From mid-November through entire December main city squares in Europe turn into live Christmas postcards. Little tents and wooden stalls are pitched almost overnight and you realize it’s already this time of year again. Then you wait impatiently until evening when the stalls get laden with traditional sweets and aromatic steaming dishes, glittering Christmas decorations and barrels of mulled wine. Locals and tourists come together to sit arm in arm at long wooden benches or stand around fireplaces sipping hot drinks. The atmosphere of cordiality and tranquility is infectious, just like the smells of dishes. Although the tradition of Christmas markets originated in the German-speaking part of Europe, it is now fostered all over the world. Anyone who has ever visited a Christmas market, wouldn’t be surprised by its popularity. We love Christmas markets too, so we’ve created a list of most magical spots to celebrate upcoming Christmas.
The capital of Austria houses a few Christmas markets. The most prominent one – Christkindlmarkt at the City Hall Square features 151 stands with various food and warming drinks, Christmas tree decorations, handicrafts and many more. The magical Christmas village is located against the background of the towering, 105m high, Neo-Gothic City Hall, beautifully illuminated during long winter nights. Moreover, visitors can liven up a bit ice-skating on 4,500 m² ice rink or playing curling. Guests staying in our serviced apartments in Vienna at Marc-Aurel-Strasse will be happy to find Vienna Christmas World only a 15 minutes’ walk from their doorstep. Another worth seeing Christmas attraction, recommended by our Local Office Manager in Vienna Deborah Winter, is the Spittelberg Christmas market. Located in the 7th district of the city behind the “Museumsquartier” it is well known for being one of the more local markets as well as a platform for many talented artisans producing unique handcrafted pieces such as jewelry, pottery, clothes and more. This makes it a great opportunity to do your Christmas shopping while enjoying a tasty mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
Alsace is a region on the eastern border of France, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. The area is well-known for its green forests dotted with picturesque medieval cities. Gems like the fortified village of Riquewihr look today just like they did in the 16th century. When the Christmas season is on, narrow streets get crowded with wooden stalls decorated by garlands and lights. Set against the backdrop of half-timbered houses and medieval architecture, the Christmas markets in Alsace look like they’ve been taken out of fairytales. Dreamy settings of Colmar or Mulhouse Old Towns encourage to take a stroll from stall to stall, sipping local mulled wine and sampling culinary specialties. Also Strasbourg, usually considered a capital of European Union institutions, is also a capital of French Christmas markets. “Christkindelsmärik” in Place Broglie or the Christmas town near the majestic Cathedral of Notre Dame are only a few out of many attractions that lure tourists to Strasbourg every winter.
VISIONAPARTMENTS’ home town has a lot to offer when it comes to Christmas markets. Typically for Switzerland the markets are rather small but very charming and individual. The so called Christmas Village is to be found at Bellevue square next to the Opera House. Different market stalls and food stands snake along a picturesque scene at the Lake Zurich, topped with a lighted ice rink for young and old. An indoor Christmas market with over 140 stands takes place every year inside the big hall of the main train station. Highlight is a 15 meters high Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals. The oldest and most traditional Christmas market shines in the old Town of Zurich, along the pedestrian zone and some historical places. Don’t miss also The Singing Christmas Tree – a vertical podium in the shape of an enormous Christmas tree where different choirs sing all kind of Christmas songs. The location at famous Bahnhofstrasse is surrounded by a small and romantic market. Enjoy your stay in Zurich during Christmas time and warm up your heart with the nostalgia of this city.
The biggest and busiest “Weichnachtsmarkt” in Berlin is the one at Alexanderplatz – a stone’s throw away from VISIONAPARTMENTS at Otto-Braun-Strasse. However, we would like to tempt you a bit further from the city center, to discover a cozy Lucia Christmas market in the Prenzlauer Berg district. It’s located at Kulturbrauerei – a former brewery turned into cultural center. Its spacious courtyard and 19th century post-industrial architecture provide a setting for a Scandinavia-inspired Christmas paradise. Besides typical Christmas market attractions, this one offers Scandinavian mulled wine Glögg, bungee trampoline and a marry-go-round. An important note for children – Santa visits the market daily around 6p.m. so it’s a perfect occasion to hand in your wish lists. Another must-see during your Christmas stay in Berlin, as recommended by our Local Office Manager in Berlin Caroline Stelzer, is the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt. It’s located in the upscale area of the city, close to many premium boutiques, restaurants and corporate headquarters at Friedrichstrasse. The Christmas market is set at a large square between three majestic buildings dating back to the 18th century: Concert Hall, the French Church and the German Church. Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market features many stalls with food and drinks, exclusive crafts and of course, Christmas decorations and souvenirs. The admission is free between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Otherwise it costs one euro to enter. As it usually gets cold in winter in Berlin, guests will enjoy the possibility to eat and drink in the heated tents. Talking about food – don’t miss the opportunity to try “snow balls” shortcrust cookies – they will make a perfect snack to enjoy while watching various dance and music shows performed at the square.