It’s hard to choose the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Europe. Almost every big city on the old continent has a fair dedicated to winter holidays and each one is special in its way.
These are places where the magic of Christmas is stronger than anywhere and where people of all ages gather to enjoy the most beautiful lights and festive ornaments.
Most Christmas markets in Europe extend over a long period, from the end of November to the end of December. So there’s enough time to visit not just one, but more such markets.
If you plan to tour the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe or visit some of them in your area, then the list below can help. Together with 25 international bloggers, I have compiled the list of the 26 most beautiful Christmas Markets in Europe. Time to plan some winter trips!
26 Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Bucharest, Romania Christmas Market
I couldn’t help not to include in this list a Christmas fair in my home country, one that I visit every year.
The Christmas Market in Bucharest is the biggest in Romania and is opened from November 28 to December 26. The fair is situated in the Constitution Square, right in front of the Palace of the Parliament, the second-largest administrative building in the world.
Visitors can have a lot of fun here. There is a large ice rink, a stage for Christmas concerts, a manger, a colorful carousel, and even a house for Santa Claus, where kids can come to meet him and receive gifts. Besides, visitors can shop in any of the 130 little houses full of surprises.
They can find decorations, hot chocolate, mulled wine, traditional Romanian food, toys, care products, and many, many sweets. The most popular sweet is the gingerbread in the shape of snowmen and reindeer, but pancakes and donuts are also much appreciated.
However, the Christmas Tree is the main attraction in the Market and is huge and beautifully illuminated.
Salzburg Christmas Market in Austria
Salzburg is known for so many things: where the Sound of Music was shot, the birthplace of Mozart and, the most amazing Christmas markets!
Nestled in the mountains, with a castle sitting atop the hill, during the month of December, the whole city is taken over by various Christmas markets spread all through the city!
Squares, usually in front of major churches, have Christkindlmarkts pop-up. Imagine hundreds of stalls opening up, instantly adding life and magical Christmas joy to the city.
These Christkindlmarkts are the best places to get some local handmade souvenirs if you’re looking to bring back some gifts. They’re also amazing because of all the local and traditional fare, from hearty meals to decadent desserts.
Plus, you can ‘rent’ a souvenir mug that you can fill and refill with mulled wine and apfelpunsch, a boozy apple drink. When you’ve had enough, you can return the mug and get your deposit back, or take the mug home as a souvenir.
By Carine & Derek at wediditourway.com
Christmas Market in Dresden, Germany
The Christmas Market in Dresden is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world, and it started already in 1434, which means that it has been ongoing every year for almost 600 years. This year marks the 585th time that the Dresden Striezelmarkt is held in the old town center.
Some 100 stalls with artisans and handicrafts can be found as well as a traditional food from Germany, including sausages and of course the famous glüwhein.
Striezelmarkt is also known among collectors of Christmas mugs since they have had this tradition for centuries with new mugs every year.
Striezelmarkt is popular among both locals and tourists from all over the world who come here, which makes it quite unique and not so touristy.
By Alexander at destinavo.com
Budapest, Hungary Christmas Market
One of our favorite European cities is Budapest, and we especially like visiting in the wintertime, as the city is host to some of the best Christmas markets in all of Europe!
A market you need to make sure and experience for yourself is the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market, the biggest and longest Budapest Christmas market.
Situated in the heart of the city, the market has tons of food vendors, craft stalls, and live music you can enjoy in the background. Snack on local Hungarian cuisine and check out the pieces from local artists – we always find some awesome gifts at his market!
Your holiday will feel extra magical as you enjoy some mulled wine under the sparkling lights of the city!
By Hannah & Adam Lukaszewicz at GettingStamped.com
Christmas Market in Tallinn, Estonia
The Baltic nations may not be the first area of Europe you think about visiting to experience Christmas markets, but after hearing about Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, you may be convinced otherwise.
The historic city of Tallinn springs to life at Christmas, primarily in the Old Town Square which is transformed into an idyllic winter wonderland, full of Christmas markets, decorations, and the iconic tree in the heart of the square.
Take a stroll to the Town Hall Square if you are ready to admire a fairy tale scene, particularly if you are rewarded with wintry weather which just adds to the experience.
