16 Best Christmas Markets in Europe
If you have never visited a European Christmas Market, you are definitely missing out on something special.
From unique crafts and food stalls to rides, ice skating, and more, Europe has long held the title for having the best Christmas markets in the world.
However, if you are wondering which market is the best to visit, there is, unfortunately, no one answer.
All the Christmas markets in Europe, from big to small, can offer both visitors and locals a fun and beautiful holiday season.
Top 16 Christmas Markets in Europe
1. Salzburg Christmas Market (Austria)
The Salzburg Advent Market (also called the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt at the Dom and Residenzplatz) in Austria is one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world, dating back to the 15th century.
This magical Christmas market sits throughout the vast Cathedral Square, where vendors sell everything you could need for the Christmas holidays, including gifts and decorations. While you are there, you can also try out Austrian cuisine, like mulled wine.
Although its cousin in Vienna often overshadows the Salzburg Market, there are plenty of people who still venture to the square every year. And, with Christmas spirit tucked into every corner, it is no wonder that many consider Salzburg one of the best traditional Christmas markets in Europe.
2. Cologne Christmas Market (Germany)
The Cologne Christmas Market isn’t actually one market. Instead, there are several themed markets throughout the “Cathedral City” and surrounding area.
Organizers set up the Christmas markets with their plethora of twinkling Christmas lights in Cologne each holiday season to help residents and tourists get into the festive spirit.
In the markets, you will find handmade arts and crafts as well as quality goods from all over the continent. Cologne makes Christmas shopping special because you can look for gifts for everyone on your list while also eating delicious food and watching fun holiday shows.
3. Leipzig Christmas Market (Germany)
The Leipzig Market prides itself on being one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, with 250 lighted stalls set up throughout the gorgeous German city.
Locals and foreigners alike love to explore the stands during the Christmas season to get a taste of the city’s traditional Medieval market, which has been running since the 1450s. Also, beyond the market, visitors won’t want to miss the annual trombonist performance on the balcony of the Old Town Hall.
4. Basel Christmas Market (Switzerland)
As one of the best European Christmas markets, Basel goes all out for their event with Christmas lights adorning the wooden stalls of Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz. You’ll find this famous Christmas market in the Old Town portion of Basel, and with all the Christmas decorations, it will be hard to miss.
Along with the authentic Christmas market, where you’ll find unique gifts and beautiful Christmas tree decorations, you will also be able to enjoy traditional Swiss food and drinks, like mulled wine, waffles, raclette, grilled sausage, and Läckerli.
5. Sibiu Christmas Market (Romania)
When it comes to visiting Christmas markets in Europe, people often overlook Romania, but this gorgeous event is the most visited Christmas market in the country.
The market takes place in the city center, which organizers turn into a winter wonderland for the month. With plenty of fun attractions like the video projections on the buildings of the Grand Square, a skating rink, a train ride for children, and a panoramic wheel, Sibiu is becoming one of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe.
Furthermore, those who come to Sibiu can take a ride on the city’s 72-foot-tall Ferris wheel or sneak a peek into Santa’s workshop for some extra thrills.
6. Prague Christmas Market (Czech Republic)
Standing over the Prague Christmas markets and illuminating Old Town Square stands a 22-meter tree that helps to get everyone ready for the Christmas wonders. Underneath the angel-studded tree, visitors will also enjoy a huge Nativity scene and a gingerbread village. These sites turn Prague’s market square into a scene full of winter wonders.
Additionally, the Prague Christmas Market allows guests to check out traditional hand-crafted presents, such as blown glass balls, wooden toys, and biscuit cutters. You can also enjoy Czech Christmas biscuits and mulled wine while you experience this beautiful Christmas market.
7. Nuremberg Christmas Market (Germany)
The Nuremberg Christmas market is a fun place for children and adults alike where everyone can have fun. Like many others of its kind in Europe, the market offers guests a chance to find hand-crafted gifts for everyone on their list and seek out decorations to create their own magnificent Christmas tree.
For kids, the market offers such fun attractions as interactive booths, a stagecoach tour, and a lantern procession.
8. Strasbourg Christmas Market (France)
If you believe attractions and events are what make a great Christmas market, then Strasbourg is the best Christmas market on the continent. Not only will you find 300 stalls and kilometers of fairy lights, but you can also experience the concerts and other programs that make this event special.
As one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, Strasbourg has fun attractions, such as the Advent Village in Louise Weiss Square, the Christ Child Market, and an ice skating rink. You can also visit the OFF, where 30 local companies make unique recycled gifts.
Furthermore, the Strasbourg market is steeped in German tradition as well as French. The mix of cultures you will find here doesn’t only come from Strasbourg’s proximity to the border but also because the Christmas market dates back to 1570, when the city was part of Germany.
9. Trier Christmas Market (Germany)
If you love being a part of magical Christmas markets, then the market in Trier (also called the Trierer Weihnachtsmarkt) is a must-see. Voted the best Christmas market in Germany for 2021, the Trier market does its best to go above and beyond its competition.
