Christmas is around the corner and everyone knows that this time of year, markets are in full swing. You can find them all over Europe: from Germany to France, Austria to Italy and Switzerland to the Netherlands. But which ones should you visit? In this post we will go through some of the best European Christmas markets so you don’t have any trouble deciding where are the best places to go!

What is a Christmas Market?

Christmas markets are usually set up in the weeks leading up to the holiday season. They offer a wide range of festive foods, drinks, handicrafts and decorations. Most markets have an outdoor area as well as indoor stalls, so you can get your shopping done whatever the weather!

Why you Should Visit a European Christmas Market

If you’re wondering why you should spend your time and money at a European christmas market, here are some reasons:

  • You can find unique gifts at European Christmas markets that you won’t find in your high street store. Everything from freshly made hot chocolate and traditional German sausages to personalised jewellery and hand-crafted toys.
  • These markets are a great opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit! There’s nothing quite like browsing through rows of festive stalls adorned with fairy lights, listening to carols and drinking mulled wine to get you in the mood for the holidays.
  • Christmas markets give shoppers the chance to support local craftsmen and women. All items for sale have been produced in Europe by independent designers and artists, so you can rest assured that your euro is going back into the community.

How to make sure you get back home with all your new goodies safely?

International shipping is always an option. However, it will probably be expensive and take quite a lot longer than using other transport options.

The best way to guarantee that all those lovely presents make it back to your home intact is by using a luggage forwarding service. This way you can shop until you drop and not have to worry about how you’re going to get all your new goodies home!

The best European Christmas markets to visit
The best European Christmas markets to visit

Where to Find the Best European Christmas Markets?

When it comes to Christmas markets, Europe is home to some of the best in the world. From festive foods and drinks to unique souvenirs, these markets have something for everyone.

There are so many great Christmas markets in Europe, it’s hard to choose just a few. But here are some of our favourites, in no particular order:

1. Frankfurt, Germany

The Frankfurt Christmas Market is one of Europe’s oldest and largest. This market has been around since 1393 and attracts over 3 million visitors every year.

The center of the market features a 30 meter high tree. There are a number of different stalls at this market, selling everything from food to knitwear and ornaments. Some of the most popular items for sale include Christmas figurines and chocolates.

The Christmas Market in Frankfurt
The Christmas Market in Frankfurt

2. Tallinn, Estonia

If you’re looking for a charming and festive place to spend your Christmas holiday, look no further than Tallinn Christmas Market in Estonia. This beautiful market is open for a little under two weeks, from 25 November to 8 January.

The city is alive with excitement and anticipation in the days leading up to Christmas. The market is located in the heart of Tallinn at Town Hall Square, and offers a wide variety of goods, from handmade scarves to Christmas decorations.

There is also a large selection of food and drink available, including traditional dishes such as sauerkraut and pork roast. Opening hours are 12 noon to 7 pm daily.

Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia
Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia

3. Vienna, Austria

The Christmas markets in Vienna, Austria are also extremely popular. The city comes alive with festive cheer during the month of December, and the markets are a big part of this. There’s something for everyone here, from traditional Austrian handicrafts to international cuisine!

The main Vienna Christmas market locations are:

  • Christmas Village Belvedere Palace – with more than 40 stalls.
  • The Pleasure Market – at the Vienna State Opera with artisan crafts from Austria and Italy.
  • Vienna Christmas Dream Christmas Market – on Rathausplatz (City Hall Square).
  • Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital – at the University Campus.
  • Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market – around 60 stalls on Parade Court.
  • Christmas Village on Maria Theresien Square – next to the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art.
  • Spittelberg Christmas Market – artworks, jewelry and homewares with great nearby restaurants.
Vienna Christmas Market near Burgtheater
Vienna Christmas Market near Burgtheater

4. Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg has some of the best European Christmas markets around. Between late November and December the streets of Hamburg’s old town are lined with stalls selling traditional holiday decorations, gifts and delicious festive foods.

There are over thirty Christmas markets in Hamburg, with some of the best ones being:

  • Dog Christmas Market – fun for feline friends and their owners.
  • Gänsemarkt Square – try Feuerzangenbowle, a traditional Christmas drink made from flambé sugarloaf dipped in mulled wine.
  • Jungfernstieg Xmas Market – at the Inner Alster Lake.
  • City Hall Christmas Market – one of the biggest in Hamburg.
  • Bergedorf Christmas Market – at Bergedorf Castle.
  • City Christmas Market – on Mönckeberg and Spitalerstrasse
  • Ottensen Christmas Market – near Altona Station.
  • Blankenese Christmas Market – in a picturesque Hamburg suburb.
  • Santa Pauli Christmas Market – an adults only affair, apart from on Sundays, with live music and an interesting entertainment program.
Hamburg Christmas Market
Hamburg Christmas Market

5. Winchester, U.K.

Winchester Christmas Market is a popular event that takes place every year in the city of Winchester, Hampshire, in the south of England. The market features a variety of stalls selling Christmas-themed goods, as well as food and drink from around the world.

