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The best European Christmas markets
Destinations & Inspiration

The best European Christmas markets

Suzie Dalton
By Suzie Dalton - 9 minute read

We don’t ask for much when we’re plan­ning a Christ­mas mar­ket break. We just want a fes­tive atmos­phere, twin­kling fairy lights, pret­ty wood­en huts, adorable gifts and seri­ous­ly tasty treats like mulled wine, hot choco­late and warm donuts. In fact, we expect a lot – and you should too. So we’ve done the hard work for you, and com­piled a round-up of some of the best Christ­mas mar­kets in Europe. You’re welcome. 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland in London, UK

Ferris wheel in London

The fer­ris wheel at Hyde Park’s Win­ter Wonderland

In fair­ness, you could argue that this isn’t real­ly one of the best Christ­mas mar­kets, as it’s a bit like a fun­fair-meets-beer­hall-meets-fes­tive-enter­tain­ment extrav­a­gan­za. But with an epic street food vil­lage, ice rink, San­ta­land and more fes­tive vibes than we can offi­cial­ly han­dle, we came to the con­clu­sion that it deserved a place in our hall of fame. You’ll need to buy an entry tick­et (and you’ll need to pre-book indi­vid­ual expe­ri­ences), but once you’re in, expect every­thing from cir­cus per­form­ers through to a mag­i­cal ice king­dom. Find out more about the Win­ter Won­der­land here.

Vánoční trhy in Prague, Czechia

Christmas markets Prague

Prague is beau­ti­ful at any time of year (but espe­cial­ly pret­ty with a Christ­mas tree!)

Christ­mas mar­kets (or Vánoční trhy’ as they’re known by the locals) are a key ingre­di­ent of the fes­tive mag­ic that per­me­ates the Czech Repub­lic. And we think it’s fair to say that the Prague mar­kets are the most impres­sive in the coun­try. Run­ning from the 26th Novem­ber to the 6th Jan­u­ary, the main mar­kets are split between two loca­tions – the Old Town Square and Wences­las Square – but as these are just a 5 minute walk from each oth­er, you can eas­i­ly do both in the same day. There’s also a real­ly love­ly mar­ket locat­ed at Prague Cas­tle, so there’s no short­age of options. Against the back­drop of dec­o­rat­ed wood­en huts, you’ll find a wealth of great gift options includ­ing ceram­ics, jew­ellery, glass­ware, embroi­dered lace, wood­en toys, can­dles, Christ­mas tree orna­ments, and pup­pets and dolls dressed in tra­di­tion­al cos­tume. Find out more about Prague’s Vánoční trhy here.

Birmingham’s Frankfurt Christmas Market (BFCM) in England

Christmas markets Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

One of the best Ger­man Christ­mas mar­kets — is in England!

Yes, this is a lit­tle con­fus­ing. It’s a glo­ri­ous Christ­mas mar­ket that’s locat­ed in Birm­ing­ham in the UK – and yet the organ­is­ers have decid­ed to add Frank­furt’ into the title. Admit­ted­ly it’s an unusu­al deci­sion, yet it’s a no-brain­er that this is one of the best Ger­man Christ­mas mar­kets in the UK – and we’re told it’s also the largest authen­tic Ger­man Christ­mas mar­ket out­side of Ger­many or Aus­tria. With this in mind, it comes as no sur­prise that the food stalls are laden with Ger­man­ic del­i­ca­cies such as pret­zels, schnitzels, and bratwursts, while gluh­weinn (hot wine) and weiss­beer (wheat beer) ensure there’s a par­ty atmos­phere! With live music in the band­stand and loads of love­ly stalls sell­ing home­made wares, you’re guar­an­teed to have a great time at BFCM. Find out more about BFCM here.

Tallin Jouluturg in Estonia

Christmas markets Tallin in Estonia

Fes­tive vibes aplen­ty in love­ly Tallin.

With cul­tur­al events at the week­end, and the chance to craft in the House of Crafts’ under the guid­ance of arti­sans, Tallin Joulu­turg is tru­ly one for art-lovers – and arty-types would def­i­nite­ly declare this to be one of the best Christ­mas Mar­kets in Europe. In fact, Estonia’s tra­di­tion­al gin­ger­bread designs fea­ture heav­i­ly at this mar­ket, with the organ­is­ers describ­ing them as works of art!’ Plen­ty of local dish­es will be on offer – rang­ing from stewed sauer­kraut and black pud­ding through to duck legs and veni­son entrecôte – while sticky cin­na­mon and car­da­mon buns are plen­ti­ful! Folk dancers and folk music are a key part of the cel­e­bra­tion, and we have it on good author­i­ty that a con­ga line reg­u­lar­ly forms around the Christ­mas tree! Find out more about Tallin Joulu­turg here.

Krippenmarkts in Vienna, Austria

Giant bauble in Vienna shopping mall

Vien­na packs in the feel­go­od vibes at Christmas.

