20 best Christmas markets in Europe

Traditional Estonian Christmas Market in Tallinn

My favourite way to get into the festive spirit is to visit one of the magical Christmas markets in Europe.

Whichever market you choose, you can expect to find unique gift items, a magical atmosphere and delicious local delicacies to sample. 

So where are the best Christmas markets in Europe? The finest places to shop for the festive season can be found in countries including Austria, Hungary, Germany and many more.

There are fabulous European Christmas markets going on all over the continent, from the UK and Scandinavia in the north to the sunnier climes of Spain or the snowy landscapes of Switzerland.

I’ve visited my fair share of Christmas markets over the years, so I’ve combined my experience into this guide on the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Read on to discover 20 of the best options for ticking off everyone on your festive shopping list.

Once that’s done, it’s time to kick back and relax with a sweet, creamy hot chocolate or glass of gluhwein flavoured with orange and seasonal spices. Accompanied by a yummy edible treat, of course. 

Why not combine your Christmas shopping list with a well-deserved short break this year? Here are my 20 top picks of the best European Christmas markets. 

Author Bio: Jessie Moore

Jessie Moore is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

1. Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, Salzburg, Austria

Location: Residenzplatz. 1, 5020 Salzburg, Austria

Dates: 23 November 2023 to 1 January 2024

Salzburg Christmas Market

For me, the best Christmas markets offer an authentic wintry feel – and you’ll find exactly that at Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt.

This market’s history dates back to the 1400s, and it’s held in the shadow of Salzburg Cathedral and the Hohensalzburg fortress. 

You can witness the chiming of church bells, choral performances and rooftops covered in snow when visiting during late November and December.

Top buys include tree ornaments, knitted garments, toys, gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and punch. 

Find hotels in Salzburg.

2. Budapest Christmas Fair, Budapest, Hungary

Location: Budapest, Vörösmarty tér, 1051 Hungary

Dates: 24 November 2023 to 31 December 2023

Budapest Christmas Fair

I visited Budapest Christmas Fair a few years back and I can see why it is widely considered to be one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Held in Vörösmarty Square between mid-November and the start of the New Year, this market centres on a city square decorated with a huge fir tree, scenes from the nativity and handmade crafts. 

Must-trys include mulled wine, Hungarian honey biscuits and the ubiquitous sweet chimney cake that originated in Romania – I don’t have a sweet tooth but my friends assured me it was delicious!

There are savoury treats to be had too, such as sausages and goulash – my favourite way to warm up from the chilly weather.

100 plus stalls means you can tick everyone off your shopping list at the same time!

If you’re planning a trip to Budapest, you may like to read:

3. Advent Feast of the Basilica, Budapest, Hungary

Location: Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary

Dates: 24 November 2023 to 31 December 2023

Budapest Christmas Market in Europe

Breathtaking St. Stephen’s Basilica provides the backdrop for this second Christmas market also held in Budapest, Hungary.

This Roman Catholic house of worship was named for the country’s very first King. The Christmas market here runs for five to six weeks and there are around 80 stalls to shop at.

Visitors can also wander over to nearby Zrínyi Street to sample all sorts of foodstuffs while enjoying a carnival atmosphere. 

Discover hotels in Budapest.

4. Old Town Square Christmas Market, Prague, Czechia

Location: 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia

Dates: 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024

Prague Christmas Market

Prague is another of my favourite European city breaks and it is utterly magical in winter. Centred on Old Town Square in Prague is the Christmas market of the same name.

More stalls can also be found in Wenceslas Square nearby. It’s an ideal location for listening to traditional carols sung by well-wrapped up locals.

If you dream of visiting a wintry destination to complete your Christmas shopping then surely Prague has to be up there.

You can browse the range of stalls here between 10am and 10pm daily. The wooden huts here sell all manner of goods, from lace, ceramics and glassware to toys, festive decorations, jewellery and accessories. 

Discover the best boutique hotels in Prague or read my guide to choosing between Prague and Budapest.

5. Viennese Dream Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria

Location: Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

Dates: 11 November 2023 to 26 December 2023

Christmas Market Vienna

If, like me, you dream of Christmas in Vienna, then the Christmas market held in front of the City Hall is a must.

Here you can enjoy the scent of roasting chestnuts and festive punch in the air while shopping for one-off handicrafts – I can’t think of a better way to get in the mood for the Christmas season.

Vienna’s Christmas market dates back as far as the Middle Ages, when permission for the very first Krippenmarkt was granted by Albrecht I. 

Find hotels in Vienna.

6. Berliner Weihnachtszeit, Berlin, Germany

Location: Spandauer Straße, 10178, Berlin, Germany

Dates: 27 November 2023 to 26 December 2023

Berlin Christmas Market

There’s no way you can fail to find Berliner Weihnachtszeit when visiting the city with the enormous 50-metre ferris wheel here dominating the skyline.

Other reasons to visit this particular German Christmas market include an ice skating rink and the fact that Father Christmas flies over the Neptune Fountain thrice daily.

Lots of edible delights also make a trip to this market a real treat. Sample local stuffed bread, smoked salmon or bratwurst. All before moving onto baked apples and gluhwein – my idea of heaven!

