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European Christmas markets are as magical as no man’s business! Time when the streets are transformed into a winter wonderland.
Normally, most of these celebrations and preparations for the holiday season begin early on, usually in mid-November, with the baking of Christmas cookies, shopping for Christmas gifts, and going for Christmas concerts.
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Strolling through festively illuminated streets, taking rides on old-fashioned carousels, buying handmade Christmas decorations, listening to Christmas carols and drinking wine gives you just a hint of what the fun part of visiting European Christmas markets.
Some of the quick tips to have fun at European Christmas markets include:
- Hoping on public transport instead of bringing your car along because driving in the city can be stressful and parking is so pricey
- Bring cash to buy entry tickets in some places and souvenirs ASAP. Local handmade crafts are pieces you’d want to bring home from a European Christmas market
- Be safe when shopping and carry your wallet or purse safely to avoid pickpockets.
- Dress warmly because, in Europe, white Christmas full of snow is the thing. You don’t want the cold to spoil your treat.
- Spend at least 3-4 nights within the vicinity to see the city and Christmas markets, but you could easily spend a week. It’s even better around Christmas time of towards the New Year.
- Enjoy mulled wine. This is among the best drinks you can ever find at any of these European Christmas markets.
See The Contents
- 1 19 Most Epic European Christmas Markets For A Terrific Christmas
- 1.0.1 1. Brussels, Belgium
- 1.0.2 2. Trento, Italy
- 1.0.3 3. Prague, Czech republic
- 1.0.4 4. Frankfurt, Germany
- 1.0.5 5. Tallinn, Estonia
- 1.0.6 6. Lafayette, Paris, France
- 1.0.7 7. Vienna, Austria
- 1.0.8 8. Edinburgh
- 1.0.9 9. Milan, Italy
- 1.0.10 10. Tivoli
- 1.0.11 11. Galway, Ireland
- 1.0.12 12. Innsbruck-Tryol, Austria
- 1.0.13 13. Colmar, Alsace, France
- 1.0.14 14. Dresden, Germany
- 1.0.15 15. Bratislava, Slovakia
- 1.0.16 16. Manchester
- 1.0.17 17. Aachen, Germany
- 1.0.18 18. Budapest, Hungary
- 1.0.19 19. Amsterdam, Netherlands
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So if you have to discover Christmas in a whole new level, here we share 19 most amazing European Christmas markets. Christmas markets in Europe are second to none!
So you should make these most epic European Christmas market trips this winter!
19 Most Epic European Christmas Markets For A Terrific Christmas
1. Brussels, Belgium
Brussels is incredibly beautiful especially during Christmas: the streets and pretty squares spring to life with Winter Wonders.
A long stretch of snow-dusted market chalets, buzzing bars, pop-up restaurants and a ton of people grace the market.
When It Happens: For 5 weeks, from the 29th of November to the 5th of January.
Things To Do: Be sure to get a bird’s eye view from the top of the Ferris wheel or spin on the merry-go-round on Place Sainte-Catherine, go on an ice rink at Marche aux Poissons, enjoy the sweet chocolatey waffles and gluhwein, and also, shop for last-minute stocking fillers.
Also, see the massive Christmas tree at Grand Place and head to Xmas festival on Place Dumon in the Woulowe-Saint-Pierre District in mid-December.
Where It Happens: The Brussels Christmas Markets take place on and aroundGrand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marche aux Poissons.
There is also a huge indoor Christmas market on Place Flagey where you can purchase your souvenirs which could include original gifts and stocking fillers from craft workers.
Getting There: The easiest way is by Eurostar from St.Pancras which will take you into Gare Centrale(Brussels Central Station) via Gare Midi(Brussels South Station) in just over two hours. From there, it’s a short walk to Grand Place.
2. Trento, Italy
Did you know that Trento has the nickname ‘Citta del Natale’ (Christmas Town) during the winter due to its amazing Christmas markets which consume the towns central squares?
Want to get into the Christmas spirit?
Then be sure to visit this Italian Christmas market graced by charming wooden huts displayed at the square.
