If you are heading to Europe this winter, here are the best Christmas Markets in Europe you should visit during your trip.
With so many great Christmas Markets in Europe to choose from, I collaborated with some of my fellow travel bloggers and they’ve revealed some of their favorite European Christmas Markets to visit. From the magical Christmas Markets in Germany to the gorgeous Paris Christmas Market, Christmas in Europe is so magical. There are some real beauties to choose from to enjoy your time in Europe in December.
If you’re wondering where to go for a Europe Christmas break, here are some of the top Christmas Market breaks that will make your visit magical. These are some of the best places to visit in Europe in winter and should be on anyone’s travel bucket list.
Austria Christmas Markets
Salzburg Christmas Market
Sophie from The Wanderful Me
All throughout Europe, you’ll find a multitude of popular Christmas Markets, like Paris, London, Brussels, and Strasbourg, but many overlook the quaint, magical city of Salzburg, Austria when searching for a taste of the holiday spirit.
One of the most unique Christmas Markets in Europe, here you can find not only twinkling lights, warming mulled wine, local delicacies, and jaw-droppingly beautiful architecture, but also a strange tradition call Krampus.
Though this tradition has migrated to other parts of Central Europe, it’s in Salzburg where you can find the largest and craziest Krampus of all. Not sure what Krampus is? Well, I’ll tell you!
It’s when locals dress up the horned, demon-like characters and parade around the city taunting and scaring naughty children! Safe to say, it’s pretty cool (and creepy). But this is what makes Salzburg one of the best destinations to visit for a Christmas Market!
On the flip side, Salzburg’s Christmas Markets are also awesome because you’ll find unique Austrian trinkets, delicious local food (like Kletzenbrot, aka Austrian fruit bread), and gorgeous architecture surrounding the markets that’ll have you saying “wow!”
But hold on a second! Let’s not forget about all the cool Salzburg sites and attractions. If you decide to check out Salzburg during Christmas time, don’t forget to explore the Festung Hohensalzburg (or Salzburg Castle), which is one of Europe’s largest castles; the birthplace of Mozart; all of the gorgeous cathedrals (my favorite is the Salzburg Dom Cathedral); Mirabell Castle and Gardens; and St. Peter’s Abbey, Cemetery, and Catacombs.
If you’re ready to make your visit to Europe this winter one for the books, don’t miss out on the Salzburg Christmas Markets or a chance to experience Krampus! With that said, keep in mind Krampus only happens for a short time (not the entire time the Christmas Markets are on). Though, if you do decide to check out this strange event, you won’t be disappointed!
Christmas Markets in Belgium
Bruges Christmas Market
Sarah Vanheel, CosmopoliClan
The medieval city of Bruges forms a wonderful setting for the winter celebrations, which takes place from Friday 22nd November 2019 to Wednesday 1st January 2020. Both Bruges Christmas markets, which are collectively referred to as “Wintermarkt”, are located within walking distance.
At the Markt square, against a backdrop of colorful gingerbread houses and grand monuments, you’ll find the first Christmas market. Visitors from all corners of the world enjoy mouth-watering treats and admire handmade Christmas gifts from the chalet-styled stalls. The sparkling lights in the Christmas trees light up the city’s main square, a magical sight from atop the Belfry of Bruges.
The second Bruges Christmas market is located at the Simon Stevin square, where you’ll find two rows of Christmas stalls back to back, parallel to the linden trees that twinkle merrily in this intimate location. A new location has been added to this year’s celebrations: The ice-skating rink, that used to be located at Market Square, will be replaced by an artificial ice rink on a pontoon at Minnewater, one of the most romantic and picturesque spots in Bruges. Other festive highlights include the singing event in the city’s renowned Basilica of the Holy Blood and the “Christmas Star procession” folkloric re-enactment that takes place just a few days before Christmas.
Visitors are also invited to indulge in Belgium’s many culinary Christmas delights: Try the Christmas beers from one of Bruges’ well-hidden cafés or feast on fluffy waffles, bûches de noël and hot chocolate from the most renowned chocolatiers. The city’s many chocolate shops offer the most sparkling Christmas packaging, making it hard to resist buying some festively designed chocolate boxes for your friends and family. If you’re looking to experience the festive season in one of the most romantic cities in the world, then the Bruges Christmas markets will not disappoint.
Christmas Markets in Czech Republic
Christmas Market in Prague
Albina from Ginger Around the Globe
During Christmas, Prague gets flooded by the tourist. But for a very good reason. The gothic buildings in Prague and snow give the capital of the Czech republic a special atmosphere. There is a lot to visit, from the famous Prague Castle to the old town square and other sparks of Prague. Somehow Prague looks good when it is covered in clouds and snow.
