Need some soul-warming this winter? Here’s 25 of the best Christmas Markets in Europe. Time for a seasonal stroll and plenty of festive cheer!
Europe’s Christmas markets are renowned across the globe. And with good reason. A treat for all the senses, these charming traditional markets have been making spirits bright since the 14th century.
Full of artisanal gifts, handmade décor delights, delicious festive fare, and family friendly entertainment, they are the very definition of Christmas cheer. No wonder a stroll amongst those fairy-lit wooden chalet stalls is high on most Christmas bucket lists!
But with so many Christmas markets popping up across the continent, it can be hard to know where to get your Glühwein first! So we’ve rounded up 25 of the best Christmas markets in Europe to explore.
We warn you though; picking just one will be quite the challenge…
Looking for more activities to enjoy? Click here for other fun ideas.
Map of the best Christmas Markets in Europe
With Christmas markets dotted all around Europe, you’ll be almost sure to find one nearby come December.
Check out the map below to find the most celebrated seasonal markets for you to visit.
Scroll down for our complete list of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
1. Advent Basilica Budapest, Hungary
- Named best Christmas Market in Europe
- Free ice-skating in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica
- Daily light show on the façade of the cathedral
Voted Best Christmas Market in Europe for three consecutive years, the Advent Basilica Christmas Market in Budapest has stolen many a heart! And it’s easy to see why.
Set against the backdrop of St Stephen’s Basilica, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, this charming Christmas market takes place within the cosy setting of St Stephen’s square.
A newer addition to the European Christmas market list, 2023 will mark the event’s 13th year. The façade of the Neo-Classical cathedral acts as a canvas for a fabulous festive laser light show each evening. And a 12m towering Christmas tree in the middle of the free ice-skating rink provides a striking focal point.
Nearly 120 stalls are laid out across the square, offering traditional Hungarian gifts and handmade crafts, whilst local choirs provide a program of daily concerts. Culinary delights include a variety of street foods and market classics as well as traditional Hungarian csárda (tavern culture dishes such as goulash).
Whilst you are in Budapest, be sure to pay a visit the city’s oldest Christmas market in Vorosmarty Square as well. Not to mention the stunning Szechenyi Baths, where the thermal outdoor pools take on a mystical nature in the cold winter air.
Visiting Budapest Christmas Market
18th November 2023 – 1st January 2024
Nearest airport is Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, 10mile southeast of the city centre.
Where To Stay
Four Seasons Gresham Palace on the bank of the Danube is just 5mins walk from St Stephen’s Square but enjoys a fantastic view of Buda Castle on the riverside.
For a more modest budget, try the Prestige Hotel around the corner.
2. Cologne Christmas Markets, Cologne, Germany
- More Christmas markets than you’ll have time for!
- The iconic red roofed-chalets of the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
- Heinzels Wintermaerchen with its ice rink and family entertainment
Cologne is awash with festive spirit throughout the Christmas season as the city fills with more Christmas markets than there are lords a-leaping!
Attracting millions of visitors each year, there is a market for every mood.
Choose between the famous Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market nestled in the shadow of the impressive twin-spined gothic basilica, the beautiful Market der Engel (Market of Angels) with its star-lit canopy, and the Heinzels Wintermärchen (The House Elves’ Winter Fairy Tale Market) sure to delight children with its elfin statues, carousel and stunning ice rink.
There’s even a Christmas market set within the grounds of the city’s Chocolate Museum. Now isn’t that a match made in heaven?!
Should your feet be feeling weary, you can travel between the markets in style aboard the festively decorated Christmas Market Express land train.
Visiting Cologne Christmas Markets
Dates vary between the markets but most are open from c.23th November to 23th December 2023 (with some staying open into the new year)
Nearest airport is Köln-Bonn Airport.
More flight information and availability.
For those arriving by train, the Cathedral is right next to Cologne’s main train station.
Where To Stay
The 5-star Excelsior Hotel Ernst couldn’t be better located for the Cathedral Christmas Market. For a more modest budget, try the serviced apartments at DAS Köln for a great location – larger suites available which are perfect for families.
3. Manchester Christmas Markets, Manchester, United Kingdom
- Over 220 stalls across nine locations around the city centre
- Illuminated trail of festive sculptures across the markets
- Foodie delights from across the world
Celebrating its 25th season this year, the Manchester Christmas Markets draw crowds from near and far. 220 stalls decorate the city across nine market locations with a host of festive treats, crafts, décor, and artisan gifts for visitors to explore.
Well known for its international food offerings, the markets take you on a journey from German Bratwurst to Korean hotdogs and not forgetting Porky Pig’s famous Yorkshire Pudding Wrap! And the official Manchester Christmas Market mugs are a collector’s item – fill them up around the market for a small deposit, and either return when you’re finished or take them home to continue enjoying throughout the season.
In addition to the iconic 4m high Manchester windmill (modelled on the classic Germanic wooden pyramid decoration), there’s a trail of illuminated sculptures to explore across the city centre. Perfect for those selfie moments. And don’t forget a visit to Skate MCR ice rink or trip to meet Santa in his Mancunian grotto!
Visiting Manchester Christmas Market
10th November – 22nd December 2023
Nearest airport is Manchester Airport, 10 miles south of the city centre.
Where To Stay
5* Hotel Gotham is perfectly located in the middle of the city within easy walking distance of all the markets. For a more modest budget, try Motel One Manchester-Royal Exchange.
