Strasbourg Christmas market by The Unknown Enthusiast

The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Last updated: January 24th 2024.

Christmas is only a few months away and Christmas markets will open this month. So what are the best Christmas markets in Europe? Last year we covered the best places to have a magical Christmas in Europe, this year we’re narrowing it down to Christmas markets of Europe. I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers where in Europe are the best Christmas markets and they came up with some magical Christmas markets in Europe. I’ve added my own favorites to the list.

Best Christmas Markets in Europe

These best European Christmas markets can be visited one at a time or on a Christmas market road trip. A Christmas market road trip is still on my wish list, it sounds so fantastic to hop from Christmas market to Christmas market and so on.

Valkenburg, The Netherlands

Inside Gemeente grot, a Christmas stall surrounded with Christmas decorations and lights, people walking in front of it
Christmas Market Gemeente grot

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 for years from quarries 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. 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.

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 Doreenplein 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.

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.

Hamburg, Germany

Reindeers and a sleigh at the entrance to a Weihnachtsmarkt, behind the sign a large building with tower, on the right an illuminated tree
Reindeers and sleigh at the entrance to the Weihnachtsmarkt

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Hamburg is located in the North of Germany, it’s Germany’s second largest city and one of the best cities to visit in Germany. Especially around Christmas, since it hosts 15(!) Christmas markets in total.

All the Christmas markets are spread throughout the city, each has its own theme. In the evening the markets are lit up with lights and the most beautiful to visit.

To name a few of the 15: 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 15 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. Adding to the Christmas spirit. On all 4 Saturdays of the Advent period a Fairytales parade goes through downtown. The parade has angels, Santa’s, historical coaches and reindeers.

Get 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, lebkuchen, pretzels, curry wurst, glühwein and hot chocolate with rum.

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 days to visit all 15.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja by Iceland Trippers
Reykjavik Hallgrimskirkja by Iceland Trippers

Contributed by Victoria from Iceland Trippers.

Home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Reykjavik, Iceland is a magical holiday destination where you can easily get into the spirit of the season. 

In fact, this vibrant city is home to three incredible markets where you can enjoy a wide variety of seasonal offerings as part of your Reykjavik itinerary

So, start off admiring the decorations at Yule Town at Ingólfstorg, before going out for a spin on the giant ice rink here. After all, this ice rink sits right in the middle of the market and is surrounded by merchants selling local crafts, homemade gifts, and traditional food like Hangikjöt (smoked lamb). 

Afterward, check out The Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður which is a 15-minute drive from the city. You’ll love that it’s open all weekend long in December and features cozy chalets for you to shop amidst, while listening to festive holiday music.

Other highlights include local food and horse-drawn carriage rides, that perfectly add to the festive ambiance of this market. 

Finally, head to the Christmas Market in Heiðmörk. It’s infinitely more authentic since locals come here to get a Christmas tree. So, stop by to sit around a roaring fire as you listen to Christmas stories, and admire local crafts for sale.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna Christmas decoration by World Travel Connector
Vienna Christmas decoration by World Travel Connector

Contributed by Milijana from World Travel Connector.

Vienna Christmas markets are some of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe. And, for a good reason. Not many places in Europe can rival the splendor of Advent and Christmas in Vienna. 

There are twelve main Christmas markets in Vienna. However, the most popular markets are the Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz in front of Vienna City Hall, Stephansplatz Christmas market next to the St Stephen’s Cathedral, Belvedere Christmas market in front of Belvedere Palace, Christmas market at Maria-Theresien Platz at the Ringstrasse, and the Christmas market next to Karlskirche. 

The most popular Christmas markets are in the city center, not far from each other, and visitors can easily tour them on their own. If you fancy, you can join a guided tour to visit Christmas markets in Vienna. Many Christmas markets in Vienna offer traditional Austrian festive food and drinks like Käsekrainer delicacy sausages, classic Bratwurst sausages, Christstollen Christmas bread, Lebkuchen gingerbread, and Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch). But for a more substantial meal with a comforting cup of coffee or tea on chilly Advent days in Vienna, head to one of the famous cafes in Vienna. Besides, a Mozart concert at the Golden Hall or Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concert in Karlskirche is always a good idea.

The Christmas markets in Vienna are open from mid-November to the end of December.