Discover hotels in Berlin.

7. Metz Christmas Market, Metz, France

Location: Place de la République, Avenue Robert Schuman, 57000 Metz, France

Dates: 24 November 2023 to 30 December 2023

Metz Christmas Market

Paris often steals the limelight when it comes to French cities (I do love a Paris getaway), but Metz Christmas market in the Alsace-Lorraine region is one of the most popular in France.

It centres on the Place de la République, where there’s a striking Christmas pyramid and an ice rink. 

More stalls can also be found in Place Saint Louis, Place Saint-Jacques,  Place d’Armes and Place de la Comédie.

Attractions spread across town include a Christmas village and a carousel, a gourmet market and a 60-metre ferris wheel.  

Browse hotels in Metz.

8. Krakow Christmas Market, Krakow, Poland

Location: Rynek Główny, Kraków, Poland

Dates: 24 November 2023 to 26 December 2023

Krakow Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Krakow, Poland is the biggest in the country. It’s held in the 13th century Rynek Główny in the heart of the city. To either side of the stalls you can see St Mary’s Basilica and the Cloth Hall.

It’s magical by night, when you can dive into the little cellar bars clustered around the square for refreshment and a break from shopping.

Jewellery, festive gingerbread treats and wooden decorations are among the most popular goods sold here. 

Find hotels in Krakow.

9. Zurich Christmas Market, Zurich, Switzerland

Location: Zürcher Weihnachtsdorf, Sechseläutenplatz, Zürich, Switzerland

Dates: 23 November 2023 to 23 December 2023

Zurich Christmas Market

Between late November and Christmas Eve you can visit the Christmas market in the Swiss city of Zurich. It’s held in a stunning setting by Lake Zurich and the opera house.

As you can imagine, the twinkling lights reflected in the water are a magical sight. A gigantic Christmas tree provides a focal point for about 120 stalls to cluster around.

Local and handmade goods are a speciality of this market, so you’re bound to find lots of unique gifts. As well as a few treats for yourself, of course. 

Discover more fairytale towns in Switzerland, or read my guide to the best luxury hotels in Zurich.

10. Fiera di Santa Lucia, Bologna, Italy

Location: Strasse Maggiore, 40125 Bologna BO, Italy

Dates: 10 November to 26 December 2023

Bologna Christmas Market

The Festival of Santa Lucia inspires the name of this Italian Christmas market in Bologna.

Come mid-November each year, the street becomes filled with stalls peddling items that range from Italian delicacies to decorations, gifts and pieces echoing the traditions and religious aspect of the festive season. 

If you’d love to create a nativity scene within your home, this is the place to pick up figures crafted from wood, plaster, terracotta and even papier-mache. 

With so much on offer, what better excuse is there to visit one of the best cities in Italy

Browse hotels in Bologna.

11. Stortorget Christmas Market, Stockholm, Sweden

Location: Stortorget, Old Town, Stockholm, Sweden 

Dates: 25 November 2023 to 23 December 2023.

Stockholm Christmas Market

Stockholm’s Christmas market is held in the historic Old Town district. All kinds of goods can be bought here, including items made from iron, ceramics, handicrafts, festive decorations and foodie treats.

The market operates between mid-November and late-December. Don’t miss out on trying some pepparkaka and glögg (aka gingerbread and mulled wine) while stopping by.

I also love that this is the oldest Christmas market in Sweden, dating back to 1837. 

Find hotels in Stockholm.

12. Winter Glow, Bruges, Belgium

Location: Markt, Bruges, Belgium

Dates: 24 November 2023 to 7 January 2024

Bruges Christmas Market

Winter Glow in pretty Bruges offers more than just a retail experience. It’s an entire winter festival held in the Markt and Simon Stevinplein.

Bruges is one of my favourite fairytale cities at the best of times, let alone in the magic of the festive season! Visiting this Christmas market is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Bruges.

You can ice skate here on the Lake of Love, follow the Light experience trail through the historic heart of the city or enjoy a drink at the snug winter bar.

Traditional wooden huts sell all manner of wares here to help get your festive shopping sewn up. 

Discover the best luxury hotels in Bruges.

13. Edinburgh Winter Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland

Location: East Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

Dates: 17 November 2023 to 6 January 2024

Edinburgh Christmas Market

I have an ongoing love affair with Edinburgh and I believe winter is the best time to visit the Scottish capital.

Its winter festival and market runs right up until the first few days of January. So you can also experience it when celebrating New Year in the city. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival was first held here in 1993. 

The beautiful old buildings of central Edinburgh provide a stunning backdrop as you shop. Look out for handmade goods, winter accessories made from Scottish cashmere and one-off decorations. 

Planning a trip to the Scottish capital? Discover the best things to do in Edinburgh, as well as the my guides to the top brunch places, coffee shops and cocktail bars

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14. Manchester Christmas Market, Manchester, England

Location: Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, M1 1AF, England

Dates: 11 November 2023 to 22 December 2023

Manchester Christmas Markets in Europe

The Christmas market in Manchester offers locals and visitors the chance to snap up all sorts of items in a carnival-like setting.

