Sample traditional Czech Christmas cookies and warm up with medovina, a warm honey liquor, as you shop at the Prague Christmas markets this holiday season.
(Courtesy Czech Tourism)
The Helsinki Christmas Market is in full swing despite temperatures that hover around freezing. Don your warmest coat and go for a stroll down Aleksanterinkatu, Christmas Street—there are plenty of little shops and restaurants to duck into in case the weather gets too cold, and a nice hot Glögi—a traditional spiced wine Christmas drink—with your name on it.
(Courtesy Aarni Heiskanen/myBudgetTravel)
The Galway Continental Christmas Market is Ireland's longest running Christmas Market and is held in Eyre Square. More than 50 vendors participate selling arts, crafts, and holiday treats, and you can catch live performances by visiting carollers and choirs—even a special visit from Santa himself!
(Courtesy Galway Continental Christmas Market)
A scene from Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt, one of the most popular of Germany's more than 150 Christmas markets, with more than two million visitors each year. Shop for arts and crafts all month long, catch a traditional nativity play and sing along with one of the Christmas concerts happening in neighboring churches.
A beautiful scene from the Liseberg Christmas Market in Sweden. A number of traditional and contemporary Christmas markets can also be found in Haga's Old Quarter, Kronhuset, Gunnebo House and Gardens, Tjolöholms Slott, and Kvarnbyn in Mölndal among other towns.
(Courtesy Visit Sweden)
If you find yourself traveling between the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany during the winter, stop by the Valkenburg Christmas Market, home to Europe's largest underground market at historic Velvet Cave. The nearby town of Maastricht also has a fun holiday market featuring a Ferris wheel and an ice skating rink among its shops and restaurants.
(Courtesy NBTC Holland Marketing)
You don't have to go all the way to Europe to have the Christmas market experience. Visit Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, located about 90 minutes north of Philadelphia, where more than 125 artisans and craftworkers set up shop in heated tents and present their handmade jewelery and pottery to the public.
(Courtesy Discover Lehigh Valley)
Baltimore also has its own German-inspired Christmas Village in Inner Harbor, featuring train rides for the kids and new vendors to shop from this year.
(Courtesy Baltimore Christmas Village)
Visit the lovely lakeside town of Como, Italy, where you can see the Christmas market, an ice skating rink in Piazza Cavour, a special nativity scene on display in San Giacomo Church, and enormous projections of winter scenes on the city's historic monuments during the Como Magic Light Festival, shown here.
(Courtesy Provincia di Como)
Don't miss Celebration in the Oaks if you're anywhere near New Orleans this time of year. This holiday tradition since the 1980s features hundreds of thousands of colorful lights and outdoor displays. Admission is $8 per person.
(Courtesy New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation)
Grab some hot mulled wine or a nice hot chocolate and wander the festive stalls of the Glasgow Market in Scotland this holiday season.
(Courtesy Glasgow City Marketing Bureau)
Now thru Dec. 20th, stop by the 37th Annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party at the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls in San Francisco, where you can step into Charles Dickens' London Town, feast on British pub grub, and meet your favorite Dickensian characters like Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and even Scrooge himself!
(Courtesy Rich Yee)
A beautiful scene from the Christmas markets in Munich, one of the most well-known in all of Germany with 2.8 million visitors each year.
The town of Funchal, in Portugal's Madeira region, is quite a spectacle during the holidays when more than 28,000 lights bring the city to life each night.
(Courtesy Madeira Tourism)
Don't miss Liege's Christmas Village in Belgium, an event that takes Christmas markets to a whole new level. Each December, more than 1.5 million visitors are drawn in by the festivities and shops that line the streets of Liege this time of year.
(Courtesy Visit Belgium)
Edaville's Festival of Lights in Eastern Massachusetts is going on now thru Dec. 31st, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, and is basically a family-friendly fun park full of rides for kids of all ages. You can even take a ride on the Polar Express Train Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between Nov. 27th and Dec. 20th. Please visit this page to view ticket options.
The Dresden Streizelmarkt is one of largest—and oldest—Christmas markets in Germany with more than 2.5 million visitors each year.
While Montréal plays host to many Christmas markets—the Salon des Métiers D'Art features 325 vendors from all over Québec and Canada—the really big events like Igloofest, a techno music festival, and Montréal en Lumière, a celebration of gourmet food and performing arts, pictured here, take place after the New Year.
(Courtesy Tourisme Montréal)
More than 230 artisans and vendors participate in Brussels' legendary Christmas markets each year. This year's theme is an homage to foreign cultures—traditional products and an art installation were brought in from Quebec City, as was a 22-meter tall fir tree that overlooks the Grand Place, a gift from the City of Riga.
(Courtesy Visit Belgium)
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is definitely worth checking out if you're anywhere near London this holiday season. Spend some time shopping in the Angels Christmas Market, exploring the Magical Ice Kingdom, taking a spin on the ice rink, riding the Giant Wheel, visiting the Zippos Christmas Circus, or cooling off in the Ice Bar. Prices vary.
(Courtesy Hyde Park Winter Wonderland)
Visit the medieval town of Óbidos in Portugal to see Santa's House, an ice skating rink, and a Christmas Village where you can find gifts for the whole family.
(Courtesy Camara Municipal de Obidos)
Tired of the big city? Leave London behind this holiday season and come explore the Christmas markets in York. Grab some hot mulled wine and wander through the festive street markets, catch a moving carol concert at one of the city's historic venues, learn the art of making chocolate, or take the kids to meet Santa and his reindeer.
If you're anywhere near Norfolk, Virginia, around the holidays, don't miss the Dominion Garden of Lights display at Norfolk Botanical Garden. For $20 per car Monday thru Thursday, or $25 per car Friday thru Sunday, you'll be able to make the two mile drive through more than one million twinkling lights of this magical winter wonderland.
A beautiful scene from the Marché de Noël at the Sainte Thérèse Christmas Market in Eastern Canada's Laurentian Mountains, about a two-hour drive from Montréal and Ottawa. Several Christmas fairs and markets can be found throughout the region.
(Courtesy Tourisme Laurentides)
Mercado Roma, a three-story gourmet food market in Mexico City similar to New York City's Eataly, is the place to shop for foodie friends and family each holiday season. At this authentic Mexican market, you'll find traditional holiday favorites like salt cod for bacalao a la vizcaína, and sugar cane, guavas, and tejocotes for serving up ponche punch.
(Courtesy Mercado Roma)
Just because there's no snow in Fort Lauderdale doesn't mean Christmas isn't a big deal in South Florida—the City's Downtown Riverwalk area hosts its annual holiday light show, and each year you can catch a glimpse of the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade.