Best Christmas Markets Around the World
Christmas is almost here and so are all these wonderful Christmas markets around the world. Europe is known for its Christmas markets, but it isn’t the only continent with fabulous markets and atmosphere. I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers what the must-visit Christmas markets in the world are. I’ve added my own favorites to the list.
Christmas Markets Around the World: Europe
Let’s start our list with the best Christmas markets of Europe.
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
Cologne is a city in Western Germany. It has one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. From the many beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, the 7 in Cologne belong to the top. 5 of the 7 are downtown, one is at the harbor and one is outside the city center. The markets are located on Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz, Alter Markt/Heumarkt, Schaafenstrasse, Chlodwig Platz, the Kölner Dom (cathedral) and the Schokoladenmuseum.
The Christmas market next to the Kölner Dom has 160 stalls with Christmas trinkets and German food treats. This is the most imposing market of the 7 with a romantic feeling. The market next to the chocolate museum is beautiful with the lights and has a large Ferris wheel. The Rudolfplatz Christmas market has a fairytale atmosphere and hosts Christmas shows. On the Alter Markt is a historical Ferris wheel. There are more local markets on Schaafenstrasse and Chlodwigplatz. Heumarkt has a large ice skating rink.
Get a customized Christmas mug. You get your warm drinks such as glühwein in them. When you return them you’ll get your deposit back, but these mugs make for a perfect souvenir. Next to that get pretzels, cinnamon rolls, lebkuchen or bratwurst.
You can reach Cologne by car or by train. Cologne is a popular destination, so expect trouble finding a parking space downtown. Arriving by train is the better option. All the markets can be reached on foot or with the U-bahn. There’s also a small tourist train that stops at the markets. This costs €8.
The markets are open each year from the middle of November to December 23rd. You can visit all the markets in one day. The weather can be cold and it can be raining.
Contributed by Sabrina from Shades of Summr.
Hot mulled wine (vin chaud), sweet treats, and traditional arts and crafts are only a few examples of the lovely things you will encounter on the Christmas markets of Paris. Every year, at the beginning of December, up to 20 different Marchés de Nöel (Christmas markets) open up all around the city of light. Vendors offer their special delicacies under a stunning ceiling of fairy lights and in front of the historical and charming landmarks of Paris.
My favorite Christmas markets in Paris are La Magie de Noël in Tuileries Garden (right next to the Louvre) and the Montmartre Christmas Market at Place des Abbesses (near the famous Sacre Coeur church). By visiting these markets you can nicely combine sightseeing with some Christmas cheer!
The Christmas Market at Hôtel de Ville and the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market are equally special. Lastly, there is the famous Eiffel Tower Christmas Market on Champs de Mars which is truly magical.
If you are planning on hitting the beautiful Paris Christmas markets, make sure to dress accordingly, since it can get quite cold outside (temperatures hover around the freezing point). However, I am sure a cup of hot mulled wine and some traditional crepes (super thin pancakes) with chocolate will warm you up immediately! If you dare to, you might even wanna try some escargots (snails). Lastly, make sure to bring some handcrafted ornaments from one of the many vendors back home to have a lasting souvenir of your Christmas market trip to Paris.
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
London is a dream come true during Christmas time. This city on the banks of the river Thames goes all out around Christmas time. In every corner of the city something is going on. There are 20+ Christmas markets in London, so you can easily get in the Christmas spirit in London.
The most famous is Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. It has lots to offer such as an outdoor ice rink, ice bar, German beer tents, lots of Christmas stalls, karaoke huts and après ski-inspired ‘village’. It’s one of the largest markets in London. Next to this one there’s a magical market on Leicester Square. It has lights, food and gift stalls. The South Bank Christmas market is very romantic with little wooden huts and igloos. This riverside market is a street food market, which also sells goodies. There are also festive markets at Covent Garden, Borough Market, Trafalgar Square, Southwark Quarter, Greenwich Market, Kingston Market and Bankside.
Try mulled wine or mulled cider, combine this with a mince pie. Another festive drink is a gingerbread latte. Then there are chestnuts roasting. A good souvenir would be a gift made by a small local business.
London can be easily reached by plane, car or train. London has several airports. The Christmas market scan be reached with public transit and/or on foot. It can be cold and rainy. There can even be some snow. So pack in layers, hats, a scarf and gloves. The markets start in November till December 26th or the first week of January. To visit all the large ones, take at least 2 days.
Contributed by Megan from Traveller’s Elixir.
One of the best places to visit during the Christmas season is Vienna, Austria as they have a wide variety of Christmas markets. There are 12 main Christmas markets in Vienna and many more smaller markets. Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt is the biggest one as it’s located right in front of Vienna’s City Hall. With over 150 different stalls, you can stroll through the park admiring the lights, the illuminated city hall and the huge Christmas tree that stands tall right in front of City Hall. You’ll also find a 9,500m2 ice skating rink that leads you around the park.
