Christmas markets.
5 unstandard directions

Journeys | 11.12.2019
Wintertime trips are even more interesting thanks to the atmosphere of Christmas fairs. You've probably seen photos of the decorated squares of Prague, Cologne and other famous cities. But what if we tell you about less popular, but no less interesting fairs? Fewer people, but the same Christmas lights, bright streets, mulled wine and local handmade souvenirs.
1. Lübeck, Germany
Among the Christmas markets in Germany, it is quite possible to put the small town of Lübeck in northern Germany, known for the production of marzipan, along with Cologne. This confectionery is the main character of all markets here. Many small markets are organized in the city, but the main one was opened on Market Square on November 25 in the center of the Old Town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's also worth to have a look at the Weihnachtsmärchenwald Christmas forest next to the Marienkirche church, where several hundred fir trees are decorated with lights.

Fair term: until December 30
Working hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.
2. Moscow, Russia
Moscow is not just a big metropolis that is covered with snow every winter, but the city where the cozy fair is held in the very heart of the city on Red Square – the GUM Fair. More than 60 fair objects would amuse anyone. Children more often ride on merry-go-rounds, adults buy warm knitted socks or taste mulled wine. In addition to all the famous entertainments of the New Year markets, there is a skating rink with a space for 450 people.
The GUM Fair works for a long time, it is closed only on the first day of March. So all winter you can walk in the Christmas lights, ride on merry-go-rounds and eat pancakes with condensed milk.

Fair term: until March 1
Working hours: from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
3. Birmingham, England
Imagine that you can get to a German Christmas fair being not even in a neighboring country. Such a market is arranged on Victoria Square in Birmingham and it is called Frankfurt. At this fair, everything is traditional: sausages with mustard, Christmas stollen, gluehwein, German beer and the atmosphere. Birmingham is beautifully decorated for Christmas. In addition to illuminating the fountains, large illuminated carousels are being set up, and the square and the upper part of the New Street of the city are filled with more than 80 small tents with decorations, souvenirs and Christmas toys.

Fair term: until December 23
Working hours: from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
4. Sibiu, Romania
The fair in the main square of Sibiu Piata Mare is often compared with Vienna – and for good reason. Since 2007, the Austrian Embassy, together with the City Hall, has been organizing a Christmas market in the city center. This year, in Sibiu, they decided to surprise locals and guests even more, so they installed at the fair a 22-meter Ferris wheel with 64 gondolas for passengers.
Sibiu is located in the center of Transylvania and surrounded by mountains, and the central square is buried in Baroque architecture, so the atmosphere here is no worse than in the popular European cities, but there will be less people than on Old Town Square in Prague.

Fair term: until January 1
Working hours: from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
5. Helsinki, Finland
Despite the fact that Finland is a country with incredible winter (especially in Lapland), people come here to spend their Christmas holidays less willingly than to Vienna or Tallinn. Although the snow here is blown away by the wind, and there is little day light, it only suits the city, because it is full of Christmas lights and cozy tents with souvenirs and sweets. In Helsinki, the main shopping street, Aleksanterinkatu, is first decorated for Christmas. Here you can go on a tram through the luminous string lights or take a walk and take a look at the large windows of the Stockmann store on the corner of the street. The city's largest market is St. Thomas Christmas Market. Souvenirs here are so beautiful that you want to buy everything, and almost in every tent they offer glögi – the Finnish Christmas drink with grape juice.

Fair term: until December 22
Working hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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