Discover the Magic: 32 of the Best Christmas Markets in Europe

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There are few places merrier than the Christmas Markets of Europe. Starting generally in late November and continuing until the New Year, these festive markets showcase historic charm, culinary delights, artisanal crafts, and a magical atmosphere that delight visitors from around the world. 

Our guide to the best Christmas Markets in Europe explores both big hitters and lesser known gems across the continent. Use our interactive map to work out an itinerary, or plan a guided tour, to the most magical holiday destinations in Europe!

best Christmas Markets in Europe

History of Europe’s Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets began as ‘December Markets’ in Vienna in the late 13th century as a way for vendors to help the local population stock up on needed supplies for the winter months.  

The popularity allowed for the markets to migrate into Germany as ‘Saint Nicholas Markets’ in the early 14th century and expanded to include items like toys, nuts, and sweets – usually given to children as Christmas presents.  

During the Protestant Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries, the term Christkindlmarkt or ‘Christ Child Market’ was used as a way to focus the markets more on Jesus rather than the Catholic saints. Most markets also included nativity scenes and coincided with dates for the advent season.

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the markets grew in popularity as did the items sold. The custom spread throughout Western Europe and into the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

1. Nuremberg, Germany

The Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Christkindlesmarkt, dates back to the mid-16th century and is thought to be one of the oldest markets in Germany. Located at the Hauptmarkt, or Old City Square, next to the Frauenkirche Our Lady Church, the market has approximately 175 stalls.

In a unique twist, the Christkind comes to life as a young woman with blond curls, a gold crown, and long wing-like golden sleeves. Not only does she open and bless the market from the balcony of the Frauenkirche Church, but she also walks around the market and greets the visitors.

Don’t miss the Schӧner Brunnen, a beautiful fountain built inside a Gothic church spire, near the north section of the market, which is opposite of the river.

There are two smaller Christmas Markets near the Christkindlesmarkt.  

The Kinderweihnacht, or Children’s Christmas Market, is located at the Hans-Sachs-Platz, a smaller town square to the southeast of the Hauptmarkt and along the river. There is a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, and a train. The smaller stalls are child-sized and have hands-on activities, like baking and candle making, and Christkind makes a visit to the Kinderweihnacht during many of the weekday afternoons.

The Market of the Sister Cities highlights the nearly 20 global ‘Sister Cities’ of Nuremberg as a way to maintain international ties. Many of the stalls sell products from those Sister Cities with the proceeds returning to those cities as a way to fund philanthropic projects.

2. Cologne, Germany

The city of Cologne, along the Rhine River, is home to several different Christmas Markets, all with varying themes, which attracts between 4 and 5 million visitors each year.  

Heinzels Wintermärchen is the Christmas Market dating back to 1820 and showcases the gnomes of Cologne folklore – the Heinzels. These gnomes were said to have done the housework at night so that their occupants could be lazy during the day until they were discovered by one of the local wives. 

During the Christmas season, the gnomes return and make appearances all throughout the market, located in the Altstadt, or Old Town, and extending along the walkways from Alter Markt to Heumarkt (just under a 1/4 mile). There is also an outdoor ice skating ring around the 100 market stalls.

The Christmas Market, or Weihnachtsmarkt, is located outside Cologne Cathedral, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Tomb of the Three Magi (Shrine of the Three Kings), and is the most dramatic of the markets. 

Along with its 130 stalls, the middle of the market has a large canopy of stringed lights surrounding a large decorated Christmas tree, which has German origins, and covering a stage where 100 musical performances and puppet shows take place. 

The Angel Market is located in Neumarkt Square next to St. Apostlen’s Church.  Here, visitors can see angels walking in the crowd as well as the Wintry Queen and her snow owl as well as fantastical creatures on stilts.   

fairy lights strung in trees and around buildings at night

3. Vienna, Austria

Vienna has hosted a Christmas Market since Duke Albert I of Austria granted permission in 1296 to traders and merchants to set up markets and sell their goods – like pottery, meats, and baked goods. Today, Vienna has almost 20 Christmas markets in and around the city.  

The loveliest Christmas Markets are within the Innere Stadt, or Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  

The largest one is the Christkindlmarkt at the Town Hall Square, or Rathausplat, in front of the 19th century town hall. With more than 150 stalls, festive decorations, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a skating rink, one can understand why more than three million people visit this market each year, with almost a million visiting from outside of Austria.  