Christmas markets offering locally handcrafted goods are available, but indulging in local festive cuisine (black pudding, sour cabbage, and gingerbread), and Glögg (Estonian mulled wine) is surely the highlight experience.
Christmas in Tallinn is an unforgettable experience, and perhaps when you visit Santa Claus at the Christmas market, your wish can be a return trip to experience this next year!
By Chris Boothman at abritandasoutherner.com
Belfast, UK Christmas Market
Every year from early November to late December, Belfast is all lit up with festive lights and Christmas baubles. And it all centers around the annual Christmas Market at Belfast City Hall, which makes a rather prestigious backdrop for Belfast’s interpretation of the better known Christkindlmarkt of continental Europe.
And it does feel a lot less ‘touristy’ and more local, although it does still host similar stall like sausages, and cheese raclette, and, of course. Glühwein (mulled wine) which is best found at the two central, heated beer tents.
Aside from the market, there are also more than enough things to do in Belfast on a short break, and the local bars and pubs are at their best through the festive winter months.
By Allan at bangorni.com
Art Advent Christmas Market in Vienna, Austria
In Christmastime, Vienna’s squares are transformed into the most beautiful fairytale scenes of wooden huts, fairy lights, and embellished Xmas trees.
The Art Advent market in Karlsplatz is no different in that respect, but it does have a few aspects that set it apart from many of Vienna’s other markets.
As you may have guessed by the name, it’s a market with a heavy focus on arts & crafts. And the organizers go to great lengths to ensure the range and quality of the stalls is second-to-none.
This, along with the dedicated kid’s area, creates a welcoming, homely feel that many of the other markets can sometimes be lacking. Plus, it’s just a fun and jovial atmosphere!
Located at the foot of the Karlskirche cathedral, the market is a stunning sight and a delightful place to while away an afternoon if you’re visiting Vienna in December.
By Nadine at lelongweekend.com
Christmas Market in Funchal, Portugal
The Christmas Market in Funchal is like no others! From the 1st of December to the beginning of January you can enjoy shopping in one of the best Markets we have visited.
Despite the lack of snow on Madeira, you can still feel the amazing Christmassy atmosphere. All at 22°C – not bad like for December!
If you are visiting Funchal, the capital of Madeira, during Christmas time, make sure you stay in the city around the 23rd of December. There is a good reason – Noite do Mercado! It’s a “Market Night” during which all residents and tourists flock to the famous farmers market to do last-minute shopping.
From exotic flowers, a huge range of local products to traditional souvenirs – all of that in one place – the traditional Christmas Market in Funchal!
By Darek at darekandgosia.com
Lisbon’s Wonderland Christmas Markets, Portugal
Have you considered a little sunshine and warmth with your mulled wine and Christmas shopping? Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, is perhaps not an obvious choice for Christmas markets, but the city is in full Crimbo swing throughout December complete with twinkling displays and festive markets.
We visited Lisbon with kids (aged 3 and 5) in the second week of December and there were Christmas markets at seemingly every main square.
But for the big one, head to Wonderland Lisboa at Parque Eduardo VII to go ice-skating, meet Father Christmas, an abundance of Christmas kitsch, and to ride on the festive Ferris Wheel for fantastic views.
Entry to Wonderland is free, but you pay individually for the attractions. Arrive early to avoid the queues. It’s situated right by Marquês de Pombal and Parque metro stations, and also on main bus routes, so very easy to get to.
By Jenny at travelynnfamily.com
Christmas Market in Malta
Christmas is a highly celebrated time on the island of Malta, both for its religious significance and traditional atmosphere. Festive markets are becoming more popular, and you can expect a multitude of markets located throughout, comprising seasonal produce, delicacies, gifts, and local arts and crafts.
Everything you would need to get into the holiday spirit. The main ones that worth a visit are the Valetta waterfront and the Sliema market, with plenty of Christmas, themed activities, caroling, and street performances.
The Piazza Tigne Market in Sliema, set up for the festive season, is always a highlight. Most local regions also arrange smaller village markets, for everyone to enjoy.
By Rai at araioflight.com
Copenhagen, Denmark Christmas Market
Christmas in Copenhagen isn’t complete without a visit to Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park in the center of the city. As the second oldest amusement park in the world, Tivoli takes on a new level of sparkle and charm come late November when it opens for the Christmas season.
