Lights, open fires, mulled wine, steins, cakes, pastries, sausages… you can only be at a Christmas market! Though there’s nothing quite like the European ones, there has been a boom in recent years of these fantastic open aired street festivals in major cities around the world in the lead up to Christmas.
Everyone’s Christmas Market experience is different! See which one your local market best represents and soak up the atmosphere. We want to hear where your favourite market is and to see your snaps. Send them in via #sortedfood on Twitter and Instagram…
German/ Bavarian Christmas Markets
Christmas markets as we know them today originated in the state of Bavaria in Germany. They were a place for the locals to go to stock up on gifts, treats and necessities before the holidays. Stall owners still to this day sell hand crafted toys, Christmas decorations, hot nuts, gingerbread and other baked goods in chalet style huts. The famous foods of choice which are consistent through many markets are sausages and hot wine.
Some of the oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets can be found in Dresden, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin. Berlin (as pictured) has over 50 Christmas markets in its city centre.
European Christmas Markets
Markets in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland… the list could go on, hold true to a Bavarian market but with their own unique stamps and culture imprinted upon them.
In these cities you can still find mulled wine, large sausages and all of the traditional items. But you’ll also find unique foods and gifts to take home and food native to the country. If you want to head to another country to experience a market, do your research. Do you want a specific culinary experience? Do you want the most beautiful setting? There are so many to choose from!
Pictured is Prague. The market in the Old Town Square is said to be one of the most beautiful as it’s set against the gothic skyline and a ginormous Christmas Tree.
Victorian Christmas Markets
The Victorian period in England is when Christmas festivities really took off. Carol singing, animal petting and nativity style scenes are a major feature at markets in the old cities.
While Birmingham and Manchester hold Bavarian Christmas Markets, head to cities like Bath, York and Nottingham for a more British experience.
Many UK Christmas markets sport fairground rides. While this is great fun for the family, it is not your authentic market experience and the Germans are very anti this idea! You’re also more likely to find ‘pop up’ food stalls and meals that are not so traditional. Curry and crepe chalets will sit next to Bratwurst houses.
The famous Winter Wonderland is a huge affair in London’s Hyde Park. Rollercoasters, a ferris wheel, ice skating and beer tents pop up. There is still a Bavarian market too so you can try a bratwurst for sure. You’ll be guaranteed to find something fun for everyone.
Rest of World
German and craft markets can be found everywhere at Christmas around the world. The USA and Canada have plenty of German heritage so Bavarian villages are popular here too.
Singapore and Japan have notable markets as do Cape Town, South Africa and Sydney, Australia. You might be void to find mulled wine here however as the weather is slightly more pleasant than what we experience in Europe. Lucky.
Get The Best Out Of Your Christmas Market Experience:
1. No market is the same so be open and try something new that you’ve never heard of before!
2. Take cash, many market sellers won’t accept card.
3. Check the weather and dress accordingly. Wrap up warm and take an umbrella, just in case.
4. Watch out for pickpockets. Theft often happens in confined spaces.
5. Take a stroll around the whole market first before making a decision about what food to go for. You don’t want to regret it…
6. Talk to stall owners about their produce. If you’re buying a gift it is so special to tell the story behind it.
Merry Christmas. Stuff your FACE.