The 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Christmas Markets in Europe

Hey there, fellow travel aficionados! Guess what time it is? It’s that magical time of year again when Europe’s most enchanting Christmas markets come to life. Having spent some time living in London, I have managed to make my way around Europe to explore some of these gems. Although snow is beautiful everywhere, I have to say nowhere quite does Christmas Markets like Euope. There is nothing like the smell of fresh gingerbread and mulled wine to signal in the festive season! From ancient traditions to Instagrammable vibes, here are the 10 best Christimas Markets in Europe worth booking your flights for!

Christmas Markets in Europe

When: November 24 – December 24

Fun Fact: Established in 1434, Striezelmarkt is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. It’s the birthplace of the world-famous Christmas Stollen, a delectable fruitcake with a history dating back over 600 years.

Imagine wandering through Dresden’s Striezelmarkt, and as you do, you’re stepping into history. This market has been enchanting hearts since 1434, making it one of the oldest in Europe. That’s right, your great-great-great-grandparents might have experienced this magic too. And the icing on the Stollen? It’s the birthplace of the world-famous Christmas Stollen, a fruitcake that’s been gracing holiday tables for over 600 years. You can even see a massive Stollen, usually several tons in weight, paraded through the city!

Now, picture this: The Striezelmarkt, with its roots in the heart of Dresden, exudes pure holiday enchantment. Baroque architecture, ancient charm, and streets aglow with twinkling lights – it’s like strolling through a fairytale. Every corner boasts handcrafted ornaments, artisanal gifts, and local delights. While you’re there, you can’t leave without a slice of authentic Stollen. And the bratwurst? It’s more than just a sausage; it’s a hearty, flavor-packed experience you’ll remember.

Vienna Christmas Market

2. Vienna Christmas Market – Vienna, Austria

When: November 13 – December 26

Fun Fact: Vienna’s Rathausplatz turns into a fairytale paradise every holiday season. This market’s been doing its thing since 1298 – yup, it’s got some real historical cred. Fun fact: It’s home to the tallest Christmas tree in Austria, covered in thousands of Swarovski crystals.

Vienna’s Christmas Market isn’t just a market; it’s a journey back in time. As you wander beneath the romantic lighting and the strains of classical music, you’ll feel like you’re in a bygone era. But this isn’t just about ambiance – it’s about the Arts and Crafts Market, a hidden gem filled with handcrafted wonders. And oh, the food – fluffy Kaiserschmarrn, a shredded pancake served with plum compote, and maroni, those irresistible roasted chestnuts, are waiting for you to savor.

German Christmas Market

3. Prague Christmas Market – Prague, Czech Republic

When: December 1 – January 6

Fun Fact: This unique market opened recently in 2019 and quickly became a beloved tradition. Imagine strolling across one of Europe’s most iconic bridges, Charles Bridge, amidst a festive atmosphere.

The Christmas Market on Charles Bridge is a breathtaking addition to Prague’s holiday charm. With the stunning backdrop of Prague Castle and the Vltava River, this market is a photographer’s dream. Artisans showcase their handcrafted goods, while street performers entertain the crowd. Indulge in trdelník, served with decadent fillings like Nutella, and experience the magic of a Christmas market like no other.

Festive atmosphere

4. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market – Copenhagen, Denmark

When: November 19 – December 31
Fun Fact: Did you know that Tivoli Gardens, the famous amusement park, was founded in 1843? Walt Disney was inspired by this very place when creating Disneyland. How cool is that?

Tivoli Gardens isn’t just a Christmas market; it’s an entire world of holiday wonder. Bursting with festive colors, it offers a delightful mix of classic amusement rides and traditional market stalls. Imagine sipping on glogg, a spiced mulled wine, while savoring some æbleskiver (Danish donuts). There’s an irresistible nostalgia in the air as you enjoy a carousel ride or, for the thrill-seekers, some heart-pounding rollercoaster action.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this magical Christmas market journey! Whether you’re hunting for the perfect gift, seeking a cozy spot for a date night, or indulging your inner foodie, Europe’s Christmas markets are sure to captivate your heart.

