Christmas Market in Heraklion



Christmas Market, a Must-See Attraction of December in Heraklion

 Like magic, the winter holiday spirit invaded the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete. Even though the snow is missing from the background, the city and its inhabitants follow the local customs and traditions, getting ready for the Christmas feast.

 Full of energy, we went out to explore the seasonal novelties and to plunge into the multi-sensory spectacle of the city life: the brightness of the commercial arteries, the festive street lights and the decorated Christmas trees from shop windows, squares, and parks, the shopping fever in the city center, the cheerfulness of company parties, the taverns and bars full of happy people, the cultural events everywhere, and, by contrast, as a discreet escape to the unseen world, the liturgical chants, and rites, vibrating in the beautiful Orthodox churches.


 

 In the evening hours, Plateia Eleftherias (Freedom Square) where the Municipality has organized the Christmas Market, attracts the visitors like a magnet, spreading a festive atmosphere throughout the city. More and more visitors pass under the huge lighted archway to explore the world of Santa Claus, which appeared in the heart of the city - families with children, couples of all ages, groups of enthusiastic and talkative teenagers, tourists eager to experience Christmas in Crete.


 

Handcrafts, Age-Old Traditions, Live Music, and Story Time

 The star of the venue - a glorious decorated Christmas tree, makes the kids avid to meet the generous Santa for claiming their gift, while the adults stay around with the phone cameras open, on the hunt for the best moment for the picture. Next to it, in a tent, the allegorical scene of Jesus' birth almost goes unnoticed, as the children rush into the wooden sleigh adorned with garlands and drawn by reindeer, ready to begin the imaginary journey around the world.


 

 On the central stage, concerts and recitals of some local artists, dance groups, choirs, and even the city's band are scheduled, announcing a Christmas time of fun and good cheer. We are pleasantly surprised by an excellent winter jazz recital, seasoned with old Greek party music, which interrupts the bustle of the place and reaches our souls. Between the artistic moments on the stage, we admire a show of lights and lasers projected on the facade of the City Hall, accompanied by international pop music.


 


  We visit all the kiosks one by one, admiring their shelves full of beautiful handmade things, waiting for their customers. Craftsmen magicians have played ingeniously, transforming metal, stones, glass, wood, textiles into festive ornaments for home and Christmas tree, themed gifts, talismans, jewelry, icons, toys, desk accessories, and traditional gifts of all kinds. We estimated that a full tour lasts two hours, during which time visitors can barely resist the varied offer of products. 


 

 

 

 Children have a wide range of recreational activities - from the playgrounds with old fashion installations, sports games, hands-on workshops, and cartoon watching in Santa’s house, to skating on an artificial ice rink, bungee-jumping, or even the modern video games and 3D journeys with VR glasses.


 

  Even if we are not hungry, we are attracted by the piles of multicolored sweets - candies, jellies and lollipops, pies, cakes, and other homemade goodies. The tempting popcorn competes with boiled corn on the cob and ripe or fried chestnuts. We finally take a seat at the small snack bar, where we order the delicious "loukoumades" - a kind of juicy donuts, rolled in honey and sesame, with which go perfectly a hot chocolate and mulled wine. Yummy!


 

 Near the exit, a cottage with walls full of hundreds of written messages - a sort of post office - arouses the enthusiasm of the children and the inspiration of the adults. Here, a cheerful elf helps everyone to write their letter with wishes and then leave it for Santa Claus, clung to the wall with push pins.  We do not miss the chance to become children again! An infinite joy fills our hearts as we put on paper our hopes and desires for ourselves, our loved ones, and people around the world.


 



Heraklion - the Vibrant City of Winter Nights

  We were wondering what else to do, after the tour of the Christmas Market. A light snack and even a hearty dinner is the perfect way to end your day in the center of Heraklion. On the narrow streets, the taverns, bars, and coffee shops have heated terraces with ambient music, romantic candles on tables, light bulb garlands wrapped on trees and pillars, and Christmas decorations everywhere, creating a fairy tale atmosphere. Sitting shoulder to shoulder, people enjoy a state of relaxation and good cheer. Dancing among them, the steam of teas and coffees mixes with the aromas of fresh barbecue and baked dishes.

   What a wonderful time of year!


 

  Every year, a lot of tourists choose to visit Crete during the winter holidays. If you are in Heraklion, don't miss the Christmas Market! Doubled by the festive atmosphere in the heart of the city, this event grants you a glimpse of Cretan art and crafts, seasonal delicacies, and the Cretan lifestyle.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


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