Holiday Markets in Europe
From Copenhagen to Prague, Europe lights up its dreary winter days with bustling, fragrant, sparkling Christmas markets. Lining cobbled city streets and filling town squares with booths heavy with handicrafts, ornaments, toys, and tasty treats, these markets hit the sweet spot between gift-buying consumer craziness and a throwback to simpler times. And you’re guaranteed not to hear “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” a single time, no matter how long you stay.
The best part is the food—street food served hot from steaming cauldrons or open flame whose aroma and warmth draw in passersby like cats to a suitcase. In Germany, the specialties are gingerbread, pretzels, sausages, potato pancakes and mulled wine, with hot spiced orange juice and churro-like doughnuts rounding out the list of guilty pleasures. In Denmark, iced doughnuts with jam and schnapps-laced beverages help ward off the cold, while in Brussels, steaming buttery moules et frites (mussels and fries) might be the healthiest choice all month. In Prague, the food reigns supreme, even acting as a good luck charm, such as in the case of the carp, the traditional Christmas Eve fare, which signifies good fortune in the coming year. Not a fan of fish? No worries—Prague’s market stalls are laden with enough honeyed gingerbread, ‘wasps’ nests’ cookies, and sweet mulled wine to guarantee your dentist’s fortune in the new year. In Rome, feast on peanut brittle and head-sized doughnuts, and in Austria and France, more mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.
Tauck, AMA Waterways and Uniworld offer river cruise itineraries featuring a convenient way to see many Christmas markets, or you can manage your own itinerary by taking the train with a Eurail pass (just keep in mind that a lot of people are traveling for the holidays, so book your seat in advance when possible). Ask your FROSCH travel consultant when you’re ready to start thinking about next year’s holiday season!