Christmas is a magical time of the year, with twinkling lights, decorated trees, festive food, and traditions. There’s no place more festive during Christmas than a christmas markets, the perfect way to get into the festive spirit.
Best Christmas Markets in Europe
Christmas markets originated in Germany back in 1434, but now you can find them all over Europe. Snow-covered wooden chalets selling Christmas-themed goodies such as handmade gifts and baubles, traditional gingerbread, and festive treats. With that said, let’s dive in to find out the must-visit popular Christmas markets in Europe.
(Best time to travel 25th November 2023 to 1st January 2024)
Without a question, the food and atmosphere at the Brussels Christmas Market are among the best in all of Europe. The market, known as Winter Wonders, extends over two kilometers through the old town of the Belgian capital. Apart from being just breathtakingly gorgeous and resembling a Christmas postcard, you can enjoy wonderful food, Christmas music, and stunning lighting displays everywhere. Foodies will savor the flavors and scents of regional specialties including oysters. As well as fish grilled over an open flame, steamed snails, Flemish stew with fries, wild mushrooms, burgers, crepes, and an unlimited variety of local beers and genevers, the nation’s gin-based liquor. Needless to say, Belgian chocolates are everywhere.
(Best time to travel 19th November 2023 to 26th December 2023)
When Christmas time arrives, Vienna is aglow with lights. Icicles hang off enormous Habsburg structures as light pours out from vast palaces, making the snow-covered streets shine. Add in steaming drinks in made-to-linger coffee houses and you’ve got a city full of the festive atmosphere that doesn’t feel twee. Around the medieval town’s winding streets are numerous Christmas markets. These Christmas markets are with stalls stocked with handcrafted goods like homemade soaps and vintage wooden toys. Enjoy steamy cups of mulled wine as the energizing aroma of freshly baked pretzels and roasted chestnuts warms the chilly outside air.
(Best time to travel: 26th November 2023, to 6th January 2024)
The Croatian capital, which has a number of them scattered throughout the city, is home to one of the cheeriest Christmas markets in all of Europe. Being Croatia, Zagreb Advent has a strong emphasis on food and drink. While there are also artisan vendors and a sizable outdoor skating rink present. Start in the markets that fill the trio of parks in the lower town before joining the fun around Zagreb’s central Ban Jelacic Square. As you make your way to the historic upper town, you’ll pass more shops while also indulging in sarma (stuffed cabbage rolls), fritule (chocolate-covered holiday fritters), hot sausages, and local wines and plum brandy.
(Best time to travel 18th November 2023 01st to January 2024)
Copenhagen’s markets vibrate with holiday cheer as Christmas trees, ornaments, and lights provide a patchwork of festive color alongside market stalls selling wooden toys, ceramics, ornaments, and thick-knit clothing. Numerous markets can be found in the city center, but the Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market is Copenhagen’s lifeblood. A Ferris wheel spins in the pitch-black of nightfall, fairy lights are draped over barren trees, and a skating rink lures the daring. You’ll be surrounded by the joyous ambiance of a European Christmas market. Especially when you combine these flavours with the toasty scents of caramelized almonds. As well as the pleasant aroma of mulled wine spiced with cinnamon.
(Best time to travel 01st December 2023 to 22nd December 2023)
Finland, the land of Santa Claus, is one of the world’s festive countries. If you are unable to travel all the way to Lapland, Helsinki, the country’s capital, offers a variety of festive treats, which includes a trendy Christmas Market in Senate Square. Along Gift Alley, over 130 vendors have set up shop in wooden huts and are selling handcrafted goods from Finland such as himmeli decorations (straw geometric mobiles), pine and birch tar candles, carved wooden kuksa cups, and modern jewelry. Along with typical Finnish pastries with plum jam and gingerbread, visitors can indulge in the Christmas beverage Glögi. Glögi is a concoction of spiced wine, almonds, raisins, and occasionally a splash of vodka.
(Best time to travel 19th November 1st, 2023 to 01st January 2024)
With lavish Christmas light displays and magnificent Christmas trees, the Hungarian capital knows how to hold a market throughout the holiday season. Unquestionably one of the most stunning places in Europe to visit in December. Despite the chilly weather and little daylight hours, people nevertheless venture outside to enjoy the brilliant Christmas lights and the festive ambiance. Budapest’s Christmas markets in Europe, though, which are brimming with traditional handicrafts and mouth-watering snacks, are the city’s main wintertime draw. The exceptional karácsolyi vásárok in the Hungarian capital will make you feel at home whether you are in Buda or Pest (Christmas fairs).
(Best time to travel 17th November 17 2023 to 01st January 2024)
Europe’s Christmas markets resemble a scene from a classic Christmas tale, and Salzburg does not disappoint! Salzburg is a well-liked vacation destination all year round, and its Christmas markets will make anyone feel festive. It is well recognized as the location of The Sound of Music and the birthplace of Mozart. In the Alps, Salzburg is one of the best places to start your Christmas celebrations in Europe and before the holiday, it’s not a bad place to hit the slopes.
Prague, Czech Republic
(Best time to travel 26th November 2023 to 06th January 2024)
Postcard-pretty Prague is the ideal destination for the festive season which is stunning, with the twin spires of Our Lady Before Tyn from the 14th century on one side and the city’s renowned astronomical clock from the 15th century on the other. A glistening lake of holiday delight separates them. There are several gifts available, including frosted, hand-blown glass ornaments. The cuisine, however, is what will keep you there: hot, fatty sausages that have just come off the grill; fresh pancakes; garlic and cheese flatbread; all topped off with a glug of svarak, the local, citrussy version of mulled wine while the entire plaza is covered with cinnamon-scented air, which gives it a lovely aspect.
Best Known For?
- Brussels – local treasures, gifts ice skating, carnival rides, and sound and light show.
- Vienna – Skating rinks and traditional toys
- Zagreb – Fabulous food
- Copenhagen – Ferris wheel rides and Christmas hygge
- Helsinki – Piping-hot saunas, concerts, and live performances
- Budapest – The choirs, the singing, the music, the ice skating, and the tradition.
- Salzburg – Christmas carols and ancient traditions
- Slavia Prague – Open-air concerts and traditional nativity scenes
Christmas is almost here! In some of Europe’s most picturesque towns, Christmas trees are already decorated, and snow is expected everywhere. Every European destination is dressed with its finest decorations.
Now is the perfect time to discover the best holiday destinations for Christmas. Make sure to book a hotel and flight at the best price.