25 Dec,2019 By Jagabond
European Christmas markets hold a special place in my heart. If you’re interested, read my blog on the best Christmas markets in Europe. My wife and I decided on a Central Europe Christmas road trip this year. German markets get all the attention, and rightfully so, as they’ve been around for hundreds of years. Other European countries are newer to the idea. If you are in search of something different for your holiday trip, keep reading!
We start with the road trip map, and follow with photos that tell the Christmas story of Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
You can’t celebrate opening night of the Christmas market without hearing the choir. Ave Maria!
Grilled cheese proves there is beauty in simplicity. I found this amazing food stand at the Christmas market in Prague’s Old Town. The only thing missing is tomato soup!
At this holiday petting zoo in Prague, one of the horses decides to get fresh with a random tourist.
Wikipedia states that a macaroon is a “small biscuit or cookie, typically made from ground almonds, coconut or other nuts…” Forget the details, look at how pretty they are!
Wenceslas Square is named after a famous person…a martyr AND a saint, though I think the one automatically gets you the other. The grand Czech National Museum highlights the square, which hosts one of Prague’s Christmas markets.
Ever have a pork knuckle? How about a deer saddle? The Czech Republic loves their meat for sure, so the scene below is not a strange thing to see.
Fans of history will appreciate the Czech plague monuments, which were built as a “thank you” to the heavens upon the end of a plague epidemic. Olomouc boasts one of the best, a UNESCO site, that towers above the Christmas tree.
I braved the winter chill in Olomouc to catch a bit of this live show, a quartet blending modern and traditional sounds.
The main Budapest Christmas market has something incredible that I’ve surprisingly only seen at a few other markets. See the building where the ‘Budapest’ sign is? This is a heated indoor area where you can take a break and drink your wine without shivering.
The food at Christmas markets can sometimes get repetitive, so it’s refreshing to see something new. This cool looking salmon cooker would be great for camping trips and football parties.
Deak Street is the fashion area of Budapest, so no shock that you would find dressed up mannequins at the Christmas market there.
Chimney cakes are everywhere in Central Europe. Once cooked, you spread something on the inside, typically Nutella.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the site of the best Christmas market in Budapest. It’s not the main market, but my wife and I did the most shopping here as they had a diverse selection and the highest quality stuff.
When you’re in a small Hungarian town like Eger, it’s nice to have a big sign that reminds you where you are at.
Eger had something I can’t remember ever seeing at a Christmas market…a giant ornament replica you could walk into and pose for a picture.
Is this the angel of Krakow?
Central European food is all about meat, meat, and more meat. I swear these Polish locals were smiling just seconds before I took this shot.
It’s amazing, but I can’t recall seeing a soup stand at any of the fifty or so Christmas markets I’ve visited. What a great idea! This needs to be paired up with the grilled cheese stand I showed earlier from Prague.
I love the tree, and I love St. Mary’s Cathedral, where a trumpeter sounds off every hour from one of the upper level windows.
The horses waiting to usher tourists around Krakow are majestic, and if you look close you’ll see the one peeing a heavy stream onto the pretty brick road.
Cloth Hall is the most recognizable feature of the main square in Krakow. Known for its year-round shopping stalls that often sell touristy junk, it classes up a bit during the Christmas season.
What do you think about Belgian frites? Having lived in Belgium, I remember the nights leaving the pub and searching for a place still open that sold them. I think that Krakow had some of the more diverse food options I’ve ever seen at a Christmas market.
Ice skating rinks are more popular in this region of Europe, where hockey is a bigger draw than football.
I met this weird couple in Bratislava, what do you think?
The Bratislava market had an epic nativity display carved out of stone, with a yellow glow that further dramatized the scene.
Every town has their Christmas drink, and Kosice has Primatorsky Punc. This translates to “Mayor’s Punch” and a portion of all sales goes to organizations supporting disadvantaged locals.
Speaking of Kosice, they have amazing statues that are positioned strategically near the main Christmas tree. This allowed for stunning pictures like this…
And also like this…
Every country celebrates Christmas in their own way. If you’ve already been to the famous Christmas markets in Munich, Vienna, etc., consider a detour to Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. For a different perspective, I’ve linked to several other travel bloggers and their views on Christmas in this region.