The Christmas season is upon us, and it’s fair to say that many resonate with the sentiment of it being the most beautiful time of the year. While many festive occasions call for a celebration of some kind, Christmas brings the palpable type of magic. Faith and hope in so many things are often restored during this yuletide season, and many love celebrating this more than their own birthdays.

One of the many ways people celebrate during this festive time is by visiting Christmas markets. While it’s not a common tradition in Malaysia, it’s undoubtedly so in Western countries, especially in Europe. With COVID-19 making it less than straightforward (though not impossible) to travel, we’ve compiled a visual guide (read: visual feast) for our readers. Here are some of the world’s most magical and stunning Christmas markets.

The Bank of America Winter Village, New York, USA

There are over 170 stalls, kiosks, and eateries of pure shopping and eating pleasure. Christmas is in full swing at Bryant Park. There’s free ice skating too!

Dresden Christmas Market, Germany

This year, unfortunately, this magical market is closed again due to the rise of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. The Dresden Christmas Market is the oldest one in Germany. Many flock from all over Europe (and the world) to enjoy locally-made food and things sold at over 240 stalls!

Hamburg, Germany

Bring on the mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and the Christmas spirit at one of Hamburg’s 30 winter markets!

Tallinn, Estonia

Compared to some on the list, this Christmas market in Tallin is small but still cosy and boasts some of the most beautiful medieval buildings as its backdrop.

Union Square, New York, USA

At this holiday market, vendors are carefully selected to give visitors the right amount of variety!

Basel, Switzerland

One of the prettiest Christmas markets in the country, this one is held right in the middle of the city where people can enjoy authentic food and shopping.

Millennium Square, Leeds, England

While most famous Christmas markets in Europe are closed this year, this one remains open to keep the holiday spirit alive.

Tuomaan Markkinat, Helsinki, Finland

What better way to spend the Christmas season than sipping on mulled wine and enjoying a choir singing classic holiday tunes.

Colmar, France

Truly Christmas heaven, even the buildings and streets are all decked out in decorations! There is stall hopping to do, a choir to enjoy, and of course, ice-skating.

Vienna, Austria

With food, shopping, and activities available, Christmas markets in Vienna are like most in the world – a true family affair. We hear at night when all the fairy lights come on, it’s magical, and we believe them!

Toronto, Canada

The Toronto Christmas Market offers market-goers glittering lights, rides, beer gardens, vendors selling all things Christmas, and so much more. There’s even plenty of entertainment for visitors to enjoy, but the highlight of this market is undoubtedly the 50-foot Christmas tree!

Florence, Italy

Truly a delightful Italian fair, this Christmas market held in Piazza Santa Croche usually runs through until 20 December and will have the Grinch in full Christmas spirit. There are 50 stalls selling trinkets that’ll make perfect stocking stuffers, and of course, what is an Italian fare without food?

Brussels, Belgium

The Belgians sure do know how to do Christmas, and since it’s such a massive area with over 200 chalets, there are guided tours in English to help those who don’t know where to begin. Enjoy Belgian beers and waffles as you explore the sights and sounds of the festive season. There’s even an ice-skating rink!

Budapest, Hungary

At the Budapest Christmas Fair, you’ll find mulled wine, Christmas-themed gifts, and Hungarian delights from the many stalls set up. Visitors are often treated to many forms of entertainment, which include live music, light shows, and folk dancing.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 25 December 2021 and has since been updated to include more locations.