There is also a Christmas Market located across the street from the Hofburg Palace. This smaller market is officially known as k.u.k. Weihnachtsmarkt (k.u.k is an abbreviation for the Austrian words for imperial and royal given its location) and has approximately 50 stalls that are all white, likely matching the architecture of the palatial complex.

Another stop is the smaller Stephansplatz Christmas Market near St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its nearly 40 stalls.  Since most markets were typically set up year-round in areas adjacent to a cathedral and as a place for vendors to sell their goods to religious pilgrims, this market most likely resembles a traditional one.

A little further away (30 minutes by train) to the southwest of Innere Stadt is the Christmas Market at the Schӧnbrunn Palace. Located in front of the summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs, this market has approximately 75 stalls showcasing not only Austrian delicacies and goods but also a bit of Hungarian flavor as an homage to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There is also a large decorated Christmas tree with musical performances each day and children’s activities.  

4. Brussels, Belgium

The Brussels Christmas Market, known as Winter Wonders or Plaisirs d’Hiver in French, is a vibrant and enchanting event held annually in the heart of Belgium’s capital.

This festive market, which usually runs from late November to early January, transforms the city into a winter wonderland. Stalls brimming with artisanal crafts, holiday treats, and unique gifts line the streets, while the aroma of mulled wine and Belgian waffles fills the air.

Highlights include the Grand Place, beautifully illuminated with a dazzling light and sound show, an ice skating rink, and a grand Christmas tree. The market also features a large Ferris wheel, offering spectacular views of the city’s festive lights.

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5. Berlin, Germany

Berlin’s Christmas Markets are a quintessential part of the city’s festive season, drawing locals and tourists alike into a celebration of holiday cheer. With over 80 markets spread across the city, each offering its unique charm, Berlin becomes a wonderland of lights, aromas, and merriment from late November through December.

The WeihnachtsZauber Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most renowned, set against the stunning backdrop of historical architecture, featuring high-quality crafts and gourmet treats. The market at Alexanderplatz offers a more modern take with an array of rides, an ice rink, and a large Christmas pyramid.

Meanwhile, the Charlottenburg Palace market provides a romantic and historical ambiance, with its stunningly illuminated palace and traditional wooden stalls. Whether sipping on glühwein, browsing handcrafted ornaments, or enjoying festive performances, Berlin’s Christmas Markets offer a magical and diverse holiday experience that captures the spirit of the season.

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, is renowned for its charm and history, and during the Christmas season, it transforms into a captivating wonderland. The city’s Christmas markets, known locally as julemarkeder, are a beloved tradition that take place from late November through December.

The Rådhuspladsen Christmas Market, located in Copenhagen’s bustling City Hall Square, is a festive centerpiece of the city’s holiday celebrations. This market, set against the backdrop of the historic City Hall, features an array of charming wooden stalls offering a variety of gifts, from handcrafted ornaments to traditional Danish products. The market hosts a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and often includes live entertainment, making it a vibrant spot for both locals and tourists to immerse themselves in the holiday spirit.

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s famous amusement park, is at the heart of the city’s Christmas festivities. Each year, Tivoli transforms into a magical Christmas market that looks straight out of a fairy tale. The gardens are adorned with thousands of lights, and every corner is filled with the scent of mulled wine, roasted almonds, and Danish Christmas pastries. Stalls selling handcrafted gifts, traditional decorations, and festive foods line the pathways, while classic amusement rides operate with a holiday twist.

Nyhavn, the picturesque harbor lined with colorful 17th-century buildings, hosts one of Copenhagen’s most charming Christmas markets. The market here blends seamlessly with the historic surroundings, creating a cozy and inviting ambiance. Wooden stalls are set up along the waterfront, selling everything from handmade crafts to local delicacies.

Visitors can enjoy traditional Danish treats such as æbleskiver (pancake balls) and gløgg (mulled wine) while strolling along the cobblestone streets. The historic ships moored in the canal are often decorated with lights, adding to the market’s festive charm.

Højbro Plads, located in the heart of Copenhagen near Strøget, the city’s main shopping street, hosts another popular Christmas market. This market is known for its lively atmosphere and variety of stalls offering gifts, food, and entertainment. The central location makes it easily accessible and a must-visit for anyone exploring the city during the holiday season.

