Top 10 Christmas Markets in Europe that YULE want to visit!
I completely LOVE Christmas, it is one of my favourite times of the year. I have already expressed my massive appreciation and love for Christmas Markets – specifically my trip to the Munich Christmas Markets, I just loved the traditional Bavarian festivities!
Although Munich truly captured my heart during that trip away, there are so many other places in Europe that also have amazing Christmas Markets to visit and explore.
There is something so comforting and warming about the thought of bundling up on a crisp wintery night and arriving to see the twinkling lights of the market, ready for that mug of Gluwein to warm you up yet? The smell of Christmas Markets is also amazing, from German sausages to the fresh Dutch pancakes.
My other favourite thing to do at this time of year is to experience and explore a new city whilst getting to know their culture and feeling those Christmassy vibes somewhere away from home.
Munich got a whole post about it’s magical Christmas Markets so this post will be reserved for the rest of Europe.
These are easily my Top 10 Christmas Markets in Europe (in no particular order):
An unlikely choice for most people at this time of year, and even for me! It wasn’t icy cold but it also wasn’t particularly warm. It has been voted two times in a row for European Best Christmas Market, and we could see why! The streets and squares turn into these magical winter wonderlands which you won’t want to miss out on. There is ice skating and other activities, as well as so much incredible traditional food to try.
Known as the oldest Christmas Market in Europe, the Christkindelsmark began in 1580 and is dotted around this picturesque town, it feels just like a culture trip through time with live nativity scenes, advent concerts and live music. Strasbourg is so charming throughout the year but it really did suit the Christmas look, just a picture-perfect winter scene. You’ll find plenty of tradition here from the gifts to the food – my favourite food being the festive biscuit Bredele, they work as perfect Christmas ornaments for the tree when you get home!
A very well-known Christmas Market, the City Hall Square turns into a fairytale of sparking lights and beautiful decorations. There is something for everyone here, we even managed to sneak into some of the workshops for kids to do some traditional arts and crafts! There are many different Christmas Markets in Vienna which range in size and quality of items, and specifically what items are being sold. So ultimately you should explore each of them – it’s a hard call to make on which is ‘better’ because they all have such charm and definitely give you that tingly Christmassy feeling.
This place has an unforgettable atmosphere, with the medieval centre of Prague proving to be very popular during the Christmas period in the markets. I brought back as many Czech glass baubles as I could, thankfully none of them smashed on the journey home! Something I really enjoyed from this trip was Czech beers on this trip, especially when served with Klobasa (a barbecued sausage) and to finish off on a sweet note I’d grab a trdelnik (sweet pastry) from one of the market stalls. There is so much entertainment surrounding these markets from carol singers to school choirs. A real celebration of Czech culture and handicrafts.
Every night you can see the beautifully lit Basilica at the heart of the city. The stalls at this Christmas Market are filled with handicrafts as well as plenty of local art and culture. During the festive period there are a lot of cultural events as well as concerts in the Basilica which are definitely worth going to. Although the market is based in Pest district, we stayed in Buda district and got to walk across the beautiful River Danube to get to the markets.
I fell in love with the beautiful stalls in Brussels, as well as the amazing local delicacies – a Belgian waffle is a must, and the fries are amazing too! I tried something called ‘croustillons’, which turned out to just be sugar donuts, but probably the best sugar donuts I’ve ever had. Besides the great food there is also so much to do, you can’t miss out n the sound and light show at the Grand Place because it is incredible. A Christmas Market to me is incomplete without a skating rink but Brussels did not disappoint, and the toboggan slope was so much fun!
Somewhere a little closer to home for me but I’d read that it is arguably the ‘best in the country’…and to be honest it was the ideal place to go for a festive break. Manchester Christmas Market’s have been going since 1999 with over 300 beautiful stalls showcasing international food and beautiful Christmas decorations. There really is no reason not to put this on your hitlist of Christmas Markets to see. I was able to snag some cheap flights to Manchester which made the weekend away that bit more magical!!
Heading to the Netherland’s you are sure to find some hearty food and warming drinks at the Amsterdam Christmas Markets. These markets are the same you’ll find in the city throughout the year…but with bells on! Something not to miss out on when in Amsterdam during the festive period is the Amsterdam Light Festival, we took the Water Colours Canal Cruise and it was a beautiful experience. The lit up artwork as well as the history and culture our guide told us about made this part of the trip really special to us, something we won’t forget.
This is a favourite of mine. It is another excuse for Edinburgh to throw a massive party after the Fringe Festival buzz has died down. The markets are in Princes Street Gardens so it really is right in the city centre. With stalls packed with incredible food and amazing arts and crafts. There is also a children’s section, Santa Land, with different rides and activities for the little ones. The Christmas Tree Maze is a lot of fun, especially at night when the rope lights are the only thing to guide you! There is plenty to do in Edinburgh outside of the Christmas Markets, but I don’t know if you’ll need it with the carousels, ice skating and much more to enjoy.
One of my favourite cities in the world, with the exciting hustle and bustle of the crowds. Although I didn’t need to wrap up quite so much for these Christmas Markets it still felt very magical. The Barcelona Fira de Santa Llucia dates back to 1786, with beautiful stalls selling stunning arts and crafts. You’ll have no problem finding a trinket to bring home from the 300 stalls selling handmade decorations. The Catalan traditions can be seen around this time with crib scenes and even traditional instruments on sale at the market stalls. It’s a pity my suitcase wasn’t big enough for that simbombe.
So there you have it, my favourite Christmas Markets in Europe. I can’t wait to explore more Christmas Markets this year, both home and away. Just talking about these markets makes me want to open a new tab in my browser and book away somewhere!
I am an avid traveller with an extreme case of wanderlust. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t have a trip booked to look forward to! I’m ready to take on travelling the world and life as a newlywed. Engaged and planning a wedding and our dream honeymoon, all while trying to fit in weekend trips away in between!