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25 of the best Christmas markets you need to visit in Europe

Europe Christmas Markets

Christmas at home is pretty great, but a Christmas in Europe is like no other. What other continent transforms its cutest cities and towns into magical holiday snow globes, all in the name of Saint Nick?

There’s a lot of debate around where the best Christmas markets in Europe are, but if we’re lucky enough to actually be at the Christmas markets, we’re all winners right? Twinkling lights, endless gingerbread, quirky craft stalls, live music, ice skating rinks – all you need to do is pick your favourite from our top 25 recommendations and get your mulled wine on all winter long…

Where is Europe’s biggest Christmas market?

As you can tell, Europe has a plethora of Christmas markets. But if you’re looking for one to completely lose yourself in, the Vienna Christmas market is where you wanna go. There are over 3 million visitors that step into the historic streets of the city to watch the twinkling lights over the stalls of handmade goodies, seasonal treats and the sweet scent of roasting chestnuts.

The close second happens to be the Nuremberg Christmas market in Germany.

Christmas decorations, German Christmas Markets

Image source:Contiki

Which European country has the best Christmas markets?

Gosh! Can you really choose? Every country has some of the most unique Christmas markets you’ll see – all decked out with traditional foods and handicrafts. But if you’re asking for the popular consensus, then we think the award for the best Christmas markets in Europe goes to…Germany! Glittery lights. Gigantic Christmas trees. Aromatic food stalls. A good ol’ pint of German beer – it doesn’t get more festive than this.

But another country that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Germany (or almost at least) is Hungary. Especially because of the St Stephen’s Basilica Christmas market in Budapest. Either way – no matter which country in Europe you’re in – Christmas will always be one of the best times to visit!

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25. Munich, Germany

Every time winter strikes this city, there’s magic in the air.  You’ll find an entire line-up of glittery stalls in Munich Christmas market (right in the centre of the Old Town). And if you want a very special postcard for Christmas, head down to the Christkindl post office for a surprise! And don’t forget to catch the extra magical view from St Peter’s Church Tower after sunset – it’s the locals’ best kept secret.

Christmas markets in Germany

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24. Colmar, France

If you ever wanna feel like you’re walking into a story book, the Christmas market in Colmar might be your calling. Picturesque settings. Alsatian flair. Half-timbered houses. Cobblestoned streets. They’re all about regional specialities here. You’ll find Alsatian wines, traditional pastries like Kougelhopf, and local crafts all lined up to get wrapped into perfect gifts for loved ones around the world.

23. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Looking for a sustainable Christmas gift? Head straight to Slovenia. It might be one of the smaller markets in Europe, but it certainly is a treat to the eyes, body & also our planet! The Christmas market in Ljubljana happens to be one of the most eco-friendly markets out there. You’ll find sustainable clothing, PLENTY of vegan & vegetarian food options. All of this with a backdrop of a gorgeous town. You bet Santa puts Slovenia on his ‘Nice’ list!

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22. Athens, Greece

There’s no end to the wonderful sights that Athens has to offer. Some historical, and some fun & festive. You’ll find the Athens Christmas Market guarded by the Parliament building in Syntagma Square. The luscious honey-drenched Loukoumades (Greek donuts) are something you NEED to try!

21. Stockholm, Sweden

If you’re gonna do the Christmas markets right, you might as well get as close to the North Pole as possible, and the Stockholm Christmas markets are an amazing choice. There are several to choose from in the area but highlights include a great tree at Bollnäs Square, DIY Christmas decorations and amazing foods like sugared almonds and marzipan at Skansen. Plus, check out the amazing crafts unique to Sweden for sale near the Royal Palace.

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20. Copenhagen, Denmark

The Tivoli Gardens are a riot on any day, but when Copenhagen gets its Christmas on, you’ll know why it’s one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Combine the infamously intense rides of this amusement park with new Christmas thrills. There’s a Christmas tree decorated in Swarovski crystals, honey cakes, roast pork and endless Christmas lights for a memorable experience at the Copenhagen Christmas markets.