Prague has a lot of little squares and usually on every at least slightly bigger square you can find a Christmas market. The one that highlights the Christmas atmosphere in Prague is the one in the Old town square. You get to be surrounded by beautiful historical buildings, the main Christmas tree. There is also a stage where sometimes during the evenings, you get to hear Christmas songs. In the closest surrounding, there are a lot of restaurants offering local food and some of them have a rooftop, so visitors can enjoy the view of Christmas atmosphere from above.
For those who are interested in art, there is a national gallery in Old town square, where you can observe Czech national artists and very often you can also see there internationally known artists. You can keep an eye on the Christmas markets from the windows here.
Markets itself consists of a lot of things except the stage with singing, you can also see there a living Bethlehem – meaning there are goats and sheep and donkey just like it was supposed to be on Crist born. There is also a lot of food to try and some interesting handcraft that can be either a souvenir or Christmas gift. You can find here everything from handmade jewelry to snacks or even some clothes.
Christmas Markets in England
Exeter Christmas Market
Nabiha Khan from Verses by a Voyager
Situated in the south-west of the UK, a little city on the hill, Exeter hosts a remarkable Christmas market every year against the stunning Exeter Cathedral. Right in the heart of the city center, lies the Exeter Cathedral, a medieval time architecture and the Christmas market is set up around this beautiful building, adding charm to this festive market.
This market which runs for little over a month, features different varieties of food and drinks, mostly from the local producers. It also sells Christmas gifts, crafts and special souvenirs of the city. Many Bavarian-style bars are set up in this market. The Exeter Christmas market is mainly inspired by the German Christmas market. The entire area around the Cathedral is beautifully lit up along with the high street. Various stalls are set up all around the area with thousands of people visiting the market. Traditional wooden chalets are set up around the area, presenting a conventional vibe to the whole atmosphere.
The Christmas market in Exeter focuses not only on stalls but also on live entertainment. Local bands, singers and choirs perform in this market to entertain the visitors. A beautiful tall, Christmas tree stands as the symbol of this market. One of the main highlights of Exeter’s Christmas market is the sale of mulled apple cider which is a famous drink of Cornwall in the south-west of the UK. The main organizer of the market is Exeter Cathedral which ensures the festive vibe is well presented. The main highlight of this market is the focus on the local traders, farmers, and artists.
Along with entertaining the visitors and presenting them with things to buy, Christmas market in Exeter ensures that the locals are getting equal benefits from the market which will help them improve their business and participate more in the next year’s Christmas market.
Manchester Christmas Market
Helen from Helen on Her Holidays
We love a good Christmas market in the UK and almost every city has some kind of mulled-wine-fuelled shopping festival during November or December. One of the best is in Manchester, in the north of England.
Manchester has held an annual Christmas market for 20 years, and over that time it’s grown from a single site to multiple locations across the city, plus festive popup events in the run-up to Christmas. The largest Christmas market in Manchester is in Albert Square, underneath Manchester’s magnificent Town Hall. It opens in early November and runs right through until a couple of days before Christmas. In Albert Square, you’ll find loads of interesting little stalls selling gifts and sweets, plus a massive range of food stands, from pretzels and cheese toasties to crepes and macarons.
The main attraction is the large, two-story bar in the style of an Alpine cabin, topped with a windmill. Here you can warm up with a toasty Glühwein, or hot chocolate, or relax with a beer. Glühwein is served in an official Manchester Christmas markets mug that you can either return or take home with you.
The main market in Albert Square can get very busy – people come from all over the north of England to visit the Christmas markets in Manchester – so you may want to check out some of the smaller versions in St Ann’s Square, Exchange Square or near the Cathedral. Alternatively, if you can plan ahead, why not visit one of the smaller events? Hatch is a complex of restaurants, bars, and shops in repurposed shipping containers underneath Manchester’s inner ring road. It may not sound magical, but last Christmas it was transformed into an “Urban Narnia”, and the artisan coffees, independently-brewed beers and stylish gifts on offer were a welcome alternative to the more traditional delights of the main Christmas markets in town. Another option is the Manchester Vegan Christmas Market, held last year at the beautiful and historic Victoria Baths.
Christmas Market in London
Liza Skripka from Tripsget
London is one of the most visited cities in the world and it has a great Christmas market for everyone to visit. Actually, there isn’t just one Christmas Market in London, there are at least 4 of them (and more other Christmas spots in London, like ice skating rinks and beautifully decorated streets).