Apart from Trento being an amazing market characterized by handcrafts and amazing traditions, the market also promotes sustainability by promoting local products and using eco-friendly carrier bags.
When It Happens: From mid-November (23rd) to the 6th of January
Things to Do: Stroll between the strolls and but locally handcrafted goods and Christmas decorations, enjoy fine wine and spumante, local dishes in the best alpine tradition, pick up a Christmas train that takes you on a Christmassy trip, see towering Christmas trees and amazing Christmas lights.
Where It Happens: Piazza Fiera Square and Piazza Cesare Battisti Square
Getting There: Trento is a city in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Northern Italy, nestled within the Adige River Valley.
The easiest way is by flying into Verona airport and getting a train from the Verona Porta Nuova to Trento central station.
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3. Prague, Czech republic
A key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic is the Christmas markets, and the Prague Christmas markets are the most impressive in the country making Prague a Christmas paradise.
The Prague markets are lit up and graced by brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats.
When It Happens: 30th November to 6th January, including on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Things To Do: Go Christmas shopping and buy souvenirs like ceramics, jewellery, embroidered lace, scented candles and Christmas tree ornaments, enjoy local dishes like barbecued sausages and pancakes, enjoy mulled wine, see Christmas carol performances at the old Square and attend Christmas concerts.
Where It Happens: the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (a couple of minutes away from each other)
Getting There: The cheapest and quickest way to get to Prague is by bus transport
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4. Frankfurt, Germany
The Frankfurt Christmas market is one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany: the creative and vivid stand decorations, breath-taking festive surroundings, huge Christmas trees and stunning Christmas lights all combine to make Frankfurt one of Germany’s most beautiful Christmas markets.
When It Happens: 25th November to 22nd December
Things To Do: See the charming Christmas tree and enjoy the chiming of Frankfurt’s church bells, enjoy mulled wine and traditional marzipan candles, attend a major art exhibition in St.Paul’s church and Romer, and experience the whole German tradition altogether.
Where It Happens: Romerberg, St.Paul’s Square and Friedrich-Stoltze-Square
Getting There: Arrive by public bus transport
Where to Stay: Favoured Hotel Scala is very close to the market
5. Tallinn, Estonia
Christmas markets are the heart of Estonian winter holidays with strings of lights twinkling and people coming together to cheer the performances and enjoy the festive experience.
The Tallinn Christmas market, one of the most beautiful European Christmas markets (having worn the award of the best European Christmas markets), is a perfect touch of fairy tale with the Christmas tree being the star of the season, Christmas decorations and lights also gracing the atmosphere.
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When it Happens: 15th November to 7th January
Things To Do: Enjoy Estonian cuisine from black pudding to gingerbread, sour cabbage and hot Christmas drinks, enjoy merry-go-rounds and greet Santa Claus
Where It Happens: Town Hall Square of Tallinn
Getting There: Get there via a boat ride: the Tallink Silja, Viking Lane and Eckero.
6. Lafayette, Paris, France
Welcome to Lafayette, the heart of Cajun and Creole!
A place that is transformed into a winter wonderland throughout the months of November and December with a Creole and Cajun Christmas.
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From light shows to parades, home tours, performances, carolers and much more to do, Lafayette makes a great family getaway for Christmas.
When it Happens: 24th November to 23rd December
Things to Do: At Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, Christmas is abuzz with the department store featuring the traditional Christmas tree so be sure to enjoy the famous Glass Walk of the Galeries Lafayette to enjoy an obstructed view of the tree. This is your best spot to experience the Christmas festive.
Also, catch Christmas parades like the Sonic Christmas Parade through Downtown which marks the arrival of Santa, enjoy Cajun traditions like dining together, attending the Festival of Bonfires at St.James Parish, tree lighting ceremonies, carols and orchestras and attending the Cajun Christmas festival from the 15th November to 31st December.
Where It Happens: Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, Downtown, Lake Charles and its surrounding areas
Getting There: By train or bus. You can get to Galeries Lafayette Haussmann by Metro, train, bus or RER.
7. Vienna, Austria
Vienna will get you feeling festive because if you just look at the Christmas lights that grace the streets, you’ll be in awe.