Piccadilly Gardens provides the space, and is conveniently close to the city’s train, tram and bus stations.

New since 2021 is DJs and live music, serenading shoppers in style as they sample foods from across the world in one of Britain’s biggest and most vibrant cities.

The Manchester Christmas Market is also one of my favourite day trips from London by train.

Browse hotels in Manchester. Looking for somewhere to stay in the UK over Christmas? Read my guide to the best UK hotels for a Christmas stay.

15. Tallinn Christmas Market, Tallinn, Estonia

Location: Raekoja plats 8-9, 10123 Tallinn, Estonia

Dates: 3 December 2023 to 7 January 2024

Traditional Estonian Christmas Market in Tallinn

If you feel like trying somewhere new this year, how about a trip to Tallinn? Estonia’s capital has a charming Old Town and is situated by the shores of the Baltic Sea.

The Christmas market here began in 1997 and runs from late November into Epiphany.

Local artisans sell the goods they’ve been preparing all year here, from hand-knitted socks or wooden Christmas decorations to freshly-baked gingerbread and mulled wine. 

Find hotels in Tallinn.

16. Fira de Santa Llúcia, Barcelona, Spain

Location: Avenue de la Catedral, 08002 Barcelona, Spain

Dates: 25 November 2023 to 23 December 2023

Barcelona Christmas Market

Although I consider Barcelona to be one of the best cities in Europe, winter festivities are not the first things which come to mind when I think of it!

But Fira de Santa Llúcia has been held in Barcelona since 1786, and there are numerous stalls lining Avenida de la Catedral between late November and 23rd December. 

A huge range of goods can be found at Barcelona’s historic Christmas market.

These include more unusual items like Christmas musical instruments, traditional nativity scenes and figures or locally made handicrafts for the home in addition to clothing, jewellery and accessories. 

Planning a trip to Barcelona? Discover the best things to do in Barcelona or 15 beautiful rooftop bars. Or read my guide to the best Spanish coastal towns to visit.

17. Tivoli Gardens Christmas Market, Copenhagen, Denmark

Location: Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark

Dates: 17 November 2023 to 31 December 2023

Copenhagen Christmas Market in Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen’s Christmas market is held in the city’s iconic Tivoli Gardens – one of my absolute favourite spots in the city. This is a feast for all the senses.

There’s a twinkling tree on the lake, Santa Claus and his reindeer, lots of fairy lights and cute wooden huts to see.

Around 60 stalls forming part of this festive wonderland sell leather, knitwear, handicrafts and of course local foods.

Do note that you’ll need to pay the gardens’ entry fee when visiting. But we all know that the Scandinavians do Christmas festivities fantastically well, so you know it’s going to be worth it!

Find luxury hotels in Copenhagen or discover the best things to do in Copenhagen.

18. Bratislava Christmas Market, Bratislava, Slovakia

Location: Main Square and Hviezdoslavovo Square, Bratislava, Slovakia

Dates: 23 November 2023 to 23 December 2023

Bratislava Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Bratislava is one of the best in Europe. I also love that it has an eco-conscious focus while providing a fun, festive feel and selling top quality goods.

These include toys, enamelware, jewellery, candles and hats, and there are some true Slovakian treats to enjoy here.

Look out for cigánska, a local burger made from chicken or pork and served in a roll with mustard and onions. I’d also recommend sampling the potato pancake lokša. 

Browse hotels in Bratislava.

19. Târgul de Crăciun, Bucharest, Romania

Location: Piața Universității, Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta 3, București 030167, Romania

Dates: 17 November 2023 to TBC

Bucharest, Christmas Market

University Square in Bucharest hosts the city’s Christmas market each year.

This begins relatively early in November, and runs throughout advent until around a week after January.So it’s a good one to visit if you prefer to travel and shop sooner. 

It’s paradise for families, with all sorts of sweet treats to keep energy levels up such as gingerbread, cakes and hot chocolate.

There’s also a carousel to ride, and children can meet Father Christmas during the last week before the big day. 

Find hotels in Bucharest.

20. The Angels’ Christmas Market, Cologne, Germany

Location: Neumarkt square, Cologne, Germany

Dates: 23 November 2023 to 23 December 2023

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market

Row upon row of rustic cabins all dressed up for the festive season await at The Angels’ Christmas Market in Cologne. It’s open until 9pm, so visit after dark if you can to savour the illuminated splendour. 

This isn’t the largest market in the city, so during your visit you can also shop at several others. It’s one of the original Cologne Christmas markets, however, and is held west of the city centre in Neumarkt.

Discover hotels in Cologne.

Hopefully you are now feeling suitably festive with my guide to the best Christmas markets in Europe. Now, someone please pass me a mulled wine!

Let me know your favourite European Christmas markets in the comments or get in touch on social media.

Looking for more winter travel inspiration? Read my guide to the best winter sun destinations or browse the best ski resorts in Europe.

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Jessie Moore
Jessie Moore

Jessie is a luxury travel expert with years of experience travelling the world to find the best destinations, hotels and adventures.

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