Christmas is coming along, ushered in by the chilly winds of winter and predictions of snow… For many, one of the best features of the Christmas month are the Christmas fairs and markets. It’s also a great excuse to take a city trip!
We’ve selected a few of our locals’ favorite Christmas markets in cities that aren’t the Christmas market cities “everybody” knows and visits… This means more locals, less tourists!
Bratislava’s “Good” Christmas market
Dobrý trh literally means ‘good market’. It usually takes place three times a year in three different locations. It started here as a neighborhood marketplace and it grew to this huge event.
The Christmas event is great! Expect stalls with quality food, original local design, books, accessories, clothes and a lot of surprise events.
Frankfurt – Skyline Christmas!
It’s a real WOW when you take the elevator up to the top floor of a downtown car parking, says Spotter Aroon. Frankfurt’s CityXmas market has thousands of little lights to illuminate the stalls and the open-sky rooftop area topped by a stunning skyline view featuring Frankfurt’s skyscrapers from the best possible perspective.
The choice of wines, Glühwein, beer, drinks and food is excellent. This market is less touristy but also a good option when the main Christmas Market around Römerberg closes early; this one has extended hours — weekends until close to midnight!
Hamburg – The small Christmas markets!
“There are few things I love more during this time of the year than meeting up at a Christmas market with friends, drinking some delicious mulled wine, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, the Grinch, Advent wreaths and calendars…” says our Spotter Sebastiana.
She’s more into the smaller, cozier (and less crowded!) Christmas markets. Her all-time favorite is the Christmas market at Apostelkirche in her home area Eimsbüttel. There’s also an LGBTQ Christmas market and Reeperbahn-red-light-district Christmas market!
Special local tip if you’re in Hamburg on Christmas eve: check out the tractors at Old Barnyard Hamburg!
Oslo – A vegan Christmas
That Christmas feeling, delicious food, ethical gift shopping, talks and cooking classes – the vegan Christmas festival has it all according to Elin. The only difference: everything’s plant based of course!
You can learn how to make your vegan or raw Christmas food, and some classes will also show you how to make sweet Christmas treats.
And if you do like meat: Lorry Oslo is a great place for Christmas dinner according to Sinead!
Riga – The world’s first decorated Christmas Tree
According to our Spotter Artem, Latvian Scientists recently discovered that the first decorated Christmas Tree in the world was decorated on Riga Market Square by German Traders back in 1510. There’s a memorial plaque right where it’s set up every year.
In honor of this event, each year Riga becomes the Christmas Tree Capital of the world – where many different and creative art objects are set-up throughout Kronvalda Park and Old Town. Best enjoyed at night when the lights go on…
Christmas in Vienna can be quite the experience! As every year our Spotter Julia has made a list of her own personal favorite Vienna Christmas markets. There are many and they are all free to visit. Look out for “Christkindlmarkt” or “Adventmarkt” signs on the streets!
The market in the tiny alleys up the Spittelberg hill are a true hidden gem. A bit more touristy, but very romantic as well is the Art Advent market at the Karlsplatz. Or head to the touristy, overcrowded and overpriced Christmas Dream market…
Zagreb – Advent u Zagrebu
Advent in Zagreb is a gastro-culture-outdoors fun manifestation in Zagreb, starting every year on the first weekend of advent (4 weekends before Christmas) and ending on Epiphany (January the 6th).
There’s an enormous amount of things to do in Zagreb around Christmas… Our Spotter Nina’s favorite is the beautiful ice skating rink on the King Tomislav Square, just outside of the central railway station.