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The Gap Year Blog

Christmas Markets Around the World You Need to See

17 Dec 2018 12:00 PM

Photo Credit: Flickr │ katjasv

Edited with permission by Frontier


If you’re like me and love to start your Christmas wrapped up in a scarf with some mulled wine to hand, you’ll have probably found yourself at a Christmas market at some time. Here we've collated the worlds most extravagant Christmas markets, from the European classic chalet stalls, to a light show displaying over the whole of Hong Kong, get into the festive spirit!

Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia

Given the title of Best Christmas Market in Europe 2019, Tallinn is no stranger to a few festive stalls. In the middle of the historical Town Hall Square plays classic Christmas hits and the smell of hot Tallinn concoctions like gingerbread and black pudding float around the wooden chalet huts decorated with heart shaped ornaments. Take a ride on the merry-go-round or drift your way through the many stands which offer up Estonian treats. 

When: Nov 16 - Jan 7

What we’re excited for: The huge lit-up Christmas tree in the middle of the square – it’s been set up since 1441, making it the first ever Christmas tree on display in Europe. 


A post shared by Jõuluturg (@tallinnchristmasmarket) on

Winter Wonderland, London

The ultimate couples retreat, and with overpriced rides and an ice-skating rink you have to be on a waiting list for, you may have thought about making your way to Winter Wonderland for a few Christmases. There’s no denying, London’s annual set up in Hyde Park is a go-to hit for some Christmas cheer with rides and party events to kick off the holidays. Although, not technically a Christmas Market, there is a mass of festive food, souvenirs and activities.

When: Nov 23 – Jan 6

What we’re excited for: ‘Santa Land’ will be a hit for the kids and the ‘Bavarian Village’ will warm parents and friends up with a few bevs in hand.


A post shared by Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (@hydeparkwinterwonderland) on

Toronto Christmas Market, Canada

Taking over the Distillery Historic District, this Christmas Market in its eighth year celebrates all things food in the holiday season. With free admission in the week, but a charge at the weekends, you can find a typical European Christmas Market in the heart of Toronto and explore the souvenirs, and then watch a range of over 350 stage performers including carols and brass bands fill the market with song. You can also find a giant Christmas tree and meet Santa on your way out. 

When: Nov 15 – Dec 23

What we’re excited for: You’ll find a life-sized gingerbread house in the midst of these stalls. I’ll be the first one lining up.


A post shared by Toronto Christmas Market (@toxmasmkt) on

Winter Wonders, Brussels

Sounding a bit similar to that of Hyde Park, Winter Wonders takes in over 2.5 million visitors each year and can be found in the Grand-Place in Brussels. Includomh everything from over 200 chalets, fairground rides as well as an ice rink at the Place de la Monnaie. Each year, the Winter Wonders festival invites one country to partner over the Christmas season and this year, the celebrated country is Finland “with a Kainuu twist”. 

When: Nov 30 – Jan 6

What we’re excited for: Over weekends, a small “pop-up” village called Winter Pop will move around to four different quartiers of Brussels! Everyone’s involved in this Christmas festival. 


A post shared by Brussels❤️Bruxelles❤️Brussel (@welovebrussels) on

Hong Kong Pulse Light Festival, China

Originally named Hong Kong Winterfest, the renamed Christmas festival is exactly what it says on the tin. A display of light installations, this isn’t your typical Christmas market. During the festive season, a classic sparkling tree will be lit amongst a variety of colourful lights lining the streets and 3D laser graphic shows and a spectacular annual New Year firework display.

When: Nov 29 – Jan 1

What we’re excited for: An enhanced version of the display named “A Symphony of Lights” will increase the spectacular display to more buildings starting the 29 November.  


A post shared by Tanika Povea Mora (@tanikapoveamora) on

So there you have it! Who else is feeling festive? Someone get out the mulled wine...

By Caitlin Casey - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!