages, typical culinary delicacies and almost a million lights. So if you want to spend Christmas in the snow outside Europe, you can be inspired here in Ottawa. “Beavertails” – a typical Canadian pastry – is worth a sin when sprinkled with cinnamon. Accompanied by hot apple wine and typical handicrafts, guests experience a potpourri of Canadian Christmas traditions.
8th Christmas Market Vienna – Austria
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A winter experience for the whole family is the “Art Advent” in front of the impressive Karlskirche on Karlsplatz. In addition to art, jingle and delicious crêpes, it is a certified organic treat that pampers visitors at all the gastronomic stands. Street musician sounds provide variety to the classical Advent song repertoire and an extensive punch selection even attracts the strongest mulled wine advocate behind the oven. Take a look at the show workshop or take part in the readings of authors from different cultures.
9th Prague Christmas Market – Czech Republic
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Bohemian Christmas flair and medieval charm enchant the streets of the “Golden City” every year and stop at the Prague Square of Peace. Surrounded by the monumental towers of St. Ludmilla’s Church, more than 60 lovingly decorated wooden stands guarantee a cosy, unforgettable Christmas market visit in a historical ambience. Here you can taste regional delicacies and the Medovina honey wine, which is known to us as Met. The typical Czech nativity scene is a popular Christmas souvenir in Prague. Visit one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe!
10th Mosel Wine Night Market in the Traben Trarbach Underworld – Germany
© Chris Marmann
An extraordinary and romantic ambience welcomes you as soon as you enter the seven wine cellars, some of which date from the 16th century. You cannot escape the warm scent of mulled wine, roasted almonds and pine greenery. And that’s a good thing! Let yourself be enchanted by this atmospheric and mystical semi-darkness. A varied supporting programme, an enchanting Christmas market, events around the skating rink and various offers for the whole family make this Christmas market a unique experience.
11th winter wonderland “Plaisirs d’Hiver” – Brussels
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Brussels’ historic city centre is transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland at Christmas time. More than 270 wooden chalets on the Grand-Place, Place de la Monnaie, Bourse, Place de Brouckère and Sainte-Catherine attract visitors with the finest chocolate, waffle and mulled wine scents, typical local crafts from over 20 nations and cultures. At nightfall, the famous Grand-Place will be bathed in a wonderful light and sound show. The forecourt of the majestic opera house will be as smooth as a mirror, because here you can make your rounds on the skating rink. Enjoy Brussels in its Christmas flair!