4. Prague Christmas Markets, Prague, Czechia
- Traditional Christmas market festivities in stunning settings
- Live nativity animals for the children to meet
- Czech culinary Christmas fare
If you can’t find your festive in Wenceslas Square, there’s no hope! Not only does it immediately bring the classic carol to mind, it’s one of many squares across the city brimming with Christmas cheer.
Home to the National Museum, the square is packed full of fabulous traditional stalls where visitors can shop to their heart’s content and sample a range of local delicacies: from grilled sausages and langoš (flatbreads with savoury toppings) to pancakes and trdelník (local sweet pastries). To keep warm, try a local mulled wine or glass of grog (rum, water, lemon & sugar).
Five minutes walk away in the Old Town Square lies the most famous, and largest, of the Prague Christmas markets. Here, children can enjoy petting goats, sheep and donkey in the animal stable and marvel at the 25m Christmas tree which is illuminated at 4:30pm each day in a traditional and lively ceremony, repeated hourly into the late evening.
And whilst the weather is unreliable, it wouldn’t be unusual to enjoy a dusting of snow across the whole festive scene, taking the magic up a notch!
Visiting Prague Christmas Markets
25 November 2023 – 6 January 2024 (TBC)
Nearest airport is Václav Havel Airport Prague, 7miles west of the city centre.
Where To Stay
The 5* Ventana Hotel Prague is perfectly positioned just off Old Town Square in the heart of the old city.
For a more modest budget, Prague Golden Age is almost as wonderfully located and has 2-bed apartments available, ideal for families.
5. Strasbourg Christmas Market, Strasbourg, Alsace, France
- Explore the oldest Christmas market in France
- Feast your way around Alsace at the Christmas market of the indomitable small producers
- Ogle at the illuminated delights of Great Christmas Tree & Town Hall façade
Strasbourg Christmas market, also known as Christkindelsmärik, is one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe. Located in the historic centre of Strasbourg, the market dates back to 1570 and attracts over two million visitors every year.
Featuring over 300 stalls spread throughout the city’s picturesque streets and squares, the market offers a variety of crafts, decorations, and local products such as gingerbread, mulled wine, and foie gras.
One of the highlights of the Strasbourg Christmas market is the towering Great Christmas Tree, which stands in Place Kléber and is illuminated with over 7km of lights.
Visitors can also enjoy a range of activities and events, including Christmas concerts, parades, and light shows.
No wonder Strasbourg is known as the ‘Capital of Christmas’!
Visiting Strasbourg Christmas Market
25 November 2023 – 1 January 2024 (TBC)
Nearest airport is Strasbourg Airport, 6miles southwest of the city, in Entzheim.
Where To Stay
Boutique old-world Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa lies within the historic city centre, less than 10 mins walk from the Great Christmas Tree and market at Place Kléber.
For a more modest budget, try BOMA easy living hotel.
6. Berlin Christmas Markets, Berlin, Germany
- Over 100 Christmas markets dotted across the city
- A Christmas market for every visitor; from traditionalists to thrill-seekers
- Go tobogganing in Potsdamer Platz!
Berlin is home to over 100 Christmas markets during the holiday season, making it one of the most popular destinations for Christmas markets in Europe. It is a must-visit destination for any fan of this festive tradition!
Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market is located in one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares and best known for its artisan crafts, with a large tent acting as a demonstration venue for craftspeople to show off their skills. [Note: construction work will see the market relocated to nearby Bebelplatz until 2024.]
The Christmas market at Alexanderplatz is part traditional Christmas market, part party venue! With Europe’s largest walk-in Christmas pyramid illuminating the scene, the market attracts families eager to enjoy the funfair rides, ferris wheel and ice rink.
Charlottenburg Palace‘s Christmas market is set against the stunning backdrop of the palace. With a giant traditional pyramid focal point, the market features vendors selling handmade crafts and local specialties whilst classic fairground rides will keep the little ones entertained.
But this is just the beginning..!
Choose between the medieval attractions of the Spandau Citadel Christmas Market, the sparkling illuminated winter wonderland of Tierpark Berlin and the 70m-long toboggan run at Winterwelt (Winter World) in Potsdamer Platz to name just a few more of the dozens of Christmas markets on offer in Germany’s capital city.
Visiting Berlin Christmas Markets
Dates vary between markets.
The nearest airport is Berlin Brandenburg Airport, 17miles south of the city centre.
Where To Stay
Berlin is a big city and the Christmas markets are dotted across the area. So wherever you choose to stay there will be some travel involved.
That being said, The Regent Hotel is centrally located and ideal for an indulgent weekend break. It’s right on Gendarmenmarkt Square so has a Christmas market on the doorstep and there’s good transport access nearby.
For a more modest budget, try Motel One Berlin-Alexanderplatz which is located in the Mitte area near Alexanderplatz and neighbouring Berlin Alexanderplatz train station with its direct airport train service.
7. Brussels Christmas Market, Brussels, Belgium
- Tastebud-tantalising food stalls offering gourmet delights
- Sound and light show showcasing the UNESCO World Heritage city centre architecture
- Market bird’s eye view from the giant Ferris Wheel
When it comes to the best Christmas markets in Europe, we must declare some bias here!
This was Jo’s local Christmas market growing up and is a firm family favourite that always keeps us coming back for more. It’s hardly surprising – merging that delicious Belgian (and French-influenced) cuisine with traditions from neighbouring Germany creates one heck of a fabulous festive harmony!