In my opinion, the most remarkable ones are Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Christmas Market at Leicester Square. Winter Wonderland is a massive Christmas Fair with attractions, food stalls, mulled wine bars, shops, arcades and everything you could think of. It’s huge and if you’re visiting on a weekend, prepare to spend some time in the queue to get in.
The Christmas Market at the Leicester Square is more compact and probably 10 times smaller, however, it has this cozy Christmas Market feeling that you can experience at the other Christmas Markets in Europe, especially in Germany. You can buy some souvenirs, such as Christmas tree decorations, some food and of, course, mulled wine.
If you want to go ice-skating, head to the Somerset House, Tower of London or the Museum of Natural History, all of these places have nice ice-skating rinks in front of them.
And, finally, for the best Christmas decorations in London, head to the Carnaby street that each year takes Christmas decorations to the next level.
Christmas Markets in France
Paris Christmas Market
Rai from A Rai of Light Travels
Christmas is a festive time in Paris with the city’s squares and streets all lit up and adorned with Christmas trees, lights, and garlands. There’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than a visit to one of the markets scattered across the city. During a typical season, over a dozen markets appear all around starting from the beginning of December and remaining until a few days into January.
A local favorite amongst them is La Magie de Noël, a true Paris hidden gem. This market located at the Tuileries Garden features over 100 Swiss-style wooden chalets, a dozen carnival rides, and an ice rink. Not to mention plenty of glittering lights, and festive crowds. Here you will find food products, wine, souvenirs, and gifts by artisans from across France. This market is also a good choice if you’re looking for local arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry, and other gifts all while munching on roasted chestnuts and sipping on hot mulled wine well into the night.
La Magie de Noël is a somewhat smaller version of the former Champs-Élysées Christmas Market after a dispute between the organizer and the Mayor of Paris resulted in a relocation. Nevertheless, it retains all the Christmas festivities and is well worth a visit.
Strasbourg Christmas Markets
Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Strasbourg plays host to one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in France and in the world, with thousands of visitors flocking there every year to enjoy Christmas traditions and festive cheer. The world-renowned Strasbourg Christmas Market has been running since 1570, with upwards of two million visitors now coming to the markets each year!
The Strasbourg Christmas Market runs between the end of November and the 31st December every year, with around 300 festive stalls set up offering visitors tasty treats and gorgeous gifts to try and buy.
Not only are the lights and decorations within the Strasbourg Christmas Market magical, but it is held in the Grande Île in Strasbourg which is a stunning UNESCO world heritage site in itself! Of course, the Strasbourg Christmas Market also features a breath-taking Christmas tree that stands proud at 30m tall in the heart of Place Kléber.
With hundreds of years of experience, Strasbourg Christmas Market knows a thing or two about hosting this festive fiesta, and there are a few things that make it stand out against the rest. For one, Strasbourg Christmas Market has a dedicated ‘guest country’ each year, with a whole market centered around this destination, selling local specialties and handicrafts from that country. Another highlight is the fact that Strasbourg Christmas Market is made up of between 11 and 12 different markets, each having its own magic and merchandise. Finally, the fact that the Strasbourg Christmas Market is located in the Alsace region of France means that it brings together both French and German traditions that make it quite unlike other Christmas markets that you will find in Germany and beyond.
If you’re yet to visit Strasbourg Christmas Market but love all things festive and fun, you should definitely check it out. Strasbourg Christmas Market is one of the busiest in the world but I think it’s busy for good reason!
Germany Christmas Markets
Konstanz, Germany Christmas Market
Wendy Werneth the Nomadic Vegan
Most people just know it as the Konstanz Christmas market, but its official name is the Weihnachsmarkt am See. In German, this means “Christmas Market on the Lake”. And it’s a pretty accurate name because this market does take place not just on the shores of Lake Constance but even on the lake itself!
This is made possible by the Christmas Ship, which is moored in the Konstanz harbor for the month or so that the market opens in the lead-up to Christmas. Throughout the city center, you will find stalls selling traditional foods as well as locally made handicrafts. It’s a great place to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts for your loved ones, or just a treat for yourself!
On the Christmas Ship, you will find more food and craft stalls, and even an ice bar with a 360° panoramic view! As for foods and drinks to try, a popular local specialty is Käsespätzle. This is a special type of fresh pasta that is mixed with cheese. You should also be able to find some vegan and/or gluten-free options at some of the stalls, particularly the more international ones selling Indian or Moroccan dishes. And of course, you should warm up with a hot mug of glűhwein, the very popular mulled wine that is sold at all German Christmas markets.
