Top 11 Christmas Markets in Europe every Backpacker

Europe has many hundreds of fantastic Christmas Markets well worth a visit, however, with so much to tick off your bucket list this time of year, we know you can’t make it to all of them. So, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here is our tried and tested top 10 Christmas Markets. All unique with something extra special to offer.

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  • 17 November 2016
  • • 8 min read

Europe has many hundreds of fantastic Christmas Markets well worth a visit, however, with so much to tick off your bucket list this time of year, we know you can’t make it to all of them. So, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here is our tried and tested top 11 Christmas Markets. All unique with something extra special to offer.

1. LONDON

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Nov 18 - Jan 2

Photo by  Channon Gray

Escape the busy bustle of London Christmas shoppers with Hyde Park’s very own Winter Wonderland. This traditional Christmas Market has over 200 chalets, each offering an array of food, drinks and unique handmade crafts. You will also find a great choice of festive bars including a 3 story Bavarian beer house serving up steins of beer and live music as well as a amazing ice bar. With over 100 rides and attractions on site, you’ll not only never want to leave, you’ll never have to! Take a friend ice skating, explore the Magical Ice Kingdom, be wowed by the Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk, or see London from a whole new perspective on the Giant Wheel.


2. BERLIN

Baroque Charlottenburg Palace Nov 21 - Jan 1

Photo by  Authentic Chica

The Baroque Charlottenburg Palace creates a dreamy atmosphere in which to explore one of Berlin’s most beautiful Christmas Markets. Magic comes to life with the Winterwald winter forest in front of the orangery, with attractions like a nostalgic carousel. An elaborate light installation bathes shoppers, the market and the palace in a festive glow. Wood huts and marquees, decorated entirely with natural materials, charm customers with their fares. Traditional market stalls sell hot chestnuts, crêpes and Hungarian langos. Feel like royalty with fine-dining offered by many restaurants inside heated tents. If you’re after the ultimate Christmas Market experience, this mystical world is the one to try.

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3. PARIS

Avenue des Champs-Élysées Nov 14 - Jan 4

Photo by  Adventurous Kate

Follow her on Instagram --  @adventurouskate

Experience the romance of Paris at it's most magical in the Christmas Market of Champs-Élysées. The world's most beautiful avenue is transformed into a Parisian paradise of festive fun.

Paris' greatest and largest Christmas market offers a great variety of specialties and delights from the various regions of France. Mulled wine will keep you warm as you browse the holiday treats on offer from over 200 wooden chalets.

The Champs-Élysées itself is decorated with wondrous lights and 400 Christmas trees, making this spectacular site even more of a festive must- see. Lined with restaurants, luxury boutiques, and the top museums Paris has to offer, there's plenty to do to keep you entertained this Christmas in Paris.

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4. BRUGES

Market Square Nov 25 - Jan 1

Photo by  Mtrip

Immerse yourself into a Winter Wonderland fairytale in this medieval square lined with cobbled streets, towering historic buildings, and traditional horse-drawn carts trotting by as you stroll the market.

Bruges' Christmas Market is full of goodies in a festive and friendly atmosphere that is sure to enchant you. Browse tables laden with Christmas wares, from elegantly molded chocolate Sinterklaas (Father Christmas) figures to hand-made goods and decorations. Go for a skate on Market Square's ice rink and warm up with a delicious hot chocolate in the local restaurants and cafes. Make sure to stop by the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival, hosted by Bruges every year.

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5. AMSTERDAM

Museumplein Dec 17th - Dec 30th

Photo by  Restelo

This major square located in central Amsterdam becomes a magical hub of festive activity every year in the lead-up to Christmas. Endless stalls and grottos filled to the brim with Christmas gift goodies and edible delights. There are even snowmen, complete with carrot noses! Sample the seasonal snack, olibollen, Dutch doughnuts which are said to ward off evil spirits! Spend your time skating on the ice rink, check out Amsterdam's Light Festival between December 1st and January 22nd to see the city sky lit up like the Northern Lights, and experience the magic of Christmas in Amsterdam.

