Are you looking for the perfect holiday destination in the Christmas season? Then look no further than Europe’s famous Christmas markets. All around Europe in late November and early December Christmas markets will start to open. These markets are a magical experience, where you can enjoy the festive spirit, indulge in seasonal treats, drink delicious mulled wine, and shop for unique gifts. With so many options to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of the top Christmas markets in Europe for 2023.
So, get ready to experience the best of what Europe has to offer this festive season. Here are some of the top Christmas markets in Europe that you should visit to enjoy the festive spirit.
Why visit Christmas Markets in Europe?
The Christmas markets in Europe offer an experience like no other. These markets are a celebration of the festive season, with stalls offering everything from gingerbread and mulled wine to handmade crafts and gifts. You can immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere, wander through the beautiful stalls and enjoy the twinkling lights.
Europe Christmas markets are also a great way to experience the local culture. You can sample traditional foods and drinks, listen to local music and enjoy the local traditions. The markets offer something for everyone, from families with young children to couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
1. Vienna, Austria
Vienna has heaps of Christmas Markets all over the city. A couple of the biggest are at Rathausplatz, Schönbrunn, Belvedere and Resselpark. At these markets, you’ll find tasty Glühwein (Mulled wine), delicious sweets and beautiful gifts. Some of these markets, such as the one at Resselpark have rides and other activities which are perfect for the kids.
As well as the big markets throughout the city there are lots of smaller markets, such as along Spittalgasse seen below.
For a full list of the Christmas Markets around Vienna head to wien.info.
2. Munich, Germany
The main Christmas market in Munich can be found at Marienplatz, directly in front of the Neues Rathaus (Town Hall). You will also find stalls along Neuhauser Straße, Kaufingerstraße, as well as lots of other places around the city.
For more information on Christmas in Munich visit muenchen.de.
3. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague’s Old Town Square is the location of their biggest market. It’s located between the Old Town Hall and Church of Our Lady before Týn. Here you’ll find stalls, an incredible tree and the perfect festive atmosphere. A nice touch at the market is a special music and light ceremony on the Christmas tree, which was often repeated throughout the night.
To read more about what’s happening in Prague this year visit prague.eu.
4. Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg is known as the “Capital of Christmas” and boasts one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe. The market dates back to 1570 and attracts millions of visitors each year. The market is spread over several locations throughout the city, with over 300 stalls.
5. London, UK
London’s Hyde Park hosts Winter Wonderland, which is something like a giant modern theme park. Complete with rides, endless places to eat and shop, as well as bars and live music. Some of the special things they have on offer are an ice skating rink, a giant Ferris wheel, a circus and the Ice Kingdom. You may need to pre-book tickets for those attractions. Visit hydeparkwinterwonderland.com for more information.
Across London you can find other places to enjoy the festivities, such as along Southbank near the London Eye, at Somerset House where they have Ice skating, and at Leicester Square where you’ll find rides and other festivities. There are also lots of festive lights to enjoy in London such as along major streets including Oxford Street and Regent Street and other spots around the city.
London does get crazy busy during the festive season so be mentally prepared for this, although it’s pretty nice wandering through the city and seeing the lights and decorations.
6. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is home to one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. The market is located in the historic centre of the city and features over 200 stalls selling traditional Belgian food and drink, as well as gifts and handmade crafts. Read more about the Brussels Christmas market.
7. Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg’s market can be found in the Old Town at Residenzplatz, Mozartplatz and Domplatz (various squares in the city). The decorations are beautiful and glow against the wonderful Austrian architecture and the famous Salzburger Dom Cathedral. This city is perfect for enjoying festive vibes, as well as good food and drink.
8. Nuremberg, Germany
The Christmas market in Nuremberg is one of the oldest and most famous in Europe. The market is located in the heart of the city and features various stalls selling traditional German food and drink, as well as handmade crafts and gifts. A special feature of the market is the Christkind, where a young girl is chosen to represent the spirit of Christmas and opens the market.
9. Bratislava, Slovakia
At Hlavné Námestie at the centre of Bratislava’s Old Town is the main Christmas market. Here you can wander around the various stalls or gather at the tables and enjoy the tasty food on offer. For those wanting a view such as below, head up the Old Town Hall Tower. At Hviezdoslavovo námestie is another market where you’ll find an Ice Skating rink and more stalls offering food, gifts and a festive atmosphere.
Visit visitbratislava.com for more information on Bratislava.
10. Dresden, Germany
For a huge Christmas Market head to Dresden, where you’ll find this one located on Altmarkt, one of the city’s oldest squares. Enjoy some traditional punch, German sausage or other tasty snacks before exploring the many market stalls. For the kids there is a Ferris wheel and carousel, and if you wanted to get some high views of the market climb up Kreuzkirche. Also close by is Frauenkirche, which is one of the cities most famous churches and where you’ll find lots more stalls, decorations and a joyful ambience.
Head to dresden.de for more information on Dresden.
11. Edinburgh, Scotland
Edinburgh’s Christmas market is one of the best in Europe. The market is located in the heart of the city and offers a range of traditional Scottish food and drink, as well as handmade gifts and crafts. Some of the highlights of the market are the ice rink and the Santa’s Grotto.
12. Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn in Estonia is magical at Christmas with cobbled streets, medieval architecture and beautiful stalls and decorations. When visiting around Christmas you may even get snow. Definitely a top city to visit for this Christmas.
As well as during December you could also consider visiting Tallinn at the start of January. This is what I did and there was still a fantastic buzz and even snow during my visit. It felt like an extension to the normal English Christmas that I was used to.
For more information on this market visit christmasmarket.ee.
13. Krakow, Poland
Krakow’s Christmas market is located in the historic Main Square and here you will find various stalls allowing you to try a range of traditional Polish food and drink, as well as buy handmade crafts and gifts. Check out the live nativity scene and the carol singers during your visit.
14. Zurich, Switzerland
The Christmas market in Zurich is located in the city centre and features over 140 stalls. The market offers a range of traditional Swiss food and drink, as well as handmade crafts and gifts. Some of the highlights of the market are the 10-meter tall Christmas tree, as well as the indoor ice rink.
15. Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. The market boasts over 60 stalls, selling everything from traditional Danish food to handmade crafts and gifts. A highlight of the market is the beautiful light display.
Our tips for visiting Christmas markets in Europe
If you’re planning a trip to Europe’s Christmas markets, here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit:
- Check the opening hours and days of the markets before you go, as they may vary from market to market.
- Dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes, as the markets can get crowded and the weather can be cold.
- Bring cash, as some stalls may not accept credit cards.
- Sample the local food and drink, as this is a big part of the Christmas market experience.
- Take your time to explore the markets and soak up the festive atmosphere.
- Bring your camera to try and capture some photos so as to remember the experience.
Hotels and accommodation in the Christmas holiday season
If you’re planning to visit Europe’s Christmas markets, it’s important to book your accommodation early, as the holiday season is a popular time to travel. By booking early you’ll have more choices of where you can stay including more central locations and should also be able to get the best prices.
A lot of booking sites now offer free-cancellation options too which helps should your plans change.
Europe’s Christmas markets offer a magical and unforgettable experience. From traditional food and drink to handmade crafts and gifts, there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit. With our list of the top Christmas markets in Europe for 2023, you can plan your perfect holiday and create memories that will last a lifetime. So why not book your trip today and experience the best of what Europe has to offer this Christmas season?
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