This festive event has the particularity of being held in Winchester Cathedral grounds. Most years there is an ice rink, although that has not been the case since 2021.

Don’t miss the Pollyfields stall at the market entrance, selling beautiful wreaths. The British Craft Village is another good place in which to find a hand crafted gift.

Winchester Christmas Market in Hampshire, UK | #winchester | #hampshire | #christmasmarket
Winchester Christmas Market in Hampshire, UK

6. Bruges, Belgium

Bruges in Belgium is home to two of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. The market is located in the historic city centre, and features a huge array of festive stalls.

Known as Winter Glow, the event is taking place from 25 November 2022 to 8 January 2023. Attractions include an artificial ice rink, Winter bar, light experience trail and the all important Christmas markets.

The Market Square is more of a traditional Christmas market, while Simon Stevin Square has some great craft products. There are also warming winter drinks and Belgian chocolates galore.

Christmas nutcracker king at a Bruges Christmas market
Christmas nutcracker king at Bruges Christmas market

7. Strasbourg, France

The oldest Christmas market in France, Strasbourg’s Christmas Market dates back to 1750. It also features one of the highest decorated Christmas trees in Europe on Place Kléber, standing 30 feet tall.

Strasbourg Christmas Market features over 300 stalls dotted around the city, with goods on offer to suit all tastes and budgets. Check out the Advent Village in Louise Weiss Square and the “Off” Christmas Market on Place Grimmeissen.

Warm up from the cold weather at Christkindelsmärik by sipping on a steaming cup of mulled wine as you browse the varied selection of crafts such as hand-painted candles, unique wooden toys and exquisite jewellery. There’s also a section of the market reserved for festive treats such as gingerbread, marzipan and Christmas cookies.

Christmas souvenirs in Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Christmas souvenirs in Strasbourg, Alsace, France

8. Berlin, Germany

Christmas time in Berlin is a unique experience for all visitors. The traditional market place in front of the historical city hall is “the” place to meet, have a glögg or eat bratwurst.

Berlin Christmas Markets have a long tradition that goes back to medieval times. Berlin’s most popular Christmas markets are the ones at Gendarmenmarkt and Alexanderplatz.

The Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace has around 250 stalls. You can buy traditional German spritz biscuits, marzipan and stollen here.

Christmas Market in Gendarmenmarkt square in Berlin, Germany
Christmas Market in Gendarmenmarkt square in Berlin, Germany

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

The Christmas Markets in Copenhagen are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. They offer a variety of gift ideas, including festive ornaments, clothes and toys.

There are also a number of food stalls at the Copenhagen Christmas Markets, selling everything from sausages and waffles to mulled wine. Be sure to try some of the traditional Danish Christmas foods while you’re there, such as gløgg (a mulled wine) and æbleskiver (sweet pancake balls).

There are a number of different daily and weekly Copenhagen Christmas Markets. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market – around 60 stalls and over 1,000 illuminated Christmas trees.
  • Højbro Plads Christmas Market – admire Santa’s sleigh and 280,000 Christmas lights.
  • Kongens Nytorv Christmas Market – taste Christmas apple punch and get a photo with Santa Claus in the afternoons. Each stall is named after a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
Copenhagen Christmas Market
Copenhagen Christmas Market

10. Birmingham, U.K.

Surprisingly, Birmingham has the largest German Christmas market outside of Germany and Austria! Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market, as it is known, attracts over 5 million visitors each year.

Frankfurt is Birmingham’s twin city and the idea for the market came from Frankfurt City Council as a way of marketing their own Christmas Market. With over 200 stalls, there’s something for everyone at Birmingham’s German Market.

You can buy all sorts of Christmas decorations, from beautiful hand-carved wooden figures to traditional tinsel and baubles. There’s also a great range of food and drink on offer, including German bratwurst, brezel bread, pretzels and glühwein.

Birmingham Christmas Market
Birmingham Christmas Market

11. Madrid, Spain

The Madrid Christmas Markets are a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. They feature a variety of different stalls, selling everything from food to hand-crafted jewelry and Spanish ceramics.