Even more, its magnificent City Hall as a backdrop makes this market all the more stunning, giving it a charm of its own.
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When it Happens: 15th November to 26th November
Things to Do: Experience Vienna Christmas World by first marvelling at the Christmas traditions on the Nativity Path, ride on the historic carousel and have fun on the Ferris wheel, see the iconic and well-adorned ‘Herzerlbaum’ Christmas tree, go ice skating and warm up with a cup of mulled wine.
Also, go on a sightseeing cruise and enjoy classical music at the Christmas concerts.
Note: Be sure to also explore the popular Christmas Village Belvedere Palace to experience Baroque lifestyle and traditional handicrafts
Where It Happens: Rathausplatz, Rathaus, Maria Theresein Platz, Freyung in the Old Town Center and Baroque Schloss Schonbrunn.
The largest market in Vienna includes the Wiener Chriskindlemarkt and Weihnachtstraum.
Getting There: Access the market via public transport: the underground train will do. You can also fly to Vienna twice a week from Bristol to explore the market for yourself.
Where to Stay: Park Hyatt Vienna which has a Christmas market directly in front of it, Fleming’s Selection Hotel Wien-City, Pension Lehrerhaus, Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof Wien, Hotel Pension Excellence and Hotel Pension Baronesse.
Edinburgh’s Christmas markets will make you think that you just tumbled into a magical winter wonderland in the centre of a fairy tale city.
The magical explosion of twinkling lights, enchanting sounds, yummy flavours and lots of fun.
When it Happens: 16th November-4th January
Things to Do: Enjoy Christmas shopping at the Christmas markets, go ice skating, enjoy delicious food and drinks, catch the Edinburg’s Hogmanay (a fantastic torchlight procession, street party and spectacular fireworks display) on the 30th -31st December and be dazzled by the Edinburgh castle of lights.
Where It Happens: East Princes Street Gardens
Getting There: Get there via train (the Scotrail), Bus (100, 22,30,31 and 33) and light rail (T50)
9. Milan, Italy
During the month of December, Milan becomes home to a number of Christmas markets as well as the grand Artisan Fair.
The outdoor seasonal event with over 60 market huts spread around the magnificent city lights up with joy, traditions, culture and taste you’d want to experience.
When it happens: 25th November to 7th January
Things to Do: Experience the Alpine traditions of Italy, go Christmas shopping, catch the traditional Milanese Christmas tree, see the Sforza Castle in Piazza Castello, appreciate European crafts and enjoy local foods, attend L’Artigiano winter event in Fiera (30th November-8th December)
Where It Happens: Mercatino di Natale which is the largest Christmas market in the city happening in Piazza Duomo, Oh Bej!Oh Bej! Christmas market happening in Piazza Castello and in other smaller markets like Villaggio Delle Meraviglie, Banco di Garabombo and East Market Milano.
Getting There: it is easier to get around Milan via train. However, bus travel can come in handy if you’re working on a tight budget
Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark gets filled with glittering Christmas lights, cute wooden huts decorated with pine branches and snow-covered trees to create a perfect Nordic Christmas atmosphere.
Note: to visit Tivoli’s Christmas market, you’re required to pay the entrance fee to the garden.
When it happens: 16th November to 5th January
Things to Do: Go on amusement park rides to catch Santa Claus and his reindeers, see the beautiful Christmas decorations and lights all over, watch Christmas films in front of the fire, light the Christmas tree, listen to cheerful Christmas music and enjoy cosy dinner and lunches including mulled wine and mince pies, and attend the Fireworks festival from the 25th -27th of December.
Where It Happens: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark
Getting There: Tivoli Gardens is a few minutes’ walk from City Hall. You can also access public transportation easily from Copenhagen Central Station.
11. Galway, Ireland
The Galway Continental Christmas market becomes home to hundreds of thousands of visitors in the holiday season as the city centre is transformed with wooden chalets, theatrical delights and Christmas decorations and lights into a Christmas getaway.
When it happens: 15th November to 22nd December
Things to Do: Enjoy amusement rides including a 32m high big wheel and traditional carousel, attend live music performances, puppet shows, choirs and carols; feast on bratwurst, French pastries, pretzels, crepes and waffles, enjoy mulled wine, spend time with Santa and do Christmas shopping.
