Christmas markets aren’t limited to Prague.
As the days shorten and grow colder, Prague sets about putting up stands and stages and Christmas trees for the ever-popular Christmas markets. Mulled wine flows freely. Large hams are roasted and sold in slabs on paper trays. The gigantic tree on the Old Town Square is decorated and illuminated.
If you love Christmas markets, but are looking for something a little different this year, why not try a market outside Prague? Or even outside the country? Here are a few alternatives.
An easy couple of hours from Prague by car, bus, or train, Dresden has the oldest Christmas market in Germany (dating from 1434). On the second Saturday of Advent, the Stollen Festival will take place. A giant stolen (fruitcake) is taken through the streets, then sliced up and sold to members of the crowd. All proceeds go to charity. This year’s market will run from November 29 to December 24.
Mozart’s birthplace is home to a large, ornate Christmas market. The perennially popular Christmas carol “Silent Night” is particularly relevant to Salzburg, as Joseph Mohr (who wrote the lyrics) was also born here. Products to be bought and enjoyed here include incense, toys, natural-fiber clothing, jewelry, and, of course, all things sweet. This year’s market will run from November 23 to December 26.
Budapest has two markets – one on Vorosmarty Square, and the other on St. Stephen’s Square, directly in front of the basilica. The latter market features an ice rink for skating enthusiasts, as well as folk dance performances and stalls carrying handicrafts and various food items. This year’s markets will run from November 10 to December 31 (Vorosmarty Square) and from November 24 to January 2 (St. Stephen’s Square).
Already a city of stunning beauty, its fairy-tale appearance is only heightened by snow and Christmas decorations. At this year’s market, St. Nicholas will hand out presents on December 5. On December 16, the carol “Silent Night” will be performed in several languages. On December 23, a living Nativity scene will be staged. This is, of course, in addition to the many stalls featuring all kinds of holiday goodies. This year’s market will run from December 1 to January 7.
Open-air concerts, Christmas treats, a merry-go-round, and traditional gifts are all on offer at this spa city. Karlovy Vary is so dedicated to Christmas that it even has a Christmas House that is open all year round. Clearly, they can’t get enough of it. This year’s market will run from December 2 to January 7.
Not at all surprisingly, Polish sausages are common at this market. So are jewelry made from amber, wood carvings, mulled wine, and a wide range of handicrafts. Choral and dance performances will entertain market goers. As an additional enticement, the food stalls are open until 10:00 p.m., two hours later than the other stalls. This year’s market will run from November 24 to December 27.