For those looking for a unique and alternative Christmas market experience, Christiania offers a one-of-a-kind holiday celebration. Christiania, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood known for its bohemian and free-spirited atmosphere, hosts a Christmas market that reflects its distinctive character.

boats in a canal lined with colorful houses, decorated for Christmas

7. Dresden, Germany

Dresden’s Christmas Market, the renowned Striezelmarkt, is the oldest and most enchanting in Germany, dating back to 1434. Located in the Altmarkt Square, the Striezelmarkt is named after the famous Dresden stollen, a traditional Christmas bread that takes center stage among the market’s delights.

Visitors can explore a myriad of wooden stalls adorned with festive lights and decorations, offering handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and seasonal treats. The market features a towering Christmas pyramid, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and a charming children’s area with rides and activities.

Additionally, smaller themed markets spread throughout the city, such as the Medieval Market at the Stallhof and the Frauenkirche Market, add to Dresden’s magical holiday ambiance, making it a captivating destination for holiday revelers.

8. Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg’s Christmas Markets, collectively known as Christkindelsmärik, are among the oldest and most famous in Europe, tracing their origins back to 1570. Located in the heart of Alsace in France, Strasbourg transforms into a festive wonderland during the holiday season, earning its title as the ‘Capital of Christmas.’

The main market, set around the majestic Strasbourg Cathedral, is a dazzling spectacle of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and the enchanting aroma of mulled wine and gingerbread. Visitors can explore hundreds of wooden chalets offering a variety of handcrafted gifts, traditional Alsatian products, and delicious seasonal treats.

Place Kléber, another key site, features the city’s iconic Great Christmas Tree, which is beautifully adorned and surrounded by a bustling market atmosphere.

Other notable spots include the Petite France district, with its picturesque canals and half-timbered houses adding to the market’s charm, and Place Broglie, home to the original Christkindelsmärik. Throughout the city, themed markets highlight different aspects of Alsatian culture and craftsmanship, creating a diverse and immersive holiday experience.

9. Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Christmas Markets, renowned for their enchanting atmosphere and picturesque settings, are a highlight of the city’s festive season. The largest and most famous markets are held in the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, where the historic architecture and twinkling lights create a magical backdrop.

At the heart of the Old Town Square, a towering Christmas tree, meticulously decorated and illuminated, stands as a focal point, surrounded by wooden stalls selling a variety of handcrafted ornaments, traditional Czech products, and festive foods.

Visitors can savor local delicacies such as trdelník (a sweet, cinnamon-sugar-coated pastry) and mulled wine while exploring the market’s offerings. The sounds of carolers and live music add to the festive ambiance, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Smaller markets, like those at Náměstí Míru and Prague Castle, offer a more intimate experience, each with its own unique charm and selection of goods. The Prague Christmas Markets not only provide an opportunity to shop for unique gifts but also to immerse oneself in Czech traditions and the joyful spirit of the holiday season.

large Christmas trees and market stalls in a square lined with historic buildings

10. Salzburg

Salzburg, famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for The Sound of Music movie, has had Christmas Markets since the late 15th century.  

The main Christkindlmarkt with its 100 stalls is located in the Old Town, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has an immensely picturesque quality along the Salzach River with the majestic Alps as a backdrop.  

Given the musical heritage of the city, this Christmas Market has choral performances on Tuesday evenings and instrumental performances on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

11. Florence, Italy

Florence’s Christmas Market, in Piazza Santa Croce, brings a touch of German holiday tradition to the heart of Tuscany. This festive market transforms the historic square into a vibrant holiday hub, with wooden chalets offering an array of handcrafted gifts, ornaments, and culinary delights.

Visitors can enjoy traditional German treats such as bratwurst, pretzels, and mulled wine, blending flavors of both Italian and German Christmas traditions. The stunning backdrop of the Basilica of Santa Croce, adorned with holiday lights and decorations, adds to the market’s enchanting ambiance.

Beyond shopping and eating, the market often features live music, performances, and a warm, communal atmosphere that captures the joy and spirit of the season, making Florence’s Christmas Market a cherished destination for locals and tourists alike.

12. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, held annually in the city’s picturesque Princes Street Gardens, is a festive extravaganza that draws visitors from near and far.

Against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle and the historic Old Town, the market boasts a delightful array of stalls offering everything from handmade crafts and unique gifts to delicious seasonal treats like Scottish fudge and traditional mulled wine.

