Christmas markets in Europe are a magnificent winter paradise filled with festive cheer, handcrafted treasures, and exquisite snacks. Travel across Europe’s core to find a patchwork of traditions, from the grandeur of Nuremberg’s old market to the hidden jewels tucked away in mediaeval villages. Set out on a Christmas tour to enjoy the warmth and magic of this time-honoured ritual, savouring seasonal flavours and soaking in the festive mood.
The Cosiest Christmas Markets Across Europe in 2023!
Since 1313, Nuremberg has been a splendid mediaeval city in the German state of Bavaria. It is primarily renowned for its traditional Christkindlesmarkt, one of Germany‘s oldest and largest marketplaces.
With over 180 stalls spread out over the city centre, there’s lots to see and do. Glühwein, Lebkuchen, and Maroni are among the traditional German Christmas Market fare. However, more unique goods, such as Nürnberger Christstollen (a type of fruitcake) and Nürnberger Rostbratwurst (a grilled sausage), are available.
On the first Friday before Advent, there is an outstanding opening ceremony with performances and live music if you visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market.
Dates for the 2023 Nuremberg Christmas Market: November 25th to December 24th, 2023.
Strasbourg, France, truly earns the moniker “Capital of Noel“! This city has one of the best Christmas markets in Europe and is also a fantastic spot to visit during the holiday season. Glittering lights and decorations surround you as you walk through the magnificently decorated stalls. The Strasbourg Cathedral soars over the market, and there’s even a real 30-metre-tall tree in the square!
The streets are bursting at the seams with decor, from teddy bear half-timbered hotels to the lit-up Notre Dame Cathedral with angels lining the sidewalks, and of course, vin chaud- mulled wine! There’s a lot of wonderful food, drinks, and handcrafted goods. Take your time; there are marketplaces all across the city. You’re in for a treat with nearly 300 stalls!
PRO TIP: If you have time, visit the Vosges mountains, where the massive Strasbourg tree is produced, and visit several Christmas markets! Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim, and Riquewihr are magical during Christmas!
Dates for the 2023 Strasbourg Christmas Market: November 25th to December 26th, 2023.
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Since 1296, Vienna has held an incredible Christmas market–one of the very earliest! You’ll see beautiful buildings adorned with bows and ribbons. But there are also fantastic Christmas markets! Various big markets are located across the city, each with its distinct flavour. The most popular is on Rathausplatz, in front of the magnificent Town Hall. This is one of the largest in Europe, and It’s ideal for shopping and eating.
If you want a more traditional atmosphere, visit the Spittelberg Christmas market. This comprises small, individual chalets and is located in a pedestrian zone in the Spittelberg neighbourhood. This market has a cosy atmosphere and is ideal for a romantic stroll.
Dates for the 2023 Vienna Christmas Market: November 12th to December 24th, 2023.
Prague, Czech Republic
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If you’re searching for a more mediaeval-style market, Prague is the place to be! Prague, with its beautiful Gothic buildings and cobblestone streets, lends itself ideally to a joyful mood. The marketplaces in this area are among the most unique in Europe, with stunning handcrafted things on offer.
The major market is in Old Town Square, with a beautiful Christmas tree and the majestic Tyn Church in the background. This is a popular spot, so be prepared for crowds, which is why weekdays are recommended. However, it is well worth braving the crowds to view the stunning displays and sample some traditional Czech cuisine.
Check out the Wenceslas Square and Havel’s marketplaces for something more low-key. Both are located in more modern city districts and provide a welcome change of pace from the Old Town.
Dates for the 2023 Prague Christmas Market: November 27th to December 24th, 2023.
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Tallinn appears to be a living snow globe! Tallinn, Estonia‘s capital, is a mediaeval city with a fantasy atmosphere. And it’s much more wonderful at Christmas! Tallinn feels like something out of a storybook, with dazzling lights, snow-dusted rooftops, and Christmas carols in the air.
The primary market is at Town Hall Square, in front of the magnificent mediaeval Town Hall. This is one of Tallinn’s largest markets, ideal for picking up gifts and souvenirs. There are handcrafted Estonian products, decorations, and plenty of places to eat. The gluwein is also delicious! This is a terrific spot to get a handmade wool jumper and stay late for live music and entertainment.
