Christmas markets sparkle across Europe

All across Europe from Vienna to Prague, from Berlin to Madrid, from Ludwigsbury to Paris, the most famous and picturesque squares and plazas of towns and cities have blossomed with traditional Christmas markets. Join us as we take a look at some that seem to come straight from the pages of a story book.

Traditional markets, where you can enjoy the colours of Christmas, buy a real fir tree, mistletoe, tinsel and trappings, the toys and ornaments that bring memories of childhood flooding back, where you can share your festive wishes with friends over a glass of mulled wine, breathe in the scent of roasting chestnuts and freshly-baked spiced cookies, while bright lights sparkle and flicker and the sound of traditional carols fills the air... For children of all ages, we've compiled an album of some of Europe's most delightful Advent markets. We're limited to photos, but these markets offer a chance to taste, smell, hear and feel the real Yuletide spirit. Wrap up warm and let your imagination transport you into these Christmas fairytale settings.

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Bruges Christmas market
You can find all kinds of decorations, gifts and candy at Bruges Christmas market - and a skating rink, too / Stad Brugge 

Stuttgart Christmas market
The beautiful wooden stalls, the bright lights, the smell of roasting chestnuts, barbecued sausages and mulled wine, and the Advent concerts in the Old Palace and on the steps of the Town Hall are all part of the magic of Stuttgart Christmas market 

Munich Christmas market
Almost every district of the city of Munich has its own Advent market, but the one in the main square is the most important 

Belgian Christmas markets
The markets of Belgium offer wonderful crafts and gifts and are a perfect place to enjoy the spirit of Christmas / Eric Danhier 

Brussels Christmas market
The spectacular Christmas decorations in Brussels are particularly impressive in juxtaposition with the city's splendid baroque facades / Eric Danhier 

Erfurt Christmas market
The Old Town area of the German city of Erfurt provides the perfect setting for the market installed alongside the church of St. Severus 

Ludwigsburg Christmas market
Snow adds an atmospheric touch to the Advent market in the German city of Ludwigsburg 

Colmar Christmas market
The market in Old Town of Colmar, in the French region of Alsace, seems to come straight from the pages of a storybook / Atout France-Jean Francois Tripelon-Jarry. 

Paris Christmas market
One of the most impressive markets in Paris at this time of year is the one set up on Esplanade de la Defense / Atout France-Fabian Charaffi 

Bruges Christmas market
Lights and colours, tastes, sounds and scents are all elements of the Yuletide markets such as this one in Bruges 

Basel Christmas market
The market in Basel, Switzerland's third largest city, draws traders from all across the country to offer their crafts and traditional wares 

Madrid Christmas market
Each year, the central Plaza Mayor in Madrid hosts a traditional market with gifts, decorations, jokes and fancy-dress costumes for Christmas, New Year and the Three Kings celebration on January 6th 

Madrid Christmas market
Many of the stalls at the Madrid market specialise in figures for nativity scenes / Paolo Giocoso 

Prague Christmas market
The lights of the Christmas market add sparkle to Prague's Old City Square 

Einsiedeln Christmas market
In the Swiss canton of Schwyz, the town of Einsiedeln is the setting for an Advent market in the shadow of the beautiful Benedictine monastery 

Lugano Christmas market
The local produce and crafts on sale at the market in Lugano, Switzerland, make perfect Christmas gifts 

Vienna Christmas market
In Vienna the Town Hall overlooks the bustling Christmas market