And there’s no better way to celebrate Christmas than a weekend enjoying the market’s sites, sounds, smells and tastes!

Christmas Markets originated in Germany back in the 14th century, although the Vienna “December market” started in 1294 and was a kind of Christmas market. Originally, the fairs provided only food and supplies for the cold winter season, but they soon became a holiday tradition. Starting on Advent end of November and continuing until noon on Christmas Eve, they are also called Christkindlmarkt (meaning “Christ child market) or Weihnachtsmarkt.

Villages, towns and cities across Germany come to life for the four weeks of festivities, each with their own traditions and flair. Stroll through the decorated markets and stalls brimming with delicious local food like Lebkuchen (gingerbread), Stollen (traditional German Christmas bread) and Bratwurst; warm local beverages like Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and Eierpunsch (egg-nog like); and amazing gifts like handmade books, toys, ornaments and much more.

Nuremberg and Dresden markets are the oldest and draw about two million people each year. Dresden’s market was first held in 1434 and now has over 60 stalls. Nuremberg’s first official records date to 1628 and now has over 200 stalls. You’ll even find 50 markets across Berlin.

There are Christmas Markets across Europe but Germany’s are my favorite! Find a full list here.

This week I’ll share my Must GO list with photos to get you in the spirit: Hamburg…the best Christmas MarketMore Christkindlmarkt HighlightsGlühwein, my favorite Christmas Market Tradition.