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Local markets and festivals provide glimpses into the heart of a place. You can’t attend Christmas markets in a foreign city or village without getting a sense of its culture, crafts and cuisine. There is an inescapable holiday spirit that pervades every nook and cranny; no “bah humbugs” allowed here! Christmas markets occur in many locations throughout Europe. If you plan to visit during the holiday season simply search on the keyword for “market” and the name of the town you are visiting in the local language. Many Christmas markets extend until the New Year, you’re likely to find at least one that fits your itinerary plans! Remember: ALWAYS be safe and aware of your surroundings while attending Christmas Markets. Our hearts go out to those in Berlin.
Mercatini di Natale – Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
With almost 100 huts spread over two Piazzas, the Trento Christmas Market is celebrating its 23rd year. Alpine wines and crafts line the stalls of Piazza Cesare Battisti and Piazza Fiera in Trento’s town center. Set in the mountainous Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy, Trento is the capital of the Trentino, Southern province. The region borders Austria and Switzerland and, until it was annexed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I, it was part of Austria, explaining the significant German influence on the cuisine, language and culture of the area.
Marché de Noel – Colmar, Alsace, France
Colmar’s pedestrian center feels like a fairytale, richly decorated in twinkling lights and holiday garland. Its Christmas markets are connected via picturesque streets, across five locations in the village. Colmar is located in the Alsace region of southeastern France, along the Rhine River just a hop, skip and a jump from Germany. The capital of Alsatian wine, it was part of Germany until 1919.
Mercadillo Navidad – Madrid, Spain
Madrid has something to suit everyone when it hosts several Christmas markets during the holidays. For over 100 years, Plaza Mayor is the main attraction, decorated with nativity scenes and beautiful light designs that change year to year. Stalls selling Christmas decorations, gifts and food line several city plazas. You can take a turn or two around the ice rink at the Plaza de la Remonta Christmas market or try some turron, a nougat-filled treat identified with this time of year. Beyond Plaza Mayor and la Remonta, you can find more at Plazas Santa Cruz, La Provincia, Callao, Santa Domingo, Benavente, and Santa Maria Soledad Torres Acosta.
Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy – Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland
Where in the world can you find a magical dwarf to grant your Christmas wish? Why, Wroclaw of course! Fortunately the magical dwarf is only one of the draws that brings thousands to Poland’s fourth largest city during the holiday season. Eat some chocolate gingerbread and sip mulled wine while strolling through the main market square (Rynek) and taking in the beautifully lit architecture. No need to go sit in a restaurant, purchase delicious, traditional polish foods as well as tasty treats and handicrafts from around the world. There are several fairytale-themed cottages for the kids to explore and a beautiful carousel to ride.
Salzburger Christkindl Market – Salzburg, Austria
Situated at the foot of the 900 year old Hohensalzburg Fortress, the main Salzburg Christmas market is on the photogenic Cathedral Square. There are eight different holiday markets to explore in the city. In addition to stalls selling crafts and ornaments, attendees can interact with visits from both St. Nicholas and Krampus. Krampus, a companion of St. Nick from Austrian folklore, is the horned, demonic creature that hits naughty children with his switch. The Christkindl Market has been a Salzurg tradition for over 500 years.
Whether you need to shop for some gifts during your vacation or just want to soak in the atmosphere, take a stroll through a European Christmas Market and you will fill to the brim with Christmas Cheer.
Lisa M. Vogele, Lisa’s Travel Guides | December 21, 2016
Watch Lisa speak at the Travel & Adventure Show in Philadelphia in March!
Lisa Vogele is an Italophile, festival-lover, and travel-addict. Her blog “Lisa Loves to Travel” has been created to share her love of festivals with fellow travelers and enthusiasts. Originally from Connecticut, she and her husband Mark call Colorado home. She loves hearing suggestions, recommendations, and experiences around festival travel. The “Food & Folklore” series is published by Lisa’s Travel Guides and highlights food, fun, and festivals to help others go local as a traveler, not a tourist.
Lisa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @travelwithlisa.
This fun travel reference guide helps travelers incorporate local Italian food & folklore festivals into their trip planning and enjoy local, authentic experiences. Whether you have traveled to Italy before or looking forward to your first trip, this guide will make you positively hungry for Italy!
A listing of over 450 festivals focusing on local foods and historical folklore is provided as a starting point to a local adventure. Learn some fun facts about each region of Italy, how to effectively search for festivals and tips for attending festivals and a specific festival highlighted for each region. A simple glossary of keywords and a cross reference index of food festivals are included.