Christmas markets and fairs mean color, magic, beautifully decorated trees, spectacular lights, mulled wine and appealing sweets, carols, and an enchanting atmosphere.
Each year, at the end of November, almost all major cities markets in Europe turns into fairytale places for locals and especially for tourists.
Nothing can be more beautiful in anticipation of Christmas than a short vacation, even for a weekend at one of the Christmas fairs in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Berlin, or Stockholm.
Stockholm or the “Venice of the North” is a splendid city in summer and in winter time.
It is built on 14 islands in an archipelago with more than 24,000 islands.
A few winter days spent in Stockholm will fill your soul with magic and romance especially during the holidays.
The whole town is decorated in the spirit of Christmas, on the streets of the picturesque medieval town linger an inviting smell of gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and glögg (hot red wine flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, nuts, raisins) and the snow that settles over the city gives it a special glow.
There are several Christmas markets in Stockholm that will pleasantly surprise you, charm and win you over immediately.
Christmas Market in the Old Town Stockholm
This Christmas market take place in the beautiful Stortorget Square and it has a tradition longer than a century.
It is the most known and appreciated market of its kind in Stockholm and you will be impressed with traditional Christmas sweets (especially gingerbread saffron named saffransbullar), delicious seasonal food, mulled wine named glögg, many decorations for the Christmas tree, beautiful toys or gift ideas for family and friends.
You can skate, enjoy the concerts organized especially during the holiday season, walk through the city, and spread smiles and happiness all around.
You must taste the smoked reindeer and elk meat and sausages, which are delicious, bagels with saffron and ginger biscuits.
Also, do not miss jewelry and pottery handmade by local artisans!
The Old Town (Gamla Stan) with his glorious architecture still preserved a medieval scent, but also has numerous taverns, breweries, cafes, and fine restaurants.
Here you can enjoy all your senses tasting different Scandinavian delicacies and admiring many and various art objects handmade by Swedes artisans.
Then you can warm yourself up with a cup of mulled wine or coffee and watch guard changing at the Royal Palace, a show that takes place every day at noon.
In the afternoon, you can visit the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, and the Nobel Museum.
The market is open from 19 November to 23 December 2016, every day from 11 am to 6 pm.
Skansen Christmas Market
Skansen Christmas Market, first opened in 1903, is one of the most unusual Christmas markets in Europe, being considered the largest open-air museum in the world.
All cottages at Skansen Museum are heated and equipped with tables specially prepared for Christmas.
Visitors can find here popular handicraft products, traditional straw ornaments, and many other specific products such as traditional buns “St. Lucia” with vanilla and cinnamon, fresh out of the bakery oven in Skansen.
Masters in the kitchen, Swedes delight the tourists with sausages, salmon, eels, saffron buns and glögg (mulled wine).
In Seglora wooden church, located in the middle of the park, you can enjoy a concert dedicated to St. Lucia.
December 13 marks one of the most popular celebration in Scandinavian culture, when Swedes celebrate with joy and enthusiasm Saint Lucia (from lat. Lux = Light), one of the first Christian martyr.
On this day, various festivities and concerts are held in churches and parks in Stockholm, and the most picturesque of them is Saint Lucia procession.
Young girls dressed in white and wearing crowns of lit candles on their heads and in their hands, sing traditional songs and carols.
This opens the festivity of Christmas and New Year celebrations and is meant to bring hope and joy on the faces of people in cold winter days.
The market is open from 26 November to 27 November 2016; 3 December to 4 December 2016; 10 December to 11 December 2016; 17 December to 18 December 2016. The opening hours are to 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Rosendal Place Christmas Market
Nearby Skansen it’s organized another Christmas market in the garden of Rosendal Palace.
Here you can buy wooden handicrafts products, local delicacies and obviously, gifts and ornaments.
There is also a traditional nativity scenery. Market opens on 25 Novemberand ends on 22 December 2016; opening hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm, closed on Mondays.
Kungstradgarden Christmas Market
Kungstradgarden Christmas Market provides everything, from textiles and wooden handicrafts, delicacies from the forest and the sea, warm clothes, and other gifts.
Also, there are lots of good things to eat, specialties of Sweden and not only.
Market opens on November 28 and ends on December 22 2016; opening hours are from Monday to Sunday form 11 am to 6 pm.
Kungstradgarden is Stockholm’s favorite location for ice skating.
Ice-skating rink in the middle of the city is one of the popular attractions for many winter tourists to Stockholm.
This place has a lovely atmosphere with live music and stands with hot drinks and various treats.
The outdoor ice rink is open from mid-November until March, if it’s cold enough for the ice.
Opening hours are Weekdays 9 am – 9 pm, weekends 10 am – 9 pm.
Image: By Michael Caven from Stockholm, Sweden (Christmas market in Stockholm Old Town) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons