10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

European markets go all out during the Christmas season. Here are 10 of the best places to find holiday treats, sweets, gifts, crafts and festivities during the holidays. 

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Christmas in Salzburg, Austria

Christmas in Salzburg, Austria

The squares and streets of Salzburg, Austria, come alive with the sound of Christmas music during the festive holiday season. In Cathedral and Residence squares, you’ll find stalls, shops and street performers. 960 1280

JTB Photo, Getty Images  

Christmas in Salzburg, Austria

Christmas in Salzburg, Austria

The musical town of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and setting for The Sound of Music, celebrates the Christmas season with plenty of music and carols amid the festive holiday shopping. 960 1280

JTB Photo, Getty Images  

Cologne Christmas Market

Cologne Christmas Market

With seven separate Christmas markets, the Cologne Christmas Market, nestled amid the town's landmark cathedral and Old Town Hall, attracts 2 million visitors annually. 960 1280

bernsmann, iStock  

Cologne Christmas Market

Cologne Christmas Market

The Cologne Christmas Market showcases 160 wooden stalls, helmed by merchants selling wares such as classic holiday ornaments, wooden decorations and children's toys, as well as plenty of snacks and warm, spiced wine. 960 1280

bernsmann, iStock  

Prague's Old Town Square

Prague's Old Town Square

Prague's Old Town Square is home to the city’s annual Christmas market, complete with an illuminated tree -- the centerpiece of plenty of holiday cheer that runs from late November through the first days of the New Year. 960 1280

IRYNA BERESTYUK. Adagi0, iStock  

Prague Christmas

Prague Christmas

Prague's wooden stalls bring Bohemian crystal, wooden toys and tasty food to the masses. 960 1280

gornostaj, iStock  

Dresden's Christmas Market

Dresden's Christmas Market

Dresden's Christmas market, the Striezelmarkt, has been a holiday tradition since 1434, making it Germany's oldest Christmas fair. Check out market’s centerpiece attraction -- the world's tallest Christmas candle pyramid, more than 45 feet tall. 960 1280

Juergen Sack, iStock  

You’ll find shopping galore at Dresden's Christmas market, with holiday decorations, toys and unique handicrafts in the city's historic district. 960 1280

iStock  

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt

Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt takes place in the city’s Main Market Square. As one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany, the event features some 180 booths selling Christmas goods such as mulled wine, spicy gingerbread and roast sausages. 960 1280

Thomas Langer, Getty Images  

Copenhagen Christmas at Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen Christmas at Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen hosts a Christmas market with a twist at the city's famous Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. 960 1280

Arjan de Jager, iStock  

For a small fee, Christmas in Tivoli offers the classic market experience, combined with amusement park rides like swings and carousels, as well as live entertainment. 960 1280

Esben Theis Jensen, flickr  

Sufganiyot (Israel)

Sufganiyot (Israel)

It’s not uncommon for Jewish people to eat fried food for Hanukkah to celebrate the miracle of oil, which refers to the oil in a lamp in an ancient temple lasting 8 days when there was only enough in the lamp for 1 day. Potato pancakes (latkes) are usually a common staple at the beginning of dinner, but sufganiyots (pictured) – jelly- or custard-filled doughnuts – are the most popular food eaten in Israel during this religious holiday. 960 1280

David Silverman / Getty Images  

Mince Pies (England)

Mince Pies (England)

Christmas dinner in the UK is similar to a typical Thanksgiving meal in US, which is usually comprised of roast turkey or duck with cranberry sauce, served with potatoes and vegetables. In addition to Christmas pudding, mince pie (pictured) is another popular food in the UK. This holiday treat is filled with minced meat, raw beef or mutton fat, fruits and spices. 960 1280

Donald Lain Smith/ Moment/ Getty Images  

Panettone (Italy)

Panettone (Italy)

In Southern Italians and Italian Americans celebrate the holidays by eating fish and other seafood for the Feast of the Seven Fishes. However, panettone, is a popular sweet bread loaf that contains raisins, citron, lemon peel shavings and candied orange. It is usually served with a hot drink, sweet wine or crema di mascarpone during Christmas and New Year’s Day. 960 1280

Vincenzo Lombardo / Getty Images  

Tamales (Mexico)

Tamales (Mexico)

