It’s dark when you wake up in the morning and dark when you get back home, but winter also has some advantages. During the winter months, millions of people flock to the streets of Europe thanks to Christmas markets. In 2020, many of these Christmas markets unfortunately couldn’t take place as planned, but in 2021, new life will be breathed into the old tradition!
All these different Christmas markets offer an incredible selection of handmade gifts, sweets and roasted nuts. Of course, the ever-popular mulled wine is not to be missed. Christmas markets are also excellent for language learners – they have the opportunity to practice their language skills with attentive onlookers and enrich their vocabulary at the same time!
But where exactly can you enjoy one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe and learn a language at the same time?
*Note: This information is correct as of 11/24/2021. Please check local regulations to make sure there are no other regulations due to COVID-19 or other reasons.
Christmas Markets in Germany: Freiburg (Nov. 18 – Dec. 23, 2021)
There is a very special atmosphere in the cobbled streets of Freiburg. The nearby Black Forest also helps make this charming city in Germany perfect for a Christmas market. Stalls fill Rathausplatz, Kartoffelmarkt, Unterlindenplatz, Franziskanerstraße and Turmstraße, offering a huge selection of Christmas gifts, cheeses, meals and delicious hot drinks.
Christmas Markets in Switzerland: Montreux (Nov. 19 – Dec. 24, 2021)
Montreux is known in summer for its famous jazz festival on the shores of Lake Geneva. In winter, the nearby mountains are covered with snow, the air is chilly and the Christmas market besieges the streets of the little town.
Christmas markets in Germany: Heidelberg (Nov. 22 – Dec. 22, 2021)
Explore the classic old town of Heidelberg and let the sweet smell of stollen and the slightly bitter aroma of German Christmas sweets guide you to the various stalls of the Christmas market. One of the most beautiful European markets in Germany, the Christmas market is spread over five squares in the city: Bismarckplatz, Anatomiegarten, Universitätsplatz, Kornmarkt and Marktplatz. The famous university town has the charm of times gone by, which is somehow even more “old-honorable” and enchanting at Christmas.
Christmas markets in Austria: Vienna (Nov. 12 – Dec. 23, 2021)
The great capital of the Habsburg Empire celebrates Christmas worthy. The Christmas market opens earlier than most, with temperatures of 20° in the first days not uncommon. But when the cold comes, Vienna is one of the top winter destinations for Christmas markets in Europe. Many Christmas markets are springing up all over the city, with the most popular of them being right across the street from City Hall.
Christmas Markets in Spain: Barcelona (Nov. 26-Dec. 23, 2021).
Looking for a Christmas market with a difference? You’ll find it in Barcelona! Every year the Catalan capital hosts the Fira de Santa Llúcia – Christmas Market. The tradition dates back to 1786. What makes the Catalan Christmas market so unusual is the figure of the Caganer, a little man who appears in Catalan nativity scenes and … hmmm… needs to go to the bathroom. The tradition has been maintained since the seventeenth century and the children are delighted when they can always spot him in the charming nativity scenes!
Christmas markets in Germany: Munich (Nov. 22 – Dec. 24, 2021)
History books show the first mention of the Munich Christmas market in 1642, and the tradition continues today with the famous Bavarian glassware, intricate nativity scenes and oversized bratwursts of the Munich markets. The Marienplatz market in the city center is the largest, but the Tollwood market is an increasingly popular alternative to it.
We hope this article was able to give you some inspiration for your festive planning this year. Christmas markets in Europe are a unique and atmospheric tradition – and the perfect way to get in the mood for Christmas!