Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be an agonizing battle of chaotic department store crowds or a misadventure scouring the Internet for deals. Shopping at holiday markets during the holiday season in Europe is a great experience and a rite of passage for many travelers. Here are 5 of the best markets in Europe to find holiday treats, mulled drinks, gifts, crafts and festive vibes to ignite your jolly spirit.
The Vienna Magic of Advent fair features more than 150 stands, where shoppers can purchase Christmas gifts, decorations and warm drinks, all while snacking on cream-filled pastries, candied fruits, and roasted chestnuts.
In the center of Bath, 170 “chalets” offer holiday shoppers an array of traditional British goods from mince pies to Christmas ornaments and hand crafted wooden toys.
Dating back to 1434, Dresden hosts Germany’s oldest, continuously-running Christmas market. The market is known for its array of crafts made by local artisans, toys, and holiday treats — most notably Stollen, a traditional sweet bread stuffed with dried fruits.
Billing itself as the Capital of Christmas, Strasbourg is not to be missed during the holiday season. Strasbourg is complete with caroling choirs, Nativity plays, an ice rink, and mulled wine served in boot-shaped mugs, making it a must-visit while in France.
Rome is known for its elaborate Nativity “presepio” scenes across the city, from life-size tableaux on the Spanish Steps to countless crèches in church chapels, all populated by papier-mâché and terracotta figurines. While exploring the market, one can enjoy carnival games of chance, ciambelle (dinner plate-size doughnuts), and 101 variations off peanut brittle!