Prepare for some sensory overdrive as you wander the 2.5km of Winter Wonders (Plaisirs d’Hiver) through the centre of this truly European city.
One area blends into the next, leading you from the evocative sound-and-light show of the Grand Place to the 55m high Ferris Wheel of the Fish Market and ice rink of Place de Brouckère.
And the air is filled with the scent of delectable treats, from mulled wine to frites (French fries), Belgian beer to waffles, seafood, crepes and much more.
With 260 classic wooden chalet stalls and attractions to discover from a virtual reality dome and local ethical creators‘ factory to a giant inflatable ice monster for the children, there’s something to capture everyone’s imagination.
Visiting Brussels Christmas Market
24 November – 21 December 2023
Nearest airport is Brussels Airport, 7.5miles northeast of the city. More flight information and availability.
The Eurostar train arrives into Gare du Midi, 25min walk from the Grand Place.
Where To Stay
The elegant 5* Rocce Forte Hotel Amigo is nestled on the corner of the Grand Place, perfectly located for exploring the city and its Christmas markets.
For a more modest budget, the Citadines Sainte Catherine Brussels is by the giant wheel in the Fish Market and has apartment-style accommodation for families and groups.
8. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Traditional Christmas market set within a historic amusement park
- A whole lot of Christmas hygge!
- Cinnamon-infused mulled wine (glogg to the locals!)
Attracting visitors from all over the world, this Copenhagen Christmas market is held in one of the world’s oldest amusement parks: Tivoli Gardens. More than half a million twinkling fairy lights and 70,000 baubles transform the park into a winter wonderland. And approx. 60 traditional wooden huts sell everything from Christmas decorations to traditional Danish cuisine, including mulled wine, æbleskiver (a traditional Danish pancake), and hot chocolate.
In addition to the market stalls, Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market also features a range of festive activities, such as ice skating on the park’s outdoor rink, a Santa’s Grotto, live music performances, and a daily parade featuring Santa Claus and his elves. Visitors can also take a ride on one of the park’s many amusement park rides, which are open during the market.
Visiting Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market
17 November – 31 December 2023
Nearest hotel is Copenhagen airport, 5miles south of the city centre.
Where To Stay
Tivoli has its own hotel: Tivoli Hotel which is a block away from the gardens offering a comfortable and well-priced option.
But for a simply magical and memorable experience, try the opulent Nimb hotel within Tivoli Gardens‘ grounds – a destination just perfect for Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy-tale hometown.
9. Dresden Striezelmarkt, Dresden, Germany
- Take a stroll through the oldest Christmas Market in Europe
- Choose between weekly festivals, each celebrating Germanic Christmas traditions
The Dresden Christmas market can be traced back to 1434 and takes place annually in the historic city centre. Boasting features such as the world’s tallest (14.61m) Ore Mountain step pyramid, it’s no wonder this market has been shining a light on the centuries-old wooden handicraft Christmas decorations of the Elbland of Germany.
The market features over 200 beautifully decorated stalls selling traditional Christmas crafts, ornaments, and gifts, as well as delicious food and drink. Visitors can also enjoy live music and entertainment, and take a ride on the Christmas Carousel or the Ferris Wheel for a stunning view of the city.
Another popular Striezelmarkt attraction is the Stollen Festival, which takes place on the second Saturday of the market. A giant Stollen cake is paraded through the streets by horse-drawn carriage and escorted by its many bakers before being cut up and sold to visitors.
The Dresden Christmas Market is known for its festive and cosy atmosphere, and it attracts visitors from all over the world. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of a traditional German Christmas market.
Visiting Dresden Christmas Market
29 November – 24 December 2023
Nearest airport is Dresden airport, located 6miles north of the city centre.
Where To Stay
Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe lies on Neumarkt square in the heart of Dresden’s Altstadt where one of Dresden’s other Christmas markets takes place. The hotel is just 600m from the Striezelmarkt and perfectly located for exploring this historic city.
For a more modest budget, try the Star G Hotel Premium Dresden Altmarkt right on the square where the Striezelmarkt takes place.
10. Kraków Christmas Market, Kraków, Poland
- Stunning location on a 13th century square with the Renaissance Cloth Hall as a backdrop
- Marvel at the ornate Christmas crib creations & other local handicrafts
- Warm up sampling traditional Polish dishes
Kraków Christmas Market, also known as “Jarmark Bożonarodzeniowy” in Polish, is located in the heart of the city’s Old Town, in the Main Market Square.
A cheery village of wooden chalets sell handcrafted items, traditional food, and Polish delicacies. Visitors can find a wide range of souvenirs and gifts, such as wooden toys, nativity scenes, and festive decorations including the hand-painted coloured glass baubles for which Poland is so well-known.
One of the highlights of the Kraków Christmas Market is the live performances of local folk bands and choirs, creating a joyful and festive atmosphere. The market also hosts a variety of events, including workshops, exhibitions, and contests.
A great place to sample traditional Polish dishes, you’ll be tempted by pierogi (dumplings), oscypek (smoked cheese) with cranberries, and traditional gingerbread. Stalls selling Galician mulled wine and hot chocolate are ready to warm you up on chilly winter days.
Visiting Kraków Christmas Market
late November 2023 – 1 January 2024 (TBC)
Nearest airport is Kraków’s John Paul II International Airport, 6miles west of the city.
Where To Stay
Beautiful boutique Hotel Saski Krakow sits in an unbeatable location in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from Rynek Główny Main Market Square.