Weihnachsmarkt am See is open every day of the week for about one month, from late November until just a few days before Christmas. If you’re heading there from Switzerland, be sure to check the Swiss railway’s website for special deals on train tickets. They often have discounts of up to 50 percent off for people heading to Konstanz and other Christmas markets in the area. And they sometimes even throw in a free mug of glűhwein!
Dresdner Striezelmarkt Christmas Market Germany
Christine from Christine Abroad
If you only choose to visit one Christmas market this year, it should be the Dresdner Striezelmarkt, which is Germany’s oldest Christmas market. The first time the market was held was 585 years ago, and it continues being a traditional German Christmas market every year that passes by. When you visit the Striezelmarkt, you can expect lots of small artisan shops where you can buy handmade products and all kinds of Christmas decorations, including ornaments. The Christmas ornaments in the Dresdner Striezelmarkt are fantastic, and many of them are unique to this market.
When you’ve gone for a stroll and checked out the small shops, it’s time to indulge yourself in some traditional German food, such as various sausages, sauerkraut and other grilled items that are cooked on display. To drink, you should definitely go for some Glühwein, which is basically mulled red wine. The street stands will also serve beer, hot chocolate and other types of alcohol and beverages.
What makes the Striezelmarkt in Dresden even more unique is that despite being one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world, the locals still come here to enjoy the Christmas spirit and cozy atmosphere that you will find around the small stands serving Glühwein. If you want to chat up with some Germans and learn more about their culture, this is a great place to do so.
To get here from the Dresden Hauptbahnhof, you can walk here in less than 20 minutes. You can also go by public transportation. You won’t have a hard time to find it because it’s huge and covers the whole old town square.
There are also other Christmas markets in Dresden, but they are smaller. I think they are still worth a visit though because they have an even more local feeling to them because not many tourists go there.
Cologne Christmas Market
Brooke & Buddy Baum of TrailingAway.com
After visiting more than 30 Christmas markets in Germany and other European counties (including many of the most famous ones!), we still look back on Cologne as our favorite city for experiencing this wonderful holiday tradition. Known locally as Köln, this stunning city is a place of pure magic at Christmastime. Plus, there are about a half dozen Christkindlemarkts to explore – each with its own theme or special offering. So, it is definitely a go-to destination for seekers of Christmas wonderment!
The iconic Cologne Cathedral is where the most well-known and one of the most strikingly beautiful markets is located. With music and food and vendors everywhere you look, and lights and festive décor dripping from every inch of it – standing amidst this over-the-top market is quite overwhelming in the best way.
But there are plenty of other, less busy markets to explore in beautiful Cologne. There’s a water-side market with a fisherman theme, a hipster market with more modern offerings, and the ‘Angel’s Market’ where angels ride on horses and sprinkle glitter along the pathways. Yes. That is a real thing that happens and it is amazing. But, our favorite was Heinzels Wintermärchen – the oldest market in the city. It has a large skating rink, dozens of food vendors, and – of course – a large bar serving many variations of the delicious glühwein.
Most of the markets are so close, you could see multiple in one night just by wandering around for a few hours! And if you are lucky, maybe you could even snag accommodations that overlook one of the markets for 24/7 access to delicious smells, festive music, and all the happy feels.
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Mel, author of BRB Travel Blog
Nuremberg Christmas Market (Christkindlesmarkt) is one of the biggest markets in Germany and in Europe. It is located in the heart of the old walled town in the hauptmarkt and it is characterized with more than 180 wooden stands with red and white roof cloths. The lights, the jovial atmosphere, and the yummy treats are perfect to get you into the holiday spirit.
The Nuremberg market dates back to the 17th century, making it one of the oldest and most famous markets in Germany. This is the quintessential German Christmas Market experience.
Besides all the fabulous food, the countless stands showcase the best craftsmanship of the region, like the prune man. This is the perfect place to get your souvenirs and Christmas decorations to bring back home. At the center, there is a stage that often showcases choirs and groups playing local music. And of course, the Chirstkind, the Nuremberg Christmas Angel. The angel is a symbol of the market and Christmas itself.
The market is dominated by the imposing Our Lady Church. The church has a beautiful clock where wooden figurines come and go marking the hour change. The spectacle is very short so be sure to be at the market near the hour change to catch it!
To get a full view of the market, don’t forget to climb the Frauenkirche.
The ChocolART Christmas market in Tübingen, Germany
Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse
The ChocolART Christmas market in Tübingen, Germany is about as delicious as it gets. Just an hour train ride from Stuttgart, Tübingen is a quaint university town with charming old buildings and one of the best Christmas markets in the world.
