Four great Christmas markets outside Germany
Colmar’s winter event has grown in size and popularity. “With Germany and Switzerland close by, we get a mix of nationalities at the market each year,” said Pauline Chaboche, the Colmar Tourism press officer. The festivities usually begin in late November and last for six weeks. This year they can be visited until 31 December.
Hot sweet chestnuts were among the first items sold at German Christmas markets during the Middle Ages, and they can still be enjoyed at Manchester’s Christmas fair today.
The city’s award-winning market , originally purely German but now a colourful mix of European heritage, is held in eight scenic city locations and runs until 23 December. Beginning in 1998 with 17 chalets, it today has more than 200 of the wooden houses, with vendors travelling from Spain, Hungary and Romania as well as Germany.
“St. Ann’s Square was the first market location when it launched [and it is still] known for authentic German produce,” said Paul Simpson, managing director of Visit Manchester. This includes gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds and hot spiced wine, but also handcrafted jewellery and leather bags. Twinkling chalets and Christmas trees are decorated with lights and bows and festive music is played to sing along to.
“Christmas is a time of the year where we can celebrate the festive spirit as a community. The markets do just that,” Simpson said.