17 magical Christmas markets in Europe
It's that time of year for a little Christmas magic (and a lot of sparkle). Thankfully, our favorite Christmas markets in Europe are back this year. There are so many ways to get in on the fun—whether it's filling up on bratwurst and mulled wine at a traditional market in Germany, or hopping on a roller coaster at London’s Winter Wonderland.
We've got the scoop on 17 of the best Christmas markets in Europe...so go on, find your fave, and let the festivities begin.
Note: The information in this article is accurate at the time of publishing. Refer to the official websites for the most up-to-date information.
Best Christmas markets in Germany
1. Christkindlesmarkt, Nuremberg
When: December 1–December 24, 2023
Having been around since the 1500s, the Nuremberg Christmas Market is considered to be one of the oldest (and one of the best) Christmas markets in Germany. This year's market is back at Hauptmarkt and you can look forward to its famous opening ceremony, the original Nuremberg bratwurst, and its blonde-haired Christkind angel. Get the full Christkindlesmarkt experience (and more) on a stagecoach tour or with this Christmas market tour from Munich.
2. Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market, Cologne
When: November 23–December 23, 2023
Set against the Gothic Cologne Cathedral, the Weihnachtsmarkt am Dom (literally: Christmas market at the cathedral) should be one of your first stops on your exploration of Cologne's Christmas markets. Start your day with a tour of the cathedral city and catch the festive lights in the evening while sipping a glass of glühwein and exploring the stalls in this cozy market. You can even climb up one of the spires of the cathedral for stunning views of the market and holiday lights below.
3. Düsseldorf Christmas Market, Düsseldorf
When: November 23–December 30, 2023
There are seven main Christmas markets in the Düsseldorf city center, each offering something different. Swoon over beautifully curated gingerbread houses at the main Altstadt-Markt, the charming red Renaissance-style huts at Handwerker-Markt, or the enchanting fairytales and LED lights at the Schadow-Markt. Look out for the local Christmas specialty, Düsseldorfer Senfrostbraten, thin slices of beef cooked with mustard.
Best Christmas markets in France
4. Christkindelsmärik, Strasbourg
When: November 24–December 24, 2023
Strasbourg's festive spirit and decorations are close to unmatched, rightfully earning its moniker as the “Capital of Christmas.” The Christkindelsmärik at Place Broglie is a historic staple of the area, loved for its spread of delectable food and traditional atmosphere. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore other unique Strasbourg Christmas markets on a private walking tour, from the majestic market at Place de la Cathédrale to the offbeat and artisanal markets selling handcrafted Alsatian wine glasses and local delicacies.
5. Colmar Christmas Markets, Colmar
When: November 23–December 29, 2023
If you’re visiting Strasbourg, hop on over to the Colmar Christmas Markets just a 30-minute train ride away. Colmar goes all out with its festive decorations—much like the rest of Alsace—which come to life with bright, twinkling lights this time of year. While small, all of its six markets are surrounded by quaint timber houses, lovely decorations along the canal, and whimsical white Christmas trees scattered across the town. Explore all of them on this Christmas markets tour of Colmar and end the night with wine tastings in a wine cave.
6. Reims Christmas Market, Reims
When: November 24–December 24, 2023
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Reims is the backdrop of the Reims Christmas markets, with over 150 stalls across six different markets, brimming with artisanal handicrafts and gourmet specialties. The best part? You can enjoy a glass of bubbly on the big Ferris wheel and enjoy the view of the illuminated square below as you're serenaded by the melodic voices of Christmas carolers.
Best Christmas markets in the U.K.
7. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London
When: November 17, 2023–January 1, 2024
If there’s only one Christmas market you can visit this year, make it the Christmas extravaganza that is Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. End the year on a high with tons of rides, a mega Ferris wheel, an outdoor ice rink, ice sculptures, Christmas sing-a-longs, bars… and did we mention over a hundred Christmas market stalls? Pre-booking of tickets is required so hop over to the Winter Wonderland website to snag your slot. If not, there’s always this silent disco Christmas party tour of London to get into the festive spirit.
8. Edinburgh’s Christmas, Scotland
When: November 17, 2023–January 6, 2024
At Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, you can look forward to a diverse range of stalls selling festive food and trinkets, a Ferris wheel, a meet with Santa, and the much-anticipated outdoor ice rink along George Street. You'll also see the iconic Edinburgh Castle completely transformed and illuminated in twinkling festive lights. While you're in the city, make time to explore the rest of Edinburgh on this hop-on hop-off bus tour.
9. Manchester Christmas Market, Manchester
When: November 10–December 21, 2023
Another spot that contends for the top Christmas market in the UK is the Manchester Christmas Market. The city center will be illuminated in festive lights and the markets will feature Yuletide bars with local ales and foodie favorites like Dutch Frites, live music, and DJs spinning festive tunes. Get an intimate and tailored Christmas in Manchester experience with this private tour.