With gor­geous dec­o­ra­tions galore, cities don’t get much more Christ­massy than Vien­na – and their world-famous Krip­pen­mark­ts’ play a big part in that allure. Hav­ing been held in the city since 1298, there are now 20 offi­cial advent mar­kets every year, which means there’s sim­ply loads of choice. Our top three picks would be: 

  • Wiener Christkindl­markt which caters for chil­dren beau­ti­ful­ly. The Kids Pavil­ion has a play area (per­fect for lit­tle peo­ple who are fed up of shop­ping), plus arts and crafts, and ded­i­cat­ed areas for board games and books. 
  • Christ­mas Vil­lage Cam­pus Uni­ver­si­ty of Vien­na where you can try your hand at curl­ing! With a cosy atmos­phere and around 50 pret­ti­ly-dec­o­rat­ed stands, it’s sur­pris­ing­ly intimate. 
  • Christ­mas Vil­lage Belvedere Palace which boasts a host of tra­di­tion­al hand­craft­ed goods and a wealth of culi­nary treats. 

Find out more about Vienna’s Christ­mas mar­kets here.

Winter Wonders and Christmas Market in Brussels, Belgium

Brussels

Pho­to cred­it: https://​www​.brus​sels​.be/​w​i​n​t​e​r​-​w​o​nders

Brus­sels hosts one of best Christ­mas mar­kets in Europe. Spread over var­i­ous loca­tions in the com­pact city cen­tre, it boasts over 200 stalls offer­ing all sorts of gifts and sou­venirs. With numer­ous cov­ered ter­races (for those all-impor­tant drinks and munchies breaks), an ice rink, the chance to try your hand at curl­ing, rides on a fer­ris wheel and even an après-ski themed vil­lage, it’s lit­er­al­ly got some­thing for every age group. Bet­ter yet, there will be brass bands, choirs and the impres­sive 360° sound and light show. Run­ning until 1st Jan­u­ary, this is the per­fect chance to stock up on Bel­gian choco­lates for the whole fam­i­ly. Find out more about the Win­ter Won­ders and Christ­mas Mar­ket here.

Frankfurt Christmas Market in Germany

Christmas markets Frankfurt

Frank­furt’s carousel brings a tra­di­tion­al feel to the market.

A quick Google of best Ger­man Christ­mas mar­kets’ will quick­ly make you realise that the coun­try is spoilt for rich­es! From Angel’s Christ­mas Mar­ket and Wei­h­nachts­markt Am Köl­ner Dom in Cologne to Dresden’s Striezel­markt, there are so many love­ly options that could make the list. But set against the back­drop of impres­sive archi­tec­ture, and with the added bonus of a beau­ti­ful tra­di­tion­al carousel and an impos­ing Christ­mas tree, Frank­furt is the stuff of dreams. Host­ing advent con­certs and with sin­ga­long advent car­ol events, it’s fair to say that Frank­furt is one of our favourite Christ­mas mar­ket breaks. Find out more about Frankfurt’s Christ­mas Mar­ket here.

Marchés de Noël in Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower at night

The Eif­fel Tow­er is a beau­ti­ful set­ting for an inti­mate gas­tro market.

With around 15 – 20 pop-up Christ­mas mar­kets (or Marchés de Noël as they’re known in France) every year, the stun­ning city of Paris is spoilt for choice – mak­ing this one of the best places to come for a Christ­mas mar­ket break! 

Many vis­i­tors head straight for the Tui­leries Christ­mas Mar­ket (also known as La Magie de Noël) which is locat­ed by the Lou­vre, stretch­ing from Rue des Pyra­mides to Place de la Con­cord. Expect a fer­ris wheel, lots of fair­ground rides, gourmet food that includes deli­cious melt­ed raclette cheese and vin chaud (warm mulled wine) and an ice rink. For some­thing a lit­tle more under­stat­ed, try Marché de Noël Notre Dame, which offers excep­tion­al arts and crafts, or for a vil­lage-feel option that’s less crowd­ed, the Mont­martre Christ­mas Mar­ket is love­ly. And of course, a round-up of the best Christ­mas mar­kets in Europe needs a men­tion of Eif­fel Tow­er Christ­mas Mar­ket on Quai Bran­ly. Admit­ted­ly it’s tee­ny in com­par­i­son (there’s usu­al­ly about 35 stalls) but for local del­i­ca­cies with the most breath­tak­ing pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ties, how can you beat the heady com­bi­na­tion of pret­ty huts, fake snow, Christ­mas trees and The Eif­fel Tow­er?! Don’t for­get to tag us in any pho­tos you hap­pen to be post­ing on your socials, so that we can like them! (#welove­home­swap). Find out more about the Paris Christ­mas Mar­kets here.

Liseberg Christmas Market in Gothenburg, Sweden

Christmas markets Liseberg

Pho­to cred­it: @lisebergab

A round-up of the best Christ­mas mar­kets wouldn’t be com­plete with­out a men­tion of Gothen­burg which is quite right­ly known as Sweden’s most fes­tive city. The city is often over­looked in favour of its big sis­ter Stock­holm, which is a shame – par­tic­u­lar­ly at Christ­mas when the city real­ly comes into its own! There are var­i­ous options to choose from in the city, but a huge fam­i­ly-favourite is Lise­berg Amuse­ment Park, which is said to have five mil­lion Christ­mas lights! Here you can vis­it San­ta in his vil­lage, take a peek into the elves’ work­shop and take a spin on the ice rink. For some­thing more tra­di­tion­al, head for Haga Christ­mas mar­ket, in which spruce-dec­o­rat­ed cob­bled streets are heav­ing with tra­di­tion­al stalls and deli­cious food. Find out more about Gothenburg’s Christ­mas mar­kets here.