With Aztec and Maya origins as early as 8000 to 5000 BC, tamales are a popular food eaten in Mexico during the holidays – sometimes replacing traditional turkey or bacalao. This delicious holiday treat – filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables and chilies – is usually wrapped in corn husks or plantain leaves and steamed to perfection. 960 1280

Karin Dreyer/ Blend Images/ Getty Images  

Bûche de Noël (France)

Bûche de Noël (France)

Looking for something sweet in France? Don’t miss out on tasting the bûche de noël! This traditional dessert is a frosted sponge cake filled with chocolate buttercream or other flavored fillings. The cake resembles a yule log. In the medieval era, families would gather and throw a yule log on a fire at the end of December to welcome the Winter Solstice. The ashes were saved for good luck.  960 1280

Junghee Choi/ E+/ Getty Images  

Melomakarona (Greece)

Melomakarona (Greece)

Pork, egg-lemon chicken and rice soup, christopsomo, baklava and yaprakia are few traditional Greek food and dishes eaten during the holidays. Top it all off with melomakarona cookies made with cinnamon, cloves and orange. After they come out of the oven, the baked goods are dipped in spiced syrup and sprinkled with nuts. 960 1280

Steve Outram / Getty Images  

Babka (Poland)

Babka (Poland)

The first star seen starts the big Christmas Eve feast in Poland. Twelve dishes, usually a variety of fish and vegetables, are served as a reminder of the 12 Apostles. Beetroot soup, carp, pickled herring, potato dumplings and cabbage rolls are a few dishes served. Don’t eat too much and save space in your stomach for some delicious babka or cake. 960 1280

Boston Globe / Getty Images  

Kentucky Fried Chicken (Japan)

Kentucky Fried Chicken (Japan)

It’s not uncommon to see a crowd at the local KFC during the holidays in Japan. Why? Because it’s usually the popular food choice for Christmas dinner since turkey is nonexistent in the country. Japanese patrons have been known to place their KFC order 2 months in advance. So plan ahead and place your order early if plan on celebrating a Christmas like the locals. 960 1280

David Silverman/ Getty Images  

Saffron Buns (Sweden)

Saffron Buns (Sweden)

Swedish meatballs, Christmas ham, sweet and sour red cabbage, mulled wine, sliced beet root and an assortment of other goodies are traditional holiday food in Sweden. Don’t forget to add a basket of saffron buns – spiced sweet buns flavored with saffron, cinnamon or nutmeg. 960 1280

Rhoberazzi/ E+/ Getty Images  

Kutia (Ukraine)

Kutia (Ukraine)

Start your 12-dish meal on Christmas Eve in the Ukraine with kutia, a sweet grain pudding made with wheat berries, poppy seeds, raisins, honey or sugar and milk or cream. 960 1280

Izakorwel/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Christstollen (Germany)

Christstollen (Germany)

Taste christstollen, the German version of fruit cake eaten during the Christmas season. The traditional German cake is filled several ingredients such as almonds, cinnamon, dried fruit and marzipan. 960 1280

A.&F. Michler/ Photolibrary/ Getty Images  

Spiced Hot Chocolate (Peru)

Spiced Hot Chocolate (Peru)

Add chili to sweet hot chocolate and you’ve just made a traditional holiday drink in Peru. Spiced hot chocolate, served with panettone (traditional Italian bread), is usually given to the poor or less fortunate leading up to Christmas. Similar to Mexico, Peruvians holiday staples include tamales and roast turkey. 960 1280

Bhofack2/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Stroopwafels (Holland)

Stroopwafels (Holland)

These deliciously thin treats are a traditional dessert in Holland. Stroopwafels’ or syrup waffles’ main ingredients are butter, brown sugar, syrup and cinnamon. Try ginger nuts, Dutch Christmas bread and bishop’s wine if you’re looking for other traditional food and drink to sample in Holland or the Netherlands during the holidays. 960 1280

Dima P/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Kimchi (South Korea)

Kimchi (South Korea)

Don’t stay in … take your significant other out for a romantic dinner at a restaurant if you’re in South Korea. It’s normal for families to go out for Christmas dinner and attend holiday-themed events at local venues and theme parks. Kimchi is a year-round staple for families dining in for the holiday. After all, it is Korea’s national dish. 960 1280

Jukree/ iStock/ Getty Images  

Egg Nog (US)

Egg Nog (US)

