While many might not care much about such a thing, the keen must have noticed that all over the world today, there is a competition of who can throw the biggest Christmas party. This competition is aimed at one thing – to claim the title of 'the Christmas capital of the world.' So far, the competition has been a tight one, with some countries featuring large Christmas markets while others feature magical Christmas atmospheres.
Even though these countries have put in their best, some things are better left to the original creators as they do it best. After the final round of the most intense competition ever, the winner of the Christmas capital of the world by a unanimous decision is the one and only Franco-German, Alsace City – Strasbourg.
Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, January 29th, 2022: The capital of Alsace, Strasbourg, is home to one of the world's most magical and oldest Christmas markets. This article was updated to include a comparison between Colmar Christmas Market and Strasbourg Christmas Market and the best places to stay when spending a night in Strasbourg during the Christmas season.
About The Christmas Capital Of The World
Strasbourg is a city in eastern France and the capital of Alsace – a region that shares culture, history, and borders with Germany. The shared border of these two different cultures created a Franco-German culture and a French-influenced German dialect known as – Alsatian.
On one side, the German culture comes with – philosophy, Christian values, reason, and the love for beer; while on the other side, the French culture comes with – Art, style, beauty, romance, fashion, love for family, Chivalry, and LOTS OF KISSES. This perfect combination cannot be found anywhere else in the world, which therefore makes Strasbourg the ideal destination for those who seek to have a good taste of both German and French culture without visiting both countries separately.
The Christmas Market Of The ‘Christmas Capital Of The World’
Strasbourg Christmas market is the largest and most famous Christmas market in France and also one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe. The market, known as Christkindelsmarik in Alsatian and Marches de Noel in French, first took place in 1570, making it the oldest Christmas market in France.
Every year, the Strasbourg Christmas Market begins in late November and usually stays open until December. At the opening of the Christmas Market, every building within the vicinity has got some Christmas decoration work to do as the city begins its extravagant decoration of its best Christmas Market. Within a few days into the market's opening, most buildings can be seen carrying teddy bears and lots of glittering Christmas decorations.
Strasbourg hosts several Christmas markets in Grande Ile (the city's historic center), and the most popular one is held at Place Kleber (the central square of Salzburg). The Baked food, Toys, drinks, and decorations displayed in the 300 stalls set up all over the market and the architecturally impressive structures standing nearby will make visitors feel like they're walking into a royal banquet.
The Christmas Tree In Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg is one of the earliest places where Fir trees were decorated, and today that tradition still prevails as the city features lots of beautiful Christmas trees during Christmas. The Great Christmas Tree in Strasbourg is the most famous in all of France. Located in Place Kleber, this gigantic 30 meters tall tree is lit by thousands of lights and decorated with lots of biscuits, stars, and candles decorations. When this is combined with the shiny decorations hanging on the buildings all over the square, the Christmas Market presents a magical atmosphere that is just good enough for even Santa Claus to come and shop for some Christmas presents.
After the opening of the Christmas Market, visitors will enjoy lighting ceremonies of the Strasbourg Christmas tree beginning at 5:30 PM every day, with the tree featuring different types of lighting every week.
At the Strasbourg Christmas Market, visitors need to carefully explore the Cuisine of Strasbourg, which features flavors from German and French cultures. The mulled wine (which must have filled visitors' noses with its aroma) offers a great way to begin a food exploration. The whole scent of the Christmas Market is so strong that the noses of those who stay nearby will be delighted (or tormented, in a good way), and the enchantment is just enough to get visitors heading to the market to fill up their stomachs. To get the best from the overwhelming food offering at the market, a walking food tour will ensure visitors get to taste only the best flavors. When it feels too chilling, a cup of hot chocolate is just perfect for warming up and satisfying the soul.
More things to do in Strasbourg during Christmas:
- Visit more Christmas markets in Strasbourg to enjoy a more detailed experience of the Alsace, German and French Christmas.
- Ice skate at the ice skating rink located in Place Kleber.
- Take a view of the whole city from the 142 meters tall Strasbourg cathedral which was the tallest building in the world from 1647 to 1874
Visitors who stay longer can get engaged at the museums, attractions, and galleries all over the city to learn more about this diverse city. The town also features many Christmas concerts that create an unforgettable Christmas experience. Those who wish to visit this city should book their reservations on time to avoid the inevitable rush of the festive period.
Strasbourg vs. Colmar Christmas Market
People visiting Strasbourg will expect more than 300 wooden chalets spread around various squares in the city, offering delicious food, unique gifts, and Christmas decorations.
While visiting the Christmas market in Colmar is also recommended, the one in Strasbourg boasts more unique activities for all ages, sites, and chalets.
Moreover, Strasbourg is more connected to other European cities than Colmar. People with less time on their hands are advised to head to the Colmar Christmas Market since it is smaller and quicker to visit on a day trip.
Where To Stay When Visiting The Christmas Market In Strasbourg
Because the Christmas market in Strasbourg features many attractions and is extensive with many locations, people are advised to spend a minimum of two days exploring all the unique activities there.
To enjoy the most relaxing stay at better prices, visitors to Strasbourg must book accommodation in advance. Also, it is better to visit during the weekdays instead of weekends, to save additional costs.
- Where to stay: Hotel Cathédrale in Place de la Cathédrale in Strasbourg is close to all the markets. Moreover, the accommodation features breathtaking views over the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral and well-equipped rooms.