The market is adorned with twinkling lights, festive decorations, and a towering Christmas tree, creating a magical atmosphere that captures the essence of the holiday season. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of rides, attractions, and entertainment, making Edinburgh’s Christmas Market a cherished tradition for families, friends, and tourists alike.

13. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn’s Christmas Market, nestled in the heart of its historic Old Town, is a charming and atmospheric celebration of the holiday season. The market, dating back to the 15th century, transforms Town Hall Square into a festive wonderland with its wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights and traditional decorations.

Visitors can explore a variety of handicrafts, Estonian delicacies like black pudding and gingerbread cookies, and warming drinks such as mulled wine and hot chocolate.

A focal point of the market is the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, often regarded as one of the first public Christmas trees in Europe. The market also features live music, cultural performances, and a cozy, communal atmosphere that reflects Tallinn’s rich history and warm hospitality during this magical time of year.

Christmas lights and decorations in a snowy square with a church in the background

14. Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp’s Christmas Market, situated in the heart of Belgium’s vibrant port city, transforms its historic center into a festive paradise during the holiday season. The market, centered around the Grote Markt and Groenplaats squares, dazzles visitors with its array of wooden chalets offering artisanal crafts, local delicacies, and festive decorations.

The city’s majestic Cathedral of Our Lady provides a stunning backdrop, enhanced by twinkling lights and a towering Christmas tree.

Visitors can indulge in Belgian specialties like waffles, chocolates, and jenever (Belgian gin), while enjoying live music and entertainment that add to the cheerful ambiance.

Antwerp’s Christmas Market is a cherished tradition that captures the spirit of joy and community, making it a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike during the holiday season.

15. Moscow, Russia

Moscow’s Christmas Market, held in the iconic Red Square and other prominent locations throughout the city, is a spectacular celebration of Russian holiday traditions. The market transforms these historic spaces into a winter wonderland with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and the aroma of traditional Russian treats like blini (pancakes), roasted nuts, and mulled wine.

Stalls offer a wide array of gifts, from handcrafted ornaments to Russian nesting dolls called matryoshka, along with local delicacies such as caviar and honey cakes.

The centerpiece is the stunningly decorated Christmas tree in Red Square, standing against the backdrop of St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin walls, creating a magical setting for visitors to immerse themselves in the festive spirit of Moscow during the winter season.

16. Basel, Switzerland

Basel’s Christmas Market offers a delightful blend of tradition, charm, and holiday cheer. The main market, held in Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz, features rows of beautifully decorated stalls selling handmade crafts, seasonal gifts, and delicious Swiss treats like Basel läckerli (spiced biscuits) and glühwein (mulled wine).

The backdrop of the historic Basel Minster and the old town’s medieval architecture adds to the market’s enchanting ambiance. Visitors can explore various themed markets throughout the city, each with its unique offerings and festive atmosphere.

From the illuminated Christmas tree to the sounds of Christmas carols and local traditions, Basel’s Christmas Markets provide a warm and welcoming experience that captures the spirit of the holiday season in Switzerland.

17. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm’s Christmas markets are a magical affair that transforms the city into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The main market, held in the historic Old Town, Gamla Stan, boasts charming stalls selling traditional Swedish handicrafts, handmade decorations, and a variety of festive foods.

Visitors can sample local delights such as pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies), lussebullar (saffron buns), and hot mulled wine while soaking in the festive atmosphere amidst the medieval architecture and cobblestone streets.

Skansen, the open-air museum and zoo, hosts one of Stockholm’s most beloved markets with a focus on Swedish folk traditions. Here, visitors can experience reenactments of Christmas past, indulge in seasonal treats, and shop for unique gifts amidst historical wooden houses and snowy landscapes.

Drottningholm Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also holds a market where visitors can browse handicrafts and enjoy the majestic surroundings of the royal palace grounds.

Throughout Stockholm, smaller markets pop up in neighborhoods such as Södermalm and Kungsträdgården, each offering its own blend of local specialties and festive entertainment. With its blend of history, culture, and holiday spirit, Stockholm’s Christmas markets provide a perfect setting to experience Swedish traditions and celebrate the joy of the season.

18. Lille, France

Lille’s Christmas markets, known as Marché de Noël, transform this charming French city into a festive wonderland each holiday season. The main market, located in Place Rihour near the city center, features rows of brightly decorated wooden chalets offering a variety of artisanal crafts, local delicacies, and holiday gifts.

