The holidays are a time to celebrate and enjoy plenty of cheer with family and friends.
That cheer probably includes gift-giving. There’s no better place to find hand-crafted gifts or unique items than at a Christmas market.
There are plenty of markets around the world you can travel to, but here are a few cities that really know how to make the season merry with the best Christmas markets you’ve ever seen.
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Some of the best-known Christmas markets in the world are in Germany including the scenic market in Cologne.
The market in the city’s square next to the Cologne Cathedral features a Christmas tree in the middle with plenty of mini red-roofed chalets for visitors to check out as they wander through to find the perfect gifts.
The market also has a stage with a variety of performances throughout the year to entertain visitors during the holiday season.
Head to Austria for the celebrated Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz with almost 100 booths for you to choose from when shopping for the perfect gift.
The Christmas market is also known for its Tree of Hearts. Check out the tree with 200 lit hearts hanging from its branches. It’s a beautiful sight to get you in the holiday spirit, and can be picture-perfect to post on social media or as a lovely backdrop for personal photos.
The Winter Wonders and Christmas Market in Brussels is about more than just shopping, although it does have more than 200 chalets to choose from when looking for a good gift or trying food.
The winterfest also offers plenty of other fun activities like a Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, and an ice rink for skating.
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Inspired by the European Christmas markets, the Christkindlmarket has 50 vendor booths in Chicago’s Daley Plaza with traditional German food as well as sweets and handmade goods.
You can also reserve a table at Timber Haus with German beer and other treats. You can even take up a souvenir beer stein from the event to remember your time in Chicago’s Christmas market.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is home to several Christmas markets, but two, in particular, are within a short walk of each other so you can easily check out both of them while in the city.
The markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square feature performances and other festive treats along with handmade gifts and delicious traditional food.
New York City, New York
The winter market in Bryant Park features a variety of holiday shopping and fun. It also opens early with shops setting up their first sales in October rather than November or December like more traditional winter markets.
Bryant Park is also the home of the New York Public Library and is close to Times Square and Rockefeller Center, making it the perfect location to visit if you’re taking in New York City during the holidays.
The Tallinn Christmas Market in Town Hall Square features holiday drinks, traditional food, and a merry-go-round for the kids to enjoy.
The market is also home to a Christmas tree that has become a Tallinn holiday tradition. A tree has been set up in Town Hall Square since 1441, making it the first Christmas tree to be put on display in Europe.
Strasbourg, which is about two hours from Paris, is home to France’s oldest Christmas market with the Christkindelsmärik running for 400 years now.
The market features 300 chalets spread throughout different squares in the city, so there are a variety of stalls to choose from depending on where you are in the city.
The city is also lit up with decorations through Strasbourg so take some time to wander around and gawk at all the holiday lights.
The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in one of London’s best-known parks has all kinds of things to do for the whole family in addition to shopping.
Check out a real ice slide for tubing or ride one of the many rides set up in the park for everyone to enjoy. You can end your day with German beers at festive bars or take in some cocktails around a warm fire pit.
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Toronto’s Distillery Winter Village takes place in the city’s historic Distillery district with retail shops you can duck into when you get a little cold wandering the market’s outdoor spaces.
You can also enjoy a variety of food from local vendors, check out outdoor shopping cabins, or take some time to see Santa and tell him what you want for Christmas.
The Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market has been a tradition in Florence for 500 years, with vendors selling gifts and traditional German food and mulled wine.
You can find the market in Palazzo San Niccolò, which is the oldest district in Florence. It’s filled with a rich history that makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time as you enjoy the holiday festivities.
Bundle up and head to Stockholm to enjoy the Stortorget Christmas Market with food, mulled wine, candy, gifts, and more for you to enjoy.
The market is the oldest in Sweden, dating back to 1837, and has more than 40 stalls surrounding a Christmas tree to give the area a festive spirit even in the cold months.
A Christmas market can be a fun shopping option, but make sure you set up a budget before you go so you don’t overspend when you’re picking up gifts for everyone.
You should also consider saving money for gifts and other expenses in a high-yield savings account. Use that extra cash for extra gifts or save it for something special for you.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have the best travel credit cards in your wallet if you travel to these markets. You can earn extra points and perks when you travel or use your rewards for hotels, car rentals, and other travel expenses.
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