FESTIVE MARKET MANIA
Sparkling lights and gingerbread, heritage crafts and the scent of mulled wine….
European Christmas markets charm holiday visitors in Dresden Germany, Zagreb Croatia, and Strasbourg France.
WHAT TO SEE IN DRESDEN, GERMANY
28th November – 24th December 2018
Dresden’s markets boast some of Germany’s finest handicrafts. Look for Dresden’s own blue-and-white ceramics, or textiles and folk art from Lusatia, lace products from Plauen, and blown glass from Lauscha. At Münzgasse, pick up a wooden ornament for the tree, crafted by the carvers of the Ore Mountain villages and savor an apple baked with jam, cinnamon and honey, topped with custard and whipped cream.
WHAT TO SEE IN ZAGREB, CROATIA
1st December 2018 – 6th January 2019
After polling more than 100,000 readers, European Best Destinations awarded Zagreb “Best Christmas Market 2016,” beating the likes of London, Vienna, Berlin, Stockholm and Nürnberg. Carolers sing while wandering streets lined with stalls selling gingerbread hearts, toys, food and mulled wine. Take a themed walking tour through the Habsburg streets, or download the smartphone app to find your way through the hundreds of activities, including concerts on balconies, art workshops, a Santa Village and even a live nativity scene. The heart of the market is at Jelačić Square, while European Square is the destination for eating, drinking and music, Zrinjevac for fairy-tale magic and handicrafts and Tomislav for ice skating.
WHAT TO SEE IN STRASBOURG, FRANCE
23rd November – 30th December 2018
Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region, and the city’s Gothic cathedral and picturesque Teutonic streets form a magnificent backdrop for its world-famous Christkindelsmärik. More than 300 stalls make up Strasbourg’s 11 markets and some 500 events are organized for the celebration, including Christmas carolers and live music, shows and exhibitions.
Foodies head to the market dedicated to local producers at Place des Meuniers in “Little France,” picking up organic jams, Muenster cheese, dried fruit and chewy nougat. Gourmet specialties include escargot (snails cooked with herbs and Alsatian white wine) and foie gras, sometimes infused with a local brandy or Gewürztraminer wine.
EAT & DRINK
Besides Dresdner stollen and baked apples look for:
Accompany any, or all, with a mug of Glühwein: red wine mulled with spices, lemon and sugar. A fortified version called Feuerzangenbowle is spiked with rum and caramelized sugar. Hot fruit punches and herbal teas are also on offer.
EAT & DRINK
Beyond the stalls of fried apples, hot sausages and roasted chestnuts, look for:
EAT & DRINK
In addition to escargot and foie gras, look for:
Look for a wine shop stall for the most delicious versions of vin chaud (mulled wine). Lait de Poule, a spiked eggnog, and kirsch (cherry liqueur) are other popular market drinks, while those looking for something alcohol-free can sample hot blueberry nectar or apple cider.