Zrinjevac Park in Zagreb becomes a Christmas wonderland, with lanterns lighting up the avenues of trees and a pretty market with wooden huts selling gifts made by local artists, as well as festive food and drink (try pastries struklI, soft cheese pastries). Festivities take place across the city as part of Advent Zagreb, which lasts for six weeks. On Ban Josip Jelačić Square there is a huge Christmas tree, with live music, ice rinks and stalls in parks and city squares.
November 26-7 Jan., adventzagreb.hr
Valkenburg Christmas Market, Netherlands
The entrance to this Christmas market is at the foot of Cauberg Hill, with stalls above ground and in the eerie caves of Valkenburg. Upstairs the market is quite traditional, with vendors selling the usual ornaments and trinkets, but below is Europe’s largest underground Christmas market, in the marl tunnels of the Gemeentegrot quarry. There are illuminated Christmas figurines to guide you and a digital app to help shoppers navigate the maze of Christmas cheer in this 18th-century underground quarry-turned-art gallery. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
November 18–Jan 8
Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market, Black Forest, Germany
Nuremberg and Dresden have traditional large-scale Christmas markets, but for quality not quantity try the Ravenna Gorge Christmas market in southwestern Germany. Many Christmas markets are stepping up their green credentials this year (the energy crisis is even forcing organizers to dim the lights) and this one is one of the most eco-friendly. In a gorge under a 40-meter-high railway viaduct, more than 40 wooden chalets sell locally made goods such as lambswool knitwear and hand-carved wooden masks. Visitors must buy tickets online and a shuttle bus runs from Hinterzarten or Himmelreich station.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday only, November 25-18 December
Paris night market, Paris, France
There are many quirky Christmas markets in Paris, from the Christmas market at Station F, which celebrates start-ups, to one focused on Latin American artisans. The Paris night market focuses on ethical consumption and local designers. It’s in the Cité Fertile behind La Grande Halle, and inspired by night markets in Asia, with more than 80 independent vendors selling products with a social and environmental purpose, such as Sable Vert jewelry, made from washed sea glass. . Organic Christmas snacks and drinks are served at stalls like Calyce Cider Bar, and music is provided by local DJs and musicians — no carol singers here.
17-18 Decemberbut can be extended
Münsterhof Christmas Market, Zurich, Switzerland
There are Christmas markets dotted around Zurich, with Bellevue market perhaps the most popular, for food stalls (run by the city’s chefs) and trendy designer dishes. However, the one to check out this year is at the Münsterhof – the newest addition, with the slogan “From Zurich for Zurich”, where all the vendors are from the canton. Sample mulled wine from a local winery and purchase local designer socks or edible souvenirs like Tsüri sauces to fill stockings.
November 24-24 December
Vilnius Uptown Christmas Market, Lithuania
Christmas markets are relatively new to Vilnius, with many having sprung up over the past decade, featuring freshly roasted acorn coffee instead of mulled wine. Most are modern in their offerings and decor – look for contemporary twists on traditional Christmas decorations and festivities across the city. The Uptown Christmas Market at the Loftas Art Center is the place to find fashionable jackets, chunky jewelry, and an open gallery celebrating the city’s young artists. For a good festive atmosphere, head to the International Christmas Charity Bazaar, which sells gifts that support various nonprofits and is located in Cathedral Square, home to the city’s largest Christmas tree. (one of the most impressive in Europe).
Charity Bazaar 3 Dec.; Downtown Christmas Market, 21-23 Dec.
Liseberg Christmas Market, GothenburgSweden
Gothenburg’s Liseberg Gardens host art events throughout the year, but the most fun (especially for children) is the Christmas market held in the Liseberg theme park, which becomes a winter wonderland in December. There is an ice rink, Santa’s Village with elf workshops, market stalls and a restaurant serving traditional Swedish Christmas dishes. Gothenburg has been ranked as the world’s most sustainable city for the sixth year in a row, so it’s no surprise that the 5 million Christmas lights that illuminate the park are powered by Liseberg’s own wind turbine.
November 19-30 Dec.2022
Berner Sternenmarkt, Bern, Switzerland
Start your Christmas Market pilgrimage at the historic Hotel Schweizerhof Bern for a very European Christmas activity, sampling oysters and champagne in the festively decorated Jack’s Brasserie before heading to the coolest Christmas Market in Bern. Berner Sternenmarkt offers panoramic views of the Swiss capital and 80 curated stalls, which change weekly throughout December, selling everything from Swiss-made soap dispensers and scented candles from the village of Mürren to edible treats that benefit communities in Tanzania and Bali.
November 24-30 Dec.
Fulpmes Christmas Market, Stubai ValleyAustria
Fulpmes in the Stubai Valley – where snowboarders go off-piste on the Stubai Glacier – is home to a lovely Christmas market with its own outdoor theatre. Regional products offered include kyachl, a sweet and savory dish made with marmalade and sauerkraut, only eaten at Christmas. But the highlight is the open-air theater, Theater in der Staden Zeit, where families gather by candlelight to enjoy the Krampus, a folk tale of a half-goat, half-demon monster who punishes villains. children at Christmas.
2, 3, 8, 9, 10 Dec.
Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona, Spain
Fira de Santa Llúcia is a traditional Catalan Christmas market with all the trimmings, held in Cathedral Square, with 20 illuminated Christmas trees, nativity scenes and stalls selling festive sweets and decorations. Dating back to 1786, it’s a jolly affair, with families coming together to listen to traditional music and sample Christmas food, including escudelle, a special festive soup. A highlight for children is a giant log, Caga Tio (translated as the “caca log”), which is filled with nougat and other sweets – then finally smashed to bits by sugar-hungry children.
25 Nov-23 December