Prague, Czechia

Prague Christmas market by Undiscovered Path Home
Prague Christmas market by Undiscovered Path Home

Contributed by Samantha from Undiscovered Path Home

Czechia comes into its own during Christmas, with some of the most beautiful Czech Christmas markets in Europe. The flagship market? The Old Town Square Christmas market in Prague. Nestled between the city’s famous 15th-century astronomical clock and picture-perfect pastel homes, you’ll be transported back in time as you wander through the historic alleys. The wooden stalls sell the famous Czech hand-blown glass, wooden puppets, grilled meats and svařák (a local take on mulled wine). Each year, there’s a beautiful Christmas tree lighting and live animal exhibit for kids and adults alike. The nearby Bake Shop sells some of the best hot chocolate in Prague, and it makes for the perfect drink to sip on as you stroll around.

You can’t expect snow, but you should expect chilly temperatures. Spend an hour or so at the Old Town Christmas market before walking down to Charles Bridge and admiring the nighttime view of the city. The Prague Christmas markets will be open from November 26, 2022 to January 6, 2023. These opening hours include Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

London, England

The Christmas market next to the Natural History Museum, as seen from a bit above, two stalls seen from the back, the stalls in a square and in the niddle a carroussel and Christmas tree
Christmas market next to the Natural History Museum

Contributed by Karen from Travel Mad Mum.

London has to be one of the most fabulous cities in the world when it comes to Christmas markets and festivities. There is something going on in every corner of the city.

One of the most incredible experiences has to be Winter Wonderland at the far west end of Oxford Street. Featuring Bavarian Bars, ice rinks, elaborate rides, tonnes of Christmas stalls and all the festive food you can possibly imagine, it is a great place for children and adults. At night, it becomes somewhat of a fun festive social and is a great place with friends for an evening out. The absolute must try is mulled wine or mulled cider along with a mince pie. 

To get to Winter Wonderland there are plenty of buses, any going to Hyde Park is fine. The nearest underground station is Marble Arch. However the best thing to do is walk from Oxford Circus along the street to see all of the incredible lights. 

It’s important to wrap up warm with plenty of layers, hats, gloves and a scarf. However warm festive drinks, be it gingerbread lattes or mulled wine, are perfect for prolonging time outside.

Leicester Square and Southbank along the River Thames are another two great locations to find Christmas Markets. They have chestnuts roasting, hot drinks and plenty of festive food. They also have lots of bespoke gifts made by small local businesses. 

Another place that cannot be missed is Covent Garden! The cobbled back streets, central square with lots of tables and open air heaters is the ultimate London Christmas experience. You’ll see giant baubles, plenty of pop up festive food and drink merchants, not to mention plenty of existing shops to pick up Christmas gifts. 

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon by Travel Mad Mum
Lisbon by Travel Mad Mum

Contributed by Karen from Travel Mad Mum.

Lisbon is not a place that springs to mind when thinking of Christmas markets. The city generally sees most of its visitors in the spring and autumn months. However what is lovely about Lisbon at Christmas is it’s not quite as cold as some of the well established Northern European festive destinations.

With a low of 9°C/48°F and a high of 15°C/59°F, it is much more bearable than snowy destinations. The markets are not huge but they are small and intimate. 

Based in Eduardo VII Park is Wonderland Lisboa. It’s quite central, the Christmas village features wooden stalls with festive decorations, gifts and apparel. There is also a ferris wheel, an ice rink, as well as Santa and other festive characters. 

There is plenty of festive food to enjoy along the way.  A must try festive Portuguese treat is Bolo Rei, a brioche dough with dried fruits.

The park can be reached by metro or walking from Avenida Da Liberdade, this street is generally a great place to see Christmas lights too. Wonderland is open throughout the month of December until January 2nd. 

Another market to check out in Lisbon is the Campo Pequeno, a former bull fighting ring that comes alive with tens of wooden festive stalls at Christmas. Open throughout the month of December, alongside the usual festive stalls, there are tonnes of craft activities for adults and children. 

Four days would be the perfect amount of time to spend in Lisbon. Be sure to check out The Time Out Food Hall, Chiado district for more festivities and some of the many fabulous museums along the River Tagus. 

Lausanne, Switzerland

Lausanne by Veggie Wayfarer
Lausanne by Veggie Wayfarer

Contributed by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer.

When thinking of Christmas the image of comfort food, thick fluffy snow and wooden chalets surrounded by snowcapped mountains usually springs to mind. Add in some delicious mulled wine and a dubious family member cracking strange jokes and all the elements for a quintessential Christmas are present. The city of Lausanne offers all this and so much more – minus the odd family member, these you will have to provide for on your own account. The city is located on the side of a mountain overlooking a crystalline lake upon which vintage steamboats transport merry travelers between France and Switzerland. The Vaud-region and especially the city of Lausanne are wonderful around Christmas.

