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Europe’s best Christmas markets

Europe’s best Christmas markets


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Holidays are coming, however much you try to resist it. To get you in the Christmas spirit, we've rounded up some of the most festive Christmas markets across Europe for steaming mulled wine and sugary treats.

Prague

Set in the city’s ethereal Old Town Square and the aptly named Wenceslas Square, the focal point of Prague’s Christmas Market is the enormous Christmas tree imported every year from the Krkonose Mountains. Try the traditional trdlo (cinnamon and sugared bread) and the local medovina (honey liquor).

Vienna

Set in front of the magnificent Town Hall, the annual “Christkindlmarkt” in Vienna is over 700 years old, making it one of the oldest in Europe. Considering this is the home of the snow globe, it’s hardly surprising that this is also one of the most popular. Admire the Advent windows painted by local artists while you nibble gebrannte mandeln (toasted almonds) and Vanillekipferl (Christmas cookies).

Copenhagen

Hundreds of Christmas trees and half a million lights illuminate Copenhagen’s Christmas Market in the Tivoli Gardens, Europe’s oldest amusement park. The lake is transformed into an ice rink, pony rides are available and there are plenty of food stalls. Hot apple dumplings and glögg – a Danish mulled wine – are firm favourites.

Berlin

For more of a contemporary feel, head to Berlin’s Christmas Market at the base of the Gedächtniskirche (Memorial Church) where you’re as likely to find modern artworks and designer goods as you are antiques and traditional decorations. Take a stroll to the Posdamer Platz where you’ll find an open-air ice rink, a 20-metre high Christmas tree and some of the best sausages in Germany. You can also enjoy a real party atmosphere underneath the TV Tower in Alexanderplatz.

Tallinn

Apparently the site of the world’s first Christmas tree, Tallinn’s medieval Old Town Hall Square is undeniably the perfect spot for a Christmas market. Although only started in 1991, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular in Europe. Look out for the sauerkraut and blood sausages, hot soups and stir-fries sold from the little wooden huts.

Stockholm

Frequently likened to “stepping into A Christmas Carol”, Stockholm’s “Gamla Stan” is one of four Christmas markets spread out across the islands. Its cobblestone streets, chiming church bells and inevitably snow-dusted rooftops make it one of the most picturesque. If you can bear it at this time of year, look out for reindeer meat on the menu – it’s a Swedish speciality. Alternatively the local pepparkakor (gingersnaps) washed down with glögg (mulled wine) are a must.

Dresden

The oldest in Germany, Dresden’s Christmas Market is seeped in tradition – the highlight of which is the annual Stollen Festival when one giant 3,000kg Striezelmarkt cake is paraded through the streets of the city. Such pride is taken in its formation that only approved bakers are allowed to sell this sweet fruitcake.

Nuremburg

Over 400 years old and with around 200 market stalls, Nuremburg’s Christmas Market is one of the best-known in Europe, mostly for its food. Local Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and feuerzangenbowle (mulled wine laced with rum or brandy – a mouthful in more ways than one!) are very popular. By the evening the market is flooded with musicians, from bass bands to jazz players.

Cologne

Known as the “granddaddy” of German Christmas Markets, the Kölner Dom stands in the shadow of the two spires of the famous Cologne cathedral. It’s also famous for its selection of food – the aromatic roasted apples and almonds simply must be sampled.

Strasbourg

Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik has the oldest and most famous Christmas Market in France, the Marchés de Noël. Since 1570 it has been held around the town’s cathedral and as well as mulled wine, it also has a tradition of spicy hot orange juice. On the food front, the bredele (Alsatian butter cookies) and maennele (little brioche men) are particularly special.


Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Have a look at these Best Christmas markets in Europe. They are magical, full of beautiful handmade products and delicious foods!

Now guys, I don’t know about you but I love visiting Christmas markets!

I have visited a few Christmas markets – some of them in capital cities, some in small villages and others in large towns. So far these are the best Christmas markets in Europe! These three markets are my favorite ones and I highly recommend visiting them! They are stunning and they are the best European Christmas markets by all means!


Delicious German Xmas Market Foods You Need to Try

What do you eat in Germany for Christmas?

Well, a better question might be what DON’T you eat?

Over the years, German Christmas Markets have stepped up their food game, mixing traditional German food with international classics that are equally beloved (and detrimental to one’s waistline).

Here are some ideas for your German Christmas feast:

1. Wurst (AKA Sausage)

Fact: it is physically impossible to walk through a German Christmas Market without wanting a sausage. After all, wurst are a German Christmas Market classic, with a dizzying amount of variety on offer.

Whether it’s the tiny Nuremburger sausages that you could easily pop by the dozen or a thick Thuringian rostbratwurst in a bun with mustard, you’re spoiled for choice wurst-wise at any German Christmas market.

So, I follow a very simple rule of thumb: go by what looks good, and what everyone else is ordering.

Watching bundles of juicy sausages being cooked on a twirling Schwenkgrill is probably one of the most mesmerizing things you’ll witness in your life, so try not to drool too much and be sure to keep things moving.

2. Reibekuchen & Kartoffelpuffer (AKA Potato Pancakes)

If you like hashbrowns, make sure you get yourself a Kartoffelpuffer (or Reibekuchen – same thing!) as soon as humanly possible.