Check out the Rotermann Quarter if you’re searching for something different. This market is housed in an old salt storage facility turned into a commercial mall. It’s a unique market setting; plenty of fantastic products and souvenirs can be found here.
Dates for the Tallinn Christmas Market in 2023: December 1st to January 7th, 2024.
Colmar is a fantasy town in France‘s Alsace region, and its Christmas market does not disappoint. This is one of France’s largest marketplaces, with around 300 stalls. The environment is also ideal, as the market is located in the charming old town, filled with half-timbered buildings, canals, and cobblestone streets.
The market is incredibly festive, with a gigantic life-sized nativity scene, a Christmas tree, and a stunning light display. From vin chaud (mulled wine) to pain d’epices (gingerbread) to baeckeoffe (a delectable Alsatian stew), you’ll find all of your classic French Christmas Market favourites here. There is also a large selection of handmade gifts and decorations available.
Dates for the 2023 Colmar Christmas Market: November 24th to December 29th, 2023.
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One of Europe‘s most beautiful Christmas markets lies in front of the magnificent 19th-century Gerbeaud House on Vörösmarty Square. With over 100 exquisitely decorated stalls, a sizable Ferris wheel, and a nativity scene, losing track of time here is simple.
Every evening at 7 p.m., a spectacular light show on the facade of the Gerbeaud House takes place, which is well worth staying for. The market is open from November 11th until January 1st, giving you many opportunities to visit. Don’t forget to sample some typical Hungarian foods, such as lángos (deep-fried flatbread) or kürtskalács (chimney cake)!
Dates for the Budapest Christmas Market in 2023: November 4th to December 31st, 2023.
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The city emanates beauty with its cobblestone streets, canals, and historic buildings. The Christmas market is located on City Hall Square in the city’s heart. Traditional Danish Christmas Market staples like aebleskiver (a type of pancake), Glgg (mulled wine), and Danish Christmas beer are offered. Handcrafted Christmas decorations, toys, and presents are also available at other vendors.
Tivoli Gardens is a well-known park that is a must-see during the Christmas season because it is themed after Santa’s village–you can even ride the Polar Express! Furthermore, Kongens Nytorv is one of Copenhagen‘s most attractive squares, coming alive during Christmas. Don’t forget to see the landmark Nyhavn, which also has a market.
Dates for the Copenhagen Christmas Market in 2023: November 4th to December 21st, 2023.
Munich is well-known for its spectacular Oktoberfest celebration, but did you know it also features some of Europe’s best Christmas markets? The marketplaces in this region are large and bustling, with a beautiful feel.
The major market is located in the city centre at Marienplatz. This is a very popular location, so expect long lines. But it’s also worth battling the crowds to watch the gorgeous Glockenspiel show at 11 a.m. and noon every day. Numerous additional markets are spread across the city, so you will likely discover one that appeals to you.
Munich offers numerous markets, but the most well-known is the Christkindlmarkt. From there, you may visit the classic Neuhausen Christmas market or try something different to make your holiday unforgettable.
If you want a true Bavarian dining experience, go to Hofbräuhaus, one of Munich’s most famous beer halls. It’s a terrific spot to enjoy classic German fare like Weißwurst (veal sausage) and Leberkäse (meatloaf).
Dates for the 2023 Munich Christmas Market: November 21st to December 24th, 2023.
Bruges is a beautiful city in northwest Belgium. It is famous for its canals, cobblestone streets, and mediaeval buildings. The Christmas market in the mediaeval city centre is one of Europe’s most atmospheric markets.
The traditional Belgian Christmas Market fare, such as Belgian chocolate, waffles, and beer, is available. However, you will discover gingerbread houses, candles, and handcrafted wooden toys. Grote Square is turned into Bruges’ greatest Christmas market every year, with a skating rink in the centre. You may also visit Stevin Square for even more Christmas fun.
Dates for the 2023 Trier Christmas Market: November 18th to December 22nd, 2023.