Corporate Incentive Travel: Top 10 Christmas Markets

Top 10 Christmas Markets: A Virtual Video Voyage

by Anne Thornley-Brown, President

Executive Oasis International

If you time your sales incentive trip or foreign corporate retreat for late November or early December, you can give your team an opportunity to capture the magic and still be home long before Christmas. A Christmas market is a truly memorable experience to build into your company’s incentive travel itinerary. Your team will talk about it for years. To ensure that you get the best hotel rates and airfares, begin your planning well in advance.

If you need help in selecting your destination, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll start with a visit to some German Christmas markets followed by more stops around the world in search of the top 10 places to find Christmas markets. It’s the time of year when everyone is tired and winding down for Christmas so, our approach this time will be light on text and heavy on video.


What is a Christmas market?

The tradition started in Germany in the 15th century and its spreading place all over the world. In the weeks before Christmas, the markets are transformed into colourful places of light, colour, music, and excitement.


The Christmas Market tradition continues throughout Germany. This videoclip will show you what German Christmas Markets look like today.

Ludwigsburg Barock – Weihnachtsmarkt/Baroque Christmas Market

France (Historically Germany)

Strasbourg Christmas Market

Opened in 1540, Strasbourg Christmas market is reputed to be one of the world’s oldest and most famous Christmas markets. It’s in the famous Alsace Region that has gone back and forth between France and Germany over the centuries. It sits right on the border of France and Germany and has flavours of both cultures. The Christmas market is a distinctly German tradition that was started when Strasbourg was part of Germany.



Paris Christmas Market

The lights are incredible:



Vienna Rathaus Christkindlmarkt


The Czech Republic

Prague Christmas Market



Yokohama German Christmas Market

Tokyo – Strasbourg Christmas Market

When you’re in Japan, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the seasonal illuminations that are becoming popular in cities all over Japan.



Tallinn Medieval Christmas Market



Lincoln German-Style Christmas Market



Toronto Christmas Market NEW

Brand new for 2010, Toronto Christmas Market is taking place during the first 2 weeks of December at The Distillery District, a historical complex. It features a massive Christmas tree, beer gardens, Santa’s Lane, a feriss wheel, and a variety of festive music including carolers, classical organ concerts, and Bavarian brass bands.

While you’re in Toronto, be sure to spend an at Black Creek Pioneer Village for the mesmerizing Christmas by Lamplight. As carolers stroll through the village, you’ll get a glimpse of a traditional Canadian Christmas of the 19th Century as you visit perfectly preserved and festively decorated homes from that era. You can also sample Christmas goodies and savour the delights of a traditional Christmas turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings.



Brawta: Christmas Grand Market – Down Memory Lane

“Brawta” means a special extra give in Jamaican patois. This bonus Christmas market is my Christmas gift to you. I didn’t include this in the top 10 for 2 reasons. This note is more historical than current. Also, many companies don’t have the budget to provide incentive trips for the whole family. Definitely, if an incentive trip is held over Christmas, it has to be a family affair.

Christmas Market or Grand Market, is no longer celebrated throughout the island. However, it has left a cultural imprint on modern Jamaican Christmas celebrations so I thought it would be interesting to include it. A few communities have introduced Grand Market Night celebrations on Christmas Eve in honour of this tradition. If you ever are in a position to offer this or to pay for employees and give them the option to upgrade and bring the entire family, why not try Christmas in Jamaica one year. Special church services take place throughout the island. You’ll enjoy traditional black cake, sorrel (a delectable Chrismas drink), chocolate tea, carols, and, of course reggae. Grand Market, a uniquely Jamaican tradition, dates back to slavery days 2 centuries ago. Some of the traditions live on but others are dying out.

If you’re lucky you may even catch Jonkonnu. As recently as the early 1970s, Jonkonnu bands could be found all over the island and they would have performances and parades after Christmas. Now only a few communities keep this tradition alive with it’s colourful cast of characters.

I’ve heard my parents talk about them and, as other parts of the world are transplating the Christmas Market to their own shores, I do hope that Jamaica will revive this centuries old tradition.


Here is where you can find more Christmas Markets:

Other Corporate Christmas Event Planning Blogs:



Photo Credit: Batislava Christmas Market, -12°C


6 thoughts on “Corporate Incentive Travel: Top 10 Christmas Markets

  1. I am really intrigued to see all these cities showed in videos. Many of my friends have traveled Europe´s famous cities and loved it.
    Because I am from Toronto, I would suggest you visiting this page, which speaks about more possible events in our town. I think that Toronto is a great place for catching the right Xmas atmosphere in the North America.

  2. Like Laurel I was completely unaware that there existed Christmas markets anywhere outside of Europe, I’m talking about traditional Christmas markets not flea-markets at Christmas. That said what you’ve showcased above could rival any Christmas market I’ve ever seen in Europe. Certainly not my first choice Christmas holiday destination but it’ll definitely be on the list after reading this post.

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