Where It Happens: Eyre Square in Galway City Centre
Getting There: The easiest way to get to Galway is by bus directly to Galway Coach Station or Ceannt Station.
12. Innsbruck-Tryol, Austria
Imagine the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree rivalling the glistening tiles of the Golden Roof, the aroma of freshly made ‘Kiachln’(farmer’s doughnuts served with sweet or savoury toppings) and mulled wine, the sound of traditional Christmas carols and traditional Austrian bands.
This is Christmas time in Innsbruck. Absolutely festive!
When it happens: 15th November to 23rd December
Things to Do: Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Christmas market with a mug of mulled wine, donuts and fruit breads, catch Krampus parades, and attend Advent concerts, go Christmas shopping for handicrafts, woollen goods and souvenirs, take a Christmas wonder walk down Kiebachgasse street and marvel at the Christmas lights all over.
Where It Happens: In front of the Golden Roof, in Innsbruck’s historic city centre
Getting There: Innsbruck is accessed via the Innsbruck airport, from where you can use a taxi or bus to get to the Christmas market.
13. Colmar, Alsace, France
Colmar is the city where the Christmas magic happens at its purest form. Indeed, one of the best European Christmas markets!
Here, you’ll be drawn by illuminations linking the city’s five Christmas markets that feature enthusiastic craftsmanship, old half-timbered houses and tons of Christmas activities to do.
When It Happens: 23rd November to 31st December
Things to Do: Other than marvelling at the towering Christmas trees and Christmas lights, be sure to listen to Christmas carols on charming illuminated boats sailing on the picturesque Venise District canal, enjoy amusement parks, taste local white wines and attend Christmas tours.
@IAmGeorgina in Colmar, AlsaceWhere It Happens: Place de la Cathedrale, just beside the Collegiale Saint Martin church. Other markets happen at Petite Venise for children, Place des Dominicains, Place de l’Ancienne Douane, Place Jeanne d’Arc and inside the Koifhus, the old customs house.
Getting There: There are various bus stations and train stations to make the markets accessible, Colmar-Houssen airport is also 3km from the town.
14. Dresden, Germany
Dresden features the oldest Christmas market in Germany, the Striezelmarket, among other the large number of Christmas markets in the eastern part of the country.
The blaze of lights, the scent of mulled wine and Christmas music spread through the city and welcome you to the festive spirit in Germany.
When it happens: 27th November to 24th December
Things to Do: Popular attractions in Dresden include Christmas pyramids and the Giant Stollen, also go shopping at the Dresden winter lights market, experience German traditions, eat Nuremberg sausages and drink Gluhwein ‘mulled/spiced’ wine
Where It Happens: The Striezelmarkt happens on the Altmarkt square in the centre of Dresden. Other Christmas markets include: Augustusmarkt happens from the Neustadter Markt through the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, Christmas market at the Frauenkirche happens in the Munzgasse, Neumarkt and Dresden Winter Lights Market happens on the Prager-Strasse.
Getting There: From Dresden Airport, access the city centre by local train or bus line.
15. Bratislava, Slovakia
After the beautiful autumn when the landscapes get all patterned with fall colours, the romantic festive season kicks in and the snow does not stop the locals and visitors to Bratislava from filling the streets and enjoying the season.
The magical atmosphere is also crowned with the smell of locally, freshly-baked goodies.
When it happens: 23rd November to 22nd December
Things to Do: Connect with glowing streets and Christmas trees, go ice skating, enjoy a warm cup of coffee, loksa (yummy pancakes), goose meat and mulled wine, treat yourself to homemade products and traditional souvenirs, enjoy a swing orchestra with a swing contest and dance school, and the most amazing Christmas tram.
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Where It Happens: The Main Square and Hviezdoslav Square in the city centre.
Getting There: You can reach Slovakia via air, from where you can access the city via public transportation. From tram lines, trolleybus lines and bus lines which are so affordable and convenient.
Manchester becomes a festive favourite when the streets are filled with bratwurst and gluwhein.