19. Birmingham, UK

When you think about an authentic German Christmas Market, chances are you don’t think about the UK, but that’s what makes the Frankfurt Christmas Market in Birmingham that much more magical.

As the self-proclaimed ‘largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany or Austria’, this gem in Birmingham’s Victoria Square has more than 80 stalls of traditional German foods like delicious pretzels, schnitzel, weissbier and glühwein. Bonus – there’s a nearby Christmas Craft Market to indulge in some of the best homemade holiday goodies the UK has to offer.

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18. Krakow, Poland

A snowy and beautiful Christmas market experience is pretty much guaranteed when the North Pole comes to the Christmas markets in Poland. The big must-do is found in Krakow’s main square of Rynek Glowny. Famous for stunning antiques, hand-painted and hand made crafts, it’s a great place to pick up something unique for the holidays.

17. Florence, Italy

Another stunning city, another cluster of awesome markets. Florence’s shining market star is definitely in Piazza Santa Croce, which offers the best handicrafts and food with a German-Italian flair. Visit Piazza del Duomo for a stunning tree and nativity scene as well.

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16. Frankfurt, Germany

There’s nothing like the aroma of sizzling sausages and roasted chestnuts floating in the air on a chilly winter day. The Frankfurt Christmas market isn’t just about food and drink though – you’ll find artisanal crafts, music and a bunch of fun rides to keep you entertained. Watch as the twinkling lights take over the markets as you sip on some mulled wine. Sehr schön!

15. Seville, Spain

A lil’ bit of Christmas, a lil’ bit of Mediterranean sunshine – that’s why Seville Christmas market is the best of both worlds. Nativity scenes are a big part of holiday history in Spain but Seville specifically is one of the best places to find unique nativities to take home with you. Check out the Feria Del Belén to buy these amazing nativity scenes and Christmas decorations, plus enjoy some amazing food and tapas while you’re there.

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14. Cluj-Napoca, Romania

As the unofficial capital of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca is one of those cities that you’ve probably never heard of until you have, and then once you see what you’re missing you can’t wait to visit. As the highlight of Romanian Christmas markets, the Cluj-Napoca Christmas Fair has great skating, shopping, eating and concerts to give you the fill of holiday cheer, with a young and artsy vibe that’s a cool twist on the classic.

13. London, UK

Such a big and buzzing city should mean that the Christmas market scene is pretty epic. Well, no wonder London has some of the best Christmas markets in Europe . With several to choose from, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a favourite for many for its sheer size, karaoke, observation wheel and the biggest outdoor ice rink in the UK. Leicester Square is also an adorable highlight in the city, with a traditional vibe that feels straight out of a Christmas holiday movie.

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12. Amsterdam, Netherlands

The ‘Dam is full of Christmas cheer, and in true Amsterdam style, there’s more than one quirky Amsterdam Christmas market to choose from. Hit up Ice*Village in the Museumkwartier for epic skating, shopping and foodie finds like Dutch donuts called ‘oliebollen’.

Visit Winter Winterparadijs for curling, tubing and rides. Or go to the Amsterdamsche Kerstmarkt for all of the classics. Regardless, Amsterdam delivers on the Christmas goods.

11. Prague, Czech Republic

Too many options isn’t always a good thing, and that’s why Prague Christmas markets are ideal. Prague keeps it quaint and walkable with the two big festivities taking place in both Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Marvel at their beautiful big tree, enjoy endless trdelník cakes and some mulled wine and appreciate Christmas fun.

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10. Aachen, Germany

It may be the stunning cathedral backdrop; it might be the 6-metre-tall gingerbread men (!), but Christmas markets in Aachen are a surprising favourite for many of the biggest market enthusiasts. Wander around the Aachen Cathedral and town hall area for the best stalls and enjoy the local gingerbread (or ‘aachener printen’) and mulled wine.