Stroll along illuminated lanes, and under twinkly lights with a warm mug of tasty Scandinavian mulled wine, known as gløgg while you peruse the pretty wares in charming little chalets.
Find iconic Danish design, local delicacies, warm Nordic knitwear, and more at Tivoli’s own Christmas Market. And don’t miss the flæskesteg sandwich, a classic Danish Christmas time treat made with roast pork and crispy crackling, red cabbage and a tangy mustard sauce.
For something sweet, try some æbleskivers – round pancakes served with powdered sugar and jam.
By Erin at oregongirlaroundtheworld.
Basel, Switzerland Christmas Market
One of the best places to visit in Switzerland in December is Basel – because in Basel you’ll find some of the best Christmas Markets in the country.
There are a few Christmas Markets in Basel to choose from, and the two main ones are the Christmas Market at Münsterplatz and the Christmas Market at Barfüsserplatz.
Both are located in the city center and can be easily combined with a sightseeing trip. They are perfect for people of all ages – some carousels, a lot of festive decoration, and, of course, tons of food stalls. So, whether you are looking for something sweet or salty, you can eat your weight in some yummy snacks.
And while the kids enjoy some activities, the adults can enjoy the popular mulled wine. Both markets have, combined, about180 stalls – so there is something for every taste. And of course, you can buy last-minute Christmas gifts at the Christmas Markets in Basel, too.
By Arzo at arzotravels.com
Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany
Germany is famous for being the home of Christmas markets, and every town, big or small, will have one (or more!) to visit, but in my opinion, you can’t beat the stunning Nuremberg Christmas Market, if you want to experience a real fairytale Christmas!
The main Christmas market extends all over Hauptmarkt, in the heart of the Old City – the square houses market stalls year-round, but when Advent comes, cute wooden houses replace food trucks and vegetable stalls, and the scent of gluhwein and lebkuchen (gingerbread) fills the air.
Nuremberg Christmas Market is a great place to pick up Christmas decorations, wooden objects or foodie items, but if you fancy something a little more unusual, we recommend heading to the Sister Cities Market.
This is located just north of the main Christmas market, and it includes exhibitors from Nuremberg’s sister cities, like Verona in Italy, Shenzhen in China, and San Carlos in Guatemala. Naturally, you can also find some local street food from these cities, if you’ve had enough traditional German food!
By Margherita Ragg at thecrowdedplanet.com
Barcelona, Spain Christmas Market
Like other European Christmas markets, the Barcelona crowds are lively and large, food and drink are plentiful, and crafts are local and fun. One unique thing about Barcelona Christmas markets is the Catalan tradition of the Tió de Nadal or Caga Tió (Christmas log or poop log).
During the 14+ days leading up to Christmas, children keep the log warm by placing a blanket over it. Parents feed logs with small presents and sweet treats.
On Christmas Eve, children hit the logs with sticks and the log “poops” out the gifts. I hope you added, “buying a poop log” to your travel wish list and a Barcelona Christmas market is the place to fulfill that dream!
By Charles McCool at mccooltravel.com
Edinburgh, Scotland Christmas Market
The capital city of Scotland is well known as a top destination for travelers in the summer. However, if you visit Edinburgh at Christmas, you are in for a treat. The ancient metropolis oozes festive spirit and turns into a magical winter wonderland.
Most of the action is focussed around Princes Street Gardens, under the shadow of the Scots Monument. Here, you will find many rows of little wooden cabins selling Scottish and European culinary delights.
The air is thick with the delicious scent of Bratwurst sausages, spiced wine, and cider. Everything is decorated with brightly colored fairy lights, so be sure to visit after dusk to maximize the experience.
There are also some unique gifts on sale created by local artisans, the perfect Christmas gift for someone special.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, ride the Yeti, the Big Wheel or the jaw-dropping Star Flyer that takes you 60 meters into the sky (not for the faint-hearted!).
If you are with the kids, then there are plenty of less terrifying options, including the Helter Skelter and the Santa Train.
By Gillian at scotlandbucketlist.com
Strasbourg, France Christmas Market
The serene and quaint town of Strasbourg, located in the Northwest Alsace region of France, feels like it is straight out of a fairytale! With a river running through the center of town, lined with old and slanting half-timber houses with pitched roofs, you could easily see Belle running through the streets with her nose in a book!
