Sweden's festive Christmas markets
Whichever part of Sweden you happen to visit, you're likely to find an authentic Christmas market with plenty of high quality products that make ideal gifts. The handicraft tradition is strong in Sweden, and you’ll find everything from Christmas decorations and hand-knitted mittens to stylish jewellery.
Christmas-themed food and drink complete the experience. While wandering among the decorative stalls, make sure to enjoy the winning combination of a steaming cup of 'glögg' (mulled wine) and a 'pepparkaka' (gingerbread).
Here are a few of Sweden's best Christmas markets:
This traditional Christmas market in Östersund is located at Jamtli Museum, one of the city's key cultural establishments. Wander around the snowcovered historical buildings, admire more than 200 vendors of genuine handicrafts or go for a sleigh ride. If you're lucky, you might even meet the Jamtli Santa. Nearby Nationalmuseum Jamtli, with the current exhibition 'Nordic Myths', is also worth a visit.
Open: 3-5 December.
Open-air museum Skansen, located in Stockholm's Royal Djurgården (a national city park), is a major Swedish attraction. Its famous Christmas market has been a calendar highlight since 1903. Stroll around the stalls and stock up on traditional Christmas food and handicrafts made by local craftsmen on-site. Kids will love all that Skansen has to offer – from meeting the resident animals to participating in craft workshops.
Open: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 26 November until 19 December.
Stortorget, Stockholm Old Town
Few Christmas markets are as atmospheric as Stortorgets Julmarknad, housed in Stockholm's Old Town (Gamla Stan). This traditional Christmas market was started in 1837 and is the oldest in Sweden. Spreading across the beautiful square Stortorget, a range of Swedish Christmas sweets and other seasonal delicacies are served up alongside various craft items, from iron works to ceramics.
Open: Every day from 20 November to 23 December.
Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm
The annual Christmas market at Drottningholm Palace is a holiday affair with a royal touch. This royal residency is located on the western outskirts of Stockholm. Traditional in style, you'll discover a wide range of quality handicrafts and meet the skilled craftspeople who created them. Take the opportunity to explore this fascinating UNESCO-listed palace on a guided tour, or stroll through the beautifully landscaped park toward the spectacular Chinese Pavilion.
Open: 4-5 December.
Liseberg Amusement Park, in the centre of Gothenburg, is considered a national icon. It also hosts Sweden's largest Christmas market. Millions of twinkling lights and more than a thousand Christmas trees set the tone. If you fancy trying the complete Swedish Christmas food experience, opt for Liseberg's 'julbord' – a buffet-style smorgasbord brimming with dishes hot and cold. The funfair location features thrilling rides as well as an ice-skating rink.
Open: 19-21, 25-28 November and 2-5, 8-12, 15-19, 20-23, 26-30 December.
Kosta, part of the Kingdom of Crystal ('Glasriket') in the southern Swedish province of Småland, is home to one of Sweden's most famous glassworks, Kosta Boda. It also puts on one of Sweden's major Christmas markets, brimming with entertainment – from Santa's magical wish list machine to Christmas concerts with high-profile Swedish artists. As for the products filling huts and stalls, glassware is of course high on the agenda, and you'll be able to witness glassblowing in action.
Open: Every Saturday and Sunday between 13 November and 31 December.
Gustav Adolfs Torg, Malmö, Skåne
The major city of Malmö hosts a number of Christmas markets. The cosy fair in Gustav Adolfs Torg is a definite highlight, transforming the town square into a sparkling, festive wonderland, complete with carol singers. Alongside music and live performances, you'll find stalls selling local handicrafts as well as classic Swedish Christmas food and drinks.
Open: 9-12 and 16-23 December.