With the festive season fast approaching, there’s no better time to explore 12 of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Mulled wine, gingerbread confections and local handicrafts can only mean one thing: Christmas markets. It’s a beloved tradition carried out year after year, delighting adults and children everywhere. Visiting one is a great way to get into that holiday spirit, which is why we’re sharing with you 12 of the most charming Christmas markets in Europe.
1. Strasbourg, the unmissable
The annual Strasbourg Christmas market has been held in the city’s Cathedral Square since 1570. Besides being one of the most visited Christmas markets in Europe, Strasbourg’s is also the oldest in France. Browse the 300 wooden stalls and don’t forget to try Bredele, traditional Advent cookies flavored with aniseed, cinnamon or orange.
Open November 25 – December 24, 2022
2. Skansen in Stockholm, the historic
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum and also one of Sweden’s largest. Made up of 150 traditional Swedish houses, each is furnished and inspired by a different historical period. It’s the place for handicrafts, delicious foods and beverages (such as the famous glögg, a Swedish mulled wine) and to admire local artisans as they do some traditional wheat weaving.
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, November 26 – December 19, 2022
3. Brussels, the newbie
The Christmas Market in Brussels is one of the newest markets out there and is a perfect blend of tradition and modernity. For five weeks over 200 wooden stalls spring up around the city center, giving visitors and locals an opportunity to (re)discover the Belgian capital during winter. The event features a parade, ice rink, local delicacies and a Ferris wheel.
Open November 25 – January 2, 2022
4. Breitnau, the most atmospheric
Tucked away in the Black Forest, the Breitnau Market stands out for its spectacular location. Surrounded by towering fir trees, it sits under a 131ft-high railway viaduct, which when lit at night adds a wonderfully dramatic touch to the setting.
Open November 25-27; December 2-4, 9-11, 16-18 in 2022
5. Tivoli in Copenhagen, the brightest
Opened in 1843, Tivoli is one of the world’s oldest amusement parks. And while it’s charming all year round, it’s even more so during the festive season. Along with brilliant light displays, it hosts a Christmas market with close to 60 wooden stalls selling tempting pastries, hot drinks, crafts and more. And once you’ve finished strolling the market, you can also glide around the giant ice-skating rink or hop on some old-school amusement park rides, like the classic carousel, Ferris wheel, and roller coaster.
Open November 19 – December 21, 2022
6. Prague, the most markets
For lovers of Christmas markets Prague is the city of your dreams. The capital of the Czech Republic hosts several markets around the city every year. The two largest are held in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, but smaller markets can also be found in the Castle District, on Kampa Island and inside the Harvel Market. Visit the stalls filled with handicrafts and traditional sweets, and take home some decorations for your Christmas tree. If you get peckish, there’s also no better place to sample local street food.
Open November 26 – January 6, 2022
7. Valkenburg, the underground
This Dutch town is famous for its former marl quarries, where you can admire charcoal drawings and sculptures made from the same rock. When the festive season comes around these caves become the backdrop for the biggest underground Christmas market in Europe. Here visitors can peruse a huge selection of products both from Dutch and other European artisans.
Open November 18 – December 30 (closed December 25)
8. Luxembourg City, the most understated
For some reason Luxembourg City is not as well known compared to its continental counterparts, making it a much less popular travel destination. But its Christmas market is one of Europe’s best. Here, you’ll be able to indulge in mulled wine, tasty local delights like sausages and potato pancakes, toys, and decorations against the backdrop of a quintessential European city, complete with cobbled streets and quaint architecture. Even better you’ll be able to enjoy it all without the crowds. Our tip: ride the Ferris wheel to get the best view of the city.
Open November 18 – January 1, 2022
9. Tallinn, the most welcoming
For six weeks of the year, you can enjoy a cozy Christmas atmosphere and Baltic hospitality in Tallinn’s Town Hall Square. As per the centuries-old tradition, a 15m-high Christmas tree is placed in the center of the square during the holidays. While you can shop for handmade gifts and meet Santa Claus, the market’s main drawcard is its fantastic food and drink. Classic foods include stewed sauerkraut with black pudding or a sweet cinnamon roll in the House of Sweets. Hot drinks are also readily available, with or without alcohol.
Open November 25 – January 8, 2022
10. Zagreb, the best
Not only does Zagreb have some of Europe’s most charming Christmas cityscapes, its holiday market is also well loved by both locals and travelers. In fact, European Best Destinations declared it the best Christmas market in Europe three times. This year the theme is toys, which is perfect for both kids and adults. If you haven’t already been then put it on your list. Go there to soak up that festive atmosphere, shop, eat, ice skate and have fun.
Open November 26 – January 6
11. Vienna, the living fairytale
Vienna is a true winter wonderland and its Christmas market, the Magic of Advent, looks like it came straight from a fairytale. Held in the City Hall Square, this cozy Christmas market brims with handmade gifts, festive decorations, steaming drinks, traditional foods and even a carousel.
Open November 19 – December 26, 2022
12. Winter Wonderland, London, the most Instagrammable
There are many Christmas markets in London, but the beautifully decorated Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is without a doubt the most photogenic. With a host of attractions, activities, entertainment, food, drink and much more, this winter village is the perfect place for a family day out. Want to experience even more of that Christmas spirit London is so famous for? Then join a Christmas Lights Tour and see the glittering decorations of Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street from a double-decker bus.
Open November 18 – January 2, 2022
Please note: The dates mentioned in this article may change due to the COVID pandemic. We recommend checking the official websites before visiting.
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