This beautiful town gets even more magical as the holiday season approaches! The Strasbourg Christmas Market is believed to be the oldest Christmas market in Europe, with records of it dating back to the 1500s.
Strasbourg is known as La Capitale de Noel or The Capital of Christmas. Guaranteed, Christmas markets must have been quite different 500 years ago, but today you’ll find stalls full of beautiful handmade Christmas crafts, mulled wine, spices, traditional Alsacian foods, toys, and more!
Be sure to wander over to Petit France to see the adorable half-timber houses decorated for the season. As if the stunning decorations weren’t enough, the backdrop for the Christmas market is the huge and ornate Strasbourg Cathedral.
Every year Strasbourg hosts an international market where a specific country hosts several stalls. Strasbourg is one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe that you cannot miss!
By Vanessa at iheartfrance.co
Christmas Market in Bruges, Belgium
If you believe in eateries, magic, and fairies, one of the best Christmas markets in Europe is in Markt, Bruges. There’s nothing that says Winter quite like the scent of Belgian waffles wafting through the crisp, clean air, and seeing everyone walk along with a glass of mulled wine in their hand.
One of the things to do in Bruges, Belgium at the Christmas markets is to enjoy the historic architecture, watch the people and walk through its stunning piazza.
There is also an abundance of quality artisan chocolate stores, restaurants that are known for their Flemish stew, bread, and mussels, and if that’s not enough don’t forget to grab flavored Belgian beer to hit the sweet notes, and bring on the Christmas cheer.
By Pashmina at thegonegoat.com
Christmas Market in Konstanz, Germany
Officially, the Christmas market in Konstanz, Germany is known as “Weihnachsmarkt am See”. This is quite an appropriate name, as it means “Christmas Market on the Lake”.
And, if you know anything about Konstanz, you’ll know that it’s situated on the shores of its namesake, Lake Constance.
The Christmas market doesn’t just take place on the shores of the lake, though. It even extends right out into the lake itself, in the form of a “Christmas ship” moored in the harbor!
In addition to lots of stalls selling local arts and crafts, the ship also boasts an ice bar with a 360-degree panoramic view of beautiful Lake Constance and its surroundings.
By Wendy at thenomadicvegan.com
Historical Christmas Market in RAW Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany
If you love themes and dressing up, this is the best Christmas Markets in Europe to visit. Not only does it have a unique medieval theme, but it also sells one-of-a-kind artisan crafts handmade by woodcarvers and blacksmiths, rather than your usual Christmas decorations.
You can even buy freshly baked bread from a bread artisan who kneads and bakes the bread in a wood-fired clay over, right before your eyes!
If that’s not enough, why not try your hand at some archery, knife and ax throwing or riding ponies.
Or if you prefer to sit around a toasty bonfire and sip glühwein, you can enjoy watching acrobats, jugglers and fire dancers perform in the evening.
Make sure to dress up medieval style to add to the fun. As a bonus, you’ll also get in for free!
By Chloe & Michael Smulian at nomadandinlove.com
Krakow Christmas Market in Poland
The Krakow Christmas Market is set in one of Europe’s most beautiful city squares, so even without the twinkling lights and delicious smells of cooking food, it would be gorgeous.
Add in stands selling everything from warm mittens to jewelry to wooden carvings to sweets, and it’s a magical Christmas market experience. You’ll also find the requisite warmed alcohol here with varieties including traditional wine, hot beer, and spiked tea.
Follow your nose to find the stands grilling up incredibly cheap yet delicious sausages and vegetables, or grab some traditional pierogi for a snack. Both options will help keep you warm as you stroll through the market and enjoy the scenery and Christmas décor.
By Kris at nomadbytrade.com
Prague Castle Christmas Market in Czech Republic
Sure, pretty much all Christmas markets are nice but imagine one in a fairy tale setting of the majestic Prague Castle. Absolute magic happened when the city of Prague decided to open up the Prague Castle grounds to a Christmas market a few years ago. The atmosphere there is like nowhere else.
The market can be quite crowded during the day, but once dusk falls, the crowds die down substantially. If you visit after 4 pm, you can combine a Prague Castle Christmas market visit with strolling through the famous Golden Lane, for free!