Of course, as all Christmas markets in Europe, the Trier Market helps people celebrate Christmas by offering handmade gifts and Christmas decorations. Guests can also participate in the Advent in the Cathedral, where every Sunday of the festival, visitors can unwind by listening to traditional pre-Christmas songs sung in the beautiful Trier Cathedral.
10. Helsinki Christmas Market (Finland)
One of the things that people find the most fun about the Helsinki Christmas Market (also called the Tuomaan Markkinat) is how the hosts can mix the tried and true with the new and quirky.
On the traditional side, the market offers Christmas gifts and decorations as well as choirs who sing Finnish Christmas carols. On the other hand, they also have heated saunas and an outfit contest for dogs.
The market is also as sustainable as possible, with the vendors asked to sell recycled and biodegradable items only.
11. Vienna Christmas Market (Austria)
Vienna’s Christmas markets are spread throughout the city and vary in size, but the primary market is at City Hall on Rathausplatz. Here, you will find a plethora of gifts, like flowers carved from soap or Victorian-style candy. Also, those who run the market do their best to keep the event as tasteful as possible, so not many of the items for sale are machine-made, and plastic is rare.
As one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, the city can get a bit crowded during the festive season, especially Rathausplatz and the surrounding City Hall Park. So, if you want to beat out the crowd, you can try some of the other markets in Vienna, like Belvedere, Schönbrunn, or Altes Akh.
12. Tallinn Christmas Market (Estonia)
Tucked away in Europe’s northeast corner, many people forget about the Estonian Christmas markets. However, the Tallinn market is one of the greatest in the area, with many local merchants offering traditional Estonian cuisines, such as black pudding, sour cabbage, and gingerbread. You can also pick up some hot chocolate and hot wine while you are exploring.
Interestingly, the Tallinn market is also home to the first Xmas tree ever on display in Europe, placed in 1441 in Town Hall Square.
13. Edinburgh Christmas Market (United Kingdom – Scotland)
Edinburgh Christmas Market is full of everything you can want from a Christmas market and more. All of the fun that Edinburgh manages to pack into their event is what makes it one of the best Christmas markets in the world.
In the West Princes Street Gardens, guests can visit Santa Claus at Santa Land as well as enjoy family-friendly rides and venture through the Christmas Tree Maze, all with the beautiful Edinburgh Castle in the background. There’s even an oval ice rink where beginners and pros alike can have fun in the winter weather.
Meanwhile, in the stalls, you can browse through items, such as clothes, Harry Potter-themed gifts, art, beer, decorations, and more.
14. Nottingham Christmas Market (United Kingdom- England)
You can find the beautiful Nottingham Christmas Market in the city center. However, the event is hard to miss considering the 60-foot tree and 33-meter observation wheel, which tower over the rooftops every year.
Closer to the ground, you can skate in the largest ice rink in the area, as well as drink in one of the city’s pop-up bars, or take a ride on a carousel.
But, if you prefer more traditional markets, then you can head down to Long Row and Smithy Row, where you will find several Christmas markets spread along the streets.
15. Craiova Christmas Market (Romania)
Another Romanian favorite, Craiova is one of the best Christmas markets in Europe as well as the best Christmas lights destination in Romania. With tons of activities from concerts to workshops and over one million LED bulbs, the Craiova market is both beautiful and exciting.
The highlight of the market is on Shakespeare Square, where Christmas street food trucks selling traditional Romanian foods, like stuffed crayfish and leek dishes, abound. The square also holds lots of rides and games to keep the children busy during the event.
16. Brussels Christmas Market (Belgium)
The Brussels Christmas Market, which sprawls throughout the city with its center at Grand Place, is one of the few European Christmas markets that runs past New Year’s Eve, so you have plenty of time to enjoy everything the market offers.
In Brussels, you won’t only get to explore the market, but you can also watch the magical Sound and Light show which changes every year. Furthermore, you can absorb the incredible Nativity scene that the festival sets up underneath the city’s dazzling tree.
Table of Contents
- Top 16 Christmas Markets in Europe
- 1. Salzburg Christmas Market (Austria)
- 2. Cologne Christmas Market (Germany)
- 3. Leipzig Christmas Market (Germany)
- 4. Basel Christmas Market (Switzerland)
- 5. Sibiu Christmas Market (Romania)
- 6. Prague Christmas Market (Czech Republic)
- 7. Nuremberg Christmas Market (Germany)
- 8. Strasbourg Christmas Market (France)
- 9. Trier Christmas Market (Germany)
- 10. Helsinki Christmas Market (Finland)
- 11. Vienna Christmas Market (Austria)
- 12. Tallinn Christmas Market (Estonia)
- 13. Edinburgh Christmas Market (United Kingdom – Scotland)
- 14. Nottingham Christmas Market (United Kingdom- England)
- 15. Craiova Christmas Market (Romania)
- 16. Brussels Christmas Market (Belgium)