The award-winning Christmas market returns every winter offering an amazing array of mouth-watering delicacies, drinks and crafted gifts that you should not miss!
When it happens: 8th November to 22nd December
Things to Do: Catch the Manchester City lights switch on, explore Ice Village, go skating at the Manchester ice rink, enjoy mulled wine from a Christmas market mug( you can even bring a mug for a souvenir)
Where It Happens: Albert Square. Other Christmas markets are held on Cathedral Gardens, Piccadilly gardens, Exchange Square, New Cathedral Street, King Street and St.Ann’s Square.
Getting There: Hop on public transport and while in the city centre, you can access the market locations on foot because they are in walking distance.
There are trains, Metrolink, buses and the Manchester free bus to easen your movement.
Where to Stay: Jurys Inn Manchester City Centre, Novotel Manchester Centre, The Abel Heywood, Ibis Styles Manchester Portland Hotel, Manchester Mariott Victoria & Albert Hotel and Kingstreet Townhouse.
17. Aachen, Germany
Truly, Germany features more of the most epic European Christmas markets and Aachen also joins the list!
When the festive season kicks in, the squares and streets around the Cathedral and Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a Christmas paradise full of stunning lights, colours, festive sounds and inviting aromas.
The huge Christmas market becomes home for family and social gatherings as people rush in to raise their Christmas spirits.
When it happens: 22nd November to 23rd December
Things to Do: Children should enjoy amusement parks while adults enjoy mulled wine.
Where It Happens: On the large public squares around the cathedral (Dom) and Rathaus in the old town area.
Getting There: There are cheap flights to Maasricht Aachen airport.
However, if you have to get around the city, Aachen is on major transportation routes hence easily accessible by car, bus or train.
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18. Budapest, Hungary
If December festivities are your favourite, if you dream of enjoying mulled wine under the sparkling Christmas lights, then Budapest would be a great Christmas market to visit in Europe.
Besides the countless food stalls and craft vendors, you can enjoy free concerts
When It Happens: 8th November to 1st January
Things to Do: Marvel at the gorgeous Christmas tree at the St.Stephen’s Basilica market and Obuda market, go on an ice skating rink, enjoy local Hungarian foods like seasoned sausages, stuffed cabbages, warm doughnuts and Flodni (Hungarian Jewish cake) and enjoy mulled wine, attend free concerts and do Christmas market.
Be sure to also visit Roman sights like the Aquincum Museum.
Where It Happens: Vorosmarty Square, St.Stephen’s Basilica Market (the best) and Obuda
Getting There: You can always fly into Budapest from where you can hop on a taxi or the numerous public transport to get to the city centre.
19. Amsterdam, Netherlands
When the best days of the year are just around the corner, Amsterdam becomes an amazing place to visit so get you warm winter coats and head over to the best Christmas markets in Amsterdam.
Throughout the months of December, the Christmas spirit overflows in the Netherlands and the city is transformed into a winter wonderland
When it happens: 1st to 26th December
Things To Do: Visit Ice Village at Amsterdam’s Museumplein and go on an ice rink, go Christmas shopping at Amsterdam Christmas market, attend the Amsterdam Lights Festival and marvel at the streets decorated with Christmas lights, explore the famous funky Xmas Market and shop souvenirs and enjoy live music over a cup of hot chocolate, mulled wine or savoury dishes.
You should also visit Amsterdam Winter Paradise to ski and ride the Ferris wheel. Be sure to attend the Castle Christmas Fair from 28th November to 1st December and the Royal Christmas Fair at The Hague from the 27th to 30th December.
Where It Happens: Haarlem, Amstelveen, Leiden, Alkmaar’s Old Town, Vreeland, Lange Voorhout, Amsterdam’s Museumplain and Den Haag.
Getting There: Amsterdam Centraal train station is centrally located so it’s easy to walk to the markets, the Amsterdam Airport Express bus also plies the city affordably as well as the train.
There you go!19 most epic European Christmas markets for a terrific Christmas!
Travelling during Christmas? Which of these most epic European Christmas markets do you plan on visiting?
Please share your thoughts below…