Each year, the market runs for 6 days in early December (it will be from the 3rd-8th in 2019) in the town square. It features chocolate from all around Europe and the rest of the world is a veritable cornucopia of forms. Expect to find hot chocolate (including vegan!), chocolate sculptures, spreads, ornaments, chocolate tools, bread, powders, and solid blocks.
There are many flavors from white to dark chocolate and spicy, hazelnut, and many more. If you go in the early afternoon, be sure to stay for when night falls and the town square lights up with colorful displays on the main buildings.
Frankfurt Christmas Market
Elizabeth from The Fearless Foreigner
Many spectacular Christmas markets can be found around the world these days. There is something special about visiting a Christmas market in Germany though. After-all Christmas Markets originated in Germany. Frankfurt has one of the biggest and most spectacular markets in the country. It is also the oldest market. Records show that Frankfurt’s market started in 1393!
The main Frankfurt market is located in the Alstadt (Old Town), a scenic part of the city. It fills several squares and streets. The heart of the market is in the Römerberg. From the town square, it seems to stretch on and on with stall after stall of toys, gifts, and food. You can find similar types of goods that have been sold in the market for years, such as wooden toys and Christmas ornaments.
One of the most prominent features of the market is the tree. The tree stands in front of the Town Hall, just as it has for many decades. A variety of concerts take place throughout the season in front of the tree.
I don’t know why you would need any more convincing to visit the Frankfurt Christmas market, but if you do the food will be reason enough! While Christmas markets, in general, are known for having many savory and sweet options, Frankfurt stands out for having a lot of tasty choices.
At the market, you can find typical German specialties such as wursts (sausages) and Kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancakes). You can also feast on some international foods like chili con carne. Traditional foods from Frankfurt that you may not be able to find at other markets are also available. For example, the Bethmannchen, a traditional Frankfurt Christmas cookie, is sold at the market.
The magic of the holiday season truly comes alive in Frankfurt!
Christmas Markets in Italy
Verona Christmas Market
Priya Vin from Outside Suburbia
Visiting the Christmas Market in Verona, Italy is magical. It is a Christmas tradition Veronese style. It also means immersing yourself in the city where the story of Romeo and Juliet was set. The city will be transformed and dressed in lights, colors, and tastes of Christmas for a beautiful Christmas market. The Christmas market in Verona is held at Piazza dei Signori, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has always a meeting point for culture and traditions.
Don’t miss a visit to Juliet’s House and the lesser-known Romeo’s house. Located in a small courtyard, the iconic balcony is probably one of the most famous attractions in Verona. The house is said to have inspired Shakespeare, even though there’s no evidence that he ever visited Verona. But that doesn’t seem to stop thousands of hopeless romantics from visiting the house to rub on the bronze statue of Juliet for luck and love!
The entrance to the city of Love will be illuminated by hundreds of lights, starting from the Roman Arena going through all the streets of the historic center, and arriving in the beautiful Piazza Bra. There will be a beautifully decorated Christmas tree on the square. Piazza dei Signori, the beautiful square features a number of high arches and the monument of Dante, as well as all the major buildings of the former city council and the seat of power of the ruling family of the time, the Scaligers.
At the Christmas Market, there will be mouth-watering displays of local food and drinks. Stop at the different stalls to taste the freshly baked potato pizzas, truffle laced bites, homemade chocolates and mulled wine. There will also be locally manufactured items and holiday items for purchase. The markets usually run from16 November to 26 December
Christmas Markets in Rome
Annalisa Franceschini from Travel Connect Experience
Christmas is the most fundamental holiday on the Italian calendar and tradition. The festivity unites families from North to South around the Christmas table, and Rome, as the capital of Italy and Catholicism, lights up with decorations and Christmas markets. Tall Christmas trees appear in Saint Peter Sq. and Venezia Sq. during the second week of December, which is generally recognized as the beginning of the preparation for the holiday.
Christmas adornments cover the streets and the buildings inside the 20 sqm of the historical center. Week-end and stable Christmas markets join the bustling activities of the central and suburban squares. From the half of December to the beginning of the second week of January, which is considered the closing time during the Italian winter holidays, you’ll be able to visit about 20 Christmas markets.
The oldest and most iconic of all the Christmas markets in Rome remains the one in Piazza Navona Sq. This is one of the kid’s favorite markets because it focuses on sweets like hot nut brittles and cotton candy, toys, and fair-like games, in the framework of one of the biggest squares in Rome, with the three fountains and the church of St. Agnese in the background. The Navona Sq. is also popular for street artists and a merry-go-round from the 19th Century.