These potato pancakes are the most addictive and delicious potato treat you’ll have in your lifetime, and you’ll definitely want more than one after that first hot, crispy and oily bite.

NOTE: They’re commonly eaten with apple sauce, but I honestly devoured mine too quickly to even contemplate a side.

3. Champignons (AKA Mushrooms)

If you’re looking for a snack that won’t clog every artery in your body, then consider getting the healthy-ish snack of roasted mushrooms, AKA champignons.

You’ll find pretty much one stall at every German Christmas Market selling them, and rest assured, your nose will lead you right to your prize.

Often they’re served with a nice garlic (knoblauch) sauce. Mmm!

4. Gebrannte Mandeln (AKA Roasted Almonds)

While not exclusively a German Xmas food, to me, the smell of candied nuts will always be synonymous with the Christmas markets in Germany (and Oktoberfest, but that’s a different story!)

Needless to say, the smell of these addictive little heaven drops will tempt you from miles away.

If you don’t want to spend your life savings on nuts, I compel you to stay the heck away. I don’t think filing bankruptcy because of “tasty nuts” will go over well with your finance guy.

5. Pommes (AKA Fries)

Ugh, how basic can I get, right?

I know that fries aren’t the most exciting thing in the world, but there’s something incredibly magical about strolling around under all the Christmas lights, nursing some crispy fries doused in mayo.

Get yourself a cone of fries to share and enjoy as the smell tempts every human and dog that crosses your path. *evil cackle*

6. Flammkuchen

Think of flammkuchen as a delicate, fancy little pizza.

It’s a thin flatbread typically covered in white cheese, creme fraiche, onions and bacon, BUT all sorts of varieties and toppings can be found nowadays.

It’s a typical snack of the Alsace region of France (and the neighbouring areas of Germany like Baden-Wuttenburg) but it’s a fair-time favourite at any big German event.

Why? It’s ridiculously delicious, and the perfect savoury snack if you’re not looking for something that will stuff you silly. Definitely grab a slice to try if you get a chance, especially if it’s at one of the Alsace’s amazing Christmas markets.

7. Knoblauchbrot (AKA Garlic Bread)

When eating at German Christmas markets, I usually fly by one key rule: follow your nose!

If you abide by this rule as well, your schnauzer will undoubtedly lead you at some point to knoblauchbrot, AKA garlic bread.

I know it’s not the most exotic dish, but it’s damn good (and also garlic bread here is more deep fried and usually slathered in some kind of yummy sour cream).

If you spot this treat at any Christmas market food stalls, be sure to grab one to try.

8. Lángos

Lángos (pronounced long-oh-sh) is a delicious piece of fried dough that’s topped with all sorts of wonderful things like cheese, sour cream, or really, whatever you want!

As the name probably hints, it’s not a traditional German Christmas Market food (its roots are Hungarian), but its deliciousness has ensured that it now features heavily in any Xmas market, in Germany and abroad. If you’ve never tried Lángos before, it’s time for that to change, my friend.

9. Raclette

Okay, so, really, Raclette is proof that simple things are often the best.

While its consumption is more common at the Christmas markets of Switzerland and France, raclette is now a big player in German Christmas markets because well, it freaking rocks.

It’s basically heated cheese that is scraped off the wheel to offer a cheesy blanket to various toppings, usually potatoes, onions, cold cuts, pickles or all of the above on bread!

If you smell something funky in the air, odds are it’s raclette being heated up, and my advice is you should run to it ASAP like it’s the love of your life (because honestly, it kind of is).

10. Fried Camembert

This was a treat I first noticed while exploring the Christmas markets in Düsseldorf – disks of breaded camembert stacked sky high just waiting to be deep fried.

It was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. If you spot fried camembert at a German Christmas market, I urge you to eat as many as you possibly can.

11. Käsespätzle

While I haven’t seen a lot of stalls selling my beloved Käsespätzle, I’ve noticed it at a few German Christmas Markets I’ve visited so I feel like I should include it.

Käsespätzle is like the German answer to Mac and Cheese – it’s bouncy egg noodles generously slathered in Emmentaler cheese and fried onions.

It is one of my favourite traditional German food indulgences, and is more commonly consumed in a beer hall than at a Christmas market.

That said, if you see it around, grab a small plate to try. It’s amazing!

Unorthodox recommendation: Käsespätzle is SO good with Sriracha on top. Like, I might even bring a tiny bottle in your bag just in case the occasion arises. This might be blasphemous to hear, but trust me.

12. Schupfnudeln

Similar to gnocchi, these potato noodles are a classic dish beloved in Southern Germany & Austria.

Think of them as bouncy finger-like noodles that are typically served fried in bacon and tossed in… sauerkraut?!

I know, this is a dish bound to divide people, but if you’re a fan of sauerkraut, this is a must try. Be warned though: it’s really filling, so I advise sharing a plate between two.

14. Currywurst

Ah, currywurst.

This is a popular German food that’s beloved across the country (especially Berlin), whether at special currywurst stalls, as a delicious beer garden snack or perhaps a late night mouth-filler after partying too hard.

In sum, currywurst is a sausage that is sliced up and tossed around in a sweet curry ketchup, usually dusted with curry powder afterwards.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but you need to try it for yourself! Currywurst is beautiful. Currywurst is versatile… ergo, you should enjoy the magic of currywurst whilst surrounded by Christmas cheer.