For a more modest budget, Meyo Apartments The Main Square are right on the square itself and have options perfect for families or groups.
11. Barcelona Christmas Markets, Barcelona, Spain
- Experience a Catalan take on the Christmas markets of Northern Europe
- Visit a Christmas market in the shadow of the awe-inspiring Sagrada Família
- Swap cookies and mince pies for churros and chocolate!
While the Christmas markets in Barcelona may not be as well-known as those in other European cities, they offer a unique opportunity to experience the festive spirit in a Catalan setting. And quite frankly who doesn’t love an excuse to visit this vibrant European beachside cosmopolitan at any time of year!
The Fira de Santa Llúcia is one of the oldest and most traditional Christmas markets in Barcelona, dating back to the 18th century. It is held in the Cathedral Square and offers a variety of handicrafts, decorations, and Catalan Christmas items.
Another Christmas market worth visiting in Barcelona is the Fira de Nadal de la Sagrada Família, located in front of Gaudí’s famous basilica. This market is known for its wide selection of artisanal products, such as jewellery, ceramics, and textiles. Visitors can enjoy traditional local winter delicacies such as roast chestnuts, baked sweet potatoes and churros with hot chocolate.
The Fira de Reis (Market of the Kings) starts later in the season but runs until 6th January to coincide with the Spanish celebration of the arrival of the Kings. Expect to find plenty of toys and gift ideas for children to open on Kings Day.
And don’t forget to explore the waterfront Christmas fair at the old harbour with its illuminated towering tree and floating nativity scene.
Visiting Barcelona Christmas Markets
Varies between markets but broadly from late November 2023 – 6th Jan 2024
Nearest airport is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport, 9miles southwest of the city.
Where To Stay
Embracing Barcelona of the 1920s, the Hotel El Palace Barcelona is fabulously located in the middle of the city‘s Christmas markets and is perfectly positioned for exploring Barcelona’s many tourist attractions.
For a more modest budget, try the Yurbban Ramblas Boutique Hotel with its friendly staff and positioned on one of Barcelona’s most famous streets: La Rambla, partway between the Fira de Reia and Fira de Santa Llúcia at the cathedral.
12. Edinburgh Winter Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Join 20,000 torchbearers in the Hogmanay Torchlight Procession
- Explore a maze made completely from Christmas Trees
- Visit Santa Land for magical family memory-making
It’s not just Christmas at the heart of the Winter Festivals in Edinburgh as Hogmanay (the Scottish term for New Year) is just as key to the festivities.
The Hogmanay Torchlight Procession was a stalwart of the city’s celebrations until the pandemic. 2022 saw it cancelled due to a shortfall in funding but new event organisers plan to bring the event back for 2023. So watch this space and perhaps consider visiting the city after Christmas (controversial idea, we know!!).
East Princes Street Gardens is home to the main Christmas village with its traditional market stalls offering a wide range of gifts and decorations as well as some more unusual Scottish takes on festive fare. Think mulled Irn Bru and deep fried mince pies …!
Head to West Princes Street Gardens for Santa Land with its Christmas tree maze, fun fair rides and of course Santa’s Grotto too. And don’t forget the ice rink and carousel at George Street too.
As home to one of Britain’s most famous authors, there’s plenty of Harry Potter inspired gifts on offer of course and the whole city has a touch of that Hogwarts-at-Christmas magic about it.
Visiting Edinburgh Christmas Market
2023 dates TBC
Nearest airport is Edinburgh Airport, 8miles west of the city centre.
Where To Stay
For somewhere unique and rather special, try The Witchery by the Castle. Ideally located in the heart of the old city, a range of lavishly decorated suites will have you feeling like royalty in no time!
For a more modest budget, Motel One Edinburgh-Princes is well located near the Christmas markets on Edinburgh’s famous Princes St and right next to Edinburgh Waverley train station.
13. Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, Salzburg, Austria
- Explore one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Europe
- Join a public choir to sing Silent Night in the city of the song‘s creation
- Take a Salzburg Christmas Tour to learn more about the City and its festive traditions
Salzburg, located in Austria, is home to some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. The city is known for its classical music and Baroque architecture, which is reflected in the festive decorations and atmosphere of the Christmas markets.
The Christkindlmarkt stretches across two sides of one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the historic cathedral. Deep in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage old town, beautiful traditional stalls and fairy lights illuminate squares to its north and west.
Tradition reigns supreme with vendors offering notably skilled handcrafted gifts and decorations for visitors to browse. Think hand-knitted clothing, wooden toys and glass ornaments. And keep warm with a selection of Austrian specialities, washed down with mulled wine or hot punch.
If the musical heritage of this romantic setting feels irresistible, be sure to visit on a Tuesday when you can join an open choir led by a professional choirmaster to practice carols in the cathedral before a 30min performance on the steps outside.
If you’d rather listen than participate, get in position to enjoy the Salzburg tower horns perform across the towers of Residenzplatz each Thursday and Sunday during the advent season. Should physical activities be more your speed, then a visit to Ice Magic skating rink in Mozartplatz is a must.
Visiting Salzburg Christmas Markets
23 November 2023 – 1 January 2024
Nearest airport is Salzburg Airport W. A. Mozart, 2.5miles west of the city.
Where To Stay
Boutique Hotel Goldgasse lies a stone’s throw from Residenzplatz with beautiful bedrooms and a restaurant serving local specialities.
