‘Tis the season for Christmas markets

Christmas market ornament hut display (courtesy weisserstier at flickr CC)I can’t think of a more sure-fire holiday winner with kids than Christmas markets. They’re a seasonal mainstay in Europe, and now we’re starting to see more of the tradition here in the U.S.

A Christmas market (or christkindlmarkt or weihnachtfest) is normally held outdoors at night, and includes little open huts selling toys, ornaments and gifts, seasonal food and drinks and entertainment like musicians or dancers.

There have been some great links posted lately on the Christmas market topic, so I thought I’d give you a chunk of them that focus on Europe first (so you can, you know, plan to be in Europe next Christmas, maybe?!) and then a few North American options.

I found that many US markets were already held in late November, so next year I’ll have to post this earlier!

** The UK’s Times Online: 20 best Christmas markets — obviously a ton of them in Germany, where the tradition started, but also some intriguing ones in Bruges, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Vienna. The paper also had a separate article on the market in Strasbourg, France.

** Our own BootsnAll lists five of Europe’s cosiest Christmas markets — Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, Tallinn and Rome.

Christmas market Cologne, Germany (courtesy Soundmonster at flickr CC)

** About.com has a guide to Christmas markets in Italy, the best Christmas markets in Scandinavia and an A-Z guide to German Christmas markets.

** Here’s something unusual that I highlighted over at the Perceptive Travel blog: Christmas in a cave: Valkenburg, the Netherlands.

** Travel Intelligence: Europe’s Top 10 Christmas Markets, including one of my favorite cities in Germany, Köln/Cologne.

** From the UK’s Telegraph: Germany’s Christmas toy towns.

Fortunately, those who live in North America can experience a bit of the Christmas market magic:

** Christkindlmarket Chicago IL

** Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem PA

** Denver CO Christkindl Market

** Christkindl Market Kitchener, Ontario

So, dig out the family coats, gloves and hats, and set out to enjoy the holiday season while knocking out some of your gift list, too!

Technorati tags: travel, family travel, Christmas markets, christkindlmarkt