It’s often served with a side of fries (pommes), but if you want to save room for other delicacies, you can usually just get the sausage on its own too. Enjoyyy.

15. Grilled Fish or Eel (. )

Okay, so this isn’t for the faint of heart.

I admit, the Munich Christmas market food scene had spoiled me for years with very dependable classics such as fries and candied nuts.

My recent Christmas Market adventure to North Rhine Westphalia however really thew me for a loop, with fish featuring at the markets much more than down here in Bavaria.

While Stecklerfish (fish on sticks) is a common sight in the South, I also noticed other delicacies such as smoked eels and salmon. Yes, eels! They kind of look like long, stretched out, overripe bananas. Isn’t that an attractive description?

I didn’t dare try it, but I trust you might have more adventurous taste buds than me. Hey, when in Rome…


60 Classic Christmas Treats You Need to Make This Holiday Season

These festive sweets make for the perfect homemade food gifts, too.

'Tis the season for decorating, caroling and holiday gifting . and of course indulging in some classic Christmas treats. Whether you're craving a post-dinner Christmas dessert or you absolutely need a batch of classic Christmas cookies to start the season off right, there's nothing better than treating yourself to the holiday's most festive sweets. Lucky for you, we've got recipes galore for all of the best Christmas treats you could ever want!

From decadent Christmas cupcakes to delicious candy, fudge and more, these holiday treats make the perfect last-minute homemade food gift for all your friends and family &mdash and they're definitely Santa-approved and guaranteed to spread the holiday cheer, too. With that being said, we also wouldn't blame you if you keep these tasty Christmas treats for yourself &mdashespecially if you're planning to pair it with a Christmas martini or a warm, cozy mug of hot chocolate. Now the hardest part is just waiting to eat them until after the Christmas dinner .


Pop-Up Stalls Selling Holiday Fare

Pop-up stalls come and go in some areas, so you will most likely happen upon them. One area where this frequently occurs is near Galeries Lafayette, across from the main building on Blvd Haussmann. Look for luxury goods, such as perfume, designer scarves, and fine leather gloves.

Even the regularly-held Paris street markets expand their offerings at this time of the year.

For example, even the small tucked-away Marché Saint-Honoré (Wednesday afternoon/evening and Saturday until 3pm) in the 1st Arrondissement expands with stalls offering knit garment, fancy confits, and jewelry.

Where to (Maybe) Find a Pop-Up Market

Pop-up Christmas markets, by their nature, are ephemeral and can be hard to find if you don't live in Paris - but a place always worth checking is the spacious Halle des Blancs Manteau (48 Rue Vielle du Temple, 4th Arrondissement), an old covered market dating back to the early 1800s in the heart of the Marais.

If you don't find a pop-up market underway, you'll find plenty of other shopping opportunities in this part of the Marais - or walk a few more blocks to Village Saint-Paul (currently undergoing reconstruction, but ignore the mess and enjoy the number of shops still open while the work progresses).

/>Pop-up Japanese Holiday Market at Galerie Choiseul in the 2nd arrondissement - 50+ stalls plus tasty Japanese tea and snacks


Christmas markets and events in England 2021

Twinkling lights, mulled wine, a festive atmosphere and fabulous gifts – England’s Christmas markets are back this year and better than ever before. Set in some of the country’s most picturesque cities, a visit to a Christmas market is equal parts shopping experience, equal parts destination discovery.

Winter Wonderland

Transforming one of London’s most spectacular parks, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland offers a festive paradise in the heart of the city. Home to the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom and an array of comedic acts at its own Comedy Club, along with the UK’s largest open air ice rink and plenty of bars and food stalls, there’s something for all the family to enjoy. Enjoy jaw-dropping circus acts and don’t miss the arrival of Paddington on Ice, a stunning family-friendly show combining cutting-edge choreography, toe-tapping music and impressive costumes.

When? 21 November – 5 January

Also check out: The festive window displays at Hamleys, Selfridge’s and Harrods, plus the capital’s festive lights around the shopping hubs of Regent’s Street and Oxford Street

Bath Christmas Market

For historic-ambience-meets-winter-style, head to Bath Christmas Market, as more than 150 pop-up chalets set up on the city’s pretty Georgian streets. Visitors can expect a real treasure trove of gifts to take home, whether that’s jewellery, homewares or decorations. Last year more than 80% of stallholders came from Bath and south-west England, while 99% of all products were handmade in Britain or abroad with Fairtrade certification, making this a much more eco-savvy shopping experience. There’s always new stalls to explore as well as the perennial favourites, while visitors can fill empty bellies with a range of festive food from The Lodge in the heart of the market.

When? 28 November – 15 December

Also check out: Bath on Ice, the festive ice rink that runs from 15 November to 5 January 2020, and Glow in the Dark mini golf the Christmas Trail at Prior Park Landscape Garden during December and Shoppers’ Carols at Bath Abbey on various dates throughout the festive season.

Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market

Victoria Square, Birmingham

A firm favourite on the city’s yuletide calendar, Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market is the largest authentic German Christmas market outside of Germany or Austria. Expect a fine range of traditional, personalised gifts and products on its 80 stalls and get into the German spirit while feasting on schnitzels, bratwursts, glühwein and weissbeer. Another huge draw is its bandstand location in Victoria Square and the programme of live music and carol singers that bring the party atmosphere to festive shopping.

