It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Europe, as Christmas markets in cities large and small are in full swing. For centuries these mostly outdoor markets have been gathering points for locals to prepare for and usher in the holiday season. Decked out in twinkling lights, vendors at wooden stalls sell a variety of handicrafts, delicate Christmas baubles, and of course, delicious wintertime drinks and treats.
The best European Christmas markets not only sell iconic whimsical ornaments and have ornate Christmas villages, but they also serve tempting traditional treats that evoke memories of yesteryear, like the Christmas Market at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark which serves gløgg, a potent variant of mulled red wine spiced with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves steeped in pure aquavit (schnapps), and æbleskivers, a treat similar to a donut that is dusted with icing, sugar, and a dollop of blackcurrant jam.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas for most families in Europe without a traditional trip to the Christmas market. Locals in Barcelona head to the Fira de Santa Llúcia to stock up on Catalan Christmas essentials like Christmas trees, decorations, and caganer (a squatting, pooping Nativity scene figurine) and the Tió de Nadal (a festive log that "poops out" children’s presents on Christmas Eve).
If your travels take you to Europe this holiday season, you’re bound to run into one of dozens of Christmas markets in city centers, plazas, market squares, and cathedrals in cities across the continent. Here are 10 of the best Christmas markets in Europe for not only picking up essential holiday trinkets but also for sipping and sampling the most delicious seasonal treats.
Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.