Best Christmas markets in Switzerland
10. Münsterplatz Christmas Market, Basel
When: November 23–December 22, 2023
With neighbors like Germany and France, expect no less than absolute magic at Basel’s Christmas markets. The Christmas market at Münsterplatz is one of the crowd favorites, with a huge Christmas tree set in front of the iconic red sandstone Münster. Learn about the Advent customs of the “city on the Rhine” while enjoying the holiday magic on this Christmas tour of Basel.
11. Christkindlimarkt and Zurich Christmas Village, Zurich
- Christkindlimarkt at Zurich Main Station: November 23–December 24, 2023
- Christmas Village at Sechseläutenplatz: November 23–December 23, 2023
When it comes to Christmas trees, the opulence of Christkindlimarkt’s tree at Zurich Main Station can’t be beaten—a 32-feet-tall Christmas tree embellished with thousands of sparkling lights. The Christmas market inside the train station is pretty neat, too—it's one of the largest indoor Christmas markets in Europe. The Wienachtsdorf, or Zurich Christmas Village, is another great market set against the Opera House. You'll find unusual local art, traditional Swiss specialties, and plenty of fun activities for the kids. Explore both of these markets and more with the Magic Christmas Tour in Zurich.
Best Christmas markets in Belgium
12. Bruges Winter Glow, Bruges
When: November 24, 2023–January 7, 2024
The Bruges Winter Glow festival is back again this year, promising dazzling winter illuminations across the city, an outdoor skating rink, a cozy winter bar, and of course, Christmas markets that you can explore on this Bruges Christmas market tour. Dig into a Belgian fare of waffles, beer, and chocolate, against the backdrop of the Belfry of Bruges bell tower.
12. Winter Wonders, Brussels
When: November 24–December 31, 2023
The magic continues at Winter Wonders in Brussels, bringing with it over 200 wooden chalets at its Christmas market, a massive Christmas tree, a Ferris wheel, and—the star of the show—a sensational light display at the iconic Grand Place. You’ll definitely need the help of a local guide on this Brussels Christmas tour to catch all of the festive action.
Best Christmas markets in Austria
13. Salzburger Christkindlmarkt, Salzburg
When: November 23, 2023–January 1, 2024
Located at the foot of Hohensalzburg Fortress and around the sacred Salzburg Cathedral, the Salzburger Christkindlmarkt offers a remarkable experience steeped in Austrian tradition. There will be over 100 stalls where you can take in the sights and smells of Christmas delicacies and sweets, delicious Austrian coffee, and handicrafts. If you can’t get enough of the City of Mozart, explore the rest of its beautiful architecture and Christmas markets on this Salzburg city tour.
14. Viennese Dream Christmas Market, Rathausplatz, Vienna
When: November 10–December 26, 2023
The Christmas dream comes alive in Rathausplatz, the home of Vienna’s biggest Christmas market. This beautiful city emanates a soft glow come Christmas, with the grandiose City Hall serving as a backdrop. There will be over 100 stalls at the Viennese Dream Market alone and over 10 markets around the city, so do yourself a favor and book yourself on a Christmas market tour of Vienna.
Best Christmas market in Italy
15. Piazza Santa Croce Christmas Market, Florence
When: November 18–December 17, 2023
The largest Christmas market in Florence can be found at the piazza of the Basilica di Santa Croce against its glorious marble facade. Expect all the good stuff that comes with a traditional Christmas Market, like German-style open-air wooden stalls selling bratwurst, chimney cake, and mulled wine, with a mix of Italian cheeses, jams, chocolates, and spices. But before you have your fill of wine and cheese, whizz your way around Florence on an electric cart tour to explore more of the city’s iconic landmarks.
Best Christmas markets in the Czech Republic
16. Wenceslas Square and Old Town Square, Prague
When: December 2, 2023–January 6, 2024
While not as extravagant as other Christmas Markets in Europe, the markets in Prague make up for it with stunning backdrops, like the Tyn Cathedral at the main markets of Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. Grab some roast ham and a glass of honey wine and climb up the Observation Bridge in the middle of the square to admire the city’s enchanting architecture, made even more beautiful by the soft glow of the Christmas lights. There are loads more to see at Christmas in Prague so get on a private tour to explore its hidden corners and little-known spots.
Bonus: Rovaniemi Santa Claus Village, Lapland, Finland
When: Open every day of the year. Visit their website for more information.
The sleigh bells are ringing 365 days a year in Rovaniemi, the official hometown of Santa Claus—it even has a Santa Claus Post Office operated by the Finnish postal service. Pay a visit to Father Christmas himself, meet Rudolph and his reindeer friends, and find out what Mr. Claus gets up to while he’s not busy delivering gifts—we heard he loves aurora hunting, snowmobiling, and the occasional husky ride. Zoom through the Arctic Circle on this 6-hour tour and return to the village to spend the night in one of its luxurious winter resorts.