The main Madrid Christmas market is held at the Plaza Mayor. The Mercado de Navidad as it is known in Spanish is packed with stalls. Try the traditional Spanish Christmas treats, like turrón (a type of nougat) and polvorones (almond shortbread).

There are also several outdoor skating rinks in the city center, including Matadero Madrid Ice Rink, Cibeles Palace and Colón Javier Fernández Ice Rink.

The Christmas Market in Madrid, Spain
The Christmas Market in Madrid, Spain

12. Brussels, Belgium

Brussels’ Grand Place is transformed into a magical Christmas market every year between the end of November and early January. With over 200 chalets and a large ferris wheel, there’s something for everyone at Winter Wonders and the Brussels Christmas market.

Browse through the range of handmade crafts, including glassware, jewellery and wooden toys, before picking up a warming mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine. There’s also a wide selection of festive foods on offer, including Belgian waffles, bratwurst and Belgian chocolates.

You’ll find outdoor ice rinks at Place de Brouckère and Bois de la Cambre. The sound and light show at Grand-Place is another popular attraction.

Dandoy Brussels chocolate waffle
Brussels chocolate waffle

13. Edinburgh, Scotland

The Christmas market in Edinburgh started in 1999. Normally held in East Princes Street Gardens, it is now expanding to West Princes Street Gardens and George Street.

Edinburgh ice skating rink can be found on George Street between Castle Street and Charlotte Square. The market is open from 10 am to 10 pm on most days.

Pick up a few souvenirs to take home with you, including jewellery, woollen garments and hand-blown glass decorations. If you’re feeling peckish, there’s also a great selection of sweet treats on offer including Scottish shortbread and Stornoway black pudding.

Edinburgh Christmas Market in Scotland
Edinburgh Christmas Market in Scotland

14. Cologne, Germany

As well as being home to one of the most spectacular Christmas markets in Europe, Cologne boasts one of its oldest and prettiest. Dating back to the 15th century, Cologne has a series of Christmas markets spread throughout the city.

Each one has a different theme, from exotic cultures to angels and saints. Heinzel’s Winter Fairytale has a lovely outdoor ice rink at the Heumarkt.

At the Cologne Christmas Markets, you can find anything from festive souvenirs to traditional German crafts. Glühwein (mulled wine) and Christmas cookies are two of the market’s most popular traditions.

Cologne Christmas Market
Cologne Christmas Market

15. Graz, Austria

Graz is a small city in Austria, but during this festive season it bursts into life with wonderful lights and everything that has to do with Christmas. Because Graz is a small city, everything can be reached on foot or by taking public transport.

Gleaming lights, colorful decorations and sparkling Christmas trees line Graz’s most famous Christmas market, which is in the main pedestrian area. Don’t miss the life sized nativity scene made from ice in the Landhaus courtyard and the giant painted Christmas bauble on Südtiroler Platz square.

In addition to original handicrafts such as woodcarving, pottery and glassblowing, Graz Christmas Market also has gourmet delights from all over Austria such as schnapps and apple strudel.

Graz advent market in the main city square
Graz advent market in the main city square

16. Basel, Switzerland

One Europe Christmas market that really stands out is the Swiss city of Basel’s festive affair. Held at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, Basel Christmas Market has a beautiful tree decorated by Johann Wanner.

There are 130 wooden chalets selling traditional Swiss crafts and food such as Swiss raclette cheese and Basel Läckerli, a type of gingerbread.

One attraction that has made the market famous is its Christmas pyramid on Münsterplatz. At 13 meters high, you can see it from a great distance.

Basel Christmas Market
Basel Christmas Market

17. Munich, Germany

Munich’s Chistkindlmarkt has got to be on your list if European Christmas markets are your thing. The city’s festive market is one of the biggest in the region and sells a wide variety of gifts, from traditional decorations to high-end jewelry.

There’s also a great range of food on offer, including roasted chestnuts, bratwurst and the Bavarian favorite, sauerkraut.

At Munich Christmas market, highlights include a festive Christmas tree, carousel and nativity scene. Visitors can also enjoy a range of Christmas-themed events, such as concerts and readings.

Munich Rathaus and main square with Christmas tree and decorations
Munich Rathaus and main square with Christmas tree and decorations

18. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Christmas markets are some of the most charming in Europe. The main market is set in the beautiful Old Town Square and in Wencesclas Square. It’s surrounded by medieval houses and churches that are all lit up for the festive season. There’s also a charming Christmas market at Prague Castle.

The market stalls sell a range of traditional Czech handicrafts, including wooden toys, handcrafted glass ornaments and intricately designed jewelry. You can also pick up some delicious treats like roasted chestnuts and mulled wine to keep out the winter chill.

