16 Best Christmas Markets in Europe You Shouldn’t Miss

Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Europe is renowned for its bright and festive Christmas markets, which offer a unique experience during the holiday season.

These markets are a delightful blend of tradition, craftsmanship, and culinary delights, while creating an atmosphere that is simply unparalleled.

Here’s a detailed guide through the best Christmas markets in various European countries as you discover the true essence of the holiday spirit.

What makes Christmas markets in Europe so special?

Some of the largest Christmas markets in Europe hold a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Their charm lies in the perfect combination of festive decorations, cheerful music, and the invigorating aromas of mulled wine and local delicacies.

These markets provide an opportunity to immerse oneself in the jolly atmosphere of Christmas, where a sense of wonder and joy fills the air.

History of European Christmas Markets

The roots of European Christmas markets can be traced back to the Middle Ages, with the first recorded market taking place in Munich, Germany in 1310.

These markets initially served as a gathering place for communities to purchase provisions and prepare for the upcoming winter season.

As time passed, these markets gradually evolved into festive celebrations, showcasing handmade goods, delicious treats, and lively entertainment.

European Christmas markets hold deep cultural significance and are filled with symbolism that reflects the distinctive traditions of each country.

From the intricate craftsmanship of handmade wooden ornaments to the harmonious melodies of carolers, these markets embody the spirit of the holiday season.

Each element, from the twinkling lights to the iconic Christmas tree, tells a story and invites visitors to embrace the rich heritage of European countries.

16 Best Christmas Markets in Europe

1. Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

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The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is a historical gem that has been attracting visitors for over 400 years. This market, set in the heart of the city’s medieval Old Town, exudes a magical atmosphere with its beautifully decorated stalls and the iconic Christkind, the market’s symbolic figure. Visitors can indulge in traditional Nuremberg sausages, gingerbread, and exquisite handmade crafts.

2. Leipzig Christmas Market

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The Leipzig Christmas Market perfectly blends tradition with the contemporary spirit of the city. As one of the oldest markets in Germany, it offers a unique shopping experience with its stunningly decorated stalls, presenting a wide array of gifts, crafts, and food.

The nostalgic carousel and the fun ice skating rink add an extra touch of whimsy to the festivity. You can also consider it the best Christmas market in Europe for families.

3. Dresden Striezelmarkt

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Dresden Striezelmarkt holds the title of the oldest Christmas market in Germany, dating back to 1434. This market radiates timeless charm with its impressive Christmas pyramid and the iconic Dresden Stollen, a traditional fruitcake synonymous with the market.

Additionally, visitors can take in the elegant craftsmanship on display by local artisans and the warm atmosphere created by ambient lights. Looking for home decorations this Christmas? Check out this list of the best string light decorations available on the market.

4. Frankfurt Christmas Market


As one of Germany’s largest and most cosmopolitan Christmas markets, the Frankfurt Christmas Market captures the essence of this vibrant city. Located in the heart of the historic center, it boasts over 200 stalls offering a wide range of culinary delights and handcrafted goods.

Visitors can savor traditional delicasies such as Bethmännchen (marzipan biscuits) while exploring the market’s bustling atmosphere. Planning a winter escape around the world? Here’s a list of the 10 Best things to do in Patagonia in winter 2023

5. Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt

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Vienna’s Christkindlmarkt is renowned for its majestic ambiance, set against the backdrop of the stunning City Hall. The market’s centerpiece is the enormous Christmas tree adorned with beautiful lights and decorations.

Visitors can wander through the aromas of roasted chestnuts and enjoy the sounds of classical music while shopping for gifts and crafts. 

6. Salzburg Christmas Market

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Being one of the best times to visit Christmas markets in Europe, Salzburg Christmas Market holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers, being the birthplace of the beloved carol “Silent Night.”

Set within the charming Old Town, this market showcases the city’s cultural heritage with its traditional crafts, musical performances, and the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked apple strudel. The market’s highlight is the Living Advent calendar, where each day reveals a surprise gift!