Allow extra time when visiting this Christmas market. The entrance to the Prague Castle complex is protected by security frames and often lines can form. I recommend you enter from the Old Town side, walking up the Nerudova Street or the Castle stairs (Zámecké schody).
By Veronika Primm at travelgeekery.com
Rathausplatz Christmas market in Vienna, Austria
The Rathausplatz Christmas market is the largest and most visited one in Vienna, Austria. It features about 150 different stalls selling Christmas decorations, handcrafted items, and of course, delicious Christmas delicacies.
This is the perfect place to indulge yourself with doughnuts, stuffed potatoes, dumplings, and other hearty wintery foods while warming up with a cup of hot apple cider or spiced wine.
But the magic doesn’t stop there. In the area that’s right next to the market, you’ll also find a big ice skating rink of approximately 9000 m²!
Along with all the illuminated decorations and other beautiful Christmas displays, it’s safe to say that the Rathausplatz Christmas market is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
By Or at mypathintheworld.com
Gothenburg Christmas Market in Sweden
Gothenburg is home to several Christmas markets, but Sweden’s largest is found at Liseberg amusement park. It regularly pulls in half a million visitors due to the large selection of Christmas stalls, amusement rides, and Swedish winter treats.
Being based in Gothenburg, the world’s most sustainable city means the five million Christmas lights that decorate Liseberg throughout the festive period, are all run off wind power, and there isn’t any single-use plastic in sight!
Liseberg is open daily from noon until 11 pm. There are 80 shops, selling bespoke gifts, handicrafts as well as traditional items. So ensure you arrive early enough to shop, enjoy the rollercoasters, see the daily ice ballet show, and squeeze in a trip to Santa’s workshop to meet him in person.
By Roshni at thewanderlustwithin.com
Ravennaschlucht Christmas Market in Freiburg, Germany
The Ravennaschlucht Christmas Market is like none we have ever seen before. It is held out in the forest just out of Freiburg underneath a 40-meter arched railway bridge. During the night, the arches are lit by lights that change from blue, green, red, and yellow.
It is a great effect but it is even more amazing when a train is traveling over the top of it! The stalls are all set around the bottom of the bridge, with fires where you can warm yourself with an amazing cup of Ghluwein (hot mulled wine) or a sausage cooked from one of the vendors.
Being out in the forest can get very cold, so you will need to dress well and stop by the fire occasionally.
By Bec Wyld at wyldfamilytravel.com
Tuileries Christmas Market in Paris, France
The Tuileries Christmas Market is one of the biggest Christmas Markets in Paris. This Christmas Market is only two years old, and it replaces the famous Christmas Market in Champs Elysées.
The Tuileries Christmas Market is located in the iconic Tuileries Gardens, in the first Arrondissement in Paris. It is near the Louvre Museum so it can be the perfect stroll in the fresh air after your visit to the Louvre.
The Tuileries Christmas Market consists of more than 100 wooden chalets offering great ideas for your Christmas gifts. The Market is also the perfect place to taste Christmas foods and drinks like nougat, traditional Christmas sweets or mulled wine.
Apart from the chalets, there are different rides for kids and adults, a Ferris wheel and an ice-skating rink so it is perfect for an afternoon of fun with the family.
Don’t miss the Tuileries Christmas Market in Paris! This year, it is open from 15 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
By Elisa at worldinparis.com
Wroclaw Christmas Market in Poland
A secret gem that most of the travel community has not seen is the Wroclaw Christmas Market which is the best in Europe. Perhaps a lesser-known market compared to its counterparts in Munich, Hamburg, and Krakow, Wroclaw provides more of a magical experience, perhaps due to the lack of crowds that can easily dull the charm of a location.
Within the biggest market in Poland, you will have enough space to take in the authentic vibes that the quaint, wooden stalls sprawled all over the Rynek Market Square, Plac Solny, and the streets of Olawska and Swidnicka.
Here, the traditional Christmas parade and a parade of dwarves are held on the 9th of December and the 16th of December, respectively.
A walk around the market will reveal attractions that only appear in storybooks, like the 3-story fairytale house at the center of the market and the enchanted fairy woods where animatronic characters tell classic tales to children as they walk by.
The Wroclaw market is also the best place to taste Polish cuisine, from their famous cheese, oscypek, to their savory sausages and sweet pastries.
By Karolina at karolinapatryk.com