It is during Advent, the celebrated season of the Nativity of Jesus that Christmas Markets take to the streets with holiday festivities, lights and Christmas candies and cakes. The Christmas market is a tradition of the German and Austrian people which has also spread to much of Europe.
Stuttgart, Germany Christkindlemarkt, or the Christ child market, has been held in the city's central square since the late 1600s. It is the largest of all the Christmas markets in Europe. The market includes a fairytale land, small railway and ice skating. Christmas collectibles are available at many of the market stalls.
The backdrop of the huge Cologne Cathedral makes the Cologne Christmas market the most impressive one in Germany. Over 100 pavilions offer gifts, sweets and artisans at work. Here is where the delicious Christmas Mulled Wine originated.
The South Tyrol Christmas markets in Italy combines the very best of the five different towns that contribute to the annual event. Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Brunico and Vipiteno come together to showcase their local and homemade foods, produce and handicrafts. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the local area taking in Runkelstein Castle, Spa Merano and the local medieval architecture.
Alter Markt, Germany holds a holiday street market only minutes from the Cologne Cathedral Market. Children are enchanted with a Santa Grotto that includes toy stands and puppet shows. This is the holiday market where the famous gnomes known as "Heinzelmannchen" create all the Christmas splendour that you see. Only crafted goods are sold during this Advent market in Alstadt.
In Neumarkt in Germany, the Christmas Market is the oldest of all the Cologne Advent markets. The Stadtgarten Christmas Market is full of children's fun and play, including ice skating on an old park rink, Christmas concerts and huge Nativity scenes.
Festivities of the Wien Rathaus Christkindlemarkt in Vienna in Austria are held in front of the town hall. The tradition of the Christkindlemarkt in Vienna dates back to the eleventh century. Stalls of gifts and trees line the streets and Christmas lights brighten each evening of the Advent season.
If you’re near Oxford in the UK, visit the Blenheim Palace Christmas Market where a traditional Christmas is celebrated throughout the whole of December with plenty of family-friendly entertainment and, as you’d expect of a palace, opulent decorations. There is a giant craft show held in the grounds during November and the magnificent Christmas trees within the Palace have all been grown in the grounds. The beginning of advent is marked on 1 December with the Blenheim singers performing Handel’s Messiah and carol singers perform in the Great Court.
Saint Louis Square in the city of Metz, in the very east of France, the Christmas market en Metz is filled many holiday vendors. The huge enticement of this French advent market lies in the sweets and chocolates available. The familiar roasted chestnut is a favorite with the tourists as well as many holiday candies. The enchanting atmosphere of en Metz Christmas market is magical and full of the good cheer of traditional Christmases everywhere.