Most of the markets are located close together in the Old Town or along the Ringstrasse (a circular boulevard) meaning you can easily explore them all on foot. There is also one at Schönbrunn Palace which was the former residence of the Austrian royal family that’s located in a different part of the city so you’ll need to use public transport for this one.
Vienna’s Christmas markets are absolutely magical as all of Vienna’s squares turn into little fairytales where you can buy a range of tasty treats including jagertee (an alcoholic punch) and glühwein (mulled wine).
Vienna hosts some of the grandest Christmas markets in the whole world as many of them feature palaces as their backdrop. The markets are also super old and date back to the Middle Ages. The first market was held in 1298.
Most of the markets start in late-November and continue until the 23rd of December. It is cold in Vienna during December with average temperatures hovering between -1°C/30.2° and 4°C/39.2°F so you’ll need to wrap up warm. You can easily spend 3 to 4 days in Vienna and never get bored.
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
Hamburg is located in Northern Germany, it’s Germany’s second largest city. It has a lot of the most fantastic Christmas markets of Germany, 20+ in total.
All the Christmas markets are spread throughout the city, and each market has its own theme. In the evening the markets are lit up with lights and are the most beautiful to visit.
To name a few of the 20+ markets in the city: the oldest Christmas market of Hamburg is at Bergedorf. St. Petri has a traditional market, and there’s a historical market at Am Rathaus. This last one is the most famous of all the markets. St. George has a pink Winterpride and Sankt Pauli, dubbed Santa Pauli during this period, has a ‘red light’ themed one.
All the shops and streets are illuminated and decorated in this period, all adding to the Christmas spirit. On all 4 Saturdays of the Advent period a Christmas parade goes through downtown. The parade has Santa’s, reindeers and angels.
A perfect souvenir would be a Hamburg Christmas mug. You get your drinks at the stalls in these mugs. You can also return them and get your deposit back, but they make a perfect souvenir. On the markets you can get German treats, such as roasted chestnuts, pretzels, glühwein, hot chocolate with rum and curry wurst.
Hamburg can be reached by car, plane and public transit. Each market can be reached on foot or with the u-bahn or bus.
The markets are held from the middle of November till December 23rd, a few continue after Christmas. The weather can be cold, there can be rain or even snow. I recommend 2 to 3 days to visit them all.
Contributed by Stephanie from The Unknown Enthusiast.
The Strasbourg Christmas Market in France is one of the most magical Christmas markets in all of Europe. Strasbourg calls itself the “Capital of Christmas” and with the thousands and thousands of lights, illuminations, and decorations strung in the streets, it definitely earns that title!
This year there are 12 separate markets in Strasbourg with over 300 stalls, all located on the Grand Ile part of Strasbourg. The biggest markets are the market at Place Kleber with the Grand Sapin (a giant Christmas tree that does a light show every hour), and the Christkindelsmarkt by Hotel de Ville.
Besides strolling the markets, you can also attend one of many Christmas concerts, go see the nativity in the cathedral, or participate in one of the workshops for children.
Popular foods to eat include tarte flambée, baguette flambée, mannele, or bratwurst in sauerkraut. Traditional souvenirs to pick up include gingerbread (very popular in the region), pieces for a nativity display, or wooden ornaments and figurines.
Strasbourg is well-connected to Europe by plane and train. It has its own airport, and is only 2 hours from Paris by high speed train.
Dates for the markets in 2022 are November 25-December 24. Weather in December is chilly – highs are generally in the 30’s F (around 0-2 C). With a full day you can see all the markets in the city. I recommend browsing and doing any shopping during the daytime hours, and then circling back at night to admire all the lights. This is a popular market, so weekends get very crowded. If you can, visit during the weekdays for lower crowds!
Valkenburg, The Netherlands
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
Valkenburg is a town in the South of the Netherlands. The Christmas markets in Valkenburg are unique, since they’re hosted in caves. Marl was removed from quarries for years in this area. This led to lots of series of caves with corridors. There are 4 Christmas markets in total, two are in caves and two above ground.
In Gemeente grot is the oldest underground Christmas market in Europe. The Christmas market in Fluweelengrot is really magical. Stalls are lined up inside the caves and in between Christmas decorations are set up. This gives a really warm and cozy feeling. Food, clothes and Christmas trinkets are being sold at the stalls. Santa’s Village is on Theodoor Dorrenplein and has all sorts of stalls lined up on a square. Santa is usually present here.
Winter Wonderland is on a mountain, you reach the top through a cable lift. On top is a small Christmas market, a toboggan run, a bobsled and a 30-meters high Christmas tree. In Mergelrijk, another cave, the Christmas story and Christmas scenes in miniature are on display.
Tickets for the caves need to be bought online, they’re not being sold at the door. Visit the 2 caves early to avoid long lines. The caves are always dry and a pleasant 12°C/54°F year round.
Get a souvenir from marl, try erwtensoep (Dutch split pea soup) or oliebollen (a Dutch New Year’s Eve Treat).