For a more modest budget, try Cityhotel Trumer Stube across the Salzach river, only a 10min walk from the Christmas markets but close to the Mirabell Palace and other city landmarks.
14. Bruges Winterglow, Bruges, Belgium
- Enjoy the intimate atmosphere of this quaint Christmas market
- Ice-skate on a floating rink in the Lake of Love
- Follow the Light Experience Trail for a unique perspective of the historic city
Another of Belgium’s famous Christmas markets is that held in Bruges. More intimate than its cousin in Brussels, the market is centred around the Grote Markt and Simon Stevinplein squares. There’s a cosy vibe but still with plenty of local crafts and foods, such as chocolates, waffles, and beer, to enjoy.
Bruges‘ famous artificial ice rink allows skaters to glide over the Minnewater (Lake of Love) on a sustainable floating rink under a twinkling fairy-light lit sky. Then it’s off to neighbouring Vorst Winter Bar to warm up with drinks and snacks as you watch others pirouette the night away (or at least try!)
A more recent addition to the Bruges Christmas scene is the city’s Light Experience Trail. Visitors are guided past a series of eight light installations each positioned to highlight a key Bruges landmark. The perfect way to end a day exploring the city during the Christmas season.
Visiting Bruges Christmas Market
24 November 2023 – 7 January 2024
Nearest airport is Brussels Airport, 68miles east of Bruges.
Where To Stay
The exceptional Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is set on one of the city’s many waterways and central to all the Christmas activities on offer. With romance and character in abundance it’s bound to make for a truly magical festive visit.
If budget can’t quite extend to a stay there, try the Hotel Acacia, right in the heart of the city and just a short stroll from both Christmas markets.
15. Basel Christmas Markets, Basel, Switzerland
- Indulge to your stomach’s content at the Adväntsgass im Glaibasel
- Record your wishes in the Basel Wish Book
- Sip mulled wine at the 13m Christmas pyramid in Barfüsserplatz
Nestled on the banks of the Rhine river, Basel is Switzerland’s third largest city and home to the country’s largest and (arguably) best Christmas market.
In picturesque surroundings, the Christmas Market in Barfüsserplatz is the oldest in the city. Enjoy a glass of mulled wine by the 13m Christmas pyramid, enjoy sampling local festive dishes, or try your hand at candle dipping at one of the 155 white-roofed impeccably decorated stalls.
Then take a short stroll to Münsterplatz near the river edge where a fairy-tale forest offers children the chance to try Christmas crafts and activities, from torchmaking and pouring tin to decorating gingerbread and making Christmas floral decorations.
In addition to the two main market squares, the more locally focussed Adväntsgass im Glaibasel meanders its way along Rheingasse. Here you’ll find enough festive delicacies to keep you fed all year long. From fondue to oysters and barbecue to gingerbread, there’s something for every palette. And don’t forget to try a Hot Jamie (a mulled drink with a splash of Jameson’s whisky for good measure!).
For those eager to leave a permanent reminder of their visit, be sure to add your wishes to the Basel Wish Book at the City Hall – from requests for Santa to hopes of peace, you can share it all!
Visiting Basel Christmas Market
23 November – 23 December 2023
Nearest airport is EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, 5miles north of the city across the French border.
Where To Stay
4* Hotel Basel is well located in a quiet area of the old town of Basel, less than 500m from both Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz Christmas Markets.
For a more modest budget, try the comfortable Steinenschanze Stadthotel just a few minutes‘ walk south.
16. Vienna Christmas Markets, Vienna, Austria
- Admire the Tree of Hearts with the one you love
- Ride the 12m high multi-level carousel in the Rathausplatz
- Gorge on Viennese pastries and biscuits
The Austrian capital is worthy of a spot on the Best Christmas Markets of Europe list for sheer number of markets if nothing else! Countless markets extend along the old town’s narrow streets offering visitors traditional wooden toys and artisan handcrafted gifts and decorations.
Most famous of them all is Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz spread across the large square in front of the magnificent city hall. Here you’ll find a vintage (multi-level) carousel and over 100 classic wooden chalet stalls. A push to improve sustainability across the market has seen a recent step up in quality of crafts and products on sale.
In adjacent Rathaus Park, discover the illuminated ice rink, Ferris wheel and nativity scene trail. And, of course, the iconic Tree of Hearts. Brightened by red hearts tucked between its branches, whether it’s too much or utterly romantic will be yours to decide!
Visiting Vienna Christmas Market
61 November – 23 December 2023
Nearest airport is Vienna International Airport, 11miles southeast of the city centre.
Where To Stay
In prime location just 10mins walk from the Christmas market in Rathausplatz, 5* Hotel Sans Souci Wien will ensure you enjoy a truly indulgent festive getaway. The Christmas Market at Spittelberg and Weihnachtsdorf on Maria-Theresien-Platz are just on the doorstep as well!
For a more modest budget, try the colourful, quirky & delightful 25hours Hotel in Museums Quartier for a fresh take on modern Austrian hospitality.
17. Christmas Markets In Paris, France
- Pair Christmas magic with the romance of the City of Love.
- Fill your camera roll capturing markets at the feet of some of the world’s most famous monuments.
- Travel the world at Christmastime without leaving the city.
Forget Paris in the Springtime. Paris at Christmastime is where it’s at! With an ever expanding selection of characterful Christmas markets to explore, the City of Light shines brightly over the holiday season.
And with markets celebrating the Alsace, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and beyond, you can wander Christmas across the globe without leaving the city limits.
