The Sounds of Christmas markets

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů

Gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, Christmas carols and mulled wine; few people miss out on a visit to their local Christmas market during the holiday season and some even travel abroad to savour that special atmosphere in their favourite European city. Check-out the main Christmas market in Prague and those elsewhere in Europe where Radio Prague International has media partners.

Christmas markets in Prague

Prague’s main Christmas market on Old Town Square, which attracts crowds of foreign visitors, is traditionally rated among the best in the world. Gracing the square is a brightly decorated 22-metre tall Christmas tree, donated by the Semily municipality, north-east of Prague. Dozens of wooden stalls offer souvenirs and various local delicacies such as mulled wine, Prague ham, the popular pastry “trdelník”, roasted chestnuts, punch and tea laced with rum. The Christmas atmosphere is enhanced by live music, often a children’s choir; there is traditionally a life-size Nativity scene and a mini zoo for children.

Other Prague squares also have plenty to offer. The market near the Church of St. Ludmila sells mistletoe, candles, toys, advent calendars or a wide assortment of handicrafts. Most markets last until the Three Kings, on January 6th.

The “Christmas route” in Warsaw

Warsaw is blazing with Christmas lights. As every year, the famous Trakt Królewski (Royal Tract) is illuminated by millions of lights. The Christmas route leads from the New Town, through the Old Town Square, Krakowskie Przedmieście and ends at the summer residence of King Jan III Sobieski in Wilanów. During the 13 km walk you will surely get into the merry mood, you will visit the house of Father Christmas and his helpers, smell fresh baked gingerbread, see the 30-metre high Christmas tree on Castle Square and do some ice skating pirouettes. See how beautiful the city looks!

The famous Einsiedeln Christmas Market in Switzerland

Standing against the imposing backdrop of the Einsiedeln Monastery, the Einsiedeln Christmas market in central Switzerland is one of the most beautiful in the country. Its brightly coloured market stalls attract around 70,000 visitors during the festive season.

The Benedictine monastery, with its 1000-year history, is the most important place of pilgrimage in Switzerland. Einsiedeln Abbey is also an important stop on the Way of St. James, a network of pilgrimage routes throughout Europe, and the destination of several hundred thousand pilgrims every year.

Christmas Fairs in Bucharest

Almost all big cities across Romania boast a Christmas fair, but the best known ones are those in Bucharest and Sibiu (centre). Over November 28-December 26, the Constitution Square hosts the 2019 Bucharest Christmas Fair. The former great footballer Miodrag Belodedici, one of Romania’s three EURO 2020 ambassadors lit the Christmas lights at the Fair. The organisers have laid out Santa’s House, a merry-go-round, a skating rink and have decorated a 30m tall fir-tree. Gourmets and those in search of traditional food have 130 huts filled with delicacies to choose from. The public can sing carols alongside their beloved singers and performers in the evening. Another fair which already boasts a long tradition, “Peasant Christmas”, was hosted between December 13 and 15 by the Romanian Peasant Museum, one of the main attractions of Romania’s capital city. Another fair, a special one, was organised on December 8 by IWA (International Women's Association of Bucharest): IWA Charity Christmas Bazaar, which involved the participation of over 40 embassies in Bucharest. The funds raised at the fair will be donated to several foundations based in Romania.