Love a good Christmas market?

It seems like Christmas 2016 was only yesterday. Now it is only 6 weeks until Santa scurries down our chimneys and through our doors once again.

 

If Starbucks’ festive cups, or John Lewis’ eagerly-anticipated advert didn’t herald the merry season for you, then perhaps Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is what you have been waiting for. It is due to arrive in its usual spot, East Princes Street Gardens, on the 18th of November.

 

The nearby ice rinks and funfairs will be re-erected, and the city’s theatres will be jam-packed with audiences of all ages, in traditional Winter Wonderland fashion. This year the joyous-spirit will be spread across the New Town, with a second market making its debut on George Street on the 17th of the same month. So, after you’ve taken your ‘standard’ Dome selfie outside the restaurant’s gorgeous light displays you can take a wander through the array of stalls which continue to sell everything from arts & crafts to tasty bites.

ed market

Crowds at the Edinburgh Christmas market. Source: Google

The expansion merits the capital’s success in providing a globally celebrated event along the years. And nearby Glasgow is reaping the same rewards. Glaswegian’s reveal their The St. Enoch Market this coming Thursday and, like Edinburgh, will open an additional market in the following week on George Square – alongside an ice rink and amusements.

 

The Edinburgh and Glasgow markets prove us Scots know a thing or two about drawing in traders and food vendors from all over the world. But, who is our main competitor

 

Zagreb, Croatia has twice been hailed as the best host of any European Christmas market and its success is also mirrored in the form of an expansion.

 

The city will switch on their seasonal lights on the 26th of November, but their main proceedings will begin on the 2nd of December.

zagreb market

Zagreb’s Christmas market. Source: Google

So, what makes the Croatian Capital’s Christmas event so wonderful? Its main appeal is their ability to merge a traditional festive feel with a modern twist. If you head into Kaptol, you will see a live nativity play takes place, while in Tomislavac, an ice rink and amusements will be in full swing. It’s not unusual for spectators to follow a conventional Christmas Carrol Choir with an edgy DJ set.

 

While the whole city is draped in dazzling fairy lights, the main square -Trg bana Josipa Jelačića- sets an iconic Christmas scene. The fountain at the heart of the open space is encircled by a large wreath, and an artificial forest covered in snow enforces a majestic touch. The main market is on Bogviecs Street, where lovely wooden cabins host traders selling everything from sweet almonds, to beautiful handcrafted souvenirs. Be sure to try the traditional Croatian pasty desert, fruitile – and you shouldn’t have to look too far for some mulled wine to wash it down, either.

 

If you do venture abroad this festive period, Croatia can be a world-class choice. Of course, Christmas is about who you spend it with, rather than where.

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