The 5 most magical Christmas markets around the world

Whether you’re a regular santa’s little helper or the original Christmas Grinch, ‘tis definitely the season. So grab your gluhwein, bag a bratwurst, snag some stollen and hold on tight. We’re off on a whistlestop tour of the world’s best Christmas markets.

Tallinn, Estonia

While not yet a particularly well known travel destination, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is certainly growing in popularity. And its Christmas market is making a name for itself having topped a recent poll as the best in Europe.

Wandering among the cobbles of the Town Hall Square in the walled Old Town, you can enjoy traditional Estonian Christmas delicacies like blood sausages, pickled pumpkin, and sour cabbage. Estonian breweries get in on the action as well producing delicious special seasonal dark beers.

Birmingham, England

Birmingham’s vast Christmas market boasts the record for being the largest one outside of Germany or Austria with well over 80 stalls. Originally inspired by the markets held in Birmingham’s twin city Frankfurt, it’s now become a tour de force on its own merit.

Catch some live music, go ice skating, scoff traditional German food, bag some homemade Christmas goods, or just soak up the festive atmosphere. This is now a firm favourite on Birmingham’s Christmas calendar.

Zagreb, Croatia

Former holder of the “Best Christmas Market in Europe” crown, Zagreb Advent is undoubtedly up there with the best. Each year they compete to better the previous year’s efforts by adding more to the programme, from live nativity plays to King Tomislav Square’s beautiful ice park.

Less a single market in an individual location, it seems as though the whole of the city is taken over by Xmas fever. This means you’ll find events, stalls, and general festive merriment virtually anywhere you turn.

Toronto, Canada

It stands to reason that Canada’s largest city celebrates Yuletide by putting on the country’s biggest and baddest Christmas market. Toronto’s famous Xmas market is appropriately held in the city’s Distillery District, but you won’t need any hard liquor to get you warmed up here.

Though there’s a distinctly European feel to it, it’s also unmistakably Canadian with german delicacies such as mulled wine and gingerbread sitting comfortably alongside local favourites like poutine and butter tarts.

Chicago, U.S.A

Named the Christkindl Market, Chicago’s Xmas festivities have grown from one central location to encompass three sites in Chicago, Naperville and Milwaukee. It’s now the largest Christmas market of its kind in the whole of the United States attracting over 1 million visitors each year.

The original Daley Plaza site centres around its ginormous Christmas tree and remains the most popular of the locations. Here you’ll find live music, food and drink sellers peddling German favorites as well as local picks, and stalls selling a dizzying variety of artesanal seasonal goods.

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