Markets nestle themselves amongst the iconic architecture of the Parisian skyline. Tick off your Paris bucket list as you meander from market to market and soak up the atmosphere along the banks of the River Seine. From Notre-Dame to Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre, there’s a winter wonderland ready to explore and delight.
For something a bit different, try the popular Christmas Market at La Défense. In the shadow of the Grande Arche, this is one of the largest markets in Paris. Whilst it doesn’t share the old-world charm of its market cousins, the variety of treats on offer from the 120 exhibitors make the trip worthwhile. Plus, for a short period from Christmas into the New Year, you can ice skate 110m above the ground on the roof of the Grande Arche with breath-taking views to L’Arc de Triomphe and beyond. Imagine the selfies!
And it’s not just the Christmas markets that are full of festive feels. The Grands Magasins (department stores) go all out for the holidays too. So be sure to partake in that most Parisian of pastimes – faire du lèche-vitrine, or window-shopping to us – and take a stroll through Galaries Lafayette, Printemps, and along the tree-lined avenues of central Paris.
Visiting Paris Christmas Markets
Varies between markets but typically late November – 26 December.
The main airport is Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, 14miles northeast of the city.
More flight information and availability.
The Eurostar arrives into Gare du Nord, 2miles north of the main tourist & Christmas market area.
Where To Stay
Where do you begin choosing a hotel in this metropolis?! We’ll start you off with a couple of tried and tested hotels.
The Derby Alma is located just a stone’s throw from the Eiffel Tower near the River Seine and central to most of the key attractions and markets. A refined, comfortable hotel it’s a great base for exploring the city.
If you’re looking for a no-holds barred Parisian adventure, hotels do not come more celebrated than the Four Seasons George V but we warn you the bill will be eye-wateringly expensive!
Or if budget is more of a concern, the Atlantic Hotel is well located in the 8th arrondissement (district) with easy access to transport links as well as within 30min walking distance to many key attractions.
18. Amsterdam Christmas Markets, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- Skate against the backdrop of the country’s famous Rijksmuseum
- Fill your stocking with traditional Dutch chocolate letters
- Pick up a unique creative treasure at the Sinterklaas or Funky Xmas Market
As the illuminations of the Amsterdam Light Festival brighten the network of canals through the city centre, so too do the streets and squares fill with the smells, sounds and sights of cosy Christmas markets. Choose between the funfair thrills at Amsterdam Winter Paradise at the RAI, the ice rink and accompanying market stalls at the Ice Village on Museumplein in front of Amsterdam’s iconic Rijksmuseum, or the delicious produce at the Pure Markt Winter Market.
And for unique gifts, the monthly Sunday market takes on a decidedly festive spin for its December double feature. Mooch designs from local crafters and creatives and soak up the artsy atmosphere at the aptly named Funky Xmas Market (or its earlier relative, the Sinterklaas Market).
Should you happen to be in the area around the middle of December, consider making the 30min journey east to the Christmas Market in Haarlem, one of the largest in the country.
Visiting Amsterdam Christmas Markets
Dates vary between markets but most start in mid December and run for 2-3 weeks.
Note that some of the Amsterdam markets are held for just one day/weekend so check dates before you book travel.
Nearest airport is Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, 5.5miles southwest of the city centre.
Where To Stay
A carefully curated combination of historical architecture and modern design, the 5* Conservatorium Hotel is located within the Museum district, a short walk from the Christmas markets at the Museumplein.
For a more modest budget, try the nearby family-run Hotel Aalders set on a quiet residential street.
19. Advent Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
- Soak up the Christmas market atmosphere away from the Northern European crowds
- Sample Croatian festive treats to your heart’s content
- Take a festive tram trip around the old town
When thinking of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Croatia isn’t a country that immediately jumps to mind. However the Croatian capital is all about Christmas celebrations and Advent Zagreb is a much-loved staple of the holiday calendar.
Stretching from Ban Josipa Jelačića Square in the heart of the old town down through three of the city’s parks, you’ll find a near endless supply of traditional stall to explore. Try ice skating at the rink in King Tomislav Park, chomp on traditional spicy sausage with Croatian beer in Strossmayer Park, and admire the fairy lights and traditional crafts on offer in Park Zrinjevac.
To the north of these markets, you’ll find a live nativity scene performing daily in front of the imposing Zagreb Cathedral. Go camera crazy with the insta-perfect largest Christmas tree in old town, set against the backdrop of the famed colourful tiled roof of St Mark’s Church. And then head up to the market at Strossmayer Promenade where you’ll be treated to a beautiful view across the city and its lights. Reward yourself with sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls), paprenjaci (spiced cookies) and mulled wine before a funicular ride back down.
And be sure to book a ride on city’s Merry Christmas tram, decked out with Santa hat and fairy lights. You can’t miss it!
Visiting Zagreb Christmas Market
2 December 2023 – 7 January 2024
Nearest airport is Franjo Tuđman Airport Zagreb, 9miles southeast of the city.
Where To Stay
The elegant Esplanade Zagreb hotel sits to the west of King Tomislav Park, leading you happily on a stroll through the Christmas markets.
For a more modest budget, try the popular MANDA Heritage Hotel by the Cathedral.
20. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London, United Kingdom
- Gawp at the artistry of the Magical Ice Kingdom ice sculptures (or try a cocktail at the aptly named Bar Ice!)