Each year all these events start in the middle of November and last to the end of December. I recommend one or two full days to explore the markets and the numerous events. Dress in layers it can be cold and it can be raining.
Zurich is a great place to visit if you want to enjoy several Christmas Markets. There are five Christmas Markets in Zurich – all offering something unique and all within close proximity of each other, so even if you only have 24 hours in Zurich you’ll still be able to visit some of them!
Sip on glühwein, eat some fondue and raclette, and buy cute artisan Christmas gifts for your loved ones at the markets! The atmosphere on these Christmas Markets is amazing, but make sure to wrap up warm as it gets pretty cold here in winter!
Inside Zurich’s Main Station is Christkindlimarkt: Zurich’s most central Christmas Market and one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe! It has over 140 stalls and there is a huge 32ft (10 meter) Christmas tree in the middle decorated with Swarovski crystals!
In the heart of Zurich’s picturesque Old Town on Niederdorfstrasse lies Dörfli – Zurich’s oldest Christmas Market – another must-visit Christmas Market!
The Wienachtsdorf Market is held in front of the Opera House in Sechseläutenplatz. This is one of Zurich’s largest Christmas Markets with roughly 100 stalls! Here you’ll find the famous Fondue-Chalet where you can experience plenty of culinary delights!
At Münsterhof Christmas Market – located next to the Fraumünster church, there is a big focus on high quality local products from Zurich. This Christmas Market is really elegant and modern and is a total gem!
The Werdmühleplatz Christmas Market just off Bahnhofstrasse is really unique as it features daily evening concerts, a singing Christmas tree and a stage in the shape of a Christmas tree! Zurich’s Christmas Markets are open from November 24th-December 23rd each year.
Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.
Düsselfdorf is a city in Western Germany and a perfect stop on a road trip through Germany. There are in total 6 Christmas markets being held in Düsselfdorf. You can find them on Heinrich-Heine Platz, Stadtbrucken, Flinger Strasse, Marktplatz, Shadowplatz and Gustaf Grundgens Platz.
The Christmas market locations are all squares and they have connected them with Christmas decorations. Each market has its own unique theme. The one on Heinrich-Heine Platz is in Jugendstil style. It’s nicknamed the Angelsmarket, since it has a lot of cast iron angels. Marktplatz has stalls in the same historical style as the surrounding buildings. At this market the old skills take center stage. Stadtbrucken is nicknamed the Starsmarket, because of the beautiful illuminations. At Flinger Strasse the stalls resemble the craftworkmen houses in Düsseldorf.
Gustaf Grundgens Platz has an ice skating rink and the Shadowplatz has a puppet theater for the little ones. It also has the most delicious bites and drinks. Try out glühwein, roasted chestnuts, curry wurst, pretzels and lebkuchen.
You can visit Düsseldorf by car, plane or public transport. The main train station is close to the Christmas markets. The markets are dotted throughout the city center. The Christmas markets at Düsseldorf have been voted the best in Germany.
The Christmas markets in Düsseldorf are being held from the middle of November till December 30th. The weather can be cold and rainy. One full day should be enough to see all 6 of them.
Contributed by Arianna from Extra Mile Project.
What better place to visit Christmas markets than Santa Claus’ hometown? Rovaniemi is an all-year-round destination for Christmas lovers but it gets even more magic during the holidays.
The Santa Claus Village is home to souvenir shops and cafes that will get you into the festive spirit as soon as you step foot in them. From mid-November, you’ll also find cute market stalls selling handicrafts and traditional food. Joulutorttu (star-shaped pie) and mulled wine make a perfect Christmas snack to keep you warm, or you can opt for a full meal at one of the local restaurants. The Christmas market at the Santa Claus Village is also a great chance to buy authentic Sami items and support the indigenous communities during your stay.
There’s no shortage of fun activities to do besides Christmas shopping. For starters, meet Santa and mail a postcard from his Post Office to receive the special Arctic Circle postmark on it. Then, visit the Elf’s Farm Yard where you can feed the reindeer and other animals and drink hot chocolate around the fire pit. Finally, book a workshop to bake cookies with Mrs. Santa Claus or go on a snowmobile tour.
You can easily reach Santa Claus Village by bus from the city center. There’s no entrance fee but you will have to pay for the additional activities and tours. The Christmas market is quite popular among local and international tourists – you may want to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to beat the crowds.
Contributed by Mary from Be Right Back by Mary.
Colmar is a picturesque town located in the Alsace Region in the North East of France. With typical wooden framed houses, Colmar is visited all year long by tourists from all over the world. But at the end of the year, Colmar becomes even more magical. With six Christmas markets, Christmas themed lights projections and over 1500 hanging lights, this town has nothing to envy to American Christmas movies!
In Colmar, you’ll find six Christmas markets spread out in the town. You’ll find them at Place des Dominicains, Place de l’Ancienne Douane, in the Koïfhus, Place Jeanne d’Arc, la Petite Venise and Place de la Cathédrale. Once on site, it’s very easy to find them.