Adventurous visitors might even want to try the local specialties of svařák (a type of hot mead) or trdelník, a doughy pastry cooked on a rotating spit. The dates for Prague Christmas Market are from 26 November 2022 to 6 January 2023.

Traditional Czech gingerbread at the Christmas Market in Prague
Traditional Czech gingerbread at the Christmas Market in Prague

19. Dresden, Germany

The Striezelmarkt in Dresden is one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe. This market has been around since 1434 and is home to over 240 stalls.

The Striezelmarkt is known for its wide variety of food, including German sausages, cheese and pretzels. There are also a number of stands selling Christmas decorations and ornaments.

Some of the most popular items for sale at the Striezelmarkt include gingerbread hearts, nutcrackers and traditional German clothing. There is also a Christmas market at the Frauenkirche and several others dotted throughout the city.

The Christmas Market in Dresden, Germany
One of the Christmas markets in Dresden, Germany

20. Nuremberg, Germany

The Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany is one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe. It dates back to 1628 and normally attracts over two million visitors each year.

The market is spread out over several areas in Nuremberg’s old town and is home to around 180 stalls selling everything from traditional Christmas decorations and toys to handmade candles and jewellery. Souvenirs from this market include gingerbread hearts, toy soldiers and more.

There are a number of attractions to enjoy at this market, including a large Christmas tree and a nativity scene. A wide variety of food is available at the Christkindlmarkt, including Nuremburg bratwurst, gingerbread and hot chocolate.

Gingerbread hearts
Gingerbread hearts

21. Brno, Czech Republic

Taking place from 25 November to 23 December, this Christmas market in Czechia is not to be missed. Freedom Square, Vegetable Market, Moravian Square, Old Town Courtyard and Dominican Square are the main areas where the Brno Christmas Market is held.

Freedom Square is home to a large Christmas tree, the Zimni (Winter) bar, a Christmas tram and a stage where musical and dance performances take place each afternoon and evening. Brno deserves its title as a UNESCO City of Music!

Dominican Square is known for Halouzka’s wood nativity scene. This is one of the largest hand-made nativity scenes in Central Europe, with 100 characters. Children can also write to Ježíšek (Little Jesus) and place their letters in the Ježíšek postbox.

Brno is the first city in the Czech Republic to have launched a returnable cup system at all Christmas markets. You can also take part in the charity project Daruj Kelímek (Donate a Cup).

Brno Christmas Market
Brno Christmas Market – photo: Virtual Visit

22. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, United Kingdom

Hyde Park in London is transformed into a Winter Wonderland each year, with an ice rink, funfair rides, and a huge Christmas market. The market features traditional stalls selling mulled wine, gingerbread, and other festive treats.

There’s also a Santa’s Grotto where children can meet Father Christmas himself in Santaland. Hyde Park is a great place to enjoy the festive season with family and friends.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland at night
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland at night

23. Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival, Hungary

If you’re looking for a festive way to celebrate the holiday season, look no further than the Budapest Christmas Fair and Winter Festival. Held annually in Vorosmarty Square, the fair features an array of traditional Hungarian Christmas snacks and drinks, along with handmade gifts and decorations.

You can also enjoy live music and dance performances, or take a spin on the ice rink in City Park. The fair is the perfect place to get into the festive spirit, and it’s sure to make your holidays even more memorable.

Budapest Christmas Market traditional street food called Langos doughnut
Budapest Christmas Market traditional street food called Langos doughnut

24. Manchester Christmas Markets, United Kingdom

The Manchester Christmas Markets are a beloved tradition for both locals and visitors since 1998. The markets fill the city with the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season, creating a truly festive atmosphere.

The Winter Gardens are the perfect place to enjoy a cup of hot mulled wine as you listen to live music. There are many unique and beautiful gifts on offer, with over 220 stalls dotted around the city.

Manchester Christmas Markets, England, UK
Manchester Christmas Markets, England, UK

Final Thoughts: European Christmas Markets

When it comes to European Christmas markets, there are many that you can visit. If you’re looking for a festive time and an excellent opportunity to buy some great souvenirs, we recommend the following places: Tallinn (Estonia), Strasbourg (France), Berlin (Germany) and Vienna (Austria).

Which of Europe’s best Christmas markets will be your next travel destination? Read more of our articles on Europe.

We hope this post has helped convince you that a trip to a European Christmas market is well worth your time and money. Plan your journey carefully and enjoy the festive cheer at a Winter wonderland!

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Best European Christmas markets
Best European Christmas markets

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