- Test your limits on adrenaline pumping funfair amusements
- Enjoy family friendly Zippos Christmas Circus performances before a visit to Santaland
Whilst the city is dotted with Christmas markets and seasonal activities aplenty, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland sets itself apart from the rest. Part festive theme park, part traditional German Christmas market, there really is something for everyone at London’s top Christmas destination.
One of the largest Christmas markets in Europe, what it lacks in subtle charm and elegance, it makes up for in vibrance and entertainment. There’s no doubting this is a fabulous family-friendly festive extravaganza! One word of warning: you’ll have to pay to get in – a post-covid change which at least does help manage crowd control at this hugely popular venue.
Taking its Winter Wonderland name literally, choose between the UK’s largest open air ice rink, the breath-taking frozen sculptures of the Magical Ice Kingdom and the ‚coolest bar‘ in town where the cocktails come in ice rather than with it! For those up for an adventure, what about a race on a real ice slide?
Continuing with the thrill-seekers theme, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is packed full of rollercoasters and fairground fun, from family-friendly flying jumbos to the heart-pounding Hangover. There’s daily performances at Zippos Christmas Circus and of course the opportunity to meet Father Christmas at the park’s very own Santaland grotto.
And on top of that, you’ll also find a more traditional style Bavarian Christmas market with over 100 wooden chalet stalls offering gifts and street food delights. It’s not hard to see why Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is one of the Best Christmas Markets in Europe!
Visiting London’s Winter Wonderland
2023 dates not yet announced.
Nearest airport is London Heathrow, 15miles west of Hyde Park.
Where To Stay
For something rather special, try 41, just the other side of Buckingham Palace. Around 20mins walk from Hyde Park, this stunning small boutique hotel offers opulence combined with exceptional 5* service but at a far more affordable price point than most of the other top end hotels in the city.
For a more modest budget, Hotel 63 to the north of Hyde Park is perfectly located a stroll across the park from Winter Wonderland and right by Lancaster Gate tube station for great transport connections to other Christmas markets and attractions around the city.
21. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg, Germany
- Meet the market’s angelic Christkind namesake
- Taste the Lebkuchen cookies for which the city is famous
- Explore one of Europe’s oldest and most traditional Christmas markets
Deep in the heart of Bavaria, the Christmas market is a centuries-old tradition in this historic German city. Set in the Hauptmarkt, the central square of the old town, the skyline is dominated by the beautiful Gothic Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), which serves as a stunning backdrop for the market’s festive stalls and decorations.
You’ll struggle to find a more authentic Christmas market experience anywhere else. The scent of the city’s famous spiced gingerbread (Lebkucken) and grilled Nuremberg sausage (Bratwurst) fills the air. Combined with the twinkling of fairy lights across the traditional wooden stalls, the atmosphere is enchanting, exciting the senses and bringing out the child in all of us.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the market’s namesake: ‘Christkind’, or Christmas angel. This curly-haired, crown-wearing honour is bestowed upon a locally-elected young Nuremberg women every two years and is an internationally-acclaimed symbol of the market.
Long rows of vendors sell predominantly classic German Christmas decorations and gifts – wooden candle arches, Christmas pyramids, smokers and nutcrackers. You’ll quickly discover a whole world of Nuremberg Zwetschgenmännle (or ‘prune people’)! In a tradition dating back to the 18th century, these prune characters are fashioned from wire-strung prunes with walnut heads, depicting everyone from chimney sweeps to piano players!
Visiting Nuremberg Christmas Market
1 – 24 December 2023
The nearest airport is Nuremberg Airport, 5miles north of the city. However more frequent flights may be found to Munich airport, approx. 90miles south.
Where To Stay
Karl August hotel is perfectly positioned just a stone’s throw from the Hauptmarkt location of the Christkindlesmarkt. Offering a modern take on Bavarian hospitality, there’s a selection of rooms and small family-friendly apartments on offer.
22. Tallinn Christmas Market, Tallinn, Estonia
- Admire one of the oldest Christmas tree traditions in Europe
- Enjoy old world Christmas market charm in one of Europe’s rising star settings
- Fill your stockings with Estonian wool gifts
Whilst the market is a relatively new calendar addition (starting in 1997), the Christmas tree at its centre is believed to be one of the earliest displayed in Europe. Well, not the same tree of course(!) but the ritual of placing one here began in the 15th century
The market is relatively small by European standards but full of charm and festive cheer. It takes place within the surroundings of the cobblestone-covered medieval Town Hall Square. Often with a dusting of snow on the ground, classic wooden huts offer Christmas gift ideas from local artisan crafters and Estonian sheep’s wool producers.
A busy calendar of performers, from folk dancers and brass bands to singers and light shows, keep the Christmas spirit flowing freely. Santa Claus arrives on the first day of Advent and wishes can be delivered to the post box on the wall of his seasonal home. Carousels are set up for the children to enjoy.
And of course there are plenty of delicious local treats to enjoy. Sauerkraut and blood sausage stand side-by-side with spiced pastries and gingerbread. And there’s a plethora of glögs and local coffees with which to wash the food down.
Visiting Tallinn Christmas Market
Dates to be confirmed but typically the market runs from late November – 7 January.
Nearest airport is Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, just 2.5miles from the city centre.
Where To Stay
Rest market-weary feet at the luxurious spa of 5* Hotel Telegraaf, perfectly positioned around the corner from the market’s location in Raekoja Plats (Town Hall Square).
For a more modest budget, try the Tallinn City Apartments Old Town Suites where apartments cater for up to eight people.