Consistently acknowledged as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Colmar Christmas markets gathers everything you would want to experience at a Christmas market in France, from traditional food, beverages to artisanal products. If you’re looking to buy a souvenir, homemade gingerbread or Alsace wines such as Crémant are a great idea. Don’t hesitate to chat with locals to find the best products to purchase. Learning how to say nice to meet you in French can help you break the ice and get better recommendations.
In December, Alsace often gets snow and night time temperatures can go below 0°C/32°F. Visitors are encouraged to dress warm and bring gloves, scarves and hats.
Colmar is a rather big town and activities in the city include visiting La Petite Venise and taking a boat ride on the canals. For that reason, it is recommended to spend a day in Colmar and wander around the Christmas market at nighttime. Colmar Christmas markets usually start at the end of November and lasts until the end of December.
Contributed by Joanna from The World In My Pocket.
Bath is one of the most wonderful cities to visit if you want to see a pretty Christmas market in England. The city’s Christmas market takes over the center, with wooden chalets and mulled wine vendors stretched around the main streets of Bath. You can easily explore the Christmas markets on a day trip to Bath.
Compared to the Christmas markets in London, the ones in Bath are full of local producers who bring their handmade items to the market. You will find everything for a unique gift here, from clothing to ornaments, from chutneys and small batch gin to the most beautiful glass candle holders. There are also plenty of mulled wine and hot cider vendors, who brew the festive drinks in large pots, in front of you – so you can make sure they don’t come from a cheap bottle from the supermarket. The Bath Christmas Market is also a great place to eat, with loads of different options: mac and cheese, grilled sausages, donuts, or mince pies.
The Bath Christmas market only takes place for 2 weeks before Christmas, and ends on the 11th of December – so if you want to visit, plan accordingly. The weather during this time of the year is cold and foggy, so dress accordingly.
Contributed by Faith from 3 Tickets Please.
Barcelona is definitely a must visit place in Spain. And this beautiful city, which is home to art and architecture, only gets better during the holidays. With several Christmas markets and bright lights up and down the Rambla, Barcelona is a great stop on any Christmas market tour.
It is important to note that Spanish markets are mostly about shopping. More specifically, the focus of the market stall is selling figures for the family nativity, called the Belén. And in Barcelona, the most famous of these figures is called el caganer, a very flippant and funny figure to be sure.
And while there is food and drinks on offer at Barcelona’s markets, the atmosphere and food are not as central to the Spanish market experience as they are to markets in Northern Europe. So most visitors need two hours to enjoy the market.
While there are several markets in Barcelona, travelers should not miss the two largest and most important. The first, Fira de Santa Llúcia, is in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona. Opening in 1786, Santa Llúcia is the oldest Christmas market in Spain. And with over 300 stalls, it is also the largest.
The second can’t miss market is at the feet of La Sagrada Familia. Any visit to Barcelona should not miss this important and iconic site. And if you are there during the holiday season, the market just across the street will put anyone in the right festive spirit.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Contributed by Min from Amsterdam Travel Blog.
There are two Christmas Markets in Amsterdam, Ice*Village Amsterdam, and Amsterdam Winter Paradise. However, the one that is worth visiting for tourists is Ice*Village Amsterdam. Why? It is free, located in the city center, and has easy access to public transportation!
Ice*Village Amsterdam is located at Museumplein and can be reached by tram 1, 2, or 5 from Amsterdam Central Station. It’s the most famous Christmas Market in Amsterdam and opens from mid-December till December 26th.
Ice*Village Amsterdam is more than just a Christmas Market; they also offer a place for ice skating and a fun fair for kids. The area is big, and you can ice stake in front of the famous Rijksmuseum. Once getting there, you experience the Christmas Vibe immediately. It’s best to stay there for around 60 to 90 minutes without ice skating.
Generally, the temperature is around 0°C/32°F to 5°C/41° F in December, but sometimes it gets below zero for a few days. If it’s that cold, be sure to keep yourself warm, I highly recommend having a scarf, gloves, winter socks, and a good pair of shoes.
Once you arrive at the market, don’t forget to try an oliebol, which tastes like a donut but is still a bit different. It’s a snack you see only around mid-November till early January. An oliebol is made from dough and has two flavors: with raisin or without. Oliebollen are served topped with powdered sugar. The oliebol is actually traditionally a popular snack for the New Year party.
Looking for an accommodation? Check the hotels around Museumplein. That’s the best area to book.
Wanna visit Amsterdam? Welcome, here are some practical information before leaving for Amsterdam.
Contributed by Erin from Wanderlust With Kids.
Throughout December, the Old Town of Bratislava comes alive with Christmas magic.
In the main square, Hlavné Námestie, wooden stalls are set in front of the Old Town Hall, enticing visitors with delicious smells of grilled sausages, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. In addition to Christmas decorations and handmade gifts, stalls offer all sorts of traditional Slovakian food such as lokše (potato pancakes), klobása (grilled sausage) and trdelnik (sugar-coated pastry), as well as mulled wine and other warm drinks.
