13 of The Best European Christmas Markets
Europe is absolutely stunning this time of the year. With Christmas markets all over the cities, offering visitors the best decorations, food and entertainment. You will be wowed with impressive squares and medieval cathedrals serving as the backdrops of the markets. Find out some of the best and biggest Christmas Markets in Europe.
Cologne Weihnachtsmarkt Am Dom
If you love Christmas, then Germany is the place to go. The country is famous for its Christmas markets. In Cologne, The Weihnachtsmarkt Am Dom is a city wide favorite. Its is also one of the biggest Christmas Markets in Europe. Tourists and locals head out to the market to see it transformed into a Christmas paradise with elves, ribbons and an enormous tree lightning up the gorgeous Cologne Cathedral.
There are over 160 stalls to browse, with your cup of gluhwein in your hand. After wandering around the stalls, fill your tummy with a good Bratwurst then indulge yourself with the sweet mutzenmandeln (which are German beignets) or schneeballen (fried pastry balls covered in sugar)
Barcelona Fira de Santa Lucia
The Fira de Santa Lucia is a famous Christmas Market in Barcelona. Its has been in operation since 1786. The market is Catalans pride and joy as it celebrates their culture and originated as a celebration for Saint Lucia on December 13th.
The market has over 280 stands that offer anything from pine trees, nativity scenes, to the Tio De Nadal, a Catalonian Christmas figure. The market is more beautiful by night, when the lights twinkle all over the streets, we recommend wandering around and trying the some turron, which is a traditional nougat.
Strasbourg Christmas Market - Christkindelsmarik
The self proclaimed capital of Christmas, The Strasbourg Christmas Markets has been held since 1570 and is known as one of the Best European Christmas Markets. Set around the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame de Strasbourg, The Strasbourg Christmas Market attracts thousands of visitors looking for the perfect gift, and indulging in their Christmas treats along the way.
You can enjoy perusing 300+ chalets spread across 12 parts in the city. From bretzels (bread pretzels) to bredeles (butter cookies in star shapes), they are an abundance of sweets and you should enjoy. We also recommend the fois gras sandwich or the kouglof, a brioche bread with raisins and almonds are baked into it. When you’re ready for a drink grab yourself a warm cup of vin chaud, which is the local mulled wine.
Budapest Christmas Market
If you want that nostalgic feeling of Christmas in simpler times, head to Budapest. The Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square is rich in tradition as it is one of the oldest markets in Hungary, and the square is surrounded by buildings from the 19th century. The holidays start early in the city with the celebration of Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th) and the market stalls are open in mid November.
If you are looking for a special gift, the market offers thousands of handmade items, from the classical wooden toys to more elaborated hand painted glass ornaments.
However, this market really excels when it comes to food. You must try a kurtoskalacs or otherwise known as a chimney cake. A kurtoskalacs is made by wrapping dough around a pole, baking it, then coating in sugar and cinnamon. If you can, find the one that are painted with nutella on the inside. You also need to try lagos. langos, a feast of deep-fried dough with various toppings. It should be crisp and you get the choice of toppings (usually garlic butter, sour cream or shredded cheese)
Zagreb Christmas Market
The best European Christmas market has been awarded to Zagreb, Croatia two years running. Advent in Zagreb takes place in dozen or so locations across the city. This makes it one of the biggest Christmas Market in Europe as well. To explore each and every one of them, you will need at least a couple of days.
Each square seems to have its own attraction, so pick up a dessert and wander the Old Town. Sample seasonal candies, sweet rolls, and sheep cheese dumplings.
London - Winter Wonderland
Set in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland is a seasonal sensory delight. The park becomes a winter wonderland. There is a Santaland, an ice skating rink and German beer hall. The options for food are endless, we recommend the churros that are freshly cooked than rolled in cinnamon or the mince pies. There are also some amazing day trips from London if you are in town for a few day.
Paris - Village de Noel du Trocadero
The Village de Noel du Trocadero is a beautiful Christmas market in Paris. This market is located at the Eiffel Tower. Paris comes into its own in winter, when it transforms from City of Lights to City of Fairy Lights. Here you can go ice skating and sip mulled wine while taking in views of the the Arc de Triomphe.
You have to try tartiflette, a warming winter dish made of potato, lardons, onion and cheese. It is usually served in huge dishes and will keep you warm on these chilly Parisian nights.
