Winter is around the corner, and that means Christmas Market season. Visiting these markets in Europe is an amazing experience. Hundreds of cities light up, with medieval squares being turned into winter wonderlands. At these markets, you will find stalls serving traditional treats, artisanal decorations and deliciously drinks.
Belfast Continental Market
Set at the city hall, the Belfast Christmas Market fills visitors with holiday cheer. This is an impressive celebration with over 100 stalls offering the best products. You will find artisanal wares to local delicacies and drinks.
Have fun doing your Christmas shopping as this market has a wide selection of handmade knits, jewellery and decorations. Other goodies include organic honey, artisanal candles and soaps.
Satisfy your appetite with local delicacies such as the lobster burger or boxty, a delicious potato cake. Enjoy them with a taste of the local craft beers.
Those looking for international flavours can choose from the continental stalls, serving food from Spanish paella, German Bratwurst, and even more exotic meats such as Australian kangaroo and crocodile burgers.
For those with kids, Santa’s Grotto gives them a chance to meet the bearded man. Rides on the carrousel give you the perfect excuse to sip on another glass of mulled wine.
For an original Christmas market, head over to the French city of Licques. Licques Market star of the market is are turkeys. Every year, thousands of turkeys race through the town streets in what is known as the Fete de la dinde, a parade that has been a tradition since the 17th century.
When it comes to the market stalls, you can stock up on regional cheeses like Boulette D’avesnes and Maroilles. You will find other French delicacies like escargot and foie gras at many of the stalls. When it comes to the drinks, visitors can buy bottles of champagne or the local liquor known as Licquoise.
When you feel your tummy start to rumble, try the andouillette de Cambrai, a veal sausage or the coq à la bière, chicken cooked in beer. If you are craving sweets, enjoy the variety of chocolates or indulge in the gâteau Carpeaux, a chestnut cake.
A real Christmas tale is the Hans Christian Andersen Christmas market in Odense. Step back into a Christmas in the 19th century, with a fairy tale atmosphere inspired by the Danish writer. You find stalls decorating the streets where his house and museum are located.
Wander around the stalls, and you will find leather goods, jewellery and knits. All the goods are handmade and locally produced. Keep warm with a glass of glogg the typical mulled wine. If you have a sweet tooth snack on æbleskiver, a pancake puff stuffed with jam, or Wienerbrød, a layered pastry usually filled with vanilla custard or almond paste.
Both kids and adults will be entertained with the storytellers and the street performers dressed as Andersen’s characters
To feel the warmth of Christmas Joy, visit Il Paese di Natale in the Italian town of Sant’Agata Feltria, Rimini. The medieval town transforms into a Christmas village offering visitors a dose of festive spirits and their best homemade wares.
In the market stalls, you can find tree ornaments, nativity scenes and local delicacies. These delicacies include white truffles to artisanal jams. These are perfect for Christmas gifts.
When it comes to food, make sure to try the piadina. Piadina is a flatbread that can be filled with pepperoni, cheese or veggies. Make sure you try Fossa, a sheep’s milk aged cheese that is produced in the area. If you are looking for a treat, have a slice of panettone, a sweet, fruity bread.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Germany is famous for its Christmas markets. All over the nation the cities are captured with seasonal joy and transformed into winter fairy tales. In Rothenburg, the Reiterlesmarkt has been a tradition since the 15th century. The Reiterlesmarki ts set amongst the medieval architecture of the city, gives visitors a Disney movie atmosphere.
Enjoy the romantic feeling of the market, as you peruse around the stalls with a cup of Gluhwein in your hand. For that special Christmas gift, buy a bottle of Silvaner or Müller-Thurgau, quality wines produced in the region.
After the Christmas shopping, try the local bratwurst, the German sausage. If you have a sweet tooth, indulge in the sweet Schneeball, a snowball shaped fried dough covered in powdered sugar. Finish your day with a trip to the Christmas museum, where life sized ancient decorations are displayed all year round!