The 10 Best Christmas Markets to Visit in Europe

The 10 Best Christmas Markets to Visit in Europe

Whether you want to sip on a glass of mulled wine, indulge in some gingerbread, or simply ensure that your loved one's stockings are stuffed with local goodies, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most enchanting Christmas markets and potential winter getaways for you to visit this festive season.

1. Vienna: Over 20 Traditional Markets Since 18th century

When: 17th November - 26th December 2017
The most famous market(s): The Viennese Christmas Market in front of the City Hall
What can you find: carol singers, workshops, ice skating, food and souvenir stalls, Christmas-themed entertainment
Admission fee: Free entry

Vienna hosts over 20 Christmas markets during the festive season. The concept of Vienna’s Christmas market first originated back around 1761-1764 – some say even earlier – and until now you can always expect Viennese markets to be less eccentric and more on the traditional side. During cold winter evenings, these Christkindlmärkte (‘Advent Markets’) are more about social gatherings and enjoying the pre-Christmas festivities with those closest than anything else. Take a stroll and enjoy a mug of hot spiced wine, mouthwatering chestnuts, and cookies, all while doing some last minute Christmas shopping or admiring a blaze of festive lights and music. Interested in exploring the winter hotspots of Vienna with a local? Get Uliana to take you out and see them all!

Other famous markets: Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace and Christmas Market at Spittelberg

Christmas market in Vienna

2. Helsinki: Winter Fairy-Tale Land

When: 2nd December - 22nd December 2017
The most famous market(s): Helsinki Christmas Market located in Senate Square
What can you find: Santa Claus, stalls with handmade Finnish gifts, food courts offering locally produced food, a fairground
Admission fee: Free entry

The Finnish are not only badass at welcoming visitors, but they are also badass at hosting one of the top European Christmas markets too! From the beginning of December until Christmas, the St. Thomas Christmas market located in Senate Square turns into a charming winter fairy-tale land, with numerous rows of stalls offering handmade crafts and traditional desserts, which include star-shaped pastries and seasonal drinks such as glögi – made from spiced wine, and sometimes with almonds and raisins added. During the weekends and after-work hours, the most popular Helsinki’s Christmas market gets very crowded, but this only helps to create a more festive buzz, where you then have the chance to socialise with locals like Alfred or Lydia.

Other famous markets: Tampere Christmas Market

3. London: Treasured Holiday Tradition For Everyone

When: 17th November - 1st January 2017
The most famous market(s): Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
What can you find: Ice Kingdom, rollercoasters, an observation wheel, handmade gifts and crafts, wooden cabins, an open-air ice rink, Christmas-themed shows
Admission fee: Free entry

Every year, throngs of people from all over the world flock to London to make the most out of the Christmas season. Being a large city, it has numerous markets to choose from, including the Southbank Centre, Leicester Square’s Christmas market, and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, just to mention a few – there’s no escaping the festive atmosphere, with twinkly fairy-lights, wooden stalls, and delicious culinary delights everywhere you go. Don’t want to explore London’s Christmas markets by yourself? Then invite Neish or Lee to join you for a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine.

Other famous markets: Wintertime Christmas Market at Southbank Centre

4. Edinburgh: Famous In Both Size and Spirits

When: 18th November - 6th January (East Princess Street Gardens) and 17th November - 24th December (George Street) 2017
The most famous market(s): Edinburgh’s Christmas Markets in East Princes Street Gardens and on George Street
What can you find: an open-air ice rink, Santa Land, a fairground, workshops, rides, food and beverages, handmade decorations and gifts
Admission fee: Free entry

Scotland’s Christmas hub is undoubtedly Edinburgh, with most of the activity happening in New Town, across on the Mound, and around the Scott Monument, as well as throughout the eastern side of the Princess Street Gardens. The events also take place under the stunning backdrop of the city’s landmark, Edinburgh Castle – which is another great reason to visit Scotland’s capital. As everything is located in close proximity, it makes it easier when choosing from a variety of activities, like getting lost in the Christmas Tree Maze, skating on the outdoor ice-rink, or enjoying the fairground rides – and it’s no surprise that the Angels Christmas Market has become a treasured holiday tradition for both visitors and locals alike.

Other famous markets: the European Christmas Market in the Mound Precinct

5. Vilnius: The Most Exquisite Christmas Tree in Europe Surrounded by 50 Market Stalls

When: 1st December - 7th January 2017
The most famous market(s): Christmas Market in Cathedral Square
What can you find: a Christmas tree, food and beverages, a Christmas train, handmade crafts and gifts
Admission fee: Free entry

There is a symbol of the Christmas season that often attracts many visitors to a city – yes, it’s the Christmas tree! Some have called Vilnius’ Christmas tree this year the most gorgeous and exquisite in Europe. It’s located in Cathedral Square and stands 27-metres tall, with over 50 thousand light bulbs used to decorate it. This lush green beauty is also surrounded by 50 market stalls in the style of small wooden houses, which feature all kinds of goodies for sale – and with the help of Showarounder Fausta, you can easily visit all the winter attractions on offer in Vilnius’ Christmas market.

