The Local's Countdown to Christmas

Five magical Swedish winter markets

Five magical Swedish winter markets
Kalmar Castle, Småland is hosting a Christmas market. Photo: Flickr/Simon Green
Stockholm and Gothenburg may be the main tourist draws when it comes to winter markets in Sweden, but away from the big cities, Swedes do their Christmas shopping in barns, castles and farm shops. Here are The Local's top tips for 2014.
1. Kalmar Castle, Småland

Kalmar Castle. Photo: Shutterstock
This is a Christmas fair in an 800-year-old castle on Sweden's stunning east coast, close to the former Swedish-Danish border. If that isn't enough to grab you, Kalmar's market promises around 120 exhibitors this year, selling traditional handicrafts reflecting the town's history alongside contemporary gifts. The region is also famous for glass-ware and you can have a go at glass blowing yourself if you head across the bridge to the island of Öland.
Open November 27th – 30th
2. Västerbottens museum, Umeå

Umeå Christmas Market. Photo: TT
A European Capital of Culture in 2014, Umeå is promising its best winter market to date as the city also celebrates the silver jubilee of its Christmas market. The shopping experience takes place in the grounds of the biggest exhibition centre in the region, Västerbottens museum. Umeå is home to some of Sweden's Sami population, so expect reindeer rugs and log fires alongside Swedish mulled wine or glögg.
Open December 6th – 7th
3. Övedskloster castle, Skåne

Ovedskloster market. Photo: Visit Skåne
Sjöbo in southern Sweden is promising an old fashioned Christmas market with a rustic atmosphere in a large barn next to Övedskloster castle. Food is the focus here with more than 70 local exhibitors set to showcase Swedish herring, jam, ham and sausages. Scandinavian designers will also be selling homeware, ceramics and crafts. Horse and carriage rides, vintage tractors and musical performances are set to add to the experience.
Open December 13th – 14th 
4. Baldersnäs, Dalsland

Crafts on sale at Baldernäs. Photo: Visit West Sweden
Just 90 minutes north of Gothenburg, Baldersnäs is an early twentieth century Swedish mansion on the shores of the sparkling Lake Laxjön. The market will take place in the grounds of the grand estate as well as in an indoor food hall on the site. Focussing on selling locally sourced products, in 2014 there will be 30 exhibitors offering plenty of local delicacies including curd-cake and marzipan sweets alongside straw, wood, silver and textile gifts.
Open December 11th – 14th
5. Falköping, Västergötland

Falbygdens Ost. Photo: Falbygdens Ost
Did you know Santa made his own cheese? You can buy it at one of the most famous cheese shops in west Sweden, Falbygdens Ost, which also hosts one of the region's most popular Christmas markets for Swedish foodies. The family-run store dates back to 1878. Alongside a 25 metre long counter serving over 150 varieties of cheese, there are also stalls selling a wide range of Christmas decorations and gifts.
Open daily until December 23rd

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