Near, far, wherever you are, Christmas cheer can be found! When you teach English abroad you not only get to experience new cultures, you get to experience new holiday traditions! Experience firsthand how Christmas is celebrated and your new home or travel somewhere new. Whether you spend an afternoon, or make an entire weekend trip out of it, there are some incredible markets and unique traditions waiting to be discovered all over the world. Although there are hundreds more out there, here are 10 Christmas markets that are sure to put you into the Christmas spirit. And if the markets don’t do it, the mulled wine certainly will!
1. Plaza Mayor Christmas Market - Madrid, Spain
Starting in mid-November, the Plaza Mayor is taken over by Christmas spirit. With over 100 stalls for shopping and eating, and a brightly lit carousel, the festivities can be found all over the square. There’s no better way to get into the Christmas spirit!
2. Roppongi Hills Christmas Market-Tokyo, Japan
Inspired by the Christmas markets of Germany, the Roppongi Hills Christmas Markets is one of the most famous and festive markets in all of Asia! Here, you can try authentic German dishes, shop, sing with carolers and take in all of the twinkling lights.
3. Christmas Market in Praza da Quintana- Santiago, Chile
Although smaller than some of the other Christmas markets in Europe, Santiago’s market has character! With over 50 stalls filled with Christmas crafts, decorations, food, ceramics and music, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit while in South America.
4. Vorosmarty Christmas Market-Budapest, Hungary
Here you can sample traditional Hungarian dishes and visit over 100 stalls located within the square. Shop from local vendors, visit children’s puppet shows and explore the magical city all lit up with Christmas cheer!
5. The Christmas Quarter Market- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Full of delicious food and shopping, this market is a beautiful way to experience your favorite holiday traditions in an unlikely place! This market is a unique combination of both Malaysian and Western traditions, full of artisanal jewelry, artwork and food.
6. Christmas and Epiphany Market at Piazza Navona- Rome, Italy
In Italian tradition, December 8th marks the start of the Christmas market which ends in Epiphany in early January. It is then that children wait for the arrival of Befana the old witch who will bring them gifts. Not your typical market, but beautiful, nonetheless. Here you can see the twinkling lights, hear live music and eat lots of amazing food all while surrounded by the incredible architecture and fountains of Rome.
7. Gendarmenmarkt- Berlin, Germany
There are over 60 Christmas markets in Berlin (yes, you heard that right), but the Gendarmenmarkt is the most famous. Explore stands with glassblowers, art all while enjoying a mug of mulled wine. This market is certainly one of the most festive as you can always experience some of the featured entertainment such as fire-eaters and gospel choirs each day.
8. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland-London, England
There are more than several beautiful Christmas markets throughout London during the month of December, but Winter Wonderland certainly takes the cake. Hardly a market at all, Winter Wonderland is a massive Christmas themed fair placed right in Hyde Park. Ride massive rollercoasters, sip mulled wine on a moving carousel or cool down at Bar Ice. This Christmas pop-up is everything in one!
9. Strasbourg Christmas Market-Strasbourg, France
Shop through locally made decorations and pop into the beautiful and historic cathedral in this small but charming Christmas market. With 300 wooden chalets, toys and candy set up in the city center, you’re sure to be enchanted by this quaint market
10. Christmas Market at Wenceslas Square-Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is an amazing place to visit during Christmas time and is known for going all out, and the Christmas markets are no exception. This Christmas market truly has it all: giant Christmas tree, live nativity scenes, mulled wine, music and dance. If you're searching for a traditional gothic Chirstmas experience, Prague is definitely the way to go.