Lausanne turns into a feast of lights, spread across the whole city. The Christmas Market runs for a full 6 weeks starting from the middle of November until the last day of the year, 31st of December. The market, locally known as Bô Noël transforms the city into a Christmas village with little wooden chalets serving piping hot mulled wine across the city. If you run into a bout of rain, head straight to Place Saint-François for a covered Christmas Market. If you are there for the food, make sure to try a Raclette and other traditional Swiss Christmas delicacies on the Place d’Europe. Burn off the calories on the outdoor skating rink in the Flon district of the city. Make sure to bundle up as winter in Switzerland can be nice and cold.

Bruges, Belgium

Contributed by Barbara from Next Stop Belgium.

Bruges is a beautiful city located in Belgium. It is known for its canals, medieval buildings, and cobbled streets. The Christmas market in Bruges is one of the most famous ones in Europe. The market is open from late November until the first week of January, so there’s plenty of time for a visit!

There are actually two different markets, each with its own unique atmosphere and selection of goods.

The most well-known market is located on the Markt square in the heart of the city. This market has a large variety of stalls selling Christmas ornaments, decorations, toys, and food. It’s everything you expect from a Christmas market and more.

The other Christmas market in Bruges is held at Simon Stevinplein and focuses on local produce and handicrafts. This market is known for its delicious food and drink, as well as its unique gifts.

Definitely try some typical Belgian beer, jenever (liquor available in lots of savors), or glühwein. If you’re hungry, order some speculoos (a very yummy spiced biscuit), oliebollen (deep-fried dough with powdered sugar), or a waffle.

As for souvenirs, there are plenty of stalls selling Christmas ornaments, decorations, and toys. But if you’re looking for something a bit more unique, why not buy a piece of Belgian chocolate or some handmade lace?

Bruges is a beautiful city any time of year, but during Christmas time it’s especially magical. Make sure to visit at least one of the city’s famous Christmas markets this year!

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg Christmas market by Paulmarina
Nuremberg Christmas market by Paulmarina

Contributed by Paul from Paulmarina.

The Nuremberg Christmas market is one of the most well-known markets in Germany and the world. This classic Christmas market, known as Christindlesmarkt, is held every year from the end of November to the 24th of December, Christmas Eve. Visitors from all over the world come to experience the authentic Christmas market feel. The market is located in the old town at the main square known as the Hauptmarkt in German. It’s freely accessible in that period from 10 am to 9 pm daily. The period before Christmas is known as Advent in Germany and this is the time of the year when people get into the Christmas mood with food, song, and Christmas decorations. Visitors can take part in these German traditions at the Nuremberg Christmas market.

Some food specialties to try are the famous Lebkuchen from Nuremberg, known as Elisenlebkuchen, roasted chestnuts, candied almonds and spiced mulled wine known as Glühwein. Lebkuchen hearts or houses make for perfect souvenirs or gifts. In December, it can get rather chilly in Nuremberg and some warm winter clothes are necessary to enjoy the vibrant Christmas market atmosphere in Nuremberg. The imperial castle near the market and the Albrecht Dürer house are some top attractions the city has to offer. Discover more things to do in Nuremberg and make the most of your trip to this medieval German city.

Cologne, Germany

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Cologne is a city in Western Germany. It hosts 7 Christmas markets. 5 Markets are downtown, one is at the harbor and one somewhat further away. The markets are located at Chlodwig Platz, on Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz, Alter Markt/Heumarkt, Schaafenstrasse and next to the Kölner Dom (cathedral). The one at Rheinauhafen is near the Schokoladenmuseum.

You can drive by car to Cologne, however it’s 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 Christmas market in the shadow of the Kölner Dom has 160 stalls with Christmas trinkets and German food treats, it’s the most romantic and imposing market of the 7. The Rudolfplatz Christmas market has a fairytale atmosphere. If you’re looking for a more quitter Christmas market visit the one on Alter Markt. On Schaafenstrasse and Chlodwigplatz are more local and smaller Christmas markets being hosted.

Next to the markets there’s an ice skating rink at Heumarkt. Neumarkt also has beer tents. On Rudolfplats there are also Christmas shows being held.

Get a Christmas mug with the year on it. You get your warm drinks such as glühwein and hot chocolate in them. They make for a perfect souvenir. Next to that they have the standard German food on Christmas markets such as roasted chestnuts, curry wurst, lebkuchen and pretzels.

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.