While you get your caricature done, try and spot the legendary “Befana”, also known as “Christmas witch” outside of Italy. The old woman that flies through the silent skies on the night between January 5th and 6th is the dearest to the contemporary Romans among all the holiday figures. She is said to lower sweets or chunks of charcoal down the smokestacks to reward bad and good children, but her origins are lost in times.
When Italy was still pagan, the Befana was an old, magic woman that had the power to make the fields fertile and the harvest abundant. She is celebrated on January 6th, on the last day of the holiday. You can reach the Navona Sq. Christmas market with on the buses 70, 64, 40, 85 from the Termini Station, or better on foot from any of the landmarks in the historical center. To read further about Christmas activities and markets in Rome, have a look at Rome in winter.
Christmas Markets in Latvia
Riga Latvia Christmas Market
Ellie Quinn from The Wandering Quinn
Riga, the capital city of Latvia, has the type of architecture that fits in with what we associate with Christmas, in fact, many of its buildings could be mistaken for gingerbread houses and therefore it makes a really great European City to visit at Christmas.
I went to Riga in early December just as its Christmas Market had opened. The main market in the center of the city is only small but what I loved the most is that it is a true, authentic market. There are no colorful, neon rides and no tacky games. Just cute wooden stalls selling local food, drinks, and items from independent stores that make great presents. All of the stalls are surrounded by a few Christmas trees and twinkling lights.
Talking of authenticity, the prices of food and drink at the Christmas market were extremely reasonable with a cup of mulled wine setting me back just €2.00, much better than many other commercial markets around Europe!
Not only this but Riga makes a great city break in general, there are lots of things to do in Riga and lots of places to eat and drink when you need warming up from the cold. And make sure you do dress and pack for the cold because Riga is quite far North and the chances of snow in December are high!
Christmas Markets in Luxembourg
Luxembourg Christmas Market
Paulina from Paulina On The Road
Luxembourg may be a small country, but its Christmas market can easily compete with those from major European cities. Indeed, Luxembourg is not only the only Grand-Duchy in the world but also one of the smallest countries in Europe.
The Christmas Market of Luxembourg City has grown a lot during the past years and lasts from the first week of December until Christmas Eve. Cute food stalls, local artisans and attractions such as carousels are spread all over the old town.
The Christmas Market in Luxembourg goes in pair with the Winterlights Festival. The entire old town of Luxembourg capital is illuminated with beautiful light creations.
This is also the perfect opportunity to enjoy some of the most typical food from Luxembourg such as “Mettwuscht” (smoked sausage), “Gromperekichelscher” (fried potato pies) or “Judd mat Gaardebounen” (beans and bacon soup).
Any if you still can’t get enough of Christmas Markets, I highly recommend visiting the Christmas Markets of smaller towns in Luxembourg such as Echternach, Vianden or Diekrich. Their Christmas markets are particularly quaint and cute.
Don’t think any longer and put Luxembourg on your itinerary for the best Christmas Markets in Europe. Luxembourg is particularly convenient to visit on a day trip from Brussels, Paris or Cologne.
Christmas Markets in Poland
Wroclaw Christmas Market
Karolina from Lazy Travel Blog
As you walk through the festive Christmas Market in the center of Wroclaw, you will be followed by the scent of pine trees, mulled wine, and chocolate gingerbread. Relive your childhood dreams as you enter the three-level fairytale house and gaze at Rynek Christmas Market’s beauty from another perspective before warming yourself up by having a hot drink beside the fireplace.
Head towards Plac Solny to see the Gallery of Santa Claus, where the dazzling Christmas decorations will make this a holiday to remember. Not far from the gallery, is the underground Movie Gate where a big collection of movie props and costumes awaits. In this surreal world, there is always time for silliness and merry-making by taking part in the interactive shows of Crazy Santa Claus’s helpers.
A fantastic place for a family trip, the Christmas Market will keep your children entertained with a realistic journey into a storybook world at the Fairtytale Copse, where their favorite stories like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Pinnochio, and The Brave Little Tailor will come to life through the magic of visual and sound effects.
You can also take your kids out on a hunt for the Dwarf’s Mushroom which usually appears by the one-story Dwarf’s House that is surrounded by lamp lighting dwarves. Enter the mushroom and take a one of a kind picture to remember this experience.
There are many other things to do in Wroclaw during wintertime. At Rynek, the festive market is accompanied by shows and events like traditional Christmas parades, stage performances, Christmas concerts, and the illumination of the Wroclaw Christmas tree.