When? 7 November – 23 December 2019

Also check out: Outdoor skating at Ice Rink Birmingham plus the Big Wheel Experience from 7 November to 12 January 2020, or head to Enchanted Weston - an illuminated, after-dark experience in stunning parkland with live music and food, running from 13 to 21 December.

Southbank Winter Festival

The popular Winter Market returns to London’s Southbank Centre, a seasonal pleasure that sits alongside a range of family shows and festive fun as the banks of the River Thames become a winter wonderland. All along the South Bank are strings of decorations and cute illuminated wooden cabins selling Christmas gifts, from the quirky to the traditional, as well as mince pies, spiced cider and steaming mugs of mulled wine and hot chocolate. Make sure to grab a selfie by the huge Christmas tree!

When? 8 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Also check out: The fantastic performances available at the Southbank Centre, from Christmas concerts and choir performances to a children’s retelling of Black Beauty (14 December 2019 – 5 January 2020) and circus entertainment with Circus 1903 (19 December 2019 – 5 January 2020).

Leeds Christkindelmarkt

Millennium Square in Leeds is transformed for the city’s annual Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market, with the addition of more than 40 traditionally decorated wooden chalets. Browse through hand-crafted jewellery and festive decorations, tuck into authentic German food and feel extra festive with a ride on the popular Christmas Carousel. For those still feeling hungry, visit the Alp Chalet restaurant in the centre of the market, a Bavarian style eatery offering a delectable selection of traditional food and drink, alongside evening entertainment.

When? 8 November – 21 December 2019

Also check out: Thor’s Tipi in Victoria Gardens, a pop-up tipi bar offering an array of winter warming drinks the massed voices of Inspiration Choir as they join forces with the Orchestra of Opera North for Inspiration: A Christmas Extravaganza at Leeds Town Hall (21 December 2019) and the Leeds Playhouse festive production of The Night Before Christmas (30 November - 28 December 2019).

Manchester Christmas Markets

The latest instalment of the Manchester Christmas Markets will take over locations across the city from mid-November, meaning visitors won’t be far from festive gifts and delicious food and drink stalls selling traditional bratwurst, hog roast, paella and much more. There will be more than 300 stalls and chalets across the city, with the heart of the markets found in Albert Square. Visitors can follow the trail and pick up jewellery, toys, plants, bags, homeware and fun, quirky gifts at a variety of markets, including a French market, a German market, a World Christmas market and a dedicated Arts & Crafts market.

When? 8 November – 21 December 2019 (Albert Square stalls open until 22 December)

Also check out: Winter Funland, which will be held at an indoor venue and include fairground attractions, an ice rink, a circus and other fun performances (6 December 2019 – 3 January 2020) Halle’s (Manchester’s Orchestra’s) Christmas Concerts at Bridgewater Hall and Ice Village Manchester, the UK's biggest-ever ice attraction which includes an Arctic Tiki Bar, Santa's Grotto and an ice rink (8 November 2019 - 5 January 2020).

Winchester Christmas Market

With its unique location in the shadow of a celebrated English icon, Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best. More than 100 chalets are home to hand-picked exhibitors offering exclusive gifts that visitors won’t find on the high street – from hand-crafted decorations and festive treats to craft beer and mulled wine.

When? 21 November – 22 December 2019

Also check out: Skate around the city’s covered Christmas Ice Rink (21 November 2019 – 2 January 2020) and marvel at the glittering Christmas tree in its centre or visit the Ginchester Christmas Market (7 December 2019), a celebration of the region’s diverse spirits including local gin, whisky, vodka and rum.

The Victorian Christmas Festival

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Travel back in time for three days of festive fun at the Victorian Christmas Festival, held in the impressive surroundings of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This year marks 20 years of Christmas magic, with the festival home to 120 market stalls selling all sorts of festive treats, an array of Victorian street performers and the chance to meet Father Christmas.

When? 29 November – 1 December 2019

Also check out: Mix up a treat as the Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower hosts two Christmas Cocktail Parties (7 and 13 December 2019) Meet Father Christmas at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum (14 December 2019) and enjoy lashings of festive fun during the That’ll Be The Day Christmas Show at Kings Theatre (18 December 2019).

Lincoln Christmas Market

Cathedral Quarter, Lincoln

This three-day market sets up shop for its fleeting run at Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter. There will be 280 Bavarian-themed stalls selling a range of unique festive trinkets alongside a wide selection of hearty food, drink and fairground rides. Shops across the city stay open later when the market’s in town too, giving you plenty of time to get all your gifts. Got the kids in tow? Well make sure to stop by St Paul in the Bail where the little ones can write and decorate their letters to Santa, and even post them to him using the huge Christmas Postbox.

When? 5 – 8 December 2019

Also check out: The magical Illuminated Wall Walk at Lincoln Castle from the 5-8 December the special advent services and concerts at Lincoln Cathedral between the 23 November and 25 December 2019 family-friendly days out at Rand Farm Park, with an enchanted forest and Santa himself, running from the 23 November to the 24 December and the Lantern Parade and nativity play at Castle Hill on the 19 December.

