The time before Christmas is special in Scandinavia, as the shorter and darker days makes for a very cosy time of year. Smoke can frequently be seen from the many chimneys around the countries, and a soft candlelight is streaming from many homes during the month of December.
Stockholm is most noted for having several smaller markets dotted around the city, but the picture postcard is the one found right in the heart of the cobbled stone streets of the Old Town, beside the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and The Royal Opera House. The Christmas market at Skansen is especially popular with families as there are lots activities in the park including an opportunity to visit the Nordic Zoo to meet real reindeer. Next door to Skansen you’ll find Grona Lund amusement park with another small market next to the Ferry for the old town. As you wander the shopping district you will come to Kungstradgården's Christmas Market in the popular downtown park where you will also find an ice rink.
Oslo sits neatly in the heart of the beautiful Oslo fjord and one of the city’s many Christmas markets is located right at the harbour. The square vanishes beneath Christmas booths and shoppers are entertained by regular seasonal concerts and other performances at the open-air stage by the market.
There are a great choice of Christmas markets, from traditional Bogstad Manor to the upmarket Designer market with Norwegian designers selling their products: clothes, jewellery, purses, bags, assesoires, ceramics, glass, pillows, lamps and small furniture.
Copenhagen is special at any time of the year but during advent it really comes alive. The Christmas market in the world famous Tivoli Gardens in the heart of the city is a good place to start with lots of small booths selling Danish decorations, foods, sweets and liquors. You can stroll down the decorated 1-mile-long pedestrian shopping street Strøget, where you will find every possible type of shop. At the end of the street, you’ll find the large ice rink before the popular Nyhavn (New Harbour) Christmas market with its many restaurants, bars and cafes serving lots of seasonal treats and of course Carlsberg’s famous Christmas beer.
Christmas markets are one of the best things about Helsinki in December. As befits the land of Father Christmas, Finland knows how to celebrate Christmas. Helsinki has a wonderful Christmas atmosphere and one can taste and smell the seasonal spirit in the traditional Christmas markets and cafes along the city's beautifully lighted streets. The city's official "Christmas Street" is Aleksanterinkatu (one of Helsinki's main throughfares), famous for its lighting display. Some of Helsinki’s Christmas markets can be found in Esplanade Park and at Old Student House, or why not try the Ladies Christmas Market at Wanha Satama with handicrafts such as ceramics, jewellery and knits - all made and sold by women.
Read about the Christmas markets in Gothenburg on the travel blog heatheronhertravels.com