Turkey, apple cider, candy canes, Christmas cookies, gingerbread, fruitcake are typical traditional foods served during the holidays in the US. But eggnog – made with milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs – is a popular holiday treat, too. Add brandy, rum or bourbon to warm cold spirits and garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg for a decorative touch. 960 1280

Lauri Patterson/ E+/ Getty Images  

London

London

Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowds during Harrods’ Annual Christmas Parade in London. 960 1280

Steve Finn/Harrods via Getty Images  

Kanagawa, Japan

Kanagawa, Japan

Santa Claus has no boundaries when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. He swims with a dolphin at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. 960 1280

Junko Kimura/Getty Images  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Santa Claus must be equipped to travel through all types of weather. In this case, St. Nicholas dons water skis to glide across the Potomac River at the National Harbor. Through the magic of modern technology, it’s amazing how someone with a camera always happens to snap a photo of Santa’s daring waterskiing adventure on Christmas Eve each year. 960 1280

Mark Wilson/Getty Images  

Stavropol, Russia

Stavropol, Russia

Father Frost, aka Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snegurochka the Snowmaid (center) visit a city park to meet and entertain residents in Stavropol, a city in southern Russia. Russians traditionally celebrate the coming of the New Year on December 31 and Orthodox Christmas in January. 960 1280

Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko  

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

A child and Father Frost pet an Evenki reindeer at the Christmas Food Fair in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Peasants, farmers, fishermen and hunters sell their crafts, goods and products at the city’s annual fair. 960 1280

Reuters/Ilya Naymushin  

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

In Honolulu, HI, Santa Claus throws up the customary "shaka" sign from his canoe while sharing a wave with a surfer near Waikiki Beach. 960 1280

Reuters  

New York City

New York City

Dozens of Santas ring their bells while marching through Midtown Manhattan during the Volunteers of America's Annual Sidewalk Santa Parade. Fifty fully-suited Santas take to the streets of Manhattan the morning after Thanksgiving to raise money for those in need. 960 1280

Reuters/Adrees Latif  

Cook, Australia

Cook, Australia

Santa Claus poses in front of the Great Southern Railway’s Indian Pacific, in Cook, Australia. The train makes a 2,704-mile trip between Sydney and Perth twice a week -- crossing the world's longest stretch of straight railway track on the Nullarbor Plain. 960 1280

Ashlee Ralla/Getty Images  

Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso, Chile

Santa waves to people from a boat along the coast of Valparaiso, about 75 miles northwest of Santiago, Chile. Every year, fishermen in Valparaiso organize a Santa Claus boat trip to bring Christmas gifts and well wishes to people waiting on the shore. 960 1280

Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez  

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

In Seoul, South Korea, postmen dress up as Santa Claus and ride motorcycles to deliver the mail. Christmas has become increasingly popular over the years in South Korea, which is the only East Asian country to recognize Christmas as a national holiday. 960 1280

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images  

Yenisei River, Russia

Yenisei River, Russia

Along Russia’s Yenisei River, Santa can be spotted traveling on self-made water skis made of plastic foam. The sticks are designed to propel ole St. Nick forward. 960 1280

Reuters/Ilya Naymushin  

Manila, Philippines

Manila, Philippines

Santa -- also a professional diver -- gestures at a visitor inside a giant aquarium as part of a Christmas celebration at the Manila Ocean Park. The Philippines, a mainly Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia, prepares for Christmas early. In fact, shopping malls begin playing Christmas carols in September, while the decorations, including lanterns and fireworks, go up in early December. 960 1280

Reuters/Romeo Ranoco  

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Santa Claus distributes candy from a special Christmas gondola in the canal city of Venice, Italy. 960 1280

Reuters  

Klampenborg, Denmark

Klampenborg, Denmark

More than 150 people donning Santa suits converge on Bakken amusement park in Sweden to attend the World Santa Claus Congress. Bakken, the world’s oldest operating amusement park is located near Klampenborg, Denmark. 960 1280

Reuters/Casper Christoffersen  

Gallivare, Sweden

Gallivare, Sweden

Santas from Sweden (right) and Spain (left) race on their sleighs during a competition in the Santa Claus Winter Games in Gallivare, a town in northern Sweden. Santas from all over the world compete in typical Santa sports, including chimney climbing, porridge eating, kick sledding and reindeer racing. 960 1280

Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski Odly  

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