Festive entertainment: the Christmas markets to visit in Romania this winter

European Christmas markets are famous all over the world and attract countless tourists every year. They also represent an unbroken link to the continent’s past. Below is a list of some of the most anticipated Christmas markets in Romania this year.

Essentially a german tradition, some of the first Christmas markets date back to the 15th century. The German city of Dresden first opened a Christmas market in 1434, while the one in Nuremberg is said to have first taken place in 1530. At the time, religious festivals allowed dispersed communities to come together, d buy and sell goods and crafts.

The Industrial Revolution of the early to mid-1800s greatly expanded the reach of these markets, as many other products were suddenly available for purchase. The Christmas markets, therefore, have only grown larger over time. These days, European cities are vying for the title of best Christmas market, with Aachen, Brussels, Strasbourg or Vienna vying for the top spot every year.

In Romania, the tradition is good more recent. The first official Christmas market was held in Sibiu in 2007, and that’s no coincidence, as the city in Transylvania contains Romania’s strongest ties to the once large group of ethnic Germans living in Romania. . That year, Sibiu enjoys the status of European Capital of Culture and the Austrian Embassy in Romania is a partner of the local authorities in the organization of the Christmas market. More and more such markets have appeared all over the country and have since become an established tradition in many Romanian cities.

Bucharest Christmas Market

Location: Constitution Square

Open: November 20 – December 26

Bucharest City Hall will organize a Christmas market this year through its cultural event organizations ARCUB, PROEDUS and CREART. The market will take place between November 30 and December 26, ending on the second day of Christmas. In October, local authorities invited private companies to participate in the market and reduce costs. As a result, visitors are sure to find traditional products coming directly from farmers from all over Romania, but also handicrafts, sweet gingerbread, hot mulled wine, regional pies, cold cuts , pastries, etc. A large stage will also host the performances of the best Romanian artists. Learn more here.

Sector 6 – West Side Christmas Market

Location: Drumul Taberei Park

Open: November 25 – December 27

The districts of the capital will also organize smaller Christmas markets around the city. Sector 6 opens its “west side christmas» market on November 25 in Drumul Taberei Park. Contract organisers, UNTOLD Universe, have the famous Untold and Neversea festivals under their belt and are set to create one of the biggest Christmas markets in Bucharest this year. A model of the market has been made available on line. A giant tree and matching Ferris wheel, Christmas lights and a series of workshops for children and adults are planned to warm the hearts of those who visit the market. Ten food trucks, as well as plenty of mulled wine, a traditional Christmas drink, will give tourists a taste of holiday cheer as well.

Bucharest Christmas Market in 2019 by Vlad Ispa | Dreamstime.com

Timisoara Christmas Market

Location: Victory Square

Open: 1 Dec. – 2 Jan.

The beautiful Victory Square of Timișoara will host this year Christmas market, which will begin on December 1, Romania’s National Day, and will end after the New Year, on January 2. The first concert to be held on the market grounds will take place on December 1 and will feature Romanian traditional music and pop rock band Voltaj. Throughout the month of December, 50 Christmas stands, the result of an architectural project by Events for tourism association, will enrich the central square of Timișoara. There will also be an ice rink and rides. Across the city, smaller neighborhood Christmas markets will bring holiday cheer to those who can’t make it to the main events.

Sibiu Christmas Market in 2017 by Emecritist | Dreamstime.com

Sibiu Christmas Market

Location: Main Square (Piața Mare)

Open: November 11 – January 2

A true trendsetter when it comes to Christmas markets, Sibiu will hold its 15th edition of the event in the town’s main square, which will be covered in twinkling Christmas lights. Santa’s workshop will once again welcome children and an ice rink will also be set up. Hand-painted jewellery, Christmas cups and decorations, some brought from Bethlehem, as well as the finest local dishes of Angus beef and veggie burgers, will provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. Finally, a Ferris wheel will take people above the market and its surroundings, allowing them to enjoy it. The organizers have set up a webcam stream of the market to be able to enjoy it also from afar.

Craiova Christmas Market

Location: Old Town and Mihai Viteazul Square

Open: November 11 to January 8

Craiova in southern Romania awaits more than 100,000 visitors for the opening of its Christmas market. The date will coincide with the Artist Awards, during which Romanian musicians will receive prizes for their art.

However, the fun is far from stopping there. Last year, travel site European Best Destinations ranked Craiova Christmas Market among the six most beautiful in Europe. This year, the local authorities dedicated an entire square kilometer to the event. Uniquely painted Christmas stalls, polar bears, penguins and other characters, not to mention more than a million lights, will be spread across five plazas to welcome all visitors. Young and old can also skate on a 700 meter ice rink. The star of the market, however, is a 20 meter high illuminated Christmas tree. Despite the grandeur, local officials say steps will be taken to reduce electricity consumption from the market.

Cluj Christmas Market

Location: Unirii Square

Open: November 18 – January 31

Relaxation is the main theme this year Cluj Christmas Market. The organizers ask those who visit to forget their worries and join them for a month and a half of songs, joy and stories in Cluj’s Unirii Square. Forty-five days of concerts will see beloved artists like Voltaj, Direcția 5, Alexandra Ușurelu, Iuliana Beregoi, Școala de Muzică Voltaj Academy, The Beat music school and Armonia Music take to the stage. Santa’s trolley will travel Cluj’s line 101 during this period, while Santa’s house will welcome children through its doors. Santa’s mailbox, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, Radio Rudolf, storytelling by the fire and no less than 86 Christmas stalls filled with food and gifts are sure to warm the hearts of visitors to the market in Cluj Christmas this year.

Brasov Christmas Market

Location: Council Square

Open: November 30 – January 3

The Brașov Christmas Market returns to its usual location in the City Council Square as part of a larger program called The Magic of Winter. In addition to the impressive Christmas tree and more than 40 stalls offering various seasonal items and products, visitors can attend Christmas carol concerts, children’s shows, choirs and music and dance schools. Santa Claus will meet the youngest every evening between December 17 and 23, at the Maison du Père Noël. In addition, the program of winter festivities also includes the reopening of the former Saxon bank (22 Michael Weiss), today Apollonia Culture Bank, which will host various cultural events; a free entry ice rink in Sfântul Ioan Square; several Days of Giving (December 3, 10, 17) in Unirii Square, where visitors can donate toys and gifts to children in need; and workshops teaching participants how to make Christmas decorations and gifts in Titulescu Park. Learn more about the program here.

Oradea Christmas Market in 2021 by Emecritist | Dreamstime.com

Oradea Christmas Market

Location: Unirii Square

Open: November 26 – December 26

Oradea, in northwestern Romania, will hold its Christmas market from November 26 to December 26. Visitors will be greeted with treats, candies, Christmas decorations and thousands of gifts, all under a ceiling of colorful Christmas lights. More information will follow on the Facebook page and the website of the event.

Constanta Christmas Market

Location: Oleg Danovski Park

Open: November 30 – December 25

Organizers of the Constanța Christmas Market boast that their event could warm even Grinch’s heart to the wonders of the holiday season. Taking place from November 30 to December 25 in Oleg Danovski Park, the Constanța Christmas Market characteristic live music, train rides for children, a magic carousel, the traditional nativity scene, Christmas stalls and incomparable Christmas lights. Dance teams and singers representing the various ethnic groups of the region will also take the stage to offer their best performances to all visitors.

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(Photo source: a previous edition of Brasov Christmas Market by Emicristea / Dreamstime)

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