9. Zagreb, Croatia

The Zagreb Christmas markets are best known for doing three holiday essentials very well: great ice skating, awesome street food and lots of live Christmas music. Gravitate towards either Jelačić Square or Tomislav Square for the highlights of this beautiful city in the wintertime.

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8. Brussels, Belgium

The Brussels Christmas market goes by the name of the Winter Wonders, and this epic festival pulls out all of the stops. There are more than 200 wooden stalls to wander through and all of the Belgian waffles and beers you could ever want. Check out the ferris wheel and the epic light and sound show projected onto the Grand-Palace. Plus they’ve switched over to reusable cups to try and reduce their litter levels, so you can feel better about every Christmassy sip.

7. Warsaw, Poland

If the Christmas markets in Poland seem to be punching above their weight on this list, it’s because they’re the surprising Christmassy underdog. Take Warsaw – a the big city that has mastered the art of the Christmas light spectacle and has decked out their best streets, gardens and squares with stunning light displays for the holidays. Come for the lights and stay for the chocolate, ice rinks and Polish Christmas carols.

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6. Berlin, Germany

Berlin is big, so it’s no surprise there are a ton of choices when it comes to Christmas markets – over 70 to be exact. For that reason alone, Berlin claims a top spot on our list and it also has many of the top ten Christmas markets in Germany. For a fan favourite, check out picturesque Gendarmenmarkt and its amazing fairy lights.

5. Vienna, Austria

Christmas Dream is beautiful and everything you’d expect from the Vienna Christmas markets. Located in front of the City Hall, it has all of the traditional and exciting elements like reindeer rides, a merry-go-round and nativity scenes, combined with a glowing heart tree and the advent traditions that make the holidays in Austria so unique.

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4. Budapest, Hungary

The ability to combine great Budapest Christmas markets with some quality time warming up in the Szechenyi Baths is SO appealing. But baths or not, Budapest does Christmas the right way. With the combination of Christmas and advent celebrations, the legendary chimney cakes available and great market food in general, Budapest just gets it. Hit up both Vörösmarty Square and Szent István Square for all the highlights.

3. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg calls itself the ‘Capital of Christmas’, and with the oldest Christmas markets in France and some of the oldest in all of Europe, they can wear that crown pretty proudly. This giant winter wonderland of markets features over 300 stalls and divides Christmas into different themes – ‘Magical’, ‘Alternative’ and ‘Family’.

Visit the Magical Christmas area for ‘bredele’ biscuits and mulled wine, an amazing Christmas Tree with lights and music and an ice skating rink – all found in Place Kléber. The Alternative Christmas area is focused on sustainability, recycling, local, organic and fairtrade items, and has its own alternative tree made of wood and LED tubes.

Lastly, check out the Family Christmas for tree decorating, elves workshops and lots of shows.

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2. Tallinn, Estonia

The capital of Estonia may not be on everyone’s radar, but the Tallinn Christmas Market has put Tallinn on the map. Taking place in the Town Hall Square, this is one of the most traditional-feeling markets of all and the star of the show is the historic Christmas tree. With traditions dating back to 1441, this tree display is thought to be the oldest in Europe.

Christmas fanatics will also love the chance to visit Santa in his house (sure!), mingle with some reindeer, buy local crafts and enjoy local Estonian holiday dishes like black pudding, sour cabbage and gingerbread. Bonus – this Christmas market runs into January to accommodate for Orthodox Christmas.

1. Paris, France

Because we really needed another reason to go to Paris… The snow, the lights, the beauty – is there any place better suited for the holidays? Christmas markets in Paris take celebrations to another level – La Defense is a giant paradise of Christmas joy. The Jardin des Tuileries Market brings the rides and good eats. The Forum des Halles is the perfect place for a Parisian holiday shopping spree. And all the while, you’re in Paris! Could life be any better?

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