Visitors can explore stalls selling regional specialties like Maroilles cheese, gingerbread, and mulled wine, all while enjoying the lively atmosphere enhanced by twinkling lights and festive decorations.

Another highlight is the Grand Place, adorned with a majestic Christmas tree and an enchanting light show that illuminates the historic architecture. The market here showcases more traditional French products and provides a picturesque backdrop for holiday shopping and indulging in seasonal treats.

Lille’s Christmas markets also extend to other squares and streets throughout the city, each offering its unique atmosphere and selection of goods. From the bustling crowds to the aroma of freshly baked waffles and the sound of Christmas carols, Lille’s markets capture the warmth and joy of the holiday season.

19. Rome, Italy

Rome’s Christmas markets, though not as numerous or traditional as those in some other European cities, still offer a festive and charming experience amidst the ancient backdrop of the Eternal City.

The main Christmas market is typically found in Piazza Navona, one of Rome’s most iconic squares. Here, visitors can stroll among stalls adorned with twinkling lights, selling handmade decorations, artisanal crafts, and seasonal treats like roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate.

Other notable markets include those near the Vatican, where visitors can find religious-themed gifts and souvenirs, as well as traditional Italian Christmas sweets. The atmosphere in these markets is lively, with street performers, nativity scenes, and often a carousel or other amusement rides for children.

While smaller in scale compared to other European cities, Rome’s Christmas markets still offer a unique opportunity to experience the holiday spirit in a city rich with history and cultural significance. Whether enjoying the festive decorations, sampling local delicacies, or simply soaking in the atmosphere, Rome’s Christmas markets provide a memorable way to celebrate the season in the heart of Italy.

elegant square with fountains and historic buildings full of market stalls at Christmas time

20. Budapest, Hungary

Budapest’s Christmas markets are a delightful blend of Hungarian traditions, festive cheer, and historic charm, drawing locals and tourists alike to experience the magic of the holiday season.

The main Christmas market is located in Vörösmarty Square, in the heart of the city’s downtown. Here, visitors are greeted by rows of wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights, offering a wide array of handicrafts, traditional Hungarian foods, and seasonal treats such as kürtőskalács (chimney cake) and mulled wine.

The centerpiece of the market is a large Christmas tree, beautifully decorated and surrounded by festive decorations that create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy live music performances, folk dancing, and other cultural events that showcase Hungary’s rich heritage.

Beyond Vörösmarty Square, Budapest’s Christmas markets extend to other locations such as St. Stephen’s Basilica and the Budapest Castle District. Each market offers its own unique charm and selection of goods, providing ample opportunities to explore and indulge in the holiday spirit against the backdrop of Budapest’s stunning architecture and historical landmarks.

21. Krakow, Poland

Krakow’s Christmas markets, nestled in the heart of Poland’s historic city, offer a magical and festive atmosphere that attracts visitors from near and far during the holiday season. The main market is held in the Rynek Główny, Europe’s largest medieval square and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, amidst the stunning backdrop of the Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Basilica, the market comes alive with rows of charming wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights and decorations.

Visitors can explore a variety of stalls offering traditional Polish handicrafts, handmade decorations, and local delicacies such as oscypek (smoked cheese) and pierogi (dumplings). The market’s centerpiece is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, often donated by different regions of Poland, adding to the festive spirit.

Throughout the market, there are performances of traditional Polish carols and folk music, creating a lively and enchanting atmosphere. Visitors can also enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides around the historic Old Town, adding to the magical experience of Krakow’s Christmas markets.

Beyond Rynek Główny, Krakow’s Christmas markets extend to other parts of the city, including Kazimierz, the historic Jewish Quarter, where smaller markets offer a more intimate setting and unique local crafts.

22. Manchester, England

Manchester’s Christmas Markets are renowned throughout the UK and beyond for their festive spirit and vibrant atmosphere. Held annually from mid-November to late December, the markets transform the city center into a bustling winter wonderland.

The main hub is located in Albert Square, where visitors are greeted by rows of festively decorated wooden chalets offering an array of unique gifts, crafts, and seasonal treats.

Strolling through the markets, visitors can indulge in traditional German bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, French crêpes, and a variety of other international cuisines, all washed down with warming mulled wine or hot chocolate. The aroma of roasted chestnuts fills the air, adding to the sensory delight of the experience.