A few blocks away at Hviezdoslavovo Námestie, you’ll find more vendors selling an array of sweet treats and plenty of warm beverages like mulled wine and hot cider to keep you cozy. At the end of the square, there’s a carousel for kids and a large decorated Christmas tree, complete with a carved wooden nativity scene.
Aside from the Christmas Markets, Bratislava has quaint cobblestone streets, medieval churches, and magnificent Baroque palaces to explore. Visit Bratislava Castle for a panoramic view of the city or, for a truly unique viewpoint, head up to the UFO Bridge for a spectacular view of the Danube.
For those who want to take a break from shopping and sightseeing, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby. Head to Five Points Café for a unique “Selfiecinno”, a cappuccino with your selfie photography on top!
The Christmas Markets in Bratislava may be smaller than other European Christmas markets, but this just adds to the charm and makes them that much more authentic. You can easily visit Bratislava on a day trip from nearby Vienna, or choose to stay overnight and discover why Bratislava is worth visiting.
Contributed by Kristin from Global Travel Escapades.
One of the most magical places in Europe to visit during the holiday season is Zagreb, Croatia. With its stunningly beautiful Christmas markets, captivating live music performances, and festive atmosphere, you can be sure that your time in Zagreb will be nothing less than extraordinary!
Zagreb’s Advent Christmas Market is one of the biggest attractions in the city during December. The market is composed of 25 smaller Christmas markets spread throughout Zagreb, generating one massive event that brings together people from all over the world.
And there’s something for everyone at the Christmas Market: from traditional Croatian food, such as Strukli to handmade gifts and of ice-skating opportunities. Plus, Advent has been voted Best Christmas Market in Europe three times in a row (2016-2018) by European Best Destinations, which is all the more reason to go!
If you’re planning on visiting the world-famous market, bundle up because you’ll be in for a real winter wonderland! Lastly, the Advent market lasts from late November until the beginning of January, so you might even want to consider spending at least a few days in the Croatian capital.
Contributed by Jenn from Those Johnson Boys.
While Prague is a beautiful city at any time of year, it really comes alive during the holiday season. With seven Christmas markets located around the city, you’ll be immersed in the spirit of Christmas just about everywhere as you explore during your time there.
The two main Christmas markets are just five minutes away from each other, located in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. These markets are open from the Saturday after Thanksgiving until just after the new year, giving you plenty of time to roam around the markets while enjoying a cup of mulled wine and a delicious pastry called a trdelnik.
Of course, seeing the Christmas markets with the lights twinkling at night is magical, but make sure to check out the markets during the day, as well. In fact, if you wake up early, you’ll be able to experience Prague with little to no tourists, which really allows you to appreciate the history of the city.
With so many things to see and do, you won’t regret spending at least three days in Prague. It also makes for a great starting point or ending point along a European Christmas market itinerary. The weather in Prague at this time will be cold, so make sure to pack warm clothes and a winter coat, hat, and gloves.
Contributed by Lisi from Escaping Worlds.
The small Austrian city of Salzburg has around six different Christmas markets also called Christkindlmarkt in Austrian German.
Usually, they open at mid-to-end of November and then depending on the market close on the 24th of December or the 1st of January.
The Hellbrunner Adventzauber, which is truly unique, is located a bit outside the old town, but that doesn’t mean it is less visited. But it surely has a different Christmas flair. The decorations are not as extravagant, and the stands offer various traditional art crafts. The Christmas market also offers snacks and warm drinks, like mulled wine and punch. Music and kid’s programs are guaranteeing entertainment. For your unique cultural experience in Austria, you can visit the Krampus Lauf, which is held in the first week of December.But don’t worry, there’s also a cafe where you can hide from the beast-like creators or just warm up again. On this note, it can get pretty cold in Austria, in the evenings the temperatures are between -7 to 10° Celsius (19.4°F to 50°F). So, make sure you are dressed warm enough, including boots, gloves, a scarf and a hat.
You can reach the Hellbrunn Christmas Market from the city center of Salzburg easily by bus. Take bus number 25 in the direction of Grödig Untersbergbahn and exit at Schloss Hellbrunn, the bus ride takes about 25-30 minutes. Opening times are during the week from 1 pm to 8 pm and during the weekend from 10 am to 8 pm.
Contributed by Taylor from Traverse With Taylor.
The Edinburgh Christmas Market is one of the most fantastic festivals to come through the city each year. Beginning in November and stretching all the way to the New Year, the thousands of lights and sounds brighten up the center of Edinburgh. Located right in the heart of the city in the East Princes Street Gardens, you can find the market surrounding the Sir Walter Scott Monument. Three entire levels of the gardens are taken up by hundreds of stalls. Here, you can find anything from cultural foods like Hungarian Langos to hand-woven Scottish wool scarves and countless other gifts and unique items.
This is an incredible Christmas Market to visit with kids, as there is an entire Santa Land dedicated to children. In addition, rides like the large Ferris wheel are available- jump on board for a birds-eye view of Edinburgh all lit up for Christmas!