Christmas Markets in Scotland
Edinburgh Christmas Market
By Gemma Armit, Two Scots Abroad
Edinburgh is renowned for hosting the biggest Hogmanay party in the world on December 31st but did you know that the festivities actually start in November? There are so many things to do in Edinburgh at Christmas but the market has to be one of the most popular.
Princes Street Gardens is infiltrated by stalls, huts, decorations and fairground rides which we call ‘the shows’ in Scotland.
Stalls splashed with color and lights sell local and mass-produced goods as well as Scottish cuisine and other European food items.
You’ll find the typical bratwurst from Germany being sold alongside a haggis dog for a Scottish slant on the traditional market snack.
It’s Scotland so obviously, there is booze! Beer, Glühwein and Glühwein with more booze in it can be bought at the stalls or the pop-up bar which has awesome views of the market.
Scotland’s capital’s Christmas celebrations at Princes Street Gardens are rammed.
Expect very long lines and elbow to elbow crowds as night draws in during the weekends. Beat the crowds by visiting during the week.
Christmas Markets in Spain
Barcelona Christmas Market From a Local
Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey
La Fira de Santa Llucia is the Christmas Market in Barcelona and has been selling Christmas items in front of the Cathedral for the last 250 years.
The market runs from late November or early December until the 23rd of December and sells items and objects used as part of the Catalan Christmas traditions. The market is organized in four zones depending on the item being sold.
The most common item you can find in La Fira are figurines used in the Nativity scenes, including the pooping figurine called El caganer which every Nativity has and is a pagan homage to fertility.
La Fira de Santa Llucia also has several stands selling Christmas trees and pooping logs, another great Catalan Christmas tradition in which children hit a tree log while singing a song and at the end of it, the log “poops” them some gifts. Logs of all sizes, all with their painted faces and traditional Catalan birrets, line the stalls across the market.
Lastly, the market also sells moss, which is the basic element for the Nativity scenes, as well as bay leaves, pine branches and mistletoe used to decorate doors.
Unlike other Christmas Markets, the one in Barcelona does not sell food or drinks, everything available here is used during the Christmas celebrations mostly to decorate the house. However, because it is located in the center of the Gothic Quarter, you will have no issues finding several bars and cafes nearby.
Barcelona Christmas Market
Andrew from Road Goat
Held annually at the Barcelona Cathedral, Fira de Santa Llúcia in Barcelona is the longest-running annual Christmas festival in Spain – the earliest record dates back to 1786. As such, the Fira’s annual markets, exhibitions, and traditions embody the rich and beautiful history of Spain’s nativity celebration scene. It’s simply a must-go for both the locals and the tourists who visit Barcelona during the Christmas time to wander through its wonderful stalls.
Originated as a fair to celebrate the feast day of Santa Llúcia in the second week of December, the Fira de Santa Llúcia has now evolved into a Christmas market that boasts over 300 stalls annually. These stalls display and sell nativity accessories, artisan craft items, plant decorations, and simbombes – traditional instruments to help you add a musical touch to your Christmas celebration.
This year, Fira de Santa Llúcia will celebration the 233rd anniversary of its traditions, inviting visitors from all over the world to join in on their holiday gayeties. Walk through the beautiful city blocks of old Barcelona and gather in front of the Cathedral Square on Avinguda de la Cathedral to enter the bustling Christmas market. As you sort through locally hand-crafted Christmas accessories that you would not find anywhere else in the world.
It’s advised to visit the stalls once during the daytime and again at nighttime to experience differing atmospheres. And while you’re at it, make sure to visit the neighboring Placa de Sant Jaume to take in the original and historic nativity works of Spain. You can also enjoy the performance by Esbart Catalá de Dansaires dancers with the special show of El Grupet, a traditional band that has accompanied the Fira for over 25 years. At Fira de Santa Llúcia, you can experience the wonderful atmosphere of the Christmas season in the most unique way, with the company of equally joyful strangers.
Switzerland Christmas Markets
Montreux Christmas Market
Sarah from Borders & Bucket Lists
On the shores of Lake Geneva lies the famed Monteux Christmas Market, locally known as Montreux Noel. As one of the most popular Christmas markets in all of Switzerland, the market garners an average of 550,000 visitors every year, even though it is only open for about a month each winter!
The 160 artisans and merchants sell any holiday-themed item you can think of from Christmas ornaments to candy for stockings to nativity scene snow globes. Other than shopping, you’ll also be able to write letters to Santa, listen to joyful Christmas music, and even ride a Ferris wheel!