Beyond Albert Square, the markets sprawl across several other locations in Manchester city center, including Cathedral Gardens and St Ann’s Square, each offering its own distinctive charm and selection of goods. The markets are adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, while live music and entertainment create a jovial atmosphere for all to enjoy.

Manchester’s Christmas Markets have become a beloved tradition, drawing locals and tourists alike to celebrate the holiday season in a joyous and communal setting. Whether shopping for gifts, sampling international cuisine, or simply soaking up the festive ambiance, the markets offer a magical experience that captures the true spirit of Christmas in this vibrant city.

23. Paris, France

Paris’s Christmas markets, known as Marchés de Noël, offer a delightful blend of French holiday traditions, festive decorations, and culinary delights against the backdrop of the city’s iconic landmarks. The main Christmas market is typically held on the Champs-Élysées, where visitors can stroll along the famous avenue lined with beautifully decorated wooden chalets selling gifts, ornaments, and artisanal crafts. Here, the aroma of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fills the air, adding to the festive atmosphere.

Other notable markets include those at Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Montmartre near Sacré-Cœur, and La Défense, each offering its unique charm and selection of goods. Visitors can sample French delicacies such as crêpes, foie gras, and oysters, alongside traditional holiday treats like pain d’épices (gingerbread) and bûche de Noël (Yule log cake).

Parisian Christmas markets also feature entertainment such as live music, street performances, and carol singing, creating a joyful ambiance for locals and tourists alike. The markets are adorned with sparkling lights, festive decorations, and often include a carousel or other amusement rides for children, making them a favorite destination for families during the holiday season.

With its enchanting atmosphere, cultural offerings, and gastronomic delights, Paris’s Christmas markets provide a magical way to experience the warmth and spirit of the season in the heart of the City of Light.

24. Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt’s Christmas Markets, known as Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt are among Germany’s oldest and most traditional, dating back to 1393. The main market is held in the historic Römerberg square, surrounded by medieval half-timbered houses and the iconic Römer City Hall. Here, visitors are greeted by rows of charming wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights, offering a variety of handicrafts, decorations, and culinary delights.

One of the highlights of Frankfurt’s Christmas Market is the stunning Christmas tree, which stands tall in the center of Römerberg and is ceremonially lit to mark the opening of the market. The tree, often donated by Norway, is adorned with thousands of lights and decorations, creating a magical centerpiece for the festivities.

Beyond Römerberg, the Christmas market extends to nearby Paulsplatz and Mainkai, where additional stalls offer a diverse selection of goods and treats. Visitors can indulge in traditional Frankfurt specialties such as bethmännchen (almond cookies), bratwurst, and apple wine, along with mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep warm during the winter months.

25. Seville, Spain

Seville’s Christmas markets, known as Mercadillos Navideños, bring a festive and vibrant atmosphere to this historic city in southern Spain. The main Christmas market is located in the heart of the city center, typically around the Plaza Nueva and Plaza de San Francisco. Here, visitors can explore rows of colorful stalls adorned with twinkling lights, offering a wide array of traditional Spanish Christmas decorations, handicrafts, and seasonal treats.

One of the highlights of Seville’s Christmas markets is the variety of nativity scenes called belénes on display, ranging from elaborate miniature replicas of Bethlehem to creative and artistic interpretations. These nativity scenes are an integral part of Spanish Christmas traditions and showcase the craftsmanship and creativity of local artisans.

Visitors can also indulge in local delicacies such as turrones (Spanish nougat), polvorones (shortbread cookies), and churros with chocolate, along with regional specialties like jamón Ibérico and manchego cheese. The markets are often accompanied by festive music, street performances, and cultural events that add to the lively ambiance and holiday spirit.

Beyond Plaza Nueva and Plaza de San Francisco, smaller Christmas markets can be found throughout Seville’s neighborhoods, each offering its unique charm and selection of goods. With its festive decorations, delicious food, and cultural offerings, Seville’s Christmas markets provide a warm and joyful setting for locals and visitors alike to celebrate the holiday season in this enchanting Spanish city.

26. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki’s Christmas markets, known locally as joulumarkkinat, offer a magical and festive experience amidst the wintry landscape of Finland’s capital city. The main Christmas market is held in the historic Senate Square, where visitors are greeted by a charming array of wooden stalls adorned with twinkling lights and traditional Finnish decorations. Here, artisans and vendors showcase a variety of handmade crafts, including woolen goods, ceramics, and intricate glassware, perfect for unique holiday gifts.

