Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Christmas is a time of year when families spend those special moments with one another and Christmas Markets with its festive music, food and surroundings add to this festive time. 

European Christmas markets are beautiful, spectacular occasions that encapsulate the essence of the holiday season. These marketplaces, which have been around for centuries, turn town squares and urban cores into merry wonderlands. These markets, which range from the famous Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany, to the Christkindlmarkt in Vienna, Austria, offer a joyous experience to both locals and visitors.

Walk through rows of elegantly decorated wooden stalls that are festooned with glistening lights and holiday decorations. Freshly baked gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, and spiced mulled wine are all permeating the air. Customers can look through a variety of one-of-a-kind crafts, handmade presents, and delectable seasonal snacks.

The markets also have ice skating rinks, live shows, and carolers, which heightens the festive atmosphere. The merry-go-rounds, Santa Claus, and sugary delights like cotton candy and candied apples are all available for kids to enjoy.

European Christmas markets provide a warm experience that truly captures the romance of the holiday season, whether it be the lovely market in Prague’s Old Town Square, the lively market in Edinburgh, or the Christmas markets in Berlin. In this article, we have given you our Top 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe.

1.      Munich Christmas Markets

Munich has loads of Christmas markets, but the main one is at the famous Marienplatz, which is in the heart of the old centre. The traditional Christmas market dates back to the 14th century and today there are hundreds of stalls dotted around the square. The 100ft tall Christmas tree and the lights that surround the square are the focal points are lighten up on the Friday before the first Advent. Every night there are song dance with people singing and dancing and many consider it a romantic setting.

If you are there with the kids, there is kid’s area in the town hall that is called ‘Heavenly Workshop’. It’s a free area for the kids to have fun to paint, dress up as angels, arts and crafts, just to name a few of the exciting things to keep the kids busy. For the adults you can enjoy a drink at Hofbrauhaus in Munz-Brauhaus, which the city is most famous beer hall and popular during Oktoberfest.

2.   Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

The world-famous Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg is one of best in Europe if not the world and it attracts over 2 million visitors yearly. It dates back to 1628 when they had the event for the first time.

The Old Town Market Square in Nuremberg is decorated with thousands of lights over top of the cobbled stone streets and there are over 200 wooden booths selling everything from toys, treats, ornaments and candles to mulled wine and grilled Nürnberger Bratwurst. The festival also has a tradition, as every two years a new ‘Christ child’ is appointed, a young man or woman who opens the market and rushes around town spreading Christmas cheer, dressed in elaborate gold and white and sporting a large golden crown. It seems like a silly tradition, but the thousands of people in attendance love it.

If you have kids with you they can check out the Kinderweihnacht (Children’s Christmas), which has a steam train, steam-powered merry-go-rounds and loads of other things for them to keep them entertained. For the adults there are live bands that play ever night and of course you have the mulled wine and German beer to enjoy.

3.      Prague Christmas Markets

The Germans are known for their Christmas markets, but the Czech take it pretty serious as well. The cobbled stone Wenceslas Square, which is located in Old Town in the centre of Prague. It is decked out with thousands of lights and hundreds of wooden huts selling Bohemian Crystal and wooden toys to sausage and great Czech Beer.

The highlight of this particular market is the live entertainment they have playing. In the backdrop of a Bethlehem scene and huge Christmas tree, there are Christmas choir groups signing the songs of the season.

If you have kids with you there is a petting zoo that has ponies, sheep and goats and all keeps the kids entertained for hours.

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4.      Old Town Tallinn Christmas Market

This 15th century cobbled stone medieval town square of Tallinn provides the perfect backdrop for a Christmas market and is like a fairy-tale. Unlike some of the others in this list that date back hundreds of years, this one in Tallinn has only been going since 1991. However, it has become one of the best in Europe. Because there is a strong Russian influence in Estonia, this Christmas Market stays open till the Christmas Eve of the Russian Orthodox Church on 7 January. With the recent war in Ukraine, Estonia has changed many things in the country when it comes to Russian culture, so we will see if this continues.

Tallinn was apparently the setting for the world’s first ever Christmas tree in 1441 and back then would put it up then set it on fire and dance around it.

This festival today gets over 500,000 visitors every year and the hundred plus 100 traditional huts selling a range of Estonian arts and crafts, mulled wine, sausages and other local treats. The Medieval Town Square is laminated with thousands of lights and a massive Christmas tree that stands in the middle of the Square for everyone to take a picture.

If you have kids with you, Father Christmas (Santa Claus) is there every night for kids to get their picture with him and for the adults there are several restaurants and bars to have a drink.

5.      Wiener Christkindlmarkt

This festival dates back to the 15th century and it’s located on the cobbled stone square in front of the Town Hall in Vienna, Austria.  Known also as the Vienna Christmas Market, the Wiener Christkindlmarkt is one of the most well-known and cherished Christmas marketplaces in Europe. Every year, millions of people come to this fascinating market.