Of course, we can’t forget about the food at the Montreux Christmas Market. There are the typical Christmas market specialties of roasted chestnuts, freshly-made churros, warm apple cider, and mulled wine. On top of that, there are eight to nine restaurants each year at the market. On the whole, these restaurants sell traditional Swiss or Vaud (the canton or state) specialties, including raclette and rosti.
While the Ferris wheel and raclette are fantastic highlights of the Montreux Christmas Market, the real highlight is the market’s location. Lake Geneva is the largest, most picturesque lake in Switzerland. From the Montreux Christmas Market, you can look out across Lake Geneva and see the snow-topped French Alps. If you time it so that way you’re at the market just before 5 p.m., the stunning lake and mountains will bask in the beautiful orange glow of the sunset.
Just after sunset, the vast majority of the vendors will open their log cabin-shaped booths up for the rest of the night (although there are quite a few vendors and activities that are open throughout the day as well). Most visitors don’t get to the market right when the vendors open, so 5 p.m. is the best time to visit to avoid the lines and an overly-packed venue. It is a wonderful Christmas market to visit on your holidays to Switzerland.
Basel Christmas Market
Arzo Nayel from Arzo Travels
There are two main Christmas Markets in Basel to visit. The Christmas Market at Münsterplatz . (just next to the main tourist attraction, the Basel Cathedral) which also includes a Fairy Tale Forest and which thus is the perfect place for families with younger kids.
The other main market is at Barfüsserplatz, close to the one at Münsterplatz, and felt like the biggest as it is right in the center of the old town.
You will find about 180 stalls (approximately) in both markets, and it is all about food, drinks, and Christmas gifts. Yes, mulled wine as much as you want. Okay, let´s not forget that Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, so, maybe not endless drinks if you are on a budget.
Eat your weight in sweets or hearty food (Swiss are crazy about cheese) and if you are there with the little ones, you can send them also on a Ferris wheel ride. The Christmas Markets are so cute and fun and so is to stroll the perfectly decorated and illuminated markets.
It is hard to name the top thing to do at the markets but just strolling, eating, and enjoying is probably a good plan.
Surely, the Christmas Markets are not the first things that come to someone’s mind when thinking about Switzerland but it is still amazing and the Basel Christmas markets are a must!
Tip: If you cannot get enough of Christmas Markets in Basel, also visit a smaller one – the Adväntsgass im Glaibasel which located in Kleinbasel and a little hidden gem.
Zurich Christmas Market
Sophie from Solo Sophie
Zürich is a beautiful European destination that’s often mistaken to be the capital city of Switzerland. However, in actual fact, Switzerland has no capital city! Instead, the Swiss Confederation, as it is known officially, has self-governed Cantons which convene in Bern. With this being said, Zurich is well worth visiting for any type of traveler; from the solo visitors to those looking for a romantic weekend getaway, the largest city in Switzerland is even more magical come wintertime.
Festive lights dazzle come nightfall and a light dusting of snow blankets the snow. And, each year, several Christmas markets are held at various spots across the city from the end of November until the end of December (the exact date varies year on year). Truth be told, the best time to visit is during mid-December when the markets are in full swing and you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy at least a little snow!
However, perhaps what makes the Christmas markets of Zürich so unique is not just the number of places where you can enjoy your winter warmer mulled wine or purchase unusual gifts for family and friends, but due to the fact that the different locations across the city are so varied!
After all, while the main market boasts dozens of wooden Bavarian-style chalets, is held close to the opera house, and even boasts a carousel, for those looking to escape the worst of the winter weather, the Christkindlimarkt (Hauptbahnhof Market) of Zurich Central Station is one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe.
It’s also in this indoor market (though wrap up warm as the breeze still whistles through the station) where a giant 50-foot tree dazzles with the glitter of thousands of Swarvoski crystals. And if you’re looking to go a little off the beaten path while in the city, you should also know that there are several smaller outdoor markets, including in the Niederdorf and at Werdmühleplatz Market
Top European Christmas Markets Conclusion
From the gorgeous coast of Italy to the idyllic hillsides of Scotland, there is a treasure trove of incredible destinations for a summer Eurotrip. Whether you’re looking for a beachside vacation, sightseeing galore or soaking up the incredible atmosphere of Europe in summer – there’s something for everyone.
One of the best ways to explore Europe and see many destinations in one week is by sailing away on a Mediterranean cruise. Do you have a favorite city in Europe?
If you are looking for some more Europe inspiration, check out:
- The Most Beautiful Cities in Europe You Should Visit
- Top Places to Visit in Europe in the Summer
- Top Souvenirs to Buy in Italy