European cities come to life over the festive season, and are home to the best Christmas markets in the world. There's nothing quite like sipping on some hot mulled wine, wandering around cosy wooden stalls, trying your hand at ice skating, and indulging in a German bratwurst or Dutch waffles. From Strasbourg and Berlin to Paris and Edinburgh we’ve rounded up 10 of the best Christmas Markets in Europe this year. If you've been dreaming of that romantic wintry adventure, this is your sign to book yourself in!
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Ice Village on Museumplein
If you want to go on a shorter city break this winter, then the Dutch capital is an ideal place to soak up some authentic festive atmosphere. There are so many things to do in the city for the festive season , and heading to a Christmas market is just one of them. The Ice Village in Amsterdam opens on Museumplein every year with a charming Christmas market boasting more than 45 different stalls and superb ice rink. The market plays host to delicious food stands where you can indulge in traditional Dutch treats like stroopwafel, chocolate milk, frites, burgers, hot soups and an incredible array of delicious street food. The market is a magical place to shop for Christmas gifts adorned with fairy lights and beautifully-lit trees, as well as fire pits to keep your hands warm. Sip on some mulled wine from the Ice Village bar and take in the festive (and seriously cosy) atmosphere. The ice rink opens on November 12th, a bit earlier than the market which opens on 14th December this year. Perfectly located in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, you can glide (or stumble) around the ice rink with the Rijksmuseum as your backdrop.
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Gendarmenmarkt Square in Mitte
Berlin is brimming with different Christmas markets in the winter but the most authentic has to be the Gendarmenmarkt in the city’s most central district, . Thanks to its location, it’s of the most atmospheric spots in the city, held between three beautiful and rather significant buildings (The Deutscher Dom, The Konzerthaus and the Französische Friedrichstadtkirche). The market itself is classic and cosy with magical, star-topped tents and high quality food that you might struggle to find in other Christmas markets across Europe. As well as your standard hot dogs, here foodies will get something extra special thanks to the market’s Bavarian/French crossover. Think goose legs, apple strudel, sugared pancakes on top of other Christmas delicacies like currywurst, waffles and hot chocolate. As well as indulge in some incredible gastronomy, you can buy yourself some handmade trinkets from the stalls which are run by local craftsmen and craftswomen from different trades: you’ll find belt makers, dressmakers, wood carvers, photographers, stonemakers and more selling their goods at the market.
While the famous Alexanderplatz Christmas market is the oldest in the city, it’s essentially a giant fairground so we recommend this as an alternative if you enjoy rides and an adrenaline rush. The daily entertainment at Gendarmenmarkt ranges from Christmas choirs, gospel, and jazz bands, to fire eaters, jugglers and more.
Want more? Check out more things to do in Berlin at Christmas.
Marché de Noël des Tuileries
A city break in Paris is always a good idea, but even more so during the festive season where the City of Lights shines even brighter than usual. The French Christmas markets in Paris are inspired by the Alsace region, so you can expect to see plenty of delicious food and drink from that area as part of the festivities. Think Alsatian sausages, French cheeses, roasted chestnuts, tartiflette, chocolate-filled crepes and loads more delicious French pastries and sweet treats.
Our favourite Christmas market in Paris where you can really indulge yourself is located in the Tuileries Garden, just around the corner from the Louvre. Formerly held on the Champs-Elyees, this iconic Christmas market has been moved to the Tuileries Gardens for the past few years. The market has a buzzing atmosphere and whilst it’s busy, it’s certainly not a tourist trap and doesn’t feel like one either. Boasting over 100 chalet-style stalls, plenty of rides, and an ice rink where you can skate your socks off, it's a must-do if you're in the capital over the festive period.
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Christmas markets don’t get more authentic than the one that started them all. Thought to be the oldest Christmas market in the whole of Europe, it’s no wonder the people of France consider Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, to also be the ‘capital of Christmas’. The Christmas market here is a feast for your senses and every corner of the city is covered in Christmas lights while festive decorations hanging from house windows and shops become a winter wonderland. You’ve not experienced ‘festive feels’ until you’ve visited Strasbourg market.
Christkindelsmarik is the main event; since way back in 1570, the market has taken place on Place Broglie where over 300 wooden chalets show off craftsmanship through stunning ornaments, trinkets and incredible food. Marvel at the giant Christmas tree, eat your way around the pretzels, gingerbread and knacks (sausages) and don’t leave without warming your hands on a perfectly spiced vin chaud (mulled wine).
Southbank Centre Winter Market
London in winter time is all about , hot chocolate , cosy pubs and the Christmas markets . If you’re looking for an authentic Christmas market in London, skip Winter Wonderland (which is super commercial, extremely busy and expensive) and head to London's Southbank instead. Located by the River Thames, the Southbank Centre Winter Market is our favourite market in the British capital to visit because of all the amazing food on offer and spectacular views over the river.
