Europe's 10 Most Original Christmas Markets

22 June 2015

If winter in Europe is beckoning, it's time to get into the holiday spirit. To help travellers do just that, Trivago created a list of the most surprising and interesting of Europe's traditional Christmas markets. From stalls afloat to mountain retreats to amusement parks, Europe has markets aplenty at yuletide.

A Floating Christmas Market In Germany

 The floating Christmas market

On a boat docked in at Vilshofen an der Donau, a small village on the Danube near Munich, travellers will find all the elements of a traditional Christmas market, including a large nativity scene carved from a single piece of wood. The adjacent quays shimmer with around 4,000 lights.

In A Train Station In Switzerland

Zurich's main train station is home to the Christkindlimarkt, one of the largest seasonal markets in Europe. Under the high ceilings, an impressive tree decorated with Swarovski crystals stands 15 metres tall.

In The Black Forest

 A market under the arches

It's hard to imagine a more enchanting setting for a Christmas market than Germany's famous forest. Vendors' stalls are set up under the arches of the Ravenna Bridge, a railway viaduct standing 65 metres tall.

On The Austrian Slopes

The Petzen ski resort, in southern Austria, is home to the highest Christmas market in Europe, with an altitude of 1,700 metres. To get there and back, holiday shoppers are advised to take the gondola lift and wear skis or snowshoes.

In A Scandinavian Amusement Park

Each year, the Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg, Sweden, puts on one of the region's largest Christmas markets, bringing together holiday shopping, festive food and thrilling attractions. A similar market opens at Tivoli, Europe's oldest amusement park, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On An Austrian Lake

This market sits atop a platform on Lake Millstatt – the immense body of water in the south of the country – near the waterfront bar Kap 4613. In the evening, shoppers can warm their hands around the large bonfire lit by the vendors.

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At Bluebeard's Castle

In France, the medieval castle in Tiffauges was once the home to Gille de Rais, the extravagant aristocrat known as Bluebeard. Around the holidays, the venue provides the setting for a market with around 50 vendors and a program of special events.

In A Cave In The Netherlands

The Valkenburg Caves, located outside of Maastricht, provide a unique underground setting for this large Christmas market.

In The Santa Claus Village In Finland

 Stalls in the village

Kris Kringle's 'official' village is located in Finland's Lapland region, in the city of Rovaniemi. Reindeer rides, encounters with real elves, handmade holiday crafts ... it's all here, all year.

In An Open-Air Museum

In Stockholm, Sweden, the Skansen open-air museum includes 150 traditional dwellings from across five centuries of history. Each holiday season, the museum recreates the Christmas markets of yore, complete with historical costumes.

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