You’ll want to get in line for entry to the Edinburgh Christmas Market as early as possible. Lines have, at times, been more than an hour long just to get in!
Nearby, George Street also has a smaller Christmas market and ice skating rink set up for the holidays!
For easy access to the Christmas Market, the best place to stay in Edinburgh is in the New Town or Old Town areas of the city.
Contributed by Cristina from My Little World of Travelling.
Manchester Christmas Market, located in the city of Manchester in the north west of England, is one of the best markets in the UK. There are over 220 market stalls across the city center where you can buy Christmas presents and have delicious street food or a glass of mulled wine.
Walking around Manchester city center is a magical experience during the festive season. See the beautiful Christmas lights, grab a German hot dog or a traditional Yorkshire pudding wrap, buy unique gifts for your loved ones or have some fun with your family at the ice rink.
The usual nine market locations are Winter Gardens, St Ann’s Square and Exchange Street, Market Street, King Street, New Cathedral Street, Exchange Square, The Corn Exchange and Cathedral Gardens. However, it is worth checking out Manchester’s official website because these locations might change from year to year.
The Christmas market usually starts in mid-November and ends on the 22nd of December every year.
The two things to consider before heading to Manchester Christmas Market are the weather and crowds. The weather is chilly (between 4°C/39°F and 8°C/46°F) and rainy, so it is a good idea to wear warm clothes and pack an umbrella. Also, if you don’t like crowds, opt for visiting the Christmas market on a weekday.
From Europe we’re going to Asia, which also has some fantastic Christmas markets.
Contributed by David & Intan from The World Travel Guy.
The city of Tokyo, Japan is the world’s biggest urban area, and it also has some outstanding Christmas markets — more than half a dozen, to be exact! Tokyo’s oldest Christmas market is at Roppongi Hills, where you can enjoy lots of food and shopping, plus the trees along the street are lit up with bright Christmas lights to celebrate the season. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk, and you can also catch views of the impressive Tokyo Tower in the background.
Another market to check out is the Tokyo Christmas Market, which is the biggest in Japan. It’s normally held for several weeks in December in Hibiya Park, and it features dozens of illuminated Christmas trees, holiday crafts for sale, live music performances, and more. If you happen to be visiting Asia in the winter, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Japan!
Contributed by Kate from Passports and Playgrounds.
Japan has taken the spirit of the German/European Christmas markets and transformed their own central city squares with decorations, festive lights, hot spiced wine, sweets, and ornaments.
The city of Sapporo in Hokkaido Prefecture holds its market to highlight the anniversary of its sister city, Munich, Germany. Visitors can go to Odori Park and enjoy the food stalls, purchase European-style ornaments, and also get a gift from Santa Clause.
With 15 booths selling gifts and over 10 food stalls to choose from, you will not leave the festival hungry. The best souvenir to get at the festival is the commemorative mugs. The design changes every year. Please don’t forget to bring enough yen (cash) with you as you visit. Most stalls only accept yen for payment and not credit cards.
The Sapporo Christmas Market runs in tandem with the Sapporo White Illuminations, which also occurs at Odori Park. Both festivals run from late November to December 25th.
The German Christmas Market in Sapporo runs from 11 am to 9 pm daily, however, the best time to visit would be from 4 pm-9 pm when you can see the lights and the Sapporo TV tower illuminated! Prepare to bundle up for this event as Sapporo’s weather ranges from 2° / -5°C (35° / 23° F) and is known for its long snow season.
Contributed by De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander.
Shanghai’s exciting mix of East and West makes it one of the best places to visit in China. In December, you should really go to one of the Christmas markets that spring up around the city to experience the city’s eclectic vibes.
The biggest and most exciting Christmas market is the Paulaner Brauhaus Christmas market, held in Pudong every weekend from the first weekend in December until 2 January. Ignore the towering skyscrapers of Pudong for a moment, and you’ll be excused for thinking you’re in Bavaria. If you’re lucky, it might even snow! Stalls sell traditional Christmas snacks like hot nuts, pretzels, gingerbread, bratwurst and, of course, gluhwein. It’s also the perfect spot to pick up a Christmas-themed souvenir with a unique Chinese twist, such as hand-knitted Christmas sweaters with Chinese characters or Christmas tree baubles with Shanghai landmarks.
The atmosphere is convivial and cosy. To have the whole European Christmas experience, you can also have a proper German meal (think schweinshax, spätzle, obatzda, sausages and the like) inside the Paulaner Brauhaus. You can easily spend a few hours at the market sampling all the food and browsing the stalls.
There is RMB 50 entrance fee to the market, but this can be redeemed for food and drinks in the market. It’s best to get a taxi to the market, as it’s quite a distance from the nearest metro station.
Another Christmas Market worth checking out is the Jing’an Christkindlmarkt, across the river in Puxi. This market, near the Kerry Mall, has all the Christmassy food and drink one can wish for but lacks the jovial atmosphere of the Paulaner Market.
