Best Places to Shoot: Christmas Markets in Europe
The best part of Christmas in Europe are the Christmas Markets. Originating in Germany, the markets have expanded into many European cities making the choices difficult. I’ve narrowed down the five most photogenic Christmas Markets in Europe so you don’t have to choose!
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market
The only one on the list that requires an entry fee because it is part of the Tivoli Gardens theme park, this one is beautiful because it keeps in the theme of the park and nothing beats a Christmas Theme Park. Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest theme park in the world. It is home to standard rides as well as some roller coasters, all in dazzling colour. The entry fee doesn’t get you onto rides, just into the park, but one you are in, you will most likely forget all about wanting to ride anything as you wander christmas tree-lined walkways, fairy lights, elves and quaintly decorated market stalls offering christmas trinkets, decorations and the famous hot mulled wine that comes with the season. Dress warm for this one as Denmark is famously cold in the winter months.
Hans Christian Andersen Christmas Market
Another one for Copenhagen, but who can resist a fairytale themed Christmas Fair? Inspired by the tales of the famous Danish author, this market brings them to life for the season. Housed near Stoget Street, the fair is free for all to enter and also offers christmas decorations, trinkets, a jolly Santa and of course, mulled wine. The classic gingerbread decorations come in all shapes and sizes and iced galore, so pick one up for your loved ones and snap away.
Dresden’s Christmas Market (Dresdner Striezelmarkt)
This one is tiny as Dresden is a fairly small and uninhabited city, but it is one of the oldest markets in Europe. Featuring a giant Tchaikovsky playing ornament in the centre, and a 40 foot Christmas tree traditionally decorated, the market holds onto its age and image as the quintessential Christmas market. Find more authentic stores here selling handmade wooden toys, pottery ornaments and more mulled wine as well as rotating drinking stations and tinsel lined stalls. Elves peek from almost every storefront, this market looks like a step back in time as it is framed by Dresden’s famed older buildings.
Frankfurt Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt)
This is the biggest market on the list in terms of square footage as it crawls over and out of the town square and into the surrounding areas. The main feature is the gigantic Christmas tree and old fashioned carousel in the centre of the square, this market also features live music all evening and the most extravagant decor as far as Christmas markets go. Think themed wooden storefronts that are doubled in size sheerly due to the decorations as each stall competes with the next to be the most ‘christmassy’ of them all. The majority of this market is food, which is why it’s always so busy, but trinkets can be found sprinkled throughout. Gingerbread decor also takes first place here as you will find everything gingerbread, from little men and teddy-bears to castles and famous buildings.
Bucharest Christmas Fair
Housed in the lawn out front of the House Of Parliament in Bucharest, the location of this market is not even the most impressive thing about it. Romanians take their Christmas lights seriously, and this market takes the cake, With an almost exclusively light decorated tree, as well as a fairy light canopy and lights draping every tree in the surrounding area, it’s like walking into the stars. The fair is fairly small and offers authentic Romanian style pottery decor and mostly food and drink otherwise. There is also a massive stage featuring popular Romanian musicians performing every night, and an ice rink in the centre. Take in the extensive lights of the market and then walk the surrounding streets to see how the lighting has taken over the city for Christmas. From bells and bows to mistletoe and even cactus, this city is serious about it’s Christmas lights!
Other mentions include the Paris Champs Elysees Market which will return in 2018, and the London Christmas Market which takes over the banks of the River Thames during the festive season. There’s something special about Christmas markets, so definitely put it on your bucket list to shoot one!