Where can you find freshly-baked gingerbread cookies, wooden stalls decked out in lights and fir branches, lots of laughter, and classic carols all under the same roof? At a Christmas market! Check out our list of the 5 most family-friendly Christmas markets out there.
Visit Santa’s grotto in Bucharest, Romania
The twinkling lights at Bucharest Christmas market
When Christmas rolls around, Romania’s capital city transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors are enchanted by snow-capped trees, stalls full of arts and crafts, gingerbread cookies, and plenty of grzaniec (warm, mulled beer). An enormous Christmas tree twinkles high above the free ice-skating rink where kids can pay a visit to Santa’s workshop. Once inside, Santa’s helpers will show the little ones how to make Christmas ornaments, while parents can watch local artisans making more grown-up versions. And every night, the market hosts a magical Christmas carol concert. There are plenty of family hotels just minutes from the Old Town – perfect if you want to put your toddlers to bed after all the excitement.
Go treasure hunting in Wrocław, Poland
See if you can find one of the bronze gnomes hidden throughout Wrocław
Wrocław is home to a classic Christmas market inside a carnival space, complete with mini merry-go-rounds and rollercoasters. While kids get their adrenaline fix, parents can explore the traditional stalls and enjoy a steaming cup of mulled wine or non-alcoholic, hot spiced cider. There are also over 160 mini bronze gnomes hidden throughout Wrocław, turning a day at the market into a fun treasure hunt. After the whole family is done gnome-searching, get some rest at the friendly Joyinn Aparthotel.
Enjoy ice skating in Brussels, Belgium
Take a ride on the ferris wheel for a bird’s-eye-view of the market
If your toddler is looking to perfect their triple axel, head to Winter Wonderland Brussels where the huge ice rink has a kids-only zone. Older kids can also get in on the excitement high up on the sparkling ferris wheel – the best rinkside spectator seat in town. This Christmas market also features over 200 chalets, selling everything from personalized Christmas cookies to reindeer dung. Be sure to check out the kids’ indoor play area at the Hotel Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place.
Go for a snowy swim in Stuttgart, Germany
Hand-decorated gingerbread cookies at Stuttgart Christmas market
The Stuttgart Christmas market has holiday fun for everyone. Kids can enjoy puppet shows, an ice rink, ferris wheel, and a toddler-sized train, while parents can fuel up on roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, and mugs of mulled wine. Stuttgart is also known for its mineral baths and Das Leuze has a kids’ area with slides, fountains, and floats. The little ones will love swimming in the heated outdoor pool as snow falls around them. Getting there is easy from Motel One Stuttgart-Hauptbahnhof – it’s right across from the train station.
Meet Rudolph in Gothenburg, Sweden
The ice rink at Liseberg Christmas market in Gothenburg
Five million Christmas lights, The Nutcracker on Ice, and Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park – the Liseberg Christmas market is perfect for both the young and the young-at-heart. Kids can meet Santa and go for a real reindeer sled ride while adults browse through the stalls. Finish your adventure with a stroll along the Lane of Lights—a magical 2-mile stretch of illuminations—and a slice of homemade Christmas cake at Gothenburg’s oldest hotel – Hotel Royal.