Five of the best Christmas markets from around the world
What’s On celebrates the festive season by profiling five of the best Christmas markets in the world, including London, Prague and Sydney.
Get that rosy glow of the festive season at these magical outdoor events – with food, drink and gifts to boot…
If anyone can do Christmas markets, it’s the Danes. Wandering the four miles of stalls with their artfully hung fairy lights in Copenhagen’s enchanting historic amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, is a dazzling shopping experience you’ll never forget. Stands stocked with fine handmade crafts, such as jaunty clog-clad elves in pointy red caps and laughing reindeers, sit next to iced doughnuts coated in blackcurrant jam and goblets of traditional Danish gløgg, a hot drink laden with raisins, almonds, fragrant cinnamon sticks, and bitter cloves. A delicious experience all round.
Winter Wonderland in London’s famous Hyde Park has quickly become a must-do for British families celebrating the season. Famed for its fairground rides, circus and gigantic observation wheel, it’s also a place to swing by for last-minute gifts. Browse the 200 fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden stalls, while clutching a decadent hot chocolate and tasty churro, on the hunt for woolen mittens and hats, charming ornaments and London keepsakes. In the Ice Bar everything is made of ice, from the building to the glasses, and you’re handed a cloak and gloves at the door. Take a tour of the Magical Ice Kingdom, where a frozen forest filled with unicorns and fairies leads you to a meeting with the magnificent Snow Queen.
Santa Claus, Indiana, USA
Yes, there really is a town in America called Santa Claus. The Midwestern town has built fame and fortune – and lots of happy memories – on its festive moniker. As you can imagine, things get extra sparkly in December. Santa Claus Christmas Store is famous for its unique, personalised ornaments, stationary and stockings, while Santa’s Candy Castle has the biggest selection of candy canes you’ll find anywhere. After shopping, post your cards at Santa Claus Post Office (your envelopes will be postmarked with ‘Santa’), play some reindeer games at Frosty’s Fun Centre, then walk through the Land Of Lights, the biggest holiday light show in North America.
Prague, Czech Republic
At Yuletide, the stunning Gothic city of Prague becomes a city of fairy tales as the chilly air casts a misty magic around the spires of the Old Town. In the city’s main Wenceslas Square, in the shadow of a gigantic Christmas tree, old-fashioned wooden toys and handmade puppets are cheerfully bought and sold alongside delicate Bohemian glass and crystal. Keep bored children and husbands entertained at the adjoining petting zoo and theatre, where local children put on festive song and dance shows for the red-cheeked shoppers.
For one night only, this year on December 18, Sydney’s famous hipster hangout Paddington Market will hold a night market to celebrate not only Christmas, but local fashion designers, craftspeople, jewellery makers and artists who keep Sydney weird and wonderful all year round. On this festive evening, 150 stalls will tempt Sydneysiders with handmade soaps and candles, freshly-baked bread and cake, intricate beads and maybe even a woolly hat, not that you’ll need it in the Aussie summer. Relax under the fairy-lit trees with a drink and a Christmas cookie, before making your way home at twilight clutching your goodies.