The Most Magical Christmas Markets in Sweden

Get in the holiday spirit by visiting the Christmas market in Gamla Stan, Stockholm
Get in the holiday spirit by visiting the Christmas market in Gamla Stan, Stockholm | © Rolf Adlercreutz / Alamy Stock Photo
Kim Gregory

Like clockwork, Sweden becomes a snow globe of festive activity every December. Christmas markets pop up in royal palace gardens and 10th-century streets, where ivy garlands are strung over snow-dusted stalls as the festivities begin.

The scents of gingerbread and glögg (mulled wine) fill the choir-laden air – and twinkling tree lights illuminate picturesque towns and cities. From theme park Liseberg’s 5m festive lights to ice rinks and horse-drawn carriage rides at the markets in Skansen or Malmö, these are the best Christmas markets in Sweden.

1. Christmas at Liseberg

Amusement Park

Funfair and small wooden craft shops at dusk at Christmas market in Liseberg amusement park in Gothenburg Sweden. Image shot 12/2009. Exact date unknown.
© Urbanmyth / Alamy Stock Photo

Liseberg, a huge theme park in Gothenburg, is transformed at Christmas with 5m festive lights, 700 trimmed-up trees and hoards of stalls for your fix of handicraft gifts and warm waffles. Hop on rides – including an obligatory go on the Christmas carousel – before catching spectacular light shows and ice ballet performances. Travelling with kids? Visit Santa’s workshop and the North Pole bunny in Rabbit Land. With ivy garlands and ruby bows at every turn, Liseberg makes for memorable, family-friendly fun.

2. Christmas Market at Skansen

Museum

Skansens, Christmas Fair,Stockholm
© agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
When snow hits Stockholm, the city glitters with festive magic – especially at the historic Skansen Christmas Market, which opened in 1903. Old-style wooden huts replicating a traditional Swedish village sell various handiwork, such as Christmas cards and decorations. Take a seat at decked-up dining tables and tuck into local delicacies, such as smoked reindeer or elk meat wraps. Ride through atmospheric streets on horse-drawn carriages, watch craft demonstrations or dance to folk music around a lit-up tree. Christmas at Skansen is jollier than Santa himself.

4. Malmö Christmas Market in Gustav Adolf Square

Architectural Landmark

Christmas tree in old square, Malmo, Sweden
© Lightworks Media / Alamy Stock Photo

Do like Buddy the Elf and throw yourself into Christmas activities at the lively Malmö Christmas Market in the 19th-century Gustav Adolf Square, Skåne. Ride the charming carousel before twirling around the sparkling ice rink – stumbling and falling are permitted. Visit Santa, jig with joy to festive music, browse Scandinavian designer gifts and soak up performances from enchanting choirs. Travelling late November? Check out the light-switch-on ceremony, featuring glittering wintry scenes that twinkle throughout the Christmas season.

5. Beckmans School of Design

University

For one December weekend a year, find this unique market selling wares made by students of design, fashion and visual communications at Stockholm-based Beckmans School of Design. Expect gifts lovingly made with creative flair, from the trendy and chic to traditional and cute. They’re often environmentally friendly, too, perfect for a conscious Christmas. Once you’re shopped out at the market on Brahegatan 10 near Humlegården, head to the college’s cafe for glögg and warming cinnamon and saffron rolls.

6. The Christmas Market at Drottningholm Palace

Building

DROTTNINGHOLM CASTLE Christmas fair
© roger tillberg / Alamy Stock Photo
Shop like the Christmas royal you are on the grounds of Drottningholm Palace, a Unesco-listed residence of the Swedish royal family. Browse canopy-topped stalls selling wreaths, candles, handmade jewellery and staple Christmas cuisine as you admire the grand 16th-century architecture. Don’t miss the lake, theatre and pavilion on the grounds – even more beautiful when it snows. Take a guided tour of the palace on the island of Lovön – just west of Stockholm – which can be reached by the festively decorated metro or bus.

7. The Christmas Market at Taxinge Castle

Architectural Landmark

Pretty, forest-lined Taxinge Castle – 60km (37mi) from Stockholm, accessible by bus or car – is often nicknamed “cake castle” because of its huge selection of delicious, home-made sweet treats. What better time to feast on them than at Christmas? Visit the cafe, and once you’re stuffed like a stocking, hit the whimsical stalls selling dainty crafts and winter woollies. Ready your stomach for round two of Swedish festive treats, such as fried herring sandwiches and freshly roasted nuts, all in a beautiful setting.

8. Sigtuna Christmas Market

Historical Landmark

Come December, picturesque Sigtuna is like something out of a Christmas card. Witness bells and ivy garlands strung above colourful streets, hanging shop signs coated in the snow, children greeting Santa Claus and stalls selling festive gifts, crafts and sizzling treats. On the four Sundays before Christmas, the market runs from Stortorget to the historic, 10th-century Storgatan Street, with food stalls in Drakegårdens Trädgård. It’s the most charming of festivities in Sweden – you’ll feel like you’re in an enchanting festive film.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Judi Lembke.

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