If you are looking for Christmas gifts or would like to have a whiff of the scent of Christmas, head down to one of these Christmas markets! Here are a few European Christmas markets to ensure you a magical Christmas, but if you do not intend to travel far this festive season, we have two Christmas markets in Asia that will give you nothing short of a merry Christmas. Head over to one of these markets this year!
1. Hong Kong Winterfest
Where: Central, Hong Kong
When: 1 December 2017 - 1 January 2018
Treat yourself to a feast of sights and sounds in Central, Hong Kong, and be sure to catch the landmark centrepiece of Statue Square, a grand gigantic Christmas tree, also known as the season’s icon each year. There will be public events, shopping offers and seasonal menus for you! You will also get to watch the famous Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show and hang your ‘Love Locks’ on the railings of Statue Square.
2. Sapporo: German Christmas Market
Where: Odori Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
When: 25 November - 24 December 2017
For all things German, here’s where to go! You can find Christmas goodies, hot wine and German food from the stalls at Odori Park, along with commemorative mugs with different designs each year. There will be many activities for you, including outdoor concerts and indoor workshops. If you are lucky, you might just receive a gift from Santa Claus! Come late November, the stunning Sapporo White Illumination begins at the park as well.
Fun fact: Sapporo is sister-cities with Munich, Germany, and has had the market held since 2002, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of their sister-city ties.
3. Prague Christmas Market
Where: Old Town Square, Prague, Czech Republic
When: 2 December 2017 - 6 January 2018
Christmas Markets are the key to the festive magic in Czech Republic, and the Prague markets are the most spectacular, with the one in Old Town Square being the most stunning and busiest. Here, you can find brightly decorated wooden huts filled with handicrafts like glassware, ceramics, jewellery, wooden toys, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls in traditional costume for you to bring home as souvenirs or Christmas gifts.
Besides shopping, there is a variety of traditional local food and drinks for you and you can even watch the vendors prepare the traditional foods. Watch the large hams get roasted on spits, have a go at the terribly unhealthy but amazingly delicious klobása (barbequed sausages), and admire the cakes and pastries as they are getting prepared. Do try the Trdelník, also called the chimney cake due to its resemblance to a chimney; it is a bread-like pastry coated with sugar that tastes amazing. Remember to have a glass of mulled wine (svařené víno or svařák) too! Of course, there are many more to see and experience at the Old Town Square Christmas market.
4. Aachen Weihnachts Market, Germany
Where: Aachen Cathedral, Aachen, Germany
When: 24 November - 23 December 2017
Every year when Christmas comes round the corner, the squares and streets surrounding the Aachen Cathedral, the first UNESCO World Heritage site in Germany, and Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a bright and colourful paradise filled with the festive atmosphere and seductive smells. Take your little ones to the merry-go-round while you get yourself a glass of mulled wine. You will be amazed by the array of Printen and the many Christmas cakes and biscuits at the market such as “Domino Stones”, Spekulatius, gingerbread and marzipan bread, all freshly baked by Aachen bakeries.
5. Brussels Winter Wonders and Christmas Market, Belgium
Where: Centre of Brussels, Belgium
When: 24 November - 31 December 2017
With stalls selling all kinds of festive souvenirs and a constellation of Christmas lights, Brussels Christmas market is Belgium's largest. The smell of chocolate will tempt you as you stroll along the market. Be sure to stock up on the Belgian chocolates while you are there! Hop on the fairy light Ferris wheel and watch out for marching bands and traditional performances. Don’t miss the Sound and Light show at the Grand Place UNESCO World Heritage site that takes place every night.