Unique travel experiences - Discover the Best Christmas Markets in Romania and Bulgaria for Festive Delights

Step into the holiday season in Romania and Bulgaria, where the magic of festive cheer comes alive in the Christmas markets and fairs scattered throughout major cities. Join us as we explore and delve into these delightful destinations together!

Christmas Markets in Romania

Sibiu

From November 17 to January 2

The Christmas Market in Sibiu's Grand Square is the one that starts the festive atmosphere all over the region! Thousands of bright, colorful lights take over the square and invite by-passers to come and have a look at the fair while flooding their phones with beautiful photos! 

Visitors to this Christmas Market can expect traditional Romanian crafts, handmade gifts, and local treats like “cozonac” (sweet bread) and mulled wine with orange flavor. Other event attractions include the Ferris wheel that offers stunning panoramic views over Sibiu, the merry-go-round, and the ice rink full of cheerful locals. 

This Christmas Market is not just a mere event for Sibiu; it is an epic celebration, a symphony of lights and sounds, and the definition of holiday magic! 

Bucharest

From November 30 to December 26

In the realm of festive enchantment, the Bucharest Christmas Markets take center stage. This vibrant market provides a delightful taste of the holiday spirit and a gateway to dive into Romanian Christmas traditions. You can discover age-old customs and savor mouthwatering treats like roasted chestnuts, chimney cake, and mulled wine while experiencing the city's lively atmosphere and joyful performances.

In bustling Bucharest, numerous Christmas markets dot the city, with a standout being the oldest in Constituției Square, just before the Palace of Parliament. Here, amid a large Christmas tree, crowds gather yearly to explore artisan stalls offering seasonal treasures. Also, Santa’s Atelier delights the little ones waiting patiently for their gifts. 

Another popular spot is the West Side Christmas Market - as its name says, it is located in the west side of Bucharest, in Drumul Taberei Park. It is known for its gorgeous, Instagrammable decorations and twinkling lights. This fair creates a real-life fairytale ambiance in a park near a huge bridge. Explore this hidden gem off the beaten path! 

There is also a smaller market, organized in Cișmigiu Park near the old town, where the ice rink atmosphere is charming, and the smell of holiday treats with the traditional romanian carols in the background makes it feel like a part of a fairytale. So, it's worth checking out! 

Brașov

From November 29 to January 3

Brașov's Christmas fair is where the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and quaint wooden houses in Council Square sets the scene. With 40 stalls in the heart of the historic square, you'll discover a treasure trove of locally handmade delights: jewelry, clothing, festive treats like gingerbread, and baked apples!

You can warm up on chilly evenings with various festive drinks, including mulled wines and comforting ciders. Be sure to visit the standout stall offering a delectable array of jams and chutneys, including intriguing ones like garlic jam! 

Cluj-Napoca

From November 24 to December 31

Prepare for a festive spectacle at Cluj-Napoca's Unirii Square as Untold Universe (the creators of the renowned Untold Festival) unveils the Christmas Planet Market. Opening its doors on November 24, this event promises a magical experience for children, youth, and families. 

Starting December 1, a second fair by Untold will unfold at Cluj-Napoca's "Horia Demian" Sports Hall. Featuring local food, gifts, concerts, and a magical elf train ride, the event adds a winter charm. Take advantage of the 600 sqm ice rink for a delightful icy adventure!

Christmas Markets in Bulgaria

Plovdiv 

From 19th to 26th of December

In the charming district of Kapana, nestled in the center of Plovdiv, the Christmas Market transforms into a captivating winter wonderland, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its unique and vibrant atmosphere.

The central Ice Rink, a winter highlight in the city's heart, invites visitors to embrace child-like enthusiasm. Rent a pair of ice skates for a joyful glide around historic architecture on the main square, where the vibrant bazaar offers a charming mix of food, souvenirs, and the joyous ambiance of Christmas lights and cheery music.  

Sofia

From 15th to 26th of December

In the heart of Sofia during December, the air is crisp, and the festive spirit is contagious. The city's Christmas market, located in the City Garden, beckons visitors with handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and mouthwatering Bulgarian treats like baklava and mekitsi (fried dough). It's a perfect spot for a stroll, surrounded by the lively tunes of live music and captivating cultural performances. 

Sofia's German Christmas Market and Saborna Street Bazaar transform the city center into a warm and welcoming haven, inviting everyone to share the joy of the holiday season!

Here are a few Christmas gifts you can purchase when visiting them: Bulgarian pottery, rose oil products, wood carved objects, icon paintings, knitted scarfs and hats, toys, and even delicious traditional jams and drinks like wine and rakia. 

What to Expect at Christmas Markets

In general, Christmas Markets in the Balkans are all about gatherings - locals take their family and friends, and they visit the closest one to their home. You can expect large crowds, happy people taking photos, staying in large queues to buy Christmas gifts, loud music, and enchanting sweet smells of local cuisine. 

Some common treats you’ll find in most Christmas Markets in Romania or Bulgaria are roasted chestnuts, popcorn, seasonal candy and gingerbread, traditional pastries, and even some of the most popular dishes like sarmale, mice, kebapche, tarator, and lots of grilled sausages! 

As we previously mentioned, regarding drinks, expect to see mulled wine everywhere, usually spiced with some cinnamon and orange peels. But there’s a high chance you'll also encounter local traditional drinks like pălincă or rakia. 

Always expect to be welcomed in these markets with entertainment! Street performances, live concerts, classical music, caroling, and even small theatrical stage events. It is good to immerse yourself in these experiences for a few moments and feel the Christmas spirit settling in, don’t you think?

Tips & tricks for a wonderful winter experience at the Christmas fairs in the Balkans

  • Beat the Crowd: Opt for quieter times, avoiding the bustling evenings and weekends, to fully savor the Christmas fairs in the Balkans without the overwhelming rush.
  • Secure Your Belongings: Amid the festive hustle, watch your belongings to ensure a worry-free experience, as crowded places may attract pickpockets.
  • Embrace Sustainability: Contribute to a greener holiday season by practicing sustainability. Minimize food waste by choosing portions wisely and consider ethical consumption when purchasing goods at the fairs.
  • Capture the Magic: Don't forget to bring your camera along to capture the enchanting moments at the Christmas fairs. The festive ambiance, colorful stalls, and delightful treats create Instagram-worthy photos that will warm your winter memories. 

In conclusion, while winter is often deemed the off-season for visiting the Balkans, the natural landscapes adorned with abundant snow are like something out of a fairy tale, and the Christmas markets truly serve as the icing on the cake for an unforgettable experience. 

Book with Balkan Trails

If you're curious to learn more about crafting your dream vacation in Romania and Bulgaria, now is the perfect time to start planning with Balkan Trails. Whether you're eyeing the Christmas markets for next year or contemplating a springtime getaway, we've got you covered! 

Ready to start planning your private and custom tour with us? Click HERE, complete the form, and embark on a journey to discover the wonders of these two charming destinations. Happy travels! 😊

ABOUT BALKAN TRAILS

We offer fully customizable private tours in Romania and Bulgaria. We build the whole tour around you and your travel companions.

Enjoy the personable service of a knowledgeable private guide and private air conditioned transportation.

Pick the tour's start and end dates, visit only the sights you are interested in, spend as much time as you want to visit them, and enjoy the flexibility only a private tour can offer you.

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