Düsseldorf, Germany

Christmas market at Dusseldorf by night, a large building at the back, in front an illuminated Christmas market with lots of people
Christmas market at Dusseldorf by night

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Düsselfdorf is a city in Western Germany. There are in total 6 Christmas markets being held in Düsselfdorf. The markets are on Heinrich-Heine Platz, Stadtbrucken, Flinger Strasse, Marktplatz, Shadowplatz and Gustaf Grundgens Platz.

You can visit Düsseldorf by car 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.

All the Christmas markets are on squares and through Christmas decorations they’re connected with each other. Each market has its own unique theme. The one on Heinrich-Heine Platz is in Jugendstil style. Since it has a lot of cast iron angels, it’s nickname is the Angelsmarket. Marktplatz has stalls in the same historical style as the surrounding buildings, and the old skills take center stage at the market. 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. Expect that there’s glühwein, roasted chestnuts, curry wurst, pretzels and lebkuchen.

The Christmas markets in Düsseldorf are being held from the middle of November till December 30th. The weather can be cold and it can rain. One full day should be enough to see all 6 of them.

Oberhausen, Germany

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Oberhausen is a city in Western Germany. There are 2 different Christmas markets in Oberhausen. One market can be found at CentrO Mall and one at the Altmarkt.

The CentrO Mall is outside of the city center. It’s located close to the autobahn. There’s no train station here, but there’s a tram and bus stop close by. The one on the Altmarkt can be reached by car or train.

Altmarkt has a smaller market with some 15 to 50 stalls that are in between a forest. It’s a more intimate market than at the mall. It’s near Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof. The Christmas market in the mall is large, with some 150 stalls. It has a fairytale atmosphere with Christmas trees, lights and Christmas decorations. The stalls are divided over 3 parts: Bergweihnachtsmarkt, Santa’s Village and Wichtelmarkt. The Bergweihnachtsmarkt has an Alps theme. The 60 stalls are like chalets from the Alps. Santa’s Village has some 50 stalls and is decorated as the village of Santa. The Wichtelmarkt is centered on kids and families.

There’s also the Oberhausener Weihnachtswald on the Altmarkt with 300 illuminated Christmas trees. There’s a podium with shows. The Bergweihnachtsmarkt also hosts Après-skiparties. Santa’s Village has Santa’s walking around. Wichtelmarkt has a fairy train, talking Christmas trees, fairytale characters and a merry-go-round.

At CentrO you can get German treats such as potato pancakes, bratwurst, lebkuchen and glühwein. The Bergweihnachtsmarkt has cookies and products from the Alp region for sale. On the Altmarkt there are fairytale stalls which sell pancakes.

The markets are open from half way of November till December 23rd. It can be cold and rainy. One day should be enough to visit both. CentrO is the largest shopping mall in Europe.

Manchester, England

Contributed by Jenni from Cruise Mummy.

Manchester’s Christmas Markets are spread over six locations throughout the city, although all are close enough together that you can walk between them.

At the Christmas markets, stallholders gather from across Europe, so you can enjoy world cuisine including Dutch friet, Greek gyros, Spanish tapas and more! There are several cozy wooden bars where you can enjoy a hot drink, cold beer or even a cocktail. In fact, many people treat a visit to the Manchester Christmas markets as a night out or pub crawl.

The outdoor ice rink is worth a visit and there’s also a light sculpture trail with a giant Santa at the centre.

The markets run from early November until a few days before Christmas. They can get very busy, so if you don’t like crowds, visit on a weekday morning and you’ll have the place to yourself. On a Saturday afternoon, you’ll be shoulder-to-shoulder with tourists.

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg by Those Johnson Boys
Salzburg by Those Johnson Boys

Contributed by Jenn from Those Johnson Boys.

Salzburg is the perfect place to visit if you want to feel like you were dropped straight into a fairytale. This quaint city is home to one of the world’s oldest Christmas markets, Salzburg Christkindlmarkt.

The market remains open from the Thursday prior to the start of Advent until January 1. In addition to the vendors, Christmas tree, and twinkling lights at the market, you’ll find model trains, games for children, and musical performances. While enjoying the festivities, you can sip on mulled wine to help keep you warm.  You can even purchase the mug your wine comes in as a fun souvenir from your trip.  

The attractions in Salzburg are close to each other, making it a very walkable city. This will allow you to really take in the ambiance of the Christmas celebrations, baroque architecture, and cobblestone streets. While you can find Salzburg Christkindlmarkt in Old Town on Domplatz and Residenzplatz, you’ll come across several other Christmas markets as you walk through the city as well. 