Christmas market in Vilnius

Other famous markets: Christmas market in Vilnius Town Hall

6. Brussels: The Most Unspoilt Markets

When: 24th November - 31st December 2017
The most famous market(s): Brussels’ Christmas market and Winter Villages
What can you find: a ferris wheel, handmade gifts and souvenirs, a merry-go-round, chalets, a covered ice rink, music events, light parades, food and beverages
Admission fee: Free entry

Are you planning a visit to Brussels’ Christmas market this winter? In our opinion, it has to be one of the most unspoilt markets – hands down! Winter Wonders stretches from the Grand Palace to Place St. Catherine, where you can find a ferris wheel, covered ice-skating rink, a massive Christmas tree and, of course, the market. Every year there’s a guest of honour, which is usually a country or a region, and helps to entice friendships with other nations and promote other cultures among Belgians – and this season it’s Japan, with an Origami Lights show at St. Catherine’s church to celebrate the 150th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship.

7. Copenhagen: See & Taste True Danish Life in One Place

When: 18th November - 31st December 2017
The most famous market(s): Christmas market in Tivoli gardens
What can you find: rides, Christmas-themed gifts and decorations, food and beverages, Santa’s reindeer
Admission fee: 13 EUR

While on your way to the Tivoli Christmas market located in the heart of Copenhagen, you can smell the aroma of cinnamon, pan-fried cakes and gløgg (‘mulled wine’) from afar – the smell lures you in towards the market set inside the renowned amusement park Tivoli Gardens, where you will find a plethora of games, pirate ships, rollercoaster rides and stalls. As you wander around checking out all 60 stalls, make sure to sample some of the delicious local food on offer – and if you’re not so keen on being outdoors for so long, you can always enjoy a meal at one of the many local restaurants nearby. The food can be quite expensive, but it’s a great opportunity to experience Denmark’s tasty food scene – sugar-browned potatoes, meatballs, rice desserts, and many other speciality dishes. Just don’t forget there’s an admission fee to the market of 99 DKK (around 13 EUR).

Other famous markets: Christmas market in the Meatpacking District

8. Berlin: More Than 50 Diverse Markets

When: 27th November - 31st December 2017
The most famous market(s): 34th Christmas Market at kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
What can you find: handmade crafts and gifts, Christmas decorations, carousels, a Christmas tree, food and beverages
Admission fee: Free entry

When it comes to diversity, the capital of Germany is truly hard to beat – and the same goes for the variety of Christmas markets the city has to offer! We’re not talking 2 or 3 here – more like 50 Christmas markets spread out across all of Berlin. Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche is without a doubt the most popular, with over 2 million visitors every year – so what can you expect to find? As in most German Christmas markets, finding glühwein (‘mulled wine’) goes without saying, but there are also lots of tasty German sausages, various meats and cheeses, gingerbread cookies and apple chips (yum!) – and for those interested in something less traditional, Berlin has loads of quirky Christmas markets too. To find out which Berlin’s Christmas market would suit your interests best, why not ask Ricky or Kasia for advice.

Other famous markets: Winter World on Potsdamer Platz (Tiergarten)

Christmas Market in Berlin

9. Prague: Fabulous Any Day Of The Year

When: 2nd December - 6th January 2017
The most famous market(s): The Old Town Square Christmas Market
What can you find: handmade crafts, food and beverages, Christmas-themed performances, farmyard animals, a Christmas tree
Admission fee: Free entry

One of the two main Christmas markets in Prague is located in the very heart of the city in the Old Town Square. Not only is it surrounded by amazing architecture, which makes it a worthwhile experience in itself, but there’s also Czech Christmas carols, the winter-themed decorations, and an authentic manger scene with a beautiful Christmas tree that all create a truly festive atmosphere. If you would like to hear more about a Czech Christmas, as well as their rich history and culture, Barbora is the perfect person to ask!

Other famous markets: Prague’s Christmas market in the Wenceslas Square

Christmas Market in Prague

10. Budapest: 1200 Square-Metre Gastro Terrace for Food Lovers

When: 13th November - 6th January 2017
The most famous market(s): Christmas market in Vörösmarty Square
What can you find: food and beverages, Christmas-themed performances, farmyard animals, Santa Claus, homemade arts and crafts, a gastro terrace
Admission fee: Free entry

If you haven’t added this destination to your itinerary yet, it’s about time you did! Here are just a few reasons to visit Budapest this festive season – at the rustic market in Vörösmarty Square, you’ll find a 1200 square-metre gastro terrace filled with Hungarian delights, such as goulash served in a hollowed out bread roll, grilled sausages, and cabbage stuffed with rice or pork. The market also offers craft stalls with all kinds of goods from ceramics to leather, plus there’s various entertainment, like soul and jazz concerts, art workshops, folklore performances, Santa Claus programmes and loads more. To be honest, though, one evening is not enough to fully enjoy all this fair has to offer.

Other famous markets: Winter Festival in Városháza Park

Share with us your favourite winter wonderland by leaving a comment below!