4 October 2012 by Luke McCormick
Wexas Channel Editor Luke McCormick takes a look at some of Europe's lesser-known Christmas markets, as well as a few favourites.
Estonia's medieval capital has been holding a Christmas market ever since unmarried merchants put up stalls and a Christmas tree in the town's square and promptly started dancing with single women in 1441. This postcard perfect market is the ideal place to pick up traditional Estonian goods and marvel at one of Europe's best-preserved medieval town centres.
Budapest's Vörösmarty Square is the hub for this traditional Hungarian craft market. Almost a hundred stalls sell folk art and craft certified by a panel of folk artists. An advent calendar of paintings by contemporary artists hangs on Gerbaud House, one of the square's most beautiful buildings.
Riga is the place where the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree was born. In 1510 a group of Riga merchants decorated a fir tree with flowers to honour the birth of Christ and the rest is history. Almost 350,000 people visited the market last year to buy wooden toys, handmade decorations and all manner of other Latvian ware.
Prague's ‘Winter Wonderland' takes place in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square and offers a mix of carols, hearty food and warm drink right through to 06 January.
The Copenhagen Christmas market in the Tivoli Gardens is a truly Danish affair. The carnival atmosphere is complemented by pony rides for kids, views of over Tivoli Lake and plenty of ‘gløgg & æbleskiver', a hot and spicy drink made of red wine and traditionally accompanied by round, pan-fried cakes served with sugar and jam.
Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt is one of the most popular on the world and no list would be complete without it. Last year alone more than two million visitors descended on Nuremberg's main Hauptmarkt square for a showcase of the best in Franconian market culture. As well as having enough gingerbread, cinnamon, bratwurst, roasted almonds and gluehwein stalls to keep you busy for days, there's also a Kinderweihnacht (children's market) with a wonderful carousel.