York’s St Nicholas Christmas Fair

Soak up medieval charm at York’s award-winning Christmas fair. Alpine-style chalets take pride of place at the centre of Parliament Street, offering up an array of festive decorations, foodie treats and traditional Christmas gifts. For local Yorkshire produce, head for the Make in Yorkshire Yuletide Village, and for all the fun of the fair, fly down the Victorian-style Helter Skelter at Kings Square. After all that excitement you’ll be in need of a tipple or two, so stop by the rustic barn in St Sampson’s Square for a glass of mulled wine and a cup of hot chestnuts.

When? 14 November to 22 December 2019

Also check out: Meet Father Christmas on the Kirklees Light Railway from the 30 November to the 24 December have a giggle at Scrooge The Musical, playing at the Grand Opera House between the 26 November to the 1 December, and skate around a 30-foot-high Christmas tree at Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland, open until the 5 January 2020.

Rochester Christmas Market

Attracting more than 130,000 visitors a year, this Kent-based market is sure to fill more than a few stockings. Nestled in Rochester’s Castle Gardens, you can browse a range of chalet-style stalls selling everything from Fairtrade clothing to dog toys and homemade jams. And head over to the Bavarian food village for some bratwurst or churros (very German, we know!) before letting loose on some good old-fashioned fairground rides. The market also happens to coincide with the Dickensian Christmas Festival, where you’ll be able to feast your eyes on Victorian delights, meet costumed characters and listen to some open-air carolling.

When? 30 November – 15 December

Also check out: Discover how the Victorians started our festive traditions at Eastgate House until 12 January or grab your nineteenth century ball gown and attend the Mistletoe Ball on the 6 December, part of the Dickensian Christmas Festival.

Norwich Christmas markets

Norwich isn’t content with just one Christmas market, so it hosts several. Taking place across the same weekend in December, three distinct fairs open for business across the city. The largest, Norwich Global Village Christmas Market, takes over The Forum, with indoor stalls selling the region’s finest crafts, paintings and gifts. And on Saturday, you’ll be able to tuck into French crêpes, mulled wine and posh hot dogs just outside The Forum’s doors. Over in the Cathedral, Norwich Christmas Fayre will be filled with more festive joy and goodies, while at Open Norwich, the Vegan Christmas Market will be in full swing with a range of cruelty-free products and delicious vegan food.

When? Norwich Global Village Christmas Market – 5-7 December Norwich Christmas Fayre – 6-7 December Vegan Christmas Market – 7 December

Also check out: The Tunnel of Light – Norwich’s most-visited Christmas attraction – open until the 5 January the breath-taking Thursford Christmas Spectacular, taking bookings between 23 November and 23 December A Circus Carol (an acrobatic reimagining of Dickens’ festive tale) between the 11 and 21 December and the community-organised Christmas Tree Festival, on display from the 4-8 December.


Budapest

There are many Christmas events in Budapest, and a number of different Christmas markets.

Budapest has smaller and bigger Christmas Markets, which usually open around mid November and close at the end of December each year. The two city central markets have been attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and are the most spectacular.

Keep in mind that many of the ticketed events sell out before December. So if you want to see a show, concert, enjoy a tour, or a treatment in the thermal baths, try to book in advance to get a good seat. Since it’s a busy time of year, booking a taxi in advance is a good idea too.


France

Reims’ Christmas Village (22nd November – 22nd December) sets up with one hundred and thirty-five cheerful chalet stalls that house everything from gourmet regional produce to arts, crafts and Christmas decorations. Get in the festive spirit by revelling in the street entertainment, magicians tricks and Christmas concerts that surround the market. Just don’t forget to spend some time sampling the locally produced varieties of champagne and wine on offer – the experience really wouldn’t be the same without it.

Strasbourg’s Christmas Market (22nd November – 24th December) dates back to the 1570’s, making it the oldest in France! The city has even been nicknamed the capital of Christmas. To get the most from your visit, start at the Place de la Cathedral and make your way through the historic city centre along the wooden stalls. You’ll find delicate ornaments, nativity figurines and regional delicacies like the bredele cookie, as well as cake and wine from throughout the Alsace region.

The Magic of Christmas in Colmar (22nd November – 29th December) is a bit more than just a Christmas market. While the whole of old town is lit up in twinkle lights, five separate islands of festivity set up all around it – each in their own picturesque square. This is the place to wander all around town and rediscover what it felt like to be a kid on Christmas – more magic around every single corner. One of the markets is even especially set up for children, with pony rides and a giant Santa’s letterbox.


Upcoming cities to consider for Christmas Markets in Europe

Ghent, Belgium

That is what you will see in Ghent:

  • Skating in the city
  • A visit to Ghent Christmas markets for a selection of Christmas gifts
  • The winter wonderland castle
  • A stroll through Ghent streets for spectacular lighting
  • Visit Ghent Christmas concerts and carols

Glasgow, Scotland

If you plan to visit Glasgow during Christmas expect A visit to the Barras market, Glasgow Museums, Visit Glasgow’s west end area, Meet Santa at St Enoch center, See Santa Claus at snow factor, attend Glasgow international comedy festival and the Glasgow film festival.