North America puts on a good show with Christmas markets in the US and Canada.
Contributed by Alyssa from An Apple A Plane.
Chicago’s Christkindlmarkets are a magical way to celebrate the holiday season in Chicago, Illinois! Located in the midwest United States, Chicago annually hosts two Christkindl Markets. Both markets are accessible for people with disabilities.
Its most traditional and largest market first opened in 1996. Located in Daley Plaza, visitors can plan to enjoy over 45 local and international vendors, and 15 food vendors. In 2022, this market is open from November 18th – December 24th.
In recent years, Winterland at Gallagher was established in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, featuring a second Christkindlmarket. After enjoying the market at Winterland, visitors can partake in a variety of winter activities such as exploring the giant Christmas tree, ice skating, and even riding in ice bumper cars! In 2022, this market is open from November 18th – December 31st.
Unique souvenirs from international sellers include scarves, hand lotions, handbags, and stuffed animals. A favorite souvenir for visitors is ordering their hot beverage in a signature Chicago Christkindlmarket mug. The mug has a new design annually, and regulars love to collect!
Winter in Chicago is cold, so bundle up! Average December temperatures range from a high of 37 degrees fahrenheit (3°C) to a low of 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-3°C), but in recent years have dropped much lower so plan accordingly.
Contributed by Karen from Forever Karen.
The Vancouver Christmas Market is located downtown in the Jack Poole Plaza, overlooking the Burrard Inlet. Fashioned on a traditional German Christmas Market, the outdoor event runs for six weeks, starting mid-November and closing on December 24th.
Since Vancouver, British Columbia, has milder temperatures than other Canadian cities, expect daytime highs of 6C (42F) and lows of 1C (34F) if you’re attending in the evening.
If you’re visiting the west coast city, the Vancouver Christmas Market is the only festive market to offer all the traditional German foods and drinks. The event features over 90 vendor huts selling Bratwurst sausages, Bavarian beer, Glühwein, Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), and handcrafted gifts.
So, attend with an appetite and a desire to sample a variety of food. If you share food with friends, you can sample more treats. Don’t miss the delicious roasted pork hock with sauerkraut and rye bread.
When you attend, you can ride a Christmas carousel, take a selfie at the walk-in Christmas tree, and attach a love lock with your partner. The event has a scavenger hunt for the little ones to keep them busy while you shop.
As the sun sets, the market attracts a larger crowd between 4 pm and 5 pm. If you want to visit with fewer people, visit on a weekday or plan to arrive at 11:30 am when the event opens.
Contributed by Marianne from The Journeying Giordanos.
One of the best Christmas markets in Canada is The Distillery Winter Village in Toronto. Not only is it one of the city’s largest and most popular Christmas markets, it has been a staple for Torontonians for the last 12 years. It is home to more than 75 festive stalls featuring local vendors, unique foods, Christmas decor, and handmade treasures. Meander through the cobblestone streets of the pedestrian-only market while enjoying the light sculptures, starlit canopies, the Grand Christmas Tree in Trinity Square, as well as festive music throughout.
The Winter Village also offers live entertainment in the form of buskers and carolers, cool photo spots where you can grab that perfect selfie, and even Santa and his elves can be found wandering throughout the market.
Aside from the Winter Village, there are other smaller Christmas Markets going on throughout the city as well. The most notable is the Holiday Fair in the Square located at Nathan Phillips Square. It has something fun for everyone with a family-friendly combination of Christmas Market and winter carnival. Shop for unique and locally-made gifts, go ice-skating, try out the rides and games, or enjoy an evening drink at the Polar Point Bar.
If you are visiting Toronto during December, the weather can get a little chilly. Expect light snow, with temperatures ranging from about 1°C/34°F during the daytime, to lows of -3°C/27°F at night. We recommend that you spend at least two days in Toronto to get the full Christmas market experience. However, if you are looking to explore the city as well, then 4-5 days may be necessary as there are a ton of awesome things to do in Toronto in December.
St. Paul, USA
Contributed by Kassidy from Kassidy’s Journey.
Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, the St. Paul European Christmas Market is a fantastic place for families to visit during the holiday season in the Twin Cities. This holiday tradition has been taking place for nearly 10 years and brings traditions of Christmas markets in Europe over to Minnesota.
Each year, the market is held at the Union Depot in St. Paul on the weekends leading up to Christmas Day. There are over 60 local vendors each year, selling their quality handmade products. Everything from Christmas ornaments to handcrafted nutcrackers to delicious and authentic European-style foods. It’s the perfect place to get some last-minute holiday shopping in and support local Minnesota businesses.
Since it’s located in Minnesota, this open-air market is typically very cold each year, so it’s best to dress warmly and grab yourself a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine) in the creative mugs. It’s best to plan for about a half day spent at the market, since it is fairly large and there are other activities going on at the Depot. The Union Depot describes itself as the “Hub for the Holidays” in St. Paul, hosting several holiday activities including an annual tree lighting, a North Pole Express train ride, and a holiday bake sale.