One of the highlights of Helsinki’s Christmas markets is the Finnish food offerings, featuring local specialties such as reindeer meat, smoked salmon, Karelian pastries, and hot mulled wine known as glögi. The aroma of freshly baked gingerbread and roasted almonds fills the air, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The centerpiece of the market is often a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, complementing the neoclassical architecture of the Helsinki Cathedral, which overlooks the square. Visitors can also enjoy live music performances, choir concerts, and traditional Finnish folk dances, enhancing the cultural experience and holiday spirit.

In addition to Senate Square, Helsinki’s Christmas markets extend to other locations such as Esplanadi Park and the Old Market Hall, each offering their own unique charm and selection of goods. With its cozy atmosphere, delicious food, and rich cultural offerings, Helsinki’s Christmas markets provide a perfect setting to celebrate the joy and warmth of the holiday season in the heart of Finland.

27. Ljubljana, Slovenia

Ljubljana’s Christmas Market, or Ljubljanski Zimski Prazniki, transform Slovenia’s charming capital into a festive and enchanting winter wonderland during the holiday season. The main market is centered around Preseren Square, adorned with sparkling lights and colorful decorations that illuminate the historic architecture of the city center. Here, visitors can explore rows of wooden stalls offering a variety of handmade gifts, local crafts, and seasonal delicacies.

One of the highlights of Ljubljana’s Christmas markets is the traditional Slovenian food and drink. Visitors can indulge in local specialties such as potica (nut roll), kranjska klobasa (carniolan sausage), and medenjaki (honey cookies), along with warm mulled wine (kuhano vino) to ward off the winter chill. The aroma of roasted chestnuts and cinnamon fills the air, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

The market also features entertainment for all ages, including live music performances, puppet shows, and cultural events that showcase Slovenia’s rich heritage. Families can enjoy rides on the festively decorated Ljubljana City Train and take in panoramic views of the city from Ljubljana Castle, which is also adorned with lights during the holiday season.

Beyond Preseren Square, Ljubljana’s Christmas markets extend to other parts of the city such as City Hall and the Central Market, each offering their own unique charm and selection of goods.

28. London, England

Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park is a festive extravaganza that transforms the park into a magical winter retreat from late November to early January. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, the event features an array of attractions, including a giant observation wheel, an expansive ice skating rink, and thrilling fairground rides.

Visitors can explore over 200 Bavarian-style market stalls offering unique gifts, festive decorations, and delicious seasonal treats like bratwurst and mulled wine. The Magical Ice Kingdom showcases intricately carved ice sculptures, while the popular Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk provide entertainment for all ages.

Nearby, visitors can enjoy the cultural offerings of Kensington, such as the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, making Winter Wonderland a perfect blend of festive fun and cultural exploration in the heart of London.

people ice skating around a bandstand with a christmas tree in the background

29. Gothenburg, Sweden

Gothenburg’s Liseberg Christmas Market is a quintessential festive destination that captures the magic of the holiday season in Sweden’s second-largest city.

Held at the Liseberg amusement park from mid-November to late December, the market features over 80 traditional stalls brimming with Swedish crafts, gourmet treats, and seasonal decorations. Visitors can enjoy classic Scandinavian delicacies such as glögg (mulled wine) and pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies) while exploring the beautifully illuminated park.

The market also offers a variety of entertainment, including ice skating shows, a Christmas tree maze, and visits with Santa Claus. In addition to the market, Gothenburg boasts nearby attractions like the Universeum science center and the picturesque Haga district, making it a perfect holiday destination that combines festive cheer with cultural and educational experiences.

30. Bratislava, Slovakia

The Christmas Market in Bratislava, Slovakia, held in the city’s charming Old Town, transforms the Main Square, Hlavné námestie, and Hviezdoslav Square into a festive wonderland from late November to December.

Known for its cozy, intimate atmosphere, the market offers a variety of stalls selling traditional Slovak crafts, Christmas ornaments, and hearty local foods like lokše (potato pancakes) and kapustnica (cabbage soup). Mulled wine and medovina (honey wine) are popular choices to keep warm while browsing.