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb offers a unique Christmas atmosphere it boasts of some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

Other attractions during the Christmas season include:

  • The Zagreb street Christmas lightings
  • A visit to the frozen Plitvice national park
  • A tour for the Christmas story in Cazma
  • A visit to an outdoor thermal spa
  • The museum of broken relationships
  • Play an ice-hockey game
  • Skiing at Sjleme ski resort

Rovaniemi, Lapland

At Rovaniemi city, you stand to enjoy

  • A visit to the Ranua wildlife park
  • Ice fishing
  • A reindeer ride at Santa Claus village and see the real Santa
  • A Northern lights hunting tour
  • You can also visit the arctic science Centre and museums like the Korundi house of culture, Arktikum, and the science Centre Pilke

Manchester, England

The city of Manchester offers the following:

  • Skating at the ice rink
  • Shopping at the Manchester Christmas markets for gifts from different parts of the world
  • Elf the Musical at the Lowry
  • Enjoy a magical time at Dunham Massey, and the Curious Teepee

Salzburg, Austria

Salzburg presents a beautiful Christmas experience that includes:

  • A stroll through the city streets tracking the history of the Silent Night carol, that was initially done here at Oberndorf
  • Exposure to local cultures like the “Salzburger Adventsingen
  • Visit a Perchtenlauf
  • A visit to the Salzburg Christmas markets
  • Go for skiing

Florence, Italy

These are some main attractions in Florence city during Christmas best nativity scenes, lighting and Christmas trees, sample Florentine Christmas foods, Ice skating, Visit Florence Museums, Florentine Christmas markets like the Piazza Santa Croce, attend Christmas mass at Cathedral of Florence( Duomo), Ice skating at Florence winter park, Watch The Nutcracker at Teatro Della pergola.

Florence is a city where we’ve been twice and b oth times as part of a road trip. Read our post from our experience and include these ideas in your Christmas in Europe in Florence itinerary.

Tallinn, Estonia

In Tallinn you can expect the following during Christmas:

  • Skiing in the snow
  • Ice skating on a frozen lake
  • Enjoying your time in a sauna or spa
  • A visit to Tallinn Old town
  • The frozen Jagala waterfall
  • Traditional Estonian Christmas food

Visit the Christmas market in Tallinn town.


The Best Christmas Markets in Germany

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt – Nuremberg Christmas Market

  • Dates: November 29 – December 24, 2019
  • Hours: Daily, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • What Makes It Special: The Nuremberg Christmas market kicks in on the first Friday before the first day of Advent with an impressive ceremony where the Christkind, the symbol of the market and a gift-giving feminine figure dating back from the Reformation, opens up the event with a speech from the balcony of the Frauenkirche.

Arguably the country’s most famous Christmas market, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, or Nuremberg Christmas market, is held in the city’s main square, Hauptmarkt. While it seems the first documented mention of the Christmas market can be traced all the way back to 1628, locals believe it is even older.

The tradition of this Christmas market is important, and emphasis is put on regional delicacies and arts and crafts, including the Prune men, or Zwetschgenmännle, small figurines made of dried prunes. Do try the Nuremberg gingerbread and the local spicy sausages.

Spandau Christmas Market – Berlin

  • Dates: November 25 – December 22, 2019
  • Hours: Sunday to Thursday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm), Friday and Saturday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm)
  • What Makes It Special: Every Wednesday, Santa Claus visit the market for Family Day, which will certainly please the young children who are invited to sit on his lap and tell him their wishes.

If you find yourself visiting the German capital, you will probably notice that there is not a single Christmas market, but rather more than 80. Ranging from small community Christmas bazaars to full-fledged municipal markets, there is surely one you will fall in love with.

Ours is the Spandau Christmas market, the largest of the capital. Spanning all over the old town of Spandau, the Christmas market has been around for over 40 years.

Attracting thousands of Berliners and visitors annually, this Christmas market is definitely the one you need to visit if you want to feel like you’ve been transported to a small provincial town instead of Berlin. Handicrafts and yummy goods can be found at the wooden stalls near the St. Nikolai church but don’t miss the chance to head to the Gothic House for the artisan market, where you will definitely find the perfect Christmas ornament to bring home with you.

Lake Constance Christmas Market

  • Dates: November 28 – December 22, 2019
  • Hours: Daily, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm (food & drinks until 9:30 pm), Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • What Makes It Special: Even in a dreamy location as Lake Constance, the Christmas spirit is well-established and palpable. The market also has a fantastic children program, where the little ones can learn how to bake Christmas cookies, puppetry and much more.

If you are looking for a Christmas market with a memorable setting look no further than Lake Constance, Germany’s largest lake. Featured as one of the ten best Christmas markets in Germany by GEO Magazine, Lake Constance Christmas market consists of over 170 stalls sprawling from the central market square in the old town to the shores of the lake with no less than 100,000 glittering lights. Another highlight of the market is the 360° panoramic ice bar aboard the Christmas ship moored on the lake.

Grab a mug of glühwein (mulled wine) and marvel at the wide range of handicrafts and local specialties, including the traditional Schupfnudeln potato dumplings.

Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market

  • Dates: November 26 – December 22, 2019
  • Hours: Daily, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Tip: Stuttgart is a mere 12km away from Ludwigsburg, which is easily accessible on a 15-min ride on the S-Bahn from Stuttgart central train station.

Christmas lights enthusiasts should look no further than Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market for the ultimate Christmas market experience. Set in a marvelous market square dominated by two Baroque churches and glittering arcades, the Ludwigsburg Baroque Christmas Market is a treat for all the senses.
From the twinkling lights to the brilliant assortment of authentic crafts offered to the tasty treats available, this Christmas market puts a lot of the more popular ones to shame.

