Best Christmas Markets in Bratislava
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It is that time of the year again, when the street lights up, the air gets cold and you hear Christmas Carols everywhere. Yes, the Christmas season is here!
Coming from the Philippines, the Christmas season is celebrated in my country as early as September.
Once the “BER” month starts, the festivity feels kick in.
Now I am in Bratislava, Slovakia and the atmosphere feels a lot familiar.
Except, of course, the air is way colder and oh, an occasional snow now and then.
But one thing that got me dazed is the Christmas Markets here in Bratislava!
They are everywhere, from that small park at the back of our house to the Old Town Square of Bratislava.
Christmas Market is a long tradition here in Slovakia and is one of the most anticipated event of the year because people get the chance to celebrate the festivity with their friends and loved ones on the street!
Christmas Markets here in Bratislava starts on the last week of November. For this year it started November 22, 2019, and will last until December 22, 2019.
That is a whole month of jollity!
But what exactly can you see in a Christmas Market and where to go if you are just going for a short trip to the city?
Well, read on because I curated a list of the Best Christmas Markets here in Bratislava that you should visit and the things that you can do, see and of course eat!
Also, you can watch my short video of Christmas Markets in Bratislava and how I ate my way through the night there.
4 CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN BRATISLAVA
By far, this one is my favorite Christmas Market in Bratislava.
Hlavne Namestie means the “Main Square.”
It is located in the heart of the Old Town and I considered it the center of the city.
What I love about this square is the atmosphere it has especially during the night.
It is not so big and not too small, so it is easily filled up with people especially when the sky starts to get dark.
The fact that it is surrounded by beautiful old buildings in the Old town makes it more romantic and fascinating.
Spending the night here with someone you loved or maybe friends to have a couple of hot drinks to fight off that cold weather is such a perfect way to spend your evenings.
I like going here during the night when everything gets lit up, though if you want to try some of the local food, I suggest coming here a little bit earlier in the afternoon so you can still enjoy the food without the crowd.
It gets super crowded that you have to queue up before you can buy your meal.
Nevertheless, I think whatever time of the day, this place is magical and you will be able to enjoy it.
Walk a little bit farther from Hlavne Namestie Christmas Market, you will find the Hviezdoslav Namestie Christmas Market.
It is so much bigger than and has more stalls than the Hlavne Namestie Christmas Market.
I got a handmade Ref Magnet of Bratislava here for 2 Euros.
I was extremely happy because it is so cute and unique from all the Ref Magnets I saw.
I am collecting Ref Magnets from all the places I have been to and have been looking for something since I came here in Bratislava and found it in this Christmas Market.
This market has a huge Christmas Tree that lights up during the night. It is so beautiful and picture-perfect.
They play Christmas songs here too that adds up to the whole Christmas vibe in the area.
Another attraction here is the Ice Rink.
For those who are brave enough to get themselves skating through the ice can do so, but I think you have to bring your skate shoe.
I prefer to just watch though because I do not know how to skate.
When you walk far enough to the other end, you will have a good view of the UFO Tower.
There are dozens of seats and tables that you can stay while you are enjoying drinking your mulled wine or maybe a cup of tea.
OLD TOWN HALL’S COURT
Another Christmas Market in Bratislava is located in the Old town.
This one is small though, we passed it by when we were looking for the Hlavne Namestie.
They only got a couple of stands that sell food and some hand-made souvenirs for the tourists.
But they got a manger of Jesus decorated with a real sheep so if you are going with kids or just a kid at heart, you can enjoy this site.
This is a rather small Christmas Market in Bratislava but another favorite of mine because they are footsteps away from our place.
I go here almost every night just for some fresh air, especially if the weather is nice.
It is more for locals though, since it is small and a little bit far from the center.
I think most people who go here are residents of the surrounding area. I was probably the only foreigner who went there. (Or at least that’s what I thought!)
I love it during the night because even though it is small, the vibe is nice because of the carousel that they put in the center.