The weather in Salzburg in December is cold, so pack warm clothes. You can expect the low temperature to be in the 20s and the high temperature to be in the low 40s. There will also be a chance for snow, making the Christmas markets even more magical!

Salzburg is easy to get to by train if you’re visiting from the surrounding areas. The city also has its own airport. Although you can see a lot in Salzburg in just one day, it’s worth staying for a couple days to really enjoy all the city has to offer. It would be the perfect addition to a European Christmas market itinerary.

Colmar, France

Colmar by Children of Wanderlust
Colmar by Children of Wanderlust

Contributed by Rachel from Children of Wanderlust.

Colmar, the capital of the Alsace region, is a picturesque town of medieval half-timbered buildings, located in Eastern France. The award winning Christmas celebrations run this year from November 24th to December 29th, with an impressive 6 different Christmas markets spread around the illuminated lanes and attractive plazas of the old town. Local specialities include gourmet cakes, gingerbread, cheese, meats, honey and nougat. Guided walks around the markets are available to ensure nothing gets missed.

For kids, there is a dedicated children’s market, complete with a mechanical nativity scene, outdoor ice rink complete with mock snowstorm and bubble effects, and even a giant post box for those Christmas letters to Santa.

If staying overnight, the Hotel le Marechal occupies a historic building right in the heart of Old Colmar. Whether enjoying a dedicated visit to Colmar, or just passing through (as we were, on our way to Switzerland with our 8 week old daughter for her first family ski trip), the Christmas markets of Colmar present a charming experience for all the family.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Christmas market City Hall by It's Sometimes Sunny in Bangor
Christmas market City Hall by It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor

Contributed by Allan from It’s Sometimes Sunny in Bangor.

Belfast Christmas market is not only the main seasonal event in Belfast but it also central to Christmas in Northern Ireland with visitors traveling in from across the country. The Christmas market takes place at Belfast City Hall which is central to the city and makes for the perfect backdrop to the continental stalls that set up shop between the statues and monuments of the grounds. In 2022 the event takes place between the 20th of November and the 23rd of December.

Belfast is a comparatively small capital city so it is easy to navigate on foot and a short 5-minute walk from the main transit hub reaches the Christmas Market at Belfast City Hall. It also marks the start of the main shopping streets of Donegall Place so it fits well with a stint of Christmas shopping. Then there are tours inside the City Hall itself which is decorated with trees and baubles through the festive season.

The stalls are fairly similar each year including continental favorites like German sausages, a traditional hog roast, and meats of the world serving wild boar, ostrich and kangaroo burgers. Mulled Wine is also easily found, then there are the heated beer tents to escape the cold and wet which Belfast is known for in winter. There’s more than enough for a weekend and festive drinks at Belfast and Cathedral Quarter is a must for any visit to Belfast during winter.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin gendarmenmarkt stall by A World in Reach
Berlin gendarmenmarkt stall by A World in Reach

Contributed by Sydney from A World in Reach.

Some of the best Christmas markets in Europe are definitely located in Berlin, Germany. With markets situated all throughout the city, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From traditional markets with wooden stalls selling Christmas ornaments and food to modern markets with fair ride and entertainment, Berlin has it all.

One of the most popular markets is the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt. This market has a beautiful setting, with the neo-classical Konzerthaus and Französischer Dom churches on either side. At this market, you can find a variety of handcrafted goods, from Christmas decorations to toys. There is also a wide selection of food available, including hot glühwein (mulled wine) and bratwurst.

Another popular market is the Winter Wonderland at Potsdamer Platz. This market is one of the largest in Berlin, with over 180 stalls selling everything from clothes and souvenirs to food and drink. There’s also a toboggan run and an ice rink, which are favorite attractions among visitors.

Other popular Berlin Christmas markets include the Charlottenburg Palace Christmas market and the Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz.

Most Berlin Christmas markets open during the last weeks of November and last through the end of December, though some are open in the first days of January. Winter Wonderland and Gendarmenmarkt are both open through December 31, which is perfect if you’re visiting for New Year’s Eve.

Berlin’s weather around Christmastime can be quite cold, so make sure to pack a warm coat, gloves, and a hat. You can always warm up at a Christmas market with a hot mug of glühwein or hot chocolate!

Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt Christmas Market by Megan & Aram 2
Frankfurt Christmas Market by Megan & Aram

Contributed by Megan from Megan & Aram.

If you’re looking to visit one of the most famous Christmas markets in Germany (and all of Europe!), look no further than the Frankfurt Christmas Market! Beginning in the last two weeks of November and lasting until a couple of days before Christmas (in 2022, it starts on November 21 and ends on December 22), this renowned market is situated in the main square at Romerberg and in Paulsplatz. That is where you will find the large Christmas tree (30m tall!) and the rides for children. However, there are many Christmas markets throughout the entire city! And those markets tend to be much quieter and more frequented by locals than the one in Romerberg.