Children will love all the rides available at the market as well as the kiddy program, which includes daily puppet shows and even musical performances.

While you are in town, don’t miss a chance to visit the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace.

Altötting Christmas Market

  • Dates: November 23 – December 15, 2019
  • Hours: Monday to Thursday (2:00 pm – 8:00 pm), Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)
  • What Makes It Special: For an authentic Bavarian Christmas market experience, this is definitely the one. Make sure to attend the traditional Advent concerts with choirs and orchestras from Upper Bavaria and Salzburg!

The small Bavarian town of Altötting proves that sometimes smaller is definitely better. A pilgrimage destination for centuries that’s at the the same level of Lourdes or Fatima, Altötting is known for its little chapel in the center of the town square which is home to a statue of a miraculous Madonna.

As such, the Advent season sees the Kapellplatz square, which features several churches and Baroque buildings, turn into a village of wooden stalls and nicely illuminated Christmas trees. Here, St Nicholas, the patron saint of children, visits the Altötting Christmas market daily.

Furthermore, local culinary specialties such as the Christmas stollen, a rich cake with dried fruits or the star-shaped crumpet, the Sterntaler can be sampled.

Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market

  • Dates: November 29 – December 22, 2019
  • Hours: Friday (3:00 pm to 9:00 pm), Saturday (2:00 pm to 9:00 pm), Sunday (1:00 pm to 8:00 pm)
  • What Makes It Special: The Black Forest under a white mantle is already picturesque enough but add this beautiful Christmas market and you have the perfect formula for incredible pictures.
  • Tip: Freiburg Free shuttles are available at Hinterzarten or Himmelreich stations.

Want a traditional Christmas market with a twist? This is what the Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market is. This is the only Christmas market located in a gorge at the foot of a 40-meter-high viaduct in the Black Forest Highlands, just one hour by car from Freiburg.

Visitors can stroll around the 40-something huts selling Christmas-themed handicrafts and local delicacies such as flammkuchen, a German-style pizza. The whole atmosphere is completed with live music performances and several animations.


Best Christmas Markets in Germany

Let’s get into it and see what your best Christmas destination options are.

1. Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg

First on our list of the most revered German Christmas Markets is the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. And not with a perfect reason! Ideally, when most people hear of German markets, this one event comes into mind.

Not only is it one of the oldest German Christmas Markets, but also the most popular globally, with an impeccable record of over 2 million visitors annually. So, if you want to have a Christmas experience like no other and have a great selection of Christmas German gifts, this market offers the best opportunity.

While its exact origin date is unknown, historians suspect that it dates back to the 17th century. A coniferous wooden box dating back to 1628 is the oldest piece of evidence for this.

The Market starts on the Friday prior to the Advent First Sunday, ending on 24th December, unless the day falls on a Sunday.

The celebrations start with a major custom, involving a parade by the holy cherub ‘Christ Child’ – the traditional gifts giver during Christmas. This role is played by a Nuremberg child, through the city’s Central Square.

And if you want to carry home some souvenirs, you certainly should. There are numerous of these, including the Franconian region’s specialties, such as clothing (made from beautiful local wool), brandies, jams, etc. It’s no brainer why Nuremberg is also known as “the city of wood and cloth.”

Sweet treats of Spekulatius almond cookies and gingerbread will also tempt your appetite. These are some of the other top things to do in Nuremberg.

2. The Dresden Striezelmarkt

Talk of old, and the Dresden Striezelmarkt pops up on top of the list. This is the oldest market in Germany. It’s also among the oldest markets globally, as it is famous.

Unlike the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, whose exact origin is unknown, this one has been happening since 1434 in Altmarkt. Germans even refer to Dresden as the unofficial Christmas capital.

The term Striezelmarkt is coined from the words Dresdner Stollen. In the Middle, High German this is also known as Striezel or Strutzel, a popular type of cake you’ll find in this market.

The market square, where the events are held, is smack between Dresden’s Old Town stunning architectural gems, with the beautiful River Elbe majestically flowing in the background.

The decorations and festive lights glimmering the market square will undoubtedly lure you in. It’s a place and event that you wouldn’t want to miss.

3. Lucia Christmas Market, Berlin

Being the country’s capital, Berlin is home to some of the biggest German Christmas markets. It hosts over 70 Christmas markets every year, whose diversity equals that of the city.

The Lucia Christmas Market is one incredible market that’s not only famous to Berlin residents but to the entire country and the world. This Christmas market is held annually at the Kulturbrauerei, in Prenzlauer Berg.

What makes the Lucia Christmas market such a gem is the rich German traditions blended with Scandinavian influences.

You can hear the sweet German traditional songs playing all over the market, with Nordic flags flying from the beautifully decorated stalls. And, the mouth-watering aroma of German delicacies, like the elk bratwurst, will make you want to just have a bite.

If you want a twist in your Christmas shopping, this Scandinavian-themed Christmas market has all you need. From incredible fashion, original artwork, jewelry, and some scrumptious street foods, the market has you covered.

4. Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt

Leipzig city prides itself on hosting German’s second oldest Christmas market. The Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt opened its doors back in 1458, just 24 years after Dresden Striezelmarkt.

Located in Leipzig’s historical center outside the Old Town Hall, the market welcomes its visitors with over 250 beautifully decorated stalls overflowing with charming Christmas gifts. The place is always magical, abounding with rich history, culture, and amazing traditions. The delicious German foods will make your visit even better.