23. Liseberg Christmas Market, Gothenburg, Sweden
- Combine Christmas market mooching with raucous rollercoaster rides
- Watch the park’s ice-skating show, then take to the ice yourself
- Give your White Christmas dreams a good chance of reality
Sweden’s second largest city is fast building a reputation as one of the world’s greenest. Fun, vibrant and five hours west of capital Stockholm, it is also home to Scandinavia’s biggest amusement park Liseberg, which in turn hosts one of the country’s most popular Christmas markets.
Liseberg celebrates its 100th anniversary this year so expect the Christmas celebrations to be even more magical than usual! Although Christmas at Liseberg is a guaranteed winter wonderland any year! Combining rides on the park’s winter attractions with visits to Santa’s workshop, ice-skating shows and traditional Christmas market shopping opportunities, there really is something for every visitor.
Add to that a good chance of snow during your visit and it’s a Christmas match made in heaven! The park is transformed with 5 million twinkling lights, nutcrackers and a giant Christmas tree of lights so it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy with Christmas buffets and seafood-inspired dishes (naturally!) on offer.
And should you need a break from the park, there’s plenty more to explore in Gothenburg city centre. Small enough to be explored on foot, you’re sure to stumble across other smaller Christmas markets as you meander through the city’s fairy-lit neighbourhoods.
Visiting Gothenburg’s Liseberg Christmas Market
2023 dates yet to be confirmed but typically mid November – late December.
Nearest airport is Göteborg Landvetter Airport, 15miles east of the city.
Where To Stay
Adjacent to Liseberg park, 5* Upper House is located on the top floors of the striking mirrored Gothia Towers. With a spa on site and stunning views across the city and to Liseberg, you’re guaranteed a getaway to remember!
For a more modest budget, try the Hotel Royal Gothenburg. Located in the heart of the city (and 10mins drive from Liseberg), Gothenburg’s oldest hotel is full of elegant charm and in close proximity to most of the city’s landmarks and main train station.
24. Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market
- Get an early festive fix (as the fairy lights come out in early November!)
- Sample traditional German Christmas market fare
- Join Chris Moose, the singing Christmas moose, for a sing-a-long
Since 2001 Birmingham has played host to the annual Frankfurt Christmas Market. Now the self-proclaimed largest German Christmas Market outside of Germany or Austria, it draws huge crowds from across the UK and beyond eager to live out their Weihnachten dreams!
If you’re in search of an authentic Christmas market experience, there’s plenty to enjoy. From Bratwurst sausages and German beer to steaming mugs of Glühwein and chocolate crêpes, you certainly won’t leave hungry. Enjoy perusing the wooden market stalls for gifts and handcrafted decorations as you listen to Christmas carols and regular performances from Victoria Square’s bandstand.
For those looking for a little festive fun, choose between the ornate carousel, big wheel and ice rink. And no trip to Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market is complete without a visit to the city’s very own singing Christmas Moose (that’s Chris Moose to his friends!) by the Council House entrance. He’s even got his own Twitter account!
Visiting Birmingham Christmas Market
2023 dates yet to be confirmed but typically early November – 24 December.
Nearest airport is Birmingham airport, 8miles east of the city centre.
Where To Stay
The grande-dame of Birmingham’s hotel scene, the 5* Grand Hotel is full of olde-world British charm with a modern twist. A stone’s throw from Victoria Square and the market, you’ll have everything you need on your doorstep.
For a more modest budget, the Staybridge Suites on Corporation St make for comfortable & easy getaways with their private kitchenettes.
25. Frankfurt Christmas Markets, Frankfurt, Germany
- Soak up the atmosphere at one of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets
- Consume a year’s supply of almonds and marzipan as you graze the stalls
- Get off the beaten track exploring tourist-free neighbourhood events
The secret is most definitely out about these historic and characterful Christmas markets. And the crowds come in their droves to enjoy the insta-perfect setting and authentic German market experience. But try not to let that put you off! Time your visit for less popular days of the week and you’ll be in for a treat. Or side step the main Christmas market in search of lesser known events such as the lively rooftop Citybeach Christmas Market or Rosa Weihnacht, Frankfurt’s LGBTQ+ Pink Christmas Market.
If you’re here for the main attraction however, do not worry. There’s still plenty of festive cheer to be had! 240 chalet hut stalls, a vintage carousel and 30m Christmas tree set against the traditional German architecture of Frankfurt’s old town will leave you with little doubt that this is one of the top Christmas markets in Europe.
And, as with all markets as established as Frankfurt’s, a cuisine has developed around the occasion too. Marzipan enthusiasts will be in seventh heaven with local specialities Brenten and Bethmännchen.
And who can resist lubricating their carol-singing vocal chords with a hot Apfelwein (Apple Wine)?! Don’t forget to pick up a coveted Frankfurt Christmas Market mug as a souvenir of your festive getaway!
Visiting Frankfurt Christmas Markets
27 November – 21 December 2023
Nearest airport is Frankfurt airport, 6miles southwest of the city centre.
Where To Stay
500m from the Christmas market’s heart at Römerberg, Steigenberger Icon Frankfurter Hof offers its guests 5* luxury in an historic setting.
For a more modest budget, the Motel One Frankfurt-Römer has a fabulous location just down the road from the main market squares.
Which do you this is the best Christmas market in Europe? What other destinations should we add to the wish list?!
Can’t wait until the markets start? Check out these year-round Christmas shops in the UK.
Click here for more Christmas activity ideas to enjoy out and about.
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