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Get in the holiday spirit with Europe's magical Christmas markets

Every holiday season, Christkindlmarkt markets throughout Europe bring sparkling lights, festive music and decorated wooden chalets where vendors sell hand-crafted ornaments and tasty treats in local town squares. The holiday tradition began in medieval Germany with a more practical focus: allowing townspeople to stock up on goods for the winter. However, in the mid-1400s, the markets took on their Christmas associations and today many towns celebrate the start of Advent with the markets' opening. Every Christmas market is unique to the town and city that you visit. Wooden stalls spotlight handmade holiday handicrafts and decorations. You'll be amazed with the level of detail on the ornaments and decor. In addition to tree ornaments, here are some traditional Christkindlmarkt items to check out: Christmas Pyramids, Music Boxes, Holiday Smokers, Candle Arches, and Nutcrackers.

You'll work up an appetite when you're strolling around each Christkindlmarkt market. Food stalls offer traditional grab and go fare such as: currywurst, gingerbread, potato pancakes, pretzels, roasted chestnuts, pommes frites, raclette, and crepes (order one with Nutella). To stay warm, you can order a mug of gluhwein: hot, mulled wine with spices, fruit, cinnamon sticks. Gluhwein is a taste of the holidays and I think it's delicious. Your gluhwein is served in a ceramic mug and every Christmkindlmarkt produces their own unique mug (it's a great souvenir and a lot of people collect them!)

Want to get into the Christmas spirit? Click here for a virtual tour


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