As these special dates draw near, many cities light up and get all decked up to welcome the Christmas season. The low temperatures and the snow make these Christmas markets dreamlike spaces; spaces of nostalgia, where anyone can join in on the Christmas Eve spirit. And well, of all the Christmas markets in the world, I’d choose 3: the one in Bruges, the one in Montmartre, and the one in Verona. It may be true that none of these are as well-known as the markets of the larger European cities, and they’re probably also a lot smaller, and yet, therein lies their charm. As they say, the best things come in small packages.
Verona’s Christmas Market, Italy
The city of love par excellence is also internationally known for its medieval market. In Piazza dei Signori you’ll find around thirty or so stands with a marked German influence due to the proximity to the Austrian and Swiss borders. It is very beautiful, and it is common practice to walk around with a good cup of mulled wine on your hand. But not only that, Verona also boasts the best selection of nativity scenes in the country. Over 400 nativity scenes from all parts of the planet are displayed around this time every year at the Arena Amphitheater. And there are as many visitors looking to enjoy these Christmas traditions, as those wanting to get acquainted with the Romeo & Juliet story from up close.
Christmas Market in Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is even more beautiful at this time of the year, and that’s saying enough. It is a city of canals, which has earned it the title of “Venice of the North”, and its old town is a World Heritage Site. Its streets, its squares, the facades of its buildings are all lit up and Christmas decorations are found around every corner. But above all of them is Simon Stevinplein, a square that truly transforms and fills all its visitors with joy. That’s where you’ll be able to go ice skating on the Grote Markt, as well as visit a spectacular Ice Sculpture Festival and an ice bar, right next to Bruges’ famous bell tower. And of course, you’ll also be able to buy all sorts of traditional Christmas sweets, gifts, and decorations.
Christmas Market in Montmartre, Paris
Although the Christmas market at the Champs-Élysées is better known and infinitely larger, it has nothing on Montmartre’s. Right on the hill, in a prime location, we find this bohemian neighborhood so full of charm and magic. Between the Azaïs and Du Cardinal Guibert streets, and right in front of the famous Basilica of the Sacré Coeur, its organizers put up over 70 stands every year, where you’ll find all type of Christmas gizmos and crafts. In short, Christmas is an excellent time to visit Paris and its markets in Trocadéro, Champs-Élysées, or its ice skating rink by the town hall.