Discover the magic of the best Christmas markets in Europe

Discover the magic of the best Christmas markets in Europe

Uncover the festive atmosphere in some of the best Christmas markets in Europe! Break away from the usual holiday routine with a visit to these must-visit markets. Take a short trip to fill in the lively vibes and kick off the holiday season just right. Whether you want to see beautiful architecture, buy unique gifts or decorations, or just try traditional food, we’ve visited many to bring you the best. Let’s begin!

Uncover the festive atmosphere in the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Image by Freepik

 

Berlin, Germany

It is a fact: Berlin is the most festive city in Europe for the holidays, with a long history starting in 1530. Not only that but also the city has more than 80 markets spread across, each with its own special theme and vibe—lots of stalls selling snacks and gifts, as well as live music from orchestras. A notable attraction is the Gendarmenmarkt between two cathedrals, which is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe. Once there, forget about the food, the true standout is the holiday spectacles, such as street performances and even choirs singing classical and gospel tunes.

Gendarmenmarkt between two cathedrals, which is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Dates: Oct 28, 2023– Jan 1, 2024

What to do: Admire the huge Christmas tree, shop for traditional crafts, and enjoy German specialties in heated and festively decorated tents.

We suggest: pretzels, reibekuchen (potato pancakes), käsespätzle (cheese nodles) and Kölsch beer or Glühbier (mulled wine).

 

Strasbourg, France

In eastern France and near Germany, Strasbourg has been part of both countries at different times. Perhaps because it has embraced the best of them, it is one of Europe’s prettiest cities, known for its impressive Cathedral and La Petite France area with lovely houses and canals. That makes it a favorite spot for tourists, especially on holidays. In fact, it is called the “Capital of Christmas,” as two million people visit it to enjoy its delightful market. For over a month, the city fills with a special atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else in Europe. It’s like a real-life nativity scene with 300 stalls in central squares and magical towns in the Vosges mountains nearby. It’s also famous for hand-painted wooden decorations and lights, a tree, and an ice rink.

Strasbourg is called the "Capital of Christmas."

Dates: Nov 24th – Dec 24th, 2023.

What to do: Enjoy the festive decorations, walk around the streets in La Petite France, and find unique gifts among tons of options. Feel in the city’s holiday spirit at the Christmas Tree in Place Kléber.

We suggest: baguette flambée, Kugelhopf (traditional Alsatian cake) Raclette cheese, Alsatian wine.

 

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Salzburg, Austria

Christmas markets in this part of the world are fantastic and definitely worth the trip. Feel the true holiday spirit of Christmas in Salzburg, Mozart’s hometown. Covered in snow, it is a baroque, romantic city that comes alive with renditions of Silent Night. Its Christmas markets date back to the 15th century, yet they retain their historic charm nowadays. Several places around the city hold Christmas unique markets, such as the hilltop market and the bustling Cathedral Square market with over 100 stalls, all of which are must-visits. In short, it’s a magical experience where traditions come alive.

Feel the true holiday spirit of Christmas in Salzburg.

Dates: Nov 23, 2023 – Jan 1, 2024
What to do: Enjoy daily events, especially concerts at 5 pm in front of the cathedral, singalongs from 6 pm to 8 pm on Tuesdays, and afternoon story readings for kids.

We suggest: gingerbread, hot chestnuts, and Glühwein (red wine, cinnamon, sugar, oranges, and cloves)

 

Copenhagen, Denmark

In this festive period, the city celebrated for its canals, cobbled streets, and historical structures, turns into some of the most captivating markets in Europe. Right in the city center resides one of the oldest theme parks globally, the Tivoli Gardens, which become Santa’s Village on every occasion. Tivoli Gardens brings the true Christmas spirit, with shows, fireworks, parades by the Tivoli Youth Guard, and enchanting music in Tivoli’s Halls. Other areas like Kongens Nytorv and Nyhavn also host similar markets.

Copenhagen turns into some of the most captivating markets in Europe.

Dates: Nov 17–Dec 31, 2023

What to do: Take a spin on the carousel, and be part of the tree lighting. Walk along the canal, and explore local crafts.

We suggest: roast pork with crispy skin, risalamande (rice dessert), and mulled wine or hot chocolate

 

Madrid, Spain

The Plaza Mayor Christmas market in Madrid offers a unique experience. While it may differ from markets in Germany or Austria, it’s still worth a visit if you’re in the city. Since the 19th century, it’s been a festive spot with beautiful candle-shaped lights and a hundred tiny red stalls selling everything like nativity scenes, ornaments, handmade gifts, toys, and jokes for Spanish April’s fools. It’s a great chance to buy handmade crafts and unique artworks from local creators like handcrafted Belén statuettes and unique tree ornaments. Likewise, designer and craft fairs take place there on public holidays too. This market is indeed a cherished long-waited tradition in Madrid.

The Plaza Mayor Christmas market in Madrid offers a unique experience as one of the best christmas markets in Europe.

Dates: Nov 24th – Dec 31st

What to do: enjoy live performances, and seasonal rides, and soak up the holiday spirit with fellow Spaniards.

We suggest: turron (a sweet block made from almonds and marzipan), roasted chestnuts, vino caliente (mulled wine)

Related: Where to Stay in Madrid: Best Areas

 

Final words on the best Christmas markets in Europe

Explore Christmas markets across Europe for an emotion-filled trip. Whether it’s France, Austria, or Spain, each one of them offers a magical blend of fun, traditions, and treats. But wait, the journey continues! There are many more places to explore, stay tuned for future articles as we venture into more.

 

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