The beautiful Vienna City Hall serves as the perfect backdrop for the Wiener Christkindlmarkt, creating a charming scene. The market is made up of rows of exquisitely adorned wooden stalls that sell a range of handcrafted items such as ornaments, foods, and presents.

While perusing the market, visitors may take in the festive ambiance while sipping warm mulled wine and savoring in freshly made sweets like Vanillekipferl and Lebkuchen.

The enchanting atmosphere of the Wiener Christkindlmarkt is further enhanced by live musical performances, carol singing, and nativity representations. Children may marvel at the spectacular ice skating rink, ride the carousel, and visit Santa Claus.

The market is particularly well-known for its yearly Christmas tree, which serves as an incredible focal point for the celebrations and is draped in thousands of sparkling lights. If you want to experience a genuinely unique and spectacular Christmas market in the center of Vienna, you must go to Wiener Christkindlmarkt.

6.   Copenhagen Christmasmarket

The magical setting of Copenhagen’s market is in Europe’s oldest amusement park, the Tivoli Gardens and the state of Freetown Christiania, which hosts this annual Christmas market. The setting is out of Hans Christian Andersen, with hundreds of Christmas trees, millions of lights and hundreds of stalls. These stalls sell everything from hot apple dumplings, to glögg (Danish mulled wine mixed with liquor and spices), to wooden dolls and toys for the kids.

Something a little different than the rest of the European markets, is the outdoor skating rink.  This gives people a chance to skate on the frozen lake with the all the lights in the backdrop. I truly magical place!!

7.      Krakow Christmas Market

The annual Krakow Christmas Market is located on Kraków’s Rynek Glówny square, in the historic Old Town and only a short walk from Wawel Castle. The Christmas Market starts four weeks before Christmas and it attracts millions annually. The square is surrounded by thousands of lights and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the square. Also, there are hundreds of wooden huts selling everything from handmade jewelry, to great Polish food and of course many different types of vodka to keep you warm.

The one thing that will make this Christmas market different than others is that if you almost always guaranteed to have snow, which adds to the surroundings. In addition, the live music on display and the Polish hospitality is what makes this one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe.

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8.    Christmas Markets in Berlin

Berlin has over 60 Christmas Markets and all of them are fantastic, but the one that sticks out is the one at Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church), which attracts millions every year. The market itself isn’t big, as there are only around 100 stalls set up, but it’s the surroundings and atmosphere, which makes this place. The area was heavily bombed during World War II and it still hasn’t fully recovered, but also its traditional wooden huts with its lights and great music that make the place.

Every night there is live entertainment singing Christmas songs and all the people get in the spirit drinking and dancing. This is a market you don’t want to miss.

If you would like to know what you should do and see in Berlin click here go to our post where you will receive the best information. 

 9. Cologne Christmas Markets

In Cologne there are several Christmas Markets set up around the city, which attracts millions annually. The largest Christmas markets are located at Cologne Cathedral, on the Alter Markt (Home of the Heinzel Christmas Market), on the Neumarkt (Angel’s Market) and on the Rudolfplatz (Fairytale Christmas Market).

The Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral is arguably the best due to its 200 plus wooden huts and the backdrop of the Cathedral, which gives it that Gothic look and the shadow of the Dom. You will thousands of Christmas lights and a huge Christmas tree in the middle of the market that adds to the environment. The traders sell everything from toys to mulled wine and sweats for the kids.

If you have kids with you there’s an area for the kids that includes games, a merry-go-round and other games to keep them entertainment for hours. For the adults there are several places to have a traditional German beer or mulled wine.

10.      Edinburgh Christmas Market

The Edinburgh Christmas Markets are a wonderful, joyous event that perfectly captures the spirit of the holiday season. These marketplaces, which are found in the centre of the country’s capital, draw tourists from all over the world.

Edinburgh’s biggest Christmas market is hosted at East Princes Street Gardens, which provides an excellent backdrop of Edinburgh Castle. There are a lot of cute wooden stalls in the market that are decorated and lit up. Visitors can look through a variety of unusual crafts, homemade presents, and delectable foods and beverages here.

There is something to please every pallet, from classic Scottish foods like haggis and shortbread to mulled wine and hot chocolate. Live performances at the market, such as carolers and street performers, further to the festive ambiance.

Along with the main market, Edinburgh is home to numerous other Christmas markets, such as the Scottish Market on George Street, which features a variety of regional goods.

Edinburgh Christmas Markets are a must-visit location for everyone looking for a memorable and wonderful holiday experience because of their stunning setting, lively atmosphere, and abundance of festive goodies. This is one festival you do not want to miss and definitely will bring on the Christmas spirit.