Brussels- Plaisirs dHiver
The Brussels Christmas markets is over 2km long with over 250 chalets selling all manner of gifts as well as delicious food and drinks. Making it another one of the biggest Christmas Markets in Europe. Beneath the gorgeous ferris wheel covered in fairy lights there a huge Christmas tree which was a gift from the city of Riga.
You will find the scent of chocolate wafts through the air. It will be tempting you to try best selection of delicious Belgian chocolates. You will find artisanal chocolate producers ready to have you taste their selection. If you are after something savoury dont miss the pomme frites. Pomme frites or as they are otherwise known, french fries, actually originated in Belgium. We can vouch they are top notch for at this Christmas Market.
The Dusseldorf Christmas Market is staged individually at various locations throughout the bustling city centre. For five weeks, over 200 huts decorated in Christmas splendour transform the city into a winter wonderland for the whole family to enjoy. As always the food and the beer is top quality. We recommend trying the Kasewurst which is a Bratwurst filled with cheese, the Schupfnudeln which is potato noodles or locals favorite Bratkartoffeln, a type of German fries.
Innsbruck Christmas Market
If you are thinking about a white Christmas, Innsbruck is the place to head! With over six markets location, 200 stalls and a 14-meter tall Christmas tree full of sparkling and glittering crystals this market must be on your list.
Vienna may be quite popular, but the snow covered mountains on Innsbruck are the perfect scenery for a winter wonderland making it one of the Best European Christmas Markets. Satisfy your foodie cravings with some tasty kaiserschmarren, a delicious shredded pancake usually served with nuts, cherries and plum sauce. To keep yourself warm, enjoy a cup of spiced tea, or the usual gluhwein.
If you are looking for some family entertainment, every afternoon they have wind playing at the Golden Roof balcony and life performances of fairytales.
With a mountain view on the brinks of Lake Geneva the Marche de Noel at Montreux is one of the most gorgeous Christmas Markets around Switzerland. With thousands of lights twinkling up in the sky, this is no doubt an Instagram worthy destination. In here you can enjoy over 160 stalls that feature artisanal gifts from gloves made out of sheepskin, to handcrafted nativities.
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, there is a huge supply of crepes and waffles .
And of course being Switzerland, chocolate is all over the place. If you want something more savoury, you can never go wrong with some fondue or raclette.
When it comes to attractions, there is Santass flying sleigh and a light show on the facade of the Montreux palace.
Prague- Staromestske Namesti
Pragues Christmas Markets can be found in both the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Pragues stunning architecture is even more breathtaking dressed up in beautiful Christmas lights. We recommend you try the suckling roast pig and deliciously sweet Trdelnik cakes.
Krakow- Rynek Glowny Market
Krakows Christmas Market is known as Rynek Glowny. The market square unchanged in layout since 1257. St Marys Church and the surrounding buildings dotted with stalls selling baked potatoes, roast chestnuts and stocking fillers ranging from handmade ornaments to szopki – Krakow’s famous nativity cribs.
Krakow is one of the cheaper Christmas market cities to visit. We recommend; the smoked sheeps milk cheese, warmed on the grill and covered in cranberry sauce or the kurtoskalacs.The kurtoskalacs or chimney cake is dough is wrapped around the mold and they bake in a rotating oven. Then they are finished with cinnamon and sugar. You end up with a delicate, tender interior with a slightly crunchy exterior.
Vienna- Schonbrunn Palace Market
Vienna has one of the oldest Christmas Market traditions in Europe, dating back to 1294. King Albrecht I granted traders the right to hold a Krippenmarkt in the city. Nowadays you can choose between more than 20 different locations.
We would recommend the quaint Spittelberg Christmas Market, hidden in the cobbled streets near the Museumsquartier, for its friendly atmosphere and artisan craft stalls.We recommend you try the vanillekipferl, which is a traditional crescent-shaped cookies dusted with vanilla sugar.
Vienna- Schonbrunn Palace Market
The Nuremberg Christmas Market is Germanys most famous Christkindlesmarkt. It is popular in fact, that more than 2 million people visit it each year, making it one of the biggest Christmas Markets in Europe. Try to head there during the daytime or any weekday and you will be able to enjoy and browse the more than 180 market in a little more peace. Make sure you try the famous Prune Men and blueberry mulled wine.