With so many Christmas markets – especially in Europe, we just had to make it a two-part affair for this continent as there really is so much more to see, enjoy, and take photos of for the holidays.
Starting from late November up to early January, expect to see the lovely Christmas markets of Prague, which is also said to be one of the most stunning in Europe. Whether you visit Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) or Wenceslas Square, you’re sure to enjoy a great time with its authentic festive atmosphere. Make sure to take photos of the towering Christmas Tree, one of the highlights of the market and is especially brought in from the Krkonose Mountains up north just for the occasion.
Aside from getting to celebrate the holidays in a pleasant setting, you also get to experience some local culture. Make sure to try the traditional fried dough, cinnamon sugar trdlo, svařák or local hot wine, medovina (honey liquor), Becherovka (warm spiced liquor), and of course, don’t miss out on the great shopping. From a variety of handmade jewelry, Czech glass, hats, wooden toys even traditional puppets, you’ll surely be able to get something unique for your loved ones back home.
Also starting in late November and ending on early January, the Christmas market at this UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely something that you cannot miss out on should you ever be lucky enough to be in Belgium during the holidays. One of the most popular attractions is the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, which is held inside a huge thermal tent. Another popular activity is to chill out with a cocktail in hand inside the Ice Bar – don’t forget to bundle up!
When it comes to local delicacies, how can you go wrong with Belgian chocolates? Of course there’s also local Belgian beer, some of which have been especially brewed just for the occasion. For goodies to take home to your loved ones, there are unique ceramics and some handmade clothing that you might fancy.
Located in the heart of Alsace, this German-inflected region of France is believed to be the place where the first-ever Christmas Tree was put up. With a history like that, surely this location is a must-visit for holiday-ing folks. Since 1570, Starsbourg’s Christkindelsmärik has already been serving up a lot of wonderful holiday enchantments, and is also the oldest Christmas market in France.
If you’re planning to go here, it takes place from late November up to the end of December only so make sure to plan ahead! Sights to enjoy are the Place Broglie and Place Kléber and the breathtaking, Sapin de Noël. For souvenir shopping and some local culture, the Place de la Cathédrale offers an assortment of Christmas decorations while specialty Alsatian food can be enjoyed at the Place des Meuniers. Speaking of food, this Christmas market is not one to disappoint with the variety of local specialties that it offers. Vin chaud (for the adults), jus d’orange (for kids), bredele (Alsatian butter cookies), and maennele. There are also a lot of great holiday-themed family activities to enjoy like puppet shows, ice skating, as well as an ice garden complete with an obstacle course.
Now, doesn’t that make you want to skip the mall and just visit your local Christmas market instead?
Of course, any holiday adventure won’t be complete without pictures – the best souvenir that you can take home, in my opinion. So make sure to bring your Lomography cameras with you!:D For trips like this, the classic LC-A+ is something I’d recommend and the Instax Wide!