Everyone loves a Christmas market and it’s no secret that Europe has them in abundance. However, while everyone thinks that the best markets are to be found in cities such as Berlin, Vienna and Strasbourg, there are lots of markets which don’t get the same attention but are just as worthy of visiting. Here’s a list of the most underrated Christmas markets in Europe.
Krakow has long been a favourite of travellers to Europe with its beautifully preserved old town, vibrant nightlife, and fantastic culinary scene. While it may get really cold during the winter months, the city’s Christmas market is definitely worth braving the chill. Located in the main square, you can browse the quaint stalls while admiring the magnificent architecture lit up with twinkling lights.
Tallinn has an interesting claim to fame when it comes to Christmas: it’s considered to be the first European city to display a Christmas tree in its town square, going all the way back to 1441. Whether this is correct or not, what is definitely true is that Tallinn’s Christmas market is an absolute delight. In addition to the fabulous Christmas tree which takes centre stage in the market square, you can grab yourself a mulled wine, stroll around the stalls selling local handicrafts, and try some delicious Estonian cuisine.
Birmingham has had a bad wrap in past years. Despite being the second largest city in the UK, it just hasn’t attracted that many tourists in comparison with the mega-metropolis of London. However, when the festive season begins, Birmingham is where you should head to. The city hosts the largest German market outside of Germany, thanks to a partnership between Birmingham and Frankfurt, and is also one of the largest markets in the UK. Taking place in four locations throughout the city, here you’ll find over 150 stalls selling everything from traditional gifts to authentic German cuisine, and don’t forget to have a go on the Ferris wheel!
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Of course, everyone has heard of Prague, but if you really want to discover the delights of the Czech Republic at Christmas, make your way down to Cesky Krumlov. This tiny city is like something out of a fairy tale, which creates the perfect backdrop to the Christmas market held here. It’s pretty small, especially in comparison with many other European markets, and somewhat touristy, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in atmosphere.
For many years, Belarus wasn’t on the typical traveller map due to visa restrictions. However, now that has changed since a 30-day visa-free stay was introduced for 80 nationalities. As the Orthodox religion is most prominent here, the Christmas celebrations begin later than the other markets on this list. Starting from late December, the Christmas markets here are a celebration of both Christmas and New Year, and there are opportunities for ice skating and meeting Grandfather Frost. The New Year’s Eve fireworks display is particularly wonderful to witness.