London eye at Christmas

5.London Christmas Market – London, England

When: Late November to early January

Fun Fact: London’s Christmas Market is an annual delight, held at various locations throughout the city, including Southbank Centre and Leicester Square, offering a uniquely British festive experience.

European Christmas Markets

The London Christmas Market offers a diverse and vibrant holiday experience right in the heart of the UK’s capital. Stroll along the Southbank, where you’ll find charming wooden chalets offering everything from handmade gifts to delicious international cuisines. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to sip on mulled wine, enjoy seasonal British dishes, and take in the iconic backdrop of the Thames, with some of the city’s most famous landmarks illuminated in the background.

The London Christmas Market offers a diverse and vibrant holiday experience right in the heart of the UK’s capital. Stroll along the Southbank, where you’ll find charming wooden chalets offering everything from handmade gifts to delicious international cuisines. While you’re there, don’t miss the chance to sip on mulled wine, enjoy seasonal British dishes, and take in the iconic backdrop of the Thames, with some of the city’s most famous landmarks illuminated in the background.

Christmas Market daytime

6. Tallinn Christmas Market – Tallinn, Estonia

When: Late November – Early January

Fun Fact: This market was the first in Europe to declare a counter on its visitors, celebrating the one millionth visitor in 2018. Tallinn, Estonia, is a well-kept secret when it comes to enchanting Christmas markets.

The Tallinn Christmas Market takes place in the heart of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The medieval square is transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring an enormous Christmas tree and a vibrant atmosphere. Explore the quaint stalls, try local Estonian black bread, and don’t forget to taste piping hot mulled wine with a hint of Estonian liqueur.

Christmas Markets at night

7. Brussels Christmas Market – Brussels, Belgium

When: Late November – Early January

Fun Fact: Its centerpiece, a 65-foot Christmas tree, is a gift from the city of Riga, Latvia, every year. The Brussels Christmas Market, or Plaisirs d’Hiver, is a dazzling spectacle of lights and fun.

The market in Brussels is a blend of tradition and modernity. Grand Place, with its opulent architecture, is adorned with twinkling lights and a towering Christmas tree. You can feast on Belgian chocolates, waffles, and warm Brussels sprouts. Explore the Ferris wheel for a panoramic view of the market’s vibrant colors.

Christmas waffles

8. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt – Nuremberg, Germany

When: Late November – December 24

Fun Fact: The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany’s most famous Christmas markets, has been making spirits bright since the mid-16th century. And here’s a unique tradition – the market is officially opened each year with a prologue performed by the Christkind, a young girl in an angelic costume, marking the official start of the holiday season.

This market is a quintessential German Christmas experience. Against the backdrop of Nuremberg’s medieval architecture, the Christkindlesmarkt is a sight to behold. Its iconic red-and-white striped stalls offer an array of handcrafted ornaments, Nuremberg sausages, and the city’s famous gingerbread cookies, Lebkuchen. As you stroll through the market, you’ll be transported to a world of enchantment, with festive decorations, wift of spicy gingerbread and mulled wine!

9. Bergen Christmas Market – Bergen, Norway

When: Late November – December 22
Fun Fact: Bergen’s Christmas Market is located in the heart of Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, and offers a taste of authentic Nordic holiday traditions.

Bergen, with its charming waterfront and colorful buildings, transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The Bergen Christmas Market is all about embracing Norwegian culture. You’ll find local artisans selling handcrafted goods, traditional Norwegian Christmas food, and plenty of gløgg, a hot mulled wine. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which looks even more magical in the winter glow.

Dutch Christmas Markets

10. Valkenburg Christmas Market – Valkenburg, Netherlands

When: Mid-November – Early January
Fun Fact: Valkenburg, a charming Dutch town, hosts a Christmas market in the Velvet Cave, an underground limestone quarry, creating a truly unique and atmospheric experience

Valkenburg’s Christmas Market is a journey below the Earth’s surface. Set in the mysterious Velvet Cave, you’ll meander through a subterranean wonderland filled with twinkling lights and seasonal decorations. Local vendors offer a range of gifts, and you can enjoy traditional Dutch treats like oliebollen (deep-fried dough balls) and Dutch hot chocolate. This market truly brings new meaning to the phrase “underground charm.”