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5 Most Unusual Christmas Markets Around Europe

One of the many many perks of December is the beloved Christmas market. There's one in just about every European town, isn't there? Besides entertaining the locals and supporting the economy, they're a major tourist attraction in larger cities of the world. And the reasons for that are obvious: mulled wine, a giant sparkling Christmas tree, gingerbread cookies, ice skating rinks, lovely decorations, handmade crafts, and plenty of fun. In this article, we bring you 5 European Christmas markets that go a little above the norm. Each one has something that makes it unique. Take a look!

1. Christkindlimarkt Zurigo in Zurich, Switzerland


Located inside Central train Station in Zurich, this is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. There's a 50 ft (15 meters) tall tree decorated with 7,000 Swarovski crystals. All the kiosks are partially covered and protected from the cold. In 2021, the market opens on November 25 and will remain open until December 24. For more details, check the official website of the market


2. Leiden floating Christians market, Holland 


Located 45 minutes away from Amsterdam by train, this is one of the very few floating Christmas markets in Europe and the only one in all of the Netherlands. The market is located on the Nieuwe Rijn Canal. There are 90 stalls, a floating ice rink, and plenty of round-the-clock performances. The market opens on December 14 and will remain open until December 25. The daily opening hours are from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The entrance is free! 

Related: 12 Picturesque Festive Locations for the Winter Holidays

3. Valkenburg, Holland


This market takes place in an underground cave called the "Fluweel" cave. Each year, the cave hosts what's considered to be the largest and oldest underground Christmas market in Europe! On the walls of the cave, there are wall paintings from the Roman era, and you can also find an underground eighteenth-century church. The market opened on November 12 and will run until January 9. For further details, visit the market's official website

4. Mount Pilatus Christmas market, Switzerland


This market runs for only 3 days in November, so, unfortunately, it's too late to travel to Mount Pilatus this year. But we just had to mention this market on our list, as it is a true record-breaker. The Mount Pilatus Christmas market is the highest in all of Europe! At a dizzying altitude of about 6,700 feet (2,130 meters) above ground, the market is located on a mountain top. Visitors will also enjoy a ride on the world's steepest rack railway. On the way down, visitors can choose to slide down the mountain on a motor sled. You can still enjoy the mountain for a ski vacation. For further details, check out the mountain's official website

5. Santa Pauli market, Hamburg, Germany

Santa Pauli Chrstmas market

Located aptly in the red light district, this Christmas market blurs the line between a conventional Christmas atmosphere and a more... spicy atmosphere, so to speak. This is a purely commercial market consisting of 40 kiosks selling erotic objects and putting up performances of the same spirit throughout the opening hours. It opened on November 15 and will run until December 23. 

H/T: MyBestPlace
Cover photo credit: Flickr

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