There is a sizeable Christmas market at Hauptwache, and it is one of the best attractions in Frankfurt during the winter. At this market, you will find the same foods (glühwein, roasted almonds and chestnuts, etc) but a lot easier to obtain! If you are really a local, head to the top of City Beach, a summer beach club that transforms into a winter wonderland that stays off the radar of many tourists visiting the city. The Pink Christmas Market is also another one to check out at Friedrich-Stoltze-Platz. This is the LGBTQ Christmas Market and the entire thing is pink and completely over the top.

There are plenty of souvenirs to purchase, but, to be honest, the best thing to take home is a bag of roasted almonds (Gebrannte Mandeln)! Nowhere does them quite like Germany in the winter!

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg Christmas market by The Unknown Enthusiast
Strasbourg Christmas market by The Unknown Enthusiast

Contributed by Stephanie from The Unknown Enthusiast.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market in Eastern France is one of the most fabulous Christmas markets in Europe. The city calls itself the “Capital of Christmas,” and with over 300 stalls spread over 15 markets in the old city, they really do earn that title. 

Not only are there a large number of markets, but the whole city is decked out to the nines. Wreaths, garland, bows and more adorn the buildings – some are decorated with teddy bears! – and most of the streets have Christmas lights strung between buildings. The entire city is absolutely enchanting. 

The biggest markets of the city are located at Hotel de Ville, with the officially named “Christkindelsmarik”, the “Grand Sapin” market at Place Kleber, that holds the massive Christmas tree, and the markets at Place de Cathedrale, where the markets sit in the shadow of the Strasbourg Cathedral. 

There are a few foods you must try at the Strasbourg markets, including baguette flambée (sliced baguettes toasted with toppings), tarte flambée (a thin toasted crust, usually topped with cream and onions), or crepes. 

Besides the markets themselves, Strasbourg offers many other Christmas events, such as advent concerts on the Sundays leading to Christmas, other concerts every day throughout the city, or the nocturnal bike ride event throughout the city (on 20 Dec in 2022). 

The 2022 markets in Strasbourg open on Friday, November 25. Weather is chilly, so definitely cozy up to explore the markets. You can see the Christmas markets in one full day, but I recommend starting early and exploring the markets in the daytime hours, and then swinging back through in the evening to experience the magic of the lights!

Madrid, Spain

Roscon by Meet Me In Departures
Roscon by Meet Me In Departures

Contributed by Becki from Meet Me In Departures.

It’s no secret that the Spanish take Christmas seriously, so much so that for three weeks across December and January, there are a string of celebrations happening. 

If you’re planning to spend the winter in Madrid, you’ll find festive-related activities from the end of November, right through to January the 6th, which is Kings Day. All over the city, ice rinks, Christmas lights, and decorations as well as dozens of markets pop up – the biggest of the markets is at Plaza Major in the old center.

Aside from the markets, other popular attractions at this time of year are the lights. The best shop display is always at El Corte Ingles, which transforms their store into a winter wonderland. Other great places to see the best light displays are at Puerta de Sol, where the giant tree is, as well as in Parque El Retiro and the Botanical Gardens. 

If you’re looking for something fun and a bit kitsch, take a ride on the open-top NaviBus (‘Christmas bus’). The bus makes a circuit route around Madrid and goes past the city’s best displays. Although you can sit inside on the lower level, the best view is from the top deck. Just remember to wrap up warm as temperatures linger around 5 degrees, it’s even known to snow in Madrid.

Popular things to eat at this time of year are Churros y Chocolate. Although they are available all year round, they are extra satisfying on a cold winter afternoon. The other sweet treat to look out for is Spain’s answer to the British Christmas Cake or German Stollen, is the Roscon. These ring-shaped sweet, candy-fruit-laden bread can be found everywhere in the city during the festive period.  

Mannheim, Germany

Mannheim Christmas market by Wanderlust with Kids
Mannheim Christmas market by Wanderlust with Kids

Contributed by Erin from Wanderlust with Kids.

Mannheim is home to one of the oldest and largest Christmas Markets in Germany. Located a short walk from the main station, the main Christmas Market is set against the backdrop of the large water tower, which is Mannheim’s most well-known landmark. The market boasts over 200 stalls, selling everything from handicrafts to delicious treats. The scent of mulled wine and gingerbread fills the air, and the twinkling lights create a festive atmosphere.

