Christmas is the time of the year when we forget all about our inhibitions, rifts and anger, and come together as friends and family to enjoy the holidays. Some people prefer to stay indoors with a book of old tales and warm hot chocolate, some like to party, while most love to survey the beautifully decorated Christmas markets to get their hands on some gorgeous Christmas decor and goodies. When it comes to Christmas shopping, the place which comes to mind is always Europe. The continent boasts the most exquisite Christmas markets, with its adorably decorated streets and shops. Some of them must visit these markets. The look of a Christmas market is no less than a scene from a fairytale, the lush green brightly decorated trees, mouth-watering delicacies, ice rinks, holly and ivy wreaths, all add to the charm. Some Christmas markets that are extremely popular are,
Date: 22 November 2021 to 23 December 2021
Description: This is known for the various Christmas markets that light up the city on the banks of the beautiful Rhine river. The market in “Cologne Cathedral”, “The House Elves’ Winter Fairytale Christmas Market”, etc, are simply amazing. There is no place like Cologne for Christmas, with more festive markets than you can shake a magic wand at. You can enjoy ice skating at the Heumarkt ice rink circuit, which is quite popular, dancing to DJ set up at Heavenue, shop for handcrafted items usually found in the Old Town. Sipping mulled wine is another thing people enjoy here. Especially the one from the boat bar by the harbour. Throughout the holiday season, this picturesque German city serves as the ideal setting for imaginative yuletide evenings.
Dates: 19 November 2021 to 2 January 2022
Description: Known for homemade handcrafted gifts and tantalizing Hungarian desserts, “The Advent Basilica” is home to one of the most ethereal Christmas markets in the whole world. The most famous tourist attraction is the light show on the St. Stephens facade. Vörösmarty plaza, in the centre of Budapest, hosts the city’s largest and longest Christmas market. It begins in mid-November and ends on December 31st. Every day, you can enjoy free concerts by various Hungarian musicians in addition to the numerous food stalls and artisan stores. Budapest is proud of its craft collection, and fortunately, the items for sale are genuine works by local artists – both classic and contemporary designs.
Prague, Czech Republic
Dates: 27 November 2021 to 6 January 2022
Description: known for a zealous Christmas spirit, this place is a treasure chest of beautiful medieval architecture and conventional nativity scenes. Melodic choirs, giant Christmas trees, and stalls selling locally crafted ceramics, embroidered laces, hand-blown glass baubles, hats, gloves, and scented candles can all be found at these lovely markets.
Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia
Dates: 19 November 2021 to 2 January 2022
Description: 60 stylish and cheerful wooden huts sell handcrafted wreaths, lamps, sheepskin blankets, gingerbread, local honey, and mulled wine in Town Hall Square. While visitors enjoy visiting the different cafes on Town Hall Square throughout the summer, the area becomes a refuge for festivities during the winter, with open-air concerts, fairs, and a variety of other fascinating activities. Musicians and dancers delight the audience with their performances during the holiday season. The big Christmas tree, which has stood tall since 1441, is a show stopper, despite the beautifully crafted snow sculptures.
Plaisirs d’Hiver, Belgium
Dates: 26 November 2021 to 2 January 2022
Description: When you visit Belgium, make it a point to celebrate Christmas as you have never done before. The fair, which runs from November 26 through January 2, 2022, is noted for its sweet delicacies. In the stalls, shoppers can get Christmas presents, hand-blown glass ornaments, and much more. Spend some time on the ice rink and the Ferris wheel before heading to the Brass Band Café for fluffy Belgian waffles, caramelized apples, and seasonal sugar doughnuts. Concerts, board games, dances, choirs, and cartoon projection are just a few of the entertaining and creative activities available at the market.
Skansen Christmas Market, Sweden
Dates: 26 November 2021 to 19 December 2021
Description: The market will be open at the Skansen open-air museum on the island of Djurgarden. As you walk through old homes and farmsteads decorated for the holidays, you will be struck by the splendour of Skansen. Those who want to make their Christmas more memorable and innovative can take part in the traditional dance performances that happen at the the festive tree in Bollnas square or they can even make their own Christmas decorations at a workshop. You can put your Christmas shopping on hold and enjoy delicacies like smoked turkey, almonds and waffles. Since, 1903, the famous Christmas market has featured everything from handicrafts and chocolates to hand-crafted candles and secret Christmas gifts.
Each of these markets has released a set of Covid protocols that need to be strictly and sincerely followed, as these protocols are for the safety of all visitors and tourists. Spending time at Christmas markets has been an annual custom that has been followed since time immemorial, and to continue to do so, they will have to act responsibly during these trying times. It would be a good idea to inquire about the entry norms beforehand, most markets are accepting negative covid reports, while others might accept covid vaccine certificates too.
While almost all these markets are accessible via public transport, as a tourist or a foreign visitor, it is always a good idea to rent a vehicle of your own. This gives you the freedom to roam around as per your whims and fancies, this will allow you to make as many stops as you can, even for something as small as an adorable little stocking, without the driver telepathically trying to tell you to hurry, or trying to mask their emotions each time you ask them to stop. Well, there is a perfectly convenient solution to this little hiccup that threatens to sour your holiday mood, and that is an International Driving License. With a few easy and simple clicks, you can apply for an international driving license, and get your international drivers permit online from ITCA. With this permit in hand, you can navigate these markets at your convenience and desire. Happy Holidays!