Playing host to big names of London’s street food scene, there will be traders from all over the world cooking up hearty feasts - including specialties from Greece, India, and Thailand to name a few - as well as traditional winter favourites on offer like bratwurst and raclette. Expect wooden chalet-stalls, pretty fairy lights and lots of handmade gifts to browse. If you want an unforgettable Christmas winter break, London won’t let you down and has some fabulous festive treats. Theatre shows, Christmas markets, shopping on Oxford Street and incredible Christmas lights - the capital goes above and beyond for the festive season.
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Christmas Market Schloß Schönbrunn
While smaller than its more famous neighbouring market, Christmas Market Schloß Schönbrunn is far more stylish and elegant - just what you’d expect from Vienna. With Schönbrunn Palace as the backdrop, a spectacular Christmas tree stands front and centre next to the palace, and around 80 charming Austrian stalls line-up on either side.
Rather than street food like in many other markets across Europe, here the stalls are mainly showing off the skills of local arts and crafts which make the perfect Christmas gifts. Pottery, glass blowing, wood carvings, candles and much more are on offer from Austrian craftsmen and women - and they’re certainly not just the usual tacky Christmas nick-nacks. Not many corners of Vienna are more cosy or relaxing - as classical music plays, the palace glows a soft gold after dusk and the crowds are mainly elsewhere. Instagrammable all around!
Tallinn Christmas Market
Tallinn is considered to be one of Europe’s hidden gems, and its Christmas market is fast becoming one of the most popular on the continent, whilst remaining charming and authentic. The capital of Estonia is brimming with character and during Christmas its beauty is taken to another level. The quaint, medieval Old Town transforms into a wintry paradise, with the Tallinn Christmas Market set up in Town Hall Square.
Each year a contest is held to help find the most beautiful spruce tree, fitting enough to become the crown jewel of Tallinn Christmas Market. Since 1441, the ceremony of transporting the tree into its position in the Town Hall Square has been tradition, before it's decorated in thousands of twinkling LED lights. Enjoy some traditional Estonian Christmas foods from the chalet stalls, such as black pudding, gingerbread and sauerkraut, and make sure to buy a hot cup of steaming mulled wine as you walk through the chalets on the hunt for an authentic Estonian souvenir. You may even be lucky enough to see a snowfall over the market, perfect for cosying up in one of the bars around the square - bliss!
Christmas Market on Vorosmarty Square
Budapest is full of wonderful Christmas traditions, but the number one way to get you in the festive spirit when in the city is to visit the oldest and most beautiful Christmas market. Held each year on Vorosmarty Square, this is the perfect place to celebrate the festive season, joining locals and tourists alike to bring its notoriously buzzing atmosphere Vorosmarty’s Christmas market is like something from an olden-day advent calendar - wooden chalets, choirs singing and people walking around wrapped up in wooly hats for the winter, all surrounded by stunning Hungarian buildings from the 19th century.
Here you’ll find handmade gifts being sold as well as a whole host of food stalls for you to try some traditional local food in-season. In Hungary, festive food includes Kurtoskalacs (Chimney cakes made from pastry and cinnamon), stuffed cabbage in a bun, roasted goose thigh, duck sausage and way more - including rooster testicle stew… a gourmet delicacy according to locals!
Christmas Market on Markt Square
The cobbled streets, fairytale buildings and horse-drawn carriages in Bruges ooze the European charm that people come from all over the world to experience, and the city's Christmas Market in itself is one for the bucket list. Towards the end of the year, the market will take over Markt Square - the most enchanting spot in the entire city that lends itself perfectly for festivities. See the real life ‘gingerbread houses’ in all of their glory, sample a Belgian waffle drenched in creamy chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream, and take in the gloriously Belgian way of Christmas. Plus, there will be plenty of local beers for you to sample your way around! Did you know frites were also invented in Belgium, another street food staple that you have to try at the market.
After you've at and drank your fill, take to the glistening ice rink in the heart of the square, purchase some authentic festive gifts from the wooden chalet stalls or head up the Belfry Tower for a birds-eye view of it all. Then warm yourself up at one of the in the small town, or continue your Christmas shopping at the .
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Christmas in Tivoli Gardens
People come from all over the world to visit Copenhagen in winter to experience ‘Hygge’, a Danish concept of cosiness, happiness, warmth and most importantly, enjoying the good things in life with the people you love. There’s nowhere better to experience Hygge than at Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens which goes all out for the festive season with its Christmas market.
The 175-year-old amusement park embodies the spirit of a Nordic Christmas the middle of November until early January. Wooden cottages sell festive trinkets, Santa Claus gives a warm welcome and you can smell the sweetness of caramelised almonds even from the top of the highest rollercoaster. There are over 60 stalls at this Copenhagen Christmas market where you can pick up gifts and sample a multitude of traditional Danish festive treats. Get to the park after dark to see the rides, trees, walkways and buildings adorned in thousands of spectacularly bright and colourful lights.