The market also features live performances, including folk music and dance, adding to the festive spirit. Nearby, visitors can explore the historic Bratislava Castle, St. Martin’s Cathedral, and the picturesque Danube River, making a visit to Bratislava’s Christmas Market a delightful blend of holiday celebration and cultural exploration.

31. Metz, France

The Christmas Market in Metz, France, is a dazzling festive event that takes place across several squares in the city center, from late November to the end of December. One of the highlights is the market at Place Saint-Louis, with its medieval backdrop and charming wooden chalets offering artisanal crafts, Christmas decorations, and regional delicacies like gingerbread and mulled wine.

The market extends to Place d’Armes, where a magnificent Christmas tree stands beside the stunning Gothic Cathedral of Saint-Étienne, and to Place de la République, which features an ice rink and a Ferris wheel providing panoramic views of the city. Visitors can also enjoy the Sentier des Lanternes, a magical lantern trail that illuminates the evenings.

Metz’s rich history and vibrant cultural scene, including the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the Imperial Quarter, complement the festive atmosphere, making the Christmas Market a must-visit holiday destination.

32. Bruges, Belgium

The Christmas Market in Bruges, Belgium, transforms the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city into a winter wonderland from late November to early January.

Set against the backdrop of the medieval Belfry and the picturesque canals, the market at Grote Markt features charming wooden chalets offering an array of festive goods, including handmade crafts, Belgian chocolates, and local delicacies like waffles and mulled wine. Visitors can wander through the Markt and surrounding squares, admiring the dazzling lights and decorations, while enjoying live music performances and seasonal entertainment.

The market also extends to Simon Stevinplein and the nearby Ice Rink, where families can enjoy skating under the stars. With its enchanting atmosphere and historic surroundings, the Christmas Market in Bruges is a magical destination for holiday shopping and festive cheer.

More European travel ideas?

Tips for Your Christmas Market Visit

  • It is a good idea to have some cash for smaller vendors who do not take credit cards as well as for using the public bathrooms.
  • Don’t eat beforehand! From spicy sausage to frites and roasted nuts to sweet treats, as well as mulled wine and hot chocolate, it’s a good idea to go hungry!
  • Many of the markets, even in the smaller towns, have websites and social media pages so that specific events can be researched while making final plans. Make sure to check the days and hours they are open as they will vary as well as any performances.  
  • The markets are open rain, shine, or snow. Many of the stalls have wooden awnings that will protect the visitors while shopping and covered areas to enjoy food and drinks.
  • Make sure to pack a waterproof coat, warm layers, hats, gloves, boots, and socks.  
  • Be aware that pickpockets frequent the markets. Make sure to wear your bag where you can keep a hand on it.
  • The markets are a more enchanting and festive experience in the evenings when illuminated by the Christmas lights. In mid to late December, German and Austrian towns have had their sunsets by 5pm, leaving you plenty of the evening to get into the Christmas spirit.

Europe Christmas Market Map

How to use this map – Use your fingers (or computer mouse) to zoom in and out. Click or touch the icons to get more info about a place, and click the arrow in the box top left to open the index. To add to your own Google Maps account, click the star next to the title of the map.

Organizing Your Christmas Markets Trip

Self-Driving

Use the map to work out which markets are close enough to drive between. Brussels, Antwerp, Lille, and Bruge are a great example and an easy trip from the UK.

Further afield, Vienna and Bratislava are close and can easily be visited by train from one another, meaning you only need one base.

Strasbourg, Basel, and Metz are a little further apart, but this would make a great winter road trip, with pretty Colmar and elegant Nancy making great additional stops.

Seeing the Markets by River Cruise

River cruises along the Danube and the Rhine are another way to see multiple Christmas markets. 

This 11 day Christmas Markets cruise along the River Danube will not only stop at the big hitters of Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest, but you’ll also get to see the smaller markets at Passau, Linz, and Krems where the smaller crowds make for a more relaxed experience and there is more opportunity for interaction with the vendors.

This fantastic Yuletide cruise along the River Rhine starts and ends in Dusseldorf and visits the enchanting markets of Koblenz, Rudeshiem, Mainz, and Cologne with an expert guide.

Other Organized Tours

These are our top pick of Christmas Market escorted tours in Europe:

Alpine Christmas Markets in Europe

9 Days from Munich to Zurich

Christmas Markets of Germany

8 Days from Berlin to Munich

Christmas Markets in Central Europe

7 Days from Vienna to Berlin

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