There’s plenty to eat at the Mannheim Christmas Market, with stalls selling both sweet and savory treats. Traditional German foods like bratwurst and schnitzel are on offer, as well as sweet delights like crepes and candied fruit, and of course, glühwein, the classic drink at any German Christmas Market.

Mannheim also has two other smaller markets within walking distance from the main market. The market on Kapuzinerplanken is a great place to buy unique, locally-made souvenirs from local vendors and artisans. And a few blocks away, the Marchenwald is a Children’s Christmas Market. Characters and scenes from fairytales are displayed throughout the square and audio recordings of the stories playing as you walk past the different scenes. There are a few stalls here as well, selling crafts and warm drinks. 

The weather in Mannheim at Christmas time can be quite damp and chilly, so make sure you dress warmly. However, the cold temperatures are perfect for enjoying a mug of warm glühwein. 

The Mannheim Christmas Markets are held from November 21st to December 23rd, 2022.

Hallstatt, Austria

Hallstatt by Uprooted Traveler
Hallstatt by Uprooted Traveler

Contributed by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler.

Hallstatt, tucked away in the Austrian Alps, is renowned for its gingerbread houses and jaw-dropping views. But, every December 8th, the charming town transforms into its annual Christmas market, filled with gluhwein and plenty of holiday cheer. 

You can spend the day, perusing stalls with hand-knit mittens, locally crafted toys, and the beloved Christmas cookies or simply gaping at the icicles hanging from the rafters of the adorable homes in the Old Town. If you’re looking for a Christmas market to take the kids, look no further- Hallstatt is purported to be one of the most family-friendly Christmas markets in Europe, with plenty of activities planned especially for kiddos.

To reach Hallstatt, you can fly into Salzburg and make the one hour journey to Hallstatt. While the Christmas market only lasts a day, there’s plenty of things to do in Hallstatt to celebrate the holiday season- for example, on the first weekend of Advent, St. Nicholas himself makes a visit to the neighboring town of Obertraun, passing out treats and reciting a Christmas poem to the local children.

So if you have time, try to spend a few days in Hallstatt and explore the surrounding fairytale towns. Just be sure to bring a coat and a cozy hat- you’ll almost certainly experience a white Christmas while you’re here!

York, England

Carousel for Christmas at York Markets by Grey Globetrotters
Carousel for Christmas at York Markets by Grey Globetrotters

Contributed by Coralie from Grey Globetrotters.

The ancient city of York in North Yorkshire UK is one of the most popular places to visit in England, but York is extra special as Christmas approaches.

St Nicholas Christmas Fayre is the main attraction, held in the wide pedestrianised city center street (Parliament Street).  Beautifully decorated Alpine style huts line the street, with artisan Christmas-themed goods on offer from Christmas decorations and gift ideas, to baked goods and high-quality local produce. There’s plenty of food choices for visitors, from roasted chestnuts and every type of street food you could wish for in the medieval Shambles Market, to mulled wine and hearty food in the Viking Tipi, or “Swiss with a Twist” dining from a local Michelin-starred chef!

Beyond the inviting stalls of the Christmas Market, you’ll also want to wander through the medieval streets of the Shambles, to discover the incredible Nutcracker Christmas shop and the beautiful Käthe Wolfahrt traditional German Christmas shop, with its exquisite nativity sets and the prettiest Christmas baubles you will ever have seen! Don’t forget to pop into the Harry Potter shop too for your wizarding essentials.

Visitors typically arrive from lunchtime and spend hours browsing, shopping and eating, before exploring more of the beautiful city – especially York Minster and the National Railway Museum, which is free to visit and a real family favourite, although there are many more things to do in York at Christmas that make this city so attractive to visit.

York Christmas Market Dates: 17th November 2022 – 23rd December 2022. Location: Parliament Street and St Sampson’s Square, York (10 minutes’ walk from York Station). How to get there: York is located on the trainline between London (2 hours) and Edinburgh (2 ½ hours).

Stuttgart, Germany

Stuttgart Christmas market by Travels in Poland
Stuttgart Christmas market by Travels in Poland

Contributed by Diana from Travels in Poland.

Stuttgart’s Christmas market, Weihnachtsmarkt, runs for approximately one month from November 23 to December 23. With over 300 merchants and the market split across several parts of the main square of Stuttgart, Weihnachtsmarkt is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, attracting over three million visitors.