Quebec City, Canada
Contributed by Kyleen from The Bonnie Traveler.
If you cannot travel to places like Austria or Germany to experience a European Christmas Market, plan a trip to Québec City for an old-world Christmas Market in North America.
Tucked into Old Québec, the German Christmas Market is held each year from November to December. As the air turns crisp and the snow frosts the wooden booths of 90+ vendors, visitors can indulge in German flavors such as bratwurst, pretzels, and Glühwein (warm mulled wine).
Wander through the 5 sections of the Christmas Market throughout the old town to discover local artisans and handmade crafts that make perfect Christmas gifts.
Guests will love the free entertainment from local choirs and musicians, and the children will be delighted by the puppet shows at the Theaterplatz.
The Christmas markets in Quebec city are only open five weekends from the end of November till Christmas in December, so plan a long weekend to explore this charming city and the market. If you are not staying in the old city, use public transportation to get to the German Christmas Markets.
Take a tour of the historic Château Frontenac and its lovely display of Christmas trees, and enjoy a cozy lunch at Au petit coin Breton for delicious crepes during your visit.
Contributed by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler.
Leavenworth, Washington is a Bavarian-themed town, tucked away in the United States’ Cascade Mountains. While the town always looks magical, thanks to its streets that look straight out of The Sound of Music, Christmas in Leavenworth is a whole different level, with the downtown being festooned with over half a million Christmas lights, carolers strolling the streets, and chestnuts being roasted over open fires.
Leavenworth hosts its annual Christkindlemarkt the weekend after Thanksgiving in its main town square. There’s plenty of stalls with homemade toys, ornaments, and cozy winter clothing to stock up on. And these warm mittens and hats will come in handy- Leavenworth is typically quite cold (with average daily temperatures in the 20s Fahrenheit/below zero in Celsius) and snowy.
If you’re feeling peckish or just want to warm up from the winter chill, there’s plenty of hot treats to indulge in that will make you feel like you’re in the markets of Germany, from gluhwein to bratwurst and pretzels.
There’s also usually a workshop for the children to make lanterns and a parade of lanterns, both by the kiddos that have made them and by other very special guests- like Saint Nicholas himself!
Leavenworth is a two and a half hour drive east of Seattle, through some of the most beautiful mountainscapes the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Leavenworth is charming, but is quite tiny- visiting for a weekend should be plenty!
New York City, USA
Contributed by Alex from On Travel Mode.
New York City transforms into a winter wonderland filled with shimmering lights, festive window displays, and sparkling Christmas trees during the holiday season.
We can’t talk about Christmas in the Big Apple without mentioning Christmas Markets in New York City. There are several throughout the city, but one of the most popular ones, and my favorite, is the Bryant Park Christmas Market.
The market offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience with over 150 local small businesses selling various gifts, crafts, and souvenirs. You can find everything from handmade jewelry to artisanal chocolates and holiday decorations.
A wide variety of international foods and drinks are also available at the market, providing foodies with diverse flavors and cultural experiences in one location. I recommend trying the hot chocolate from No Chewing Allowed and the Cider Donuts from Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill. Yum!
In addition to shopping and eating, visitors can check out the Christmas tree lighting, go ice skating or take a spin on the carousel. The market also features live entertainment, including carolers, musicians, and other performers.
The market is open from late October thru January 2, 2023. If you visit, give yourself about 1-2 hours at the market. You can then see the NY Public Library right across the street. Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and Empire State Building are also within walking distance.
It can get quite cold, and there can be rain or even snow. Be sure to dress warm and check the forecast before heading out. The market can get quite crowded, especially on weekends. Try visiting early on weekdays to avoid the long lines and crowds.
Then onto our last continent, for one last Christmas market.
Yarra Glen, Australia
Contributed by Sharyn from Live Work Play.
Yarra Glen is a small town in the Yarra Valley, a region famed around the world for its production of great wines. You could say Yarra Glen is a hub, and on the 1st Sunday of every month, markets are held at the Yarra Glen Racecourse. People come from far and wide to purchase fresh produce and handmade items from the 300 or so stall holders.
But it is the Christmas market held in December that offers some of the most unique items that you only find at this time of year. Bearing in mind, the Yarra Valley and the rest of Australia is in summer at this time, the atmosphere is different compared to the famed European Christmas markets. One of the biggest differences is the weather. It is usually hot and people are walking around in shorts and t-shirts with images of Santa riding a surfboard! But there is plenty of Christmas cheer with buskers singing Christmas carols and ginger bread houses and Christmas crafts to buy, plus plenty of local produce of meats, cheeses, jams, sauces and fruit and vegetables that will go down a treat for Christmas lunch or dinner. Strolling through the stalls at the Yarra Glen Christmas market will surely get you in the Christmas spirit.
So These Are 31 Magical Christmas Markets Around the World
Hope you get to enjoy all of these Christmas markets!
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Wow what a lovely article! Pinned it for next year!