If ever there was an event that should be on everyone’s bucket-list, it’d have to be attending the great Christmas Markets of Europe. Mulled wine, snow-covered landscapes and the scent of gingerbread in the air – it’s the stuff of childhood fantasies! Here’s three of the best. Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
The Imperial City pulls out all the stops in creating a magical Christmas Markets wonderland experience. And there are quite a number of them on, so which do you choose? Altwiener Christkindlmarkt in the Freyung is a market surrounded by city palaces and the Schottenkirche Church which dates back to the 12th century. It’s been a tradition since as early as 1772, and a nice alternative to the more crowded markets on the Rathausplatz. This is the place to find traditional mangers, ceramics and handicrafts, with the draw-card here being the organic farmer’s market for sausages and roasted chestnuts.
The German city of Passau on the Austrian border is the City of Three Rivers – the Danube, Inn and Ilz. During Christmas, the Old Town and especially Cathedral Square is heavily decorated. The markets take place in front of the green onion-domed St Stephen’s Cathedral, and presents around 70 selected stallholders who display their Christmas arts and crafts. Glühwein (hot spiced wine) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread-like) are the specialties here.
This Bavarian city on the Danube River in southeast Germany hosts its enchanting market at Neupfarrplatz. Glühwein and Kinderpunsch, a non-alcoholic punch, is the standard offering and offers a welcome remedy to the cool outdoor temperatures. The market boasts over 40 different varieties including apple, orange, cherry, Holunder or elderberry with a shot of rum or amaretto, hot chocolate with or without whipped cream, Feuerzangenbowle or brandy punch, and the Eierlikör or classic eggnog. And, of course, you should try the half-metre-long Feuerwurst sausage. Traditional handicrafts include homemade leather goods, pottery, ornaments, candles made from honey, and even soap made from sheep’s milk.
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Image: Regensburg Christmas Markets