It is mostly for kids though, but watching and hearing the kids laugh while they enjoy the magical ride of their lives is nothing but priceless. (Some of them cries though haha 😂)
So I’ve talked about 4 Christmas Markets in Bratislava, but the real question is what can you see there?
The stalls in the Christmas Market consist of either hand-made Slovak souvenir stuff, local hand-crafts, and of course some traditional Slovak street food.
My husband is a Slovak and he made sure that I get to try the best Slovak street food there is and explained each in everyone to me.
So I am going to try my best to share it with you guys.
WHAT TO EAT ON CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN BRATISLAVA?
This is the first thing that caught my eyes and you are going to see a lot of stalls selling these.
In English they call it Potato Pancakes and comes with a lot of variations.
You can choose between sweet and salty flavor.
If you are more of salty food then they got chicken liver fillings and bryndza (a local Slovak cheese made from milk of sheep).
If you are into sweet flavor then you can have some nuts, jam, poppy seeds or chocolate fillings.
Alongside the Lokša, you will see some Štrudla or Strudels in English.
I don’t think that is a Slovak local food though, it is more of an Austrian or Hungarian food but it is quite popular in Christmas Markets in Bratislava.
My favorite is the Maková štrudla or simply poppy seeds strudels.
Poppy seeds are oilseeds that are obtained from the plant called poppy, the source of narcotic drug opium.
I thought they are addicting but no, they will not get you high 😂
Štrudla comes in a lot of varieties.
Mostly sweets, like cherry, cream cheese, nuts and, of course, the most popular apple strudels.
Another treat for your sweet tooth is Trdelnik.
It is similar to the Trdelnik in Prague except I did not see stalls that serve it with Ice Cream, probably because it is winter.
Trdelnik is a sweet pastry made from a rolled dough and wrapped around the stick and grilled.
They are sprinkled with sugar and usually comes in cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate or nutty flavor.
I think it is too big for one person though.
I can not finish one every time I buy, so make sure you have someone to share it with it or maybe you are hungry enough to finish it 😂
This is another popular thing in any Christmas Market in Bratislava.
Just like Lokša, you will see this food in a lot of stalls.
It is a roll filled with stuff like chicken, or pork meat finished with mustard and some grilled onions. It is some kind of Slovakian Hamburger.
This is a Slovak favorite and one thing that you should not miss.
PARKY A GLOBASKY
This is basically anything sausage. Small big, brown red and grilled.
I did not try this because, well, I am not a fan of Sausages.
But every store that sells this is packed with people both tourists and locals.
It is quite famous so if you like sausages you should not skip this one.
The sausage is usually served with bread and mustard and you could add some caramelized onions if you wish to.
Another version of Potato Pancake.
Compared to the Lokša, this one is grated potato mixed with some flour and eggs then seasoned with garlic or onion and deep fried.
When served, they add some toppings like cream cheese, sour cream, ketchup or mayonnaise.
It is up to your taste what to choose but I had mine plain and I thought it was nice.
This is like the spirit of the Christmas Markets in Bratislava.
Most locals and even foreigners from Europe are familiar with this.
It is mulled wine, can be red or white wine and made from delicious local wine and added with cinnamon, star anise and some fruits for a peculiar flavor.
There are a lot of stalls that sell mulled wine and you will be surprised by the wide variety, if you opt for something without alcohol, try some Punč which is usually a fruit juice served with some kind of spices.
But if you are daring, you can go for something stronger like the one with absinthe.
Pretty sure you will forget about the cold winter night of Bratislava.
Aside from the food, of course, there are other sweets and local stuff that you can buy in Christmas Markets in Bratislava as a gift for your friends and families back home.
Most of them are hand-crafted and home-made that make them more special.
From pieces of jewelry to toys to magnets, ceramics and sweet candies and wafers, I am sure you will have a lot of choices to choose from and you will not go home without bagging some goodies from one of these markets.
If you have been to any of these, let me know how it went for you in the comment section below. I would love to hear some stories.
If you are visiting in Bratislava soon, make sure to drop by to any of these markets to complete your Bratislava winter experience.
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