The market has sections for all different kinds of visitors. A children’s fairy land has a steam train that takes children on a short steam train ride around a  miniature Christmas village. The market has numerous artisan merchants that offer unique gifts not seen at other markets in Germany. Concerts at Alten Schloss are free to the public and a great way for entertainment during market hours. Though the market was closed for two years during the Corona pandemic, it is reopening with new installations. One new addition to the market is the Winter Hut, an indoor wooden hut, featuring an amazing array of traditional German foods as well as featuring a sports game of ice stick shooting.

Stuttgart’s mild weather, with occasional rain, provides decent temperatures to visit during the wintertime. Stuttgart is served by an airport allowing visitors to fly directly into the city, or take a train to the main Hauptbahnhof.

Helsinki, Finland

Contributed by Ossama from Awesome Traveler.

Finland is known to be the happiest country in the world, and one of the reasons is that people tend to celebrate, such as celebrating Christmas. For those who like to shop, you can find charismatic markets scattered all over Helsinki, Finland. There are at least 7  Christmas markets in Helsinki.

The best market to enjoy shopping at Christmas is the Helsinki Christmas Market (Tuomaan Markkinat.) It is also known as the best Christmas market in Europe. It is located on Senate Square in front of the Helsinki Cathedral, and many come to visit to celebrate the Christmas traditions. Thus, expect it to be crowded.

On the plus side, all the main attractions in Helsinki are close to this market, so bring your camera because you are going to need it to capture some beautiful pictures. The market is open to the public from December 1 to December 22.

Another Christmas market that you should be on your list is the Vanhan Joulutori. It is open to the public from the 15th to the 22nd of December. It is nearby the Vanha Cafe, so make sure to try out their delicious cuisine, and tasty coffee.

Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu Christmas market by Romanian Friend, seen from above. In the dark. The Christmas market is on a square, surrounded by buildings. The market is lit up with numerous lights. In the distance you see the lights of Sibiu.
Sibiu Christmas market by Romanian Friend

Contributed by Alex from Romanian Friend.

In the heart of Transylvania, Romania, the Christmas Market in Sibiu is considered the best one in the country. Why? Set against the backdrop of the city’s beautiful and huge medieval square of the Upper Town, it creates a magical experience for families and couples alike. The market dazzles visitors with its array of twinkling lights and charming wooden stalls where the best craftsmen and artisans from the country are invited to display their produce. 

You can indulge in traditional Romanian treats like hot mulled wine or hot tuica (the traditional spirit) as well as delicious seasonal pastries such as cozonac (a sweet bread with stuffings) while browsing handcrafted gifts, decorations or high-quality winter clothing. Children will be happy too: there’s a merry-go-round, an ice skating rink and Santa’s house where they can make their wishes.

The atmosphere is festive and welcoming. The market is typically open from 6 Dec to 1 Jan and every night carol singers, folk dancers and other artists go up on stage for a special performance. Visiting Sibiu’s Christmas Market is one of the best things to do in Romania as it not only captures the holidays’ spirit but also showcases the rich cultural heritage of this picturesque city.

So These Are the Best Christmas Markets in Europe

That’s a wrap on all the magical Christmas markets Europe has to offer.  

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  • Kitti

    Christmas market in Europe is the best isn’t it? I’ve been to a couple from your list (especially the UK ones) but I really want to do a big Chirstmas market tour in the future. Thanks for sharing this list, I’ll be adding them all to my map.

  • Farrah

    I’ve never been to a Christmas market but I’d love to visit one someday! I love how festive they look and Christmastime/the holiday lights + festivities always put me in a good mood. :]

    • Anja

      Hi, Gendarmenmarkt has building works so it does not have the usual picturesque backdrop. Still, Berlin has many Christmas markets (Gendarmenmarkt used to be the classiest) and the best ones, Leipzig and Dresden, are a short train ride away. A bit sad Dresden isn’t on the list

  • Josy+A

    These Christmas markets put the ones in North America to shame! I would looooove to do a Christmas market tour one year and visit a bunch of them 🙂 We tend to buy one christmas tree decoration (if we can) whenever we travel… so that kind of tour would totally fill up my tree!

    In the UK, I used to always enjoy the one in Nottingham (which was a bit unexpected…) But Germany and Austria are just soooo good at this kind of thing! <3

  • Gladis

    So many amazing options! Planning to celebrate Christmas this year. I didn’t know that Stuttgart has a good one. It’s very near! Might go there, then. Thanks for the insights!

  • Sharyn

    I remember visiting the Christmas markets in Munich. It was snowing and it was such a magical experience – considering I grew up in Australia and our Christmas is always hot! I hope to visit many more on your list one day.

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