The celebrated St. Thomas Boys Choir ensures that the season’s atmosphere is always lit, with Christmas concerts and trumpet fanfares filling the air.

Also, smack within the city is the planet’s biggest “free-standing Advent Calendar,” at 857 m2. And that’s not all the Saxon spruce Christmas tree and the 38 meters tall Ferris wheel are also among the most attractive features of the market.

A tour of this market is certainly one of the most amazing things you can do in Leipzig city.

5. Marienplatz Christmas Market

This Christmas market that is held on the famous Munich’s Marienplatz is a sight to behold. The place is nestled in the middle of quaint historic buildings, such as the Old and the Neo-Gothic New Town Halls, offering even more tourist attractions.

And, the numerous wooden stalls all across the square make this place an authentic winter wonderland. The stalls, which are stunningly adorned with lights, garlands, and ornaments, offer the best treat of chestnuts, stollen, wine, and other superb German delicacies.

You can also shop for traditional Bavarian handicraft souvenirs to help create even better memories when back home.

If you thought Oktoberfest was the only good festival in Munich, then you can think again.

6. Magdeburger Weihnachtsmarkt, Magdeburg

While not among the biggest Christmas markets in Germany, this doesn’t deter it from offering some of the best Christmas treats. The Christmas market that takes place in the Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt’s capital, is among the best Christmas destinations in Germany. The culture and historical background engrossed in this place are simply stunning.

From the lively stalls containing all sorts of beautiful decorations, German delicacies, and artwork to the old medieval structures around it, it’s a sight you don’t want to miss. And if you are a wine lover, the tasty mulled wine, coupled with alluring seasonal melodies, will certainly lighten your day.

Also, kids are not left out in this fun. There are various children’s funfairs here, making the place a perfect family destination. Every one of the German Christmas markets has a unique touch to make you want to visit again.

7. Frankfurt Christmas Market, Weihnachtsmarkt

From as early as the 14th century, Frankfurt has been home to one of the biggest, oldest, and most fascinating Christmas markets. Spreading throughout Frankfurt’s historic Old Town and surrounded by fairy lights on old-style half-timbered structures, you just need to be here.

The place offers some of the best-mulled wine in Germany, roasted nuts, fragrant gingerbread, and delicious baked apples to keep your belly all sorted. In addition, Weihnachtsmarkt, Frankfurt is popular for its tiny dried plums figurines, hot apple wine, and the Bethmännchen.

And if you want to take some stuff home, there’s more here than you can carry. The over 200 stalls sell almost everything, right from original native artworks, ornaments, and even authentic honey-based products.

Here, you get a chance to celebrate the Christmas season in an entirely different and amazing way.

8. Erfurt Christmas Market

This is a Christmas market like no other. The over 200 wooden structures packed with beautiful handicrafts, ornaments, and German traditional delicacies, create an amazing view. Whether you are here for a treat of German’s best meals, or a taste of the country’s history and culture, this the best place to start.

Sitting among some of the most well-preserved structures in Germany, this Christmas market tops among the liveliest fairs in all of Europe. Some of the Erfurt Christmas Market’s most spectacular features include:

  • An exquisitely lit Christmas tree
  • Erzgebirge Christmas Pyramid, 12m tall
  • The Nativity Scene (human size wooden figures)
  • A traditional Christmas floral fair
  • Wooden stall with colorful decorations, selling numerous handcrafted products and regional delights.

The enchanted forest is also a highlight of this amazing Erfurt Christmas Market. You should certainly add this destination to your next German trip itinerary.

9. Schweriner Weihnachtsmarkt, Schwerin

The Schwerin Christmas market is one of those German Christmas markets whose history is unparalleled. The city’s history goes as far back as the 11th century, making the region one of the best places to be, especially for history geeks.

With stunningly decorated, well-preserved, old timber-framed houses lining the streets, the city offers the ideal setting for an amazing Christmas market. Some of the market’s highlights include:

  • Weihnachtspyramide (Christmas pyramid), 8 meters high
  • A fir tree, with over 10,000 lights
  • The Backsteingotik cathedral, 117.5 meters high

The famous Glögg (region’s mulled wine) also brings back memories of the city’s historic Swedish influence. And, if you are staying in Hamburg, Schwerin is just an hour via train. You can enjoy an amazing day trip from there.

10. Marktplatz, Stuttgart

If you are looking for Christmas markets in Germany offering a more traditional experience, Stuttgart has loads of those. Here, the city’s 5 main market squares are annually transformed, offering visitors and locals a taste of German’s most outstanding Christmas markets.

You’ll even hear some people calling Stuttgart the Christmas city due to the opulence in Christmas activities that the place commands. The presence of numerous stunning historic structures on its cobblestone streets just adds to the beauty and attractiveness of this place.

If you want to enjoy more than just Christmas, Stuttgart Christmas markets undoubtedly offer you that. One of the major markets you should try out here is the Wintertraum Markt.

You can enjoy some roasted chestnuts or the traditional honey-sweetened German cookies, as you marvel at the sea of exquisite wooden huts decorated with Christmas decorations.

Generally, there’s so much to see and do in these amazing German Christmas markets that you’ll wish to never leave. And, what’s better than enjoying Christmas markets in Germany.