Top Ten Christmas Markets in Europe

So many Christmas markets, so little time!

Winter in Europe is a truly special time and when it comes to the magic of Christmas markets, Europe definitely does it best. Surround yourself with snowy backdrops, beautiful buildings, twinkling lights, carol singers, and delicious aromas with our pick of the top ten Christmas markets in Europe.

Strasbourg view during christmas time

Christkindelsmärik was first held in 1570 and is still going strong today. With over 300 stalls in 12 locations around this beautiful city, the warmth and generosity of the Alsatian people make this market something special. The spiritual traditions of Advent are kept alive and well in Strasbourg. There are four incredible Advent concerts, a living nativity and a host of live music and cultural events.

When: From 15th November to 31st December

Liepzig Christmas market

Leipzig Christmas market dates all the way back to 1458, and nowadays has six locations in the historical centre of cosy Leipzig. With more than 250 stalls, covered in twinkling lights and offering trinkets, hearty fare and Glühwein, Leipzig Christmas market is one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in Germany.

When: From 22nd November to 23rd December

Christmas in Prague

Prague is gorgeous at any time of year, but the city really starts to sparkle at Christmastime. Wander through the city centre from Old Town Square to Wenceslas Square, stopping off at red-canopied huts for wooden toys, embroidered lace and traditional Christmas decorations. Czech glass baubles and ornaments are world-famous for their quality and beauty and make a great souvenir or gift. Fill up on barbecued sausages (kolbasa) and mulled wine and make sure you don't miss the nativity scene at Old Town Square, where kids can pet sheep, goats and the Christmas donkey!

When: From 3rd December to 4th January

Brussels view at night

Although Brussels is far from my favourite European capital, the city comes alive for five festivityfilled weeks at Christmas. With tempting aromas, colourful stalls, great gift ideas and loads of tasting sessions, you won’t know where to start! Glide around on the ice-skating rink with that special someone, enjoy the magical light and sound show or check out Brussels from above on the traditional Ferris wheel. All of these amazing activities enchant old and young alike and make this Christmas market truly unique.

When: From November 25th to January 1st

Edinburgh city view

The European Christmas Market once again returns to East Princes St Gardens and offers a whole host of bespoke and traditional Christmas items! The romantic Christmas Market in the heart of the City of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience to every visitor with arts and crafts, gift shops and gastronomic surprises. As always, the Scots know how to throw a party, so this is probably one of the best places to get into the Christmas spirit!

When: From November 19th to January 7th

Gingerbread heart at Innsbruck christmas market

There are around six Christmas markets held in Innsbruck each year but by far the most romantic is in the Altstadt (Old Town). With medieval houses as the backdrop, stalls offer gingerbread, wooden toys and beautiful, hand-blown glass decorations. As darkness starts to fall, trumpeters play carols on the 500-year-old Golden Roof. Make sure to try “kiachln” – Advent doughnuts – which are served hot with cranberry sauce and absolutely delicious.

When: From November 15th to January 6th

Old Town in Stockholm

Held in front of the Noble Museum close to the Royal Palace, the Stockholm Christmas market dates back around 500 years. Sip a glass of glögg (mulled wine) and nibble on pepperkator, thin ginger biscuits. Stalls are filled with traditional Swedish goods which are actually surprisingly affordable.

When: From November 23rd to December 23rd

Christmas market in Germany

Rothenburg is ridiculously romantic at any time of year but, at Christmas, it’s truly like walking into a fairy tale. Enjoy a glass of mulled white wine and some roasted almonds as you stroll between thousands of twinkling fairy lights. Be entertained by the festive music from local brass bands and enjoy the centuries-old customs that are still observed today.

When: From November 25th to December 23rd

Christmas tree view in Budapest

Budapest is definitely in my top three European capital cities in the beauty stakes, and Christmas is a wonderful time of the year to visit. With over 100 wooden pavilions in Vorosmarty and St. Stephen’s Square, visitors will be spoiled for choice with traditional fur hats and gloves, pressed-flower jewellery and various crocheted items. You can even commission a made-in-front-of-you iron candelabra! Be sure to sample cinnamon-pastry chimney cakes (kurtoskalacs) and toki pompos, a Hungarian-style pizza topped with bacon, onion and cream – yum!

When: From November 13rd to January 6th

Traditional Christmas market in Vienna

Yes, I know there are two German and two Austrian cities on the list, but the Austrians and the Germans really know what they’re doing when it comes to Christmas markets! Vienna’s Christmas market dates all the way back to the 13th century and now has around 150 stalls decorating the area in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall). Pick up a souvenir in the form of charming miniature wooden houses, puppets, gingerbread hearts and woollen hats. Take a romantic stroll with the one you love through the nearby Rathauspark, with magical carousel rides and trees and pavilions covered in thousands of sparkling lights. 

When: November 12th to December 24th

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I fell in love with traveling much earlier than I fell in love with my first man. And I'm still faithful to that love (But I have exchanged some men since my first one). I have never had a reason to regret my passion. I constantly dream of going further, it gives me indescribable emotions and meaning to my life.

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