European Christmas Markets

I’ve written before about how much I love visiting Europe in the winter time. It is purely magical; slightly chillier and mostly off-season, it feels more special than during touristy times. And then there are the Christmas markets. We have been to the Christmas market in Vienna, but being this is only Galway’s second year doing such a market, this is our first time visiting one here in Ireland.

Christmas markets are very popular in Germany and Austria, and there is certainly reason for this. They bring the most festive foods, drinks, and wares into one central, outdoor location. When you’re bundled up drinking a hot mulled wine while browsing the different stalls, the cold suddenly doesn’t matter. This past Friday afternoon after lunch and a walk, we made our way to the Galway Christmas market. Located in the center of town, Eyre Square, the market completely delighted us, and we will be returning again and again on our visit to Ireland.

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The weather in Galway has certainly not been very nice over the past few days, but we got lucky on the afternoon the market opened with a respite from the rain and winds. First things first. I had to get a hot buttered rum from the Winter Warmer truck, just because I could. I don’t get what the big deal is with public drinking in America. We probably have a lot more dangerous activities that are legal. A hot cup of mulled wine or rum while listening to Christmas music and browsing stalls is harmless, and a great way to warm up!

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The rum was so delicious, buttery and sweet and definitely hit the spot.

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Of course, if you don’t like rum, you can have a hot port, a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau, or another wintry beverage.

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The Christmas market features all sorts of food, like freshly made sweet or savory crepes.

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It also offers plants of all types, with lots of seasonal flowers and greenery for holiday decorating.

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A beer garden makes up a large part of the market and provides the perfect place to rest after an afternoon of shopping.

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The markets serve as a great way to stimulate the local economy. Many, if not most, of the vendors featured some sort of local ingredient or craftsperson.

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Seaweed is available in huge abundance in Ireland, and it is a popular beauty treatment both over-the-counter and in spas. The carrageenan is also sold to America to thicken sauces and dressings.

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In addition to the market stalls, food, and drink, the Christmas market also features a few fun carnival rides for kids of all ages, making it a fun place for a day out for the family.

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The Christmas markets in Europe embody the warmth and spirit of the season. They provide festive and often inexpensive treats and make the month of December something really special, giving people that boost to get outside, mix and mingle, and enjoy life, one of my favorite parts about visiting Europe.

Have you ever been to a Christmas market?

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Tags: Christmas, Europe, Galway, holidays, Ireland, markets, Travel

  1. Michelle’s avatar

    This looks so LOVELY! I hope you are enjoying your time in Ireland. I can’t wait to hear all about it when you return. xo

    Reply

  2. Daisy’s avatar

    this is simply amazing! I drank a hot buttered rum over the weekend myself but it was likely not as good as yours.

    Reply

  3. Elizabeth’s avatar

    The markets in Germany were my favorite, Germany definitely knows how to do Christmas. I’ve been going to the Union Sq holiday market almost every day while I’ve been home. It’s modeled after the European markets.

    Reply

  4. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    How nice to be able to get a nice warmer while you walk around!

    Reply

  5. Raija’s avatar

    What a lovely place — I can see why you would want to return again and again. And I’ve never had a hot buttered rum…I was trying to figure out how it is made. You’ll have to share later!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip. Thinking of you lots!

    Reply

  6. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic’s avatar

    Who doesn’t like rum?? ;) I wish I can visit Europe during the holidays soon, I’d love to have that experience one day. I used to go to Christmas markets in the Philippines all the time – in fact, it’s one of the things I miss most about spending the holidays back home, so I am super excited to be able to do that in a couple of weeks! Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Reply

  7. Alaina’s avatar

    That market looks devine! I really wish they had something like that here. I love that feel of the Christmas spirit. And yes, hot buttered rum should be allowed here, too. I would take advantage of that. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Christmas market before. Just a regular farmers market. :-)

    Reply

  8. Megan’s avatar

    I love the idea of being able to walk around with a hot beverage while shopping.

    Reply

  9. Molly Galler’s avatar

    I love these outdoor, crafty markets. They are especially fun when you are in holiday shopping mode. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  10. Paul’s avatar

    Yes in Austria I used to live there. Really gets one in the spirit of the season. Everyone should visit and experience Austria at this time of year. For anyone interested in going check out this fantastic site guideyourselftours.com <a href"http://"guideyourselftours.com&quot; austria advent christmas markets tour

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