7. Innsbruck Christmas Market

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Nestled in the heart of the Austrian Alps, the Innsbruck Christmas Market offers visitors an alpine wonderland experience. Visitors can enjoy the market’s picturesque setting while soaking up the festive vibe thanks to the market’s stunning location amid snow-capped peaks.

The market provides a treasure trove of delights, from hand-carved wooden ornaments to regional delicacies like Tiroler Speck (cured ham). Consider Innsbruck the best Christmas market in Europe with snow. 

8. Strasbourg Christmas Market

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As Europe’s oldest Christmas market, the Strasbourg Christmas Market holds a special place in the hearts of locals and tourists alike. The market spans across the city’s picturesque Old Town, with its iconic cathedral as the centerpiece.

Stalls adorned with traditional Alsatian decorations offer a variety of food options, from delicious gingerbread to intricate hand-blown glass ornaments.

9. Paris Christmas Markets

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Paris transforms into a magical wonderland during the holiday season, with Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. From the Champs-Élysées to the Latin Quarter, these markets offer a variety of artisanal crafts, delectable treats, and entertainment.

Visitors can indulge in French delicacies like crêpes and foie gras while immersing themselves in the spirit of the city.

10. Lille Christmas Market

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Lille Christmas Market, located in the heart of Northern France, transforms the city into a winter wonderland each year. The market’s stunning Ferris wheel and ice-skating rink make it stand out among others.

With over 80 chalets offering a range of regional specialties such as Flemish waffles and mulled wine, visitors can’t help but be captivated by the charm of this market.

11. Prague Christmas Markets

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Prague’s Christmas markets, set against the backdrop of the city’s charming architecture, create a fairytale-like atmosphere that invites visitors from every corner of the world.

The Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square host a myriad of traditional wooden huts, selling everything from handmade wooden toys to intricate glassware with scents of cinnamon and sugar wafting through the air, tempting visitors with delicious Trdelník pastries.

12. Budapest Christmas Market

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Budapest’s Christmas Market is a delightful fusion of Hungarian and European traditions. The market’s focal point, the stunning St. Stephen’s Basilica, provides a breathtaking backdrop for the festivities.

Visitors can enjoy traditional Hungarian delicacies such as kürtőskalács (chimney cake) while browsing stalls filled with gifting items and handmade craft pieces.

13. Krakow Christmas Market

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Krakow’s Christmas Market epitomizes the charm and traditions of Poland during the holiday season. The Main Market Square, one of Europe’s largest medieval squares, transforms into a winter wonderland adorned with glittering lights and decorations.

The market offers a variety of Polish delights, including the famous Oscypek cheese and aromatic gingerbread cookies. Due to these pleasure features, it is considered the most beautiful Christmas market in Europe. 

14. Stockholm Christmas Market

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The Stockholm Christmas Market lures visitors with its Nordic ambience. The market’s location in the heart of the historic Old Town, Gamla Stan, adds some sparkle to the experience.

Traditional handicrafts, reindeer pelts, and Swedish delights like saffron buns and gingerbread are just a few of the treasures to be found.

15. Copenhagen Christmas Market

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Considered one of the good Christmas markets in Europe, Copenhagen’s Christmas Market captures the essence of Danish hygge, offering a cozy and intimate atmosphere. The market, located in the picturesque squares of Nyhavn and Tivoli Gardens, invites visitors to embrace the warmth of the season.

With a range of stalls selling crafts, Nordic delicacies, and warming glögg (mulled wine), the market embodies the Scandinavian spirit.

16. Helsinki Christmas Market

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Helsinki’s Christmas Market is a gateway to Finnish traditions and a celebration of the Nordic way of life. The market, situated in the Senate Square, showcases local craftsmanship and design.

Visitors can browse through stalls selling traditional Finnish treats like gingerbread cookies and visit the sauna to experience the quintessential Finnish relaxation ritual.