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6. COPENHAGEN

Tivoli Gardens Nov 16 - Dec 30

Photo by Where is Mark?

Christmas arrives, and at the famous Tivoli Gardens the fun turns festive in what is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world. With an ice-rink, rollercoaster and theme park rides, your time at Tivoli Gardens takes a seasonal spin. The Gardens turn into the North Pole, with fantastic mechanical elves working away before your eyes as you journey to meet the man himself, Father Christmas. The Christmas Market itself doesn't disappoint, with elegantly decked out grottos, full of gifts and grub galore.

Local specialties are a must, such as the hot and spicy red wine, glogg, usually accompanied by a pancake, aebleskiver, covered in sugar and jam. With all the focus on fun and fantasy, this Christmas Market has an authentic atmosphere with less of a commercial feel. Just make sure to watch out for the nisser, Danish Christmas pixies...

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7. BARCELONA

Fira de Santa Llúcia, Avda de la Catedral Nov 27 - Dec 23

This historic Christmas Market dates from 1786, and originally celebrated the feast day of Santa Llúcia. The lights of the market glisten against the backdrop of the impressive Gothic Cathedral, and it is a tradition for locals and tourists alike to have a wander through its lively stalls. Held in the Gothic Quarter, the ancient centre of the city, the festive fair has expanded to more than 300 stalls, selling all manner of handcrafted gifts and goodies. You can find everything here, from Christmas decorations and nativity scenes, to handmade scarves and puppets. There are musical parades, pop-up exhibitions, and even a life-size Nativity scene and contest in Plaça Sant Jaume.

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8. EDINBURGH

St Andrew Square Nov 11 - Jan 1

Photo by  Into the Blue

Home to one of the finest Christmas markets the UK has to offer, the Scottish capital knows how to throw a good party.

Stretching from the Mound, along East Princes Street Gardens and around the Melville Monument, the main market is packed with delicious food and drink, traditional arts and crafts, and seasonal goodies - all set against the gorgeous backdrop of the glittering city. Skate around the Melville Monument on an oval ice rink, ride the St Andrew Square carousel, or go for a spin on the Big Wheel for the best view of Scotland's beautiful medieval capital.

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9. BATH

City Centre Nov 26 - Dec 13

Photo by Girls in Polka Dots

There's already every reason to visit this historic city, with its stunning architecture, incredible restaurants and the UK's only natural thermal spa. The Christmas Market gives you even more reason to explore the magic of Bath. More than 170 chalets converge on the city, with the best of the British selling their festive gifts and tasty treats. Enjoy mulled wine and freshly baked mince pies in between browsing seasonal stalls and designer boutiques. Be charmed by Christmas carols at Bath Abbey and the twinkling lights decorating the market. Complete with Santa's Grotto and an ice rink, there's plenty to keep you entertained in Bath this Christmas.

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10. CARDIF F

Craft Market in City Centre 10 Nov - Dec 23

Photo by  The Travel Tester

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In 2015 this Cardiff special was a huge success, with over 190 exhibitors offering their wares for the Christmas season. Flying in the face of mass produced commercial Christmas products, these local Welsh businesses proudly offered creative items enhanced by their local history. This year they're back for more festive fun, and hope to enchant you into buying something special this Christmas. With seasonal food and local products on tap, you'll be spoilt for choice. Artisan jams and honeys made with vintage recipes will entice you, and hot mulled wine will keep you warm. Plus, check out their beer stall, with drinks featuring great names like Old Fart, Grumpy Git or Lazy Sod - an ideal gift for your favourite miscreant, or the perfect pick- me-up as you shop the market. This year, give Christmas the Cardiff treatment.

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11. BERLIN

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Nov 21 - Jan 1

Photo by  Mtrip

Berlin is one of the most famous festive hotspots, with over 50 Christmas markets across the city every year, which is why we've chosen to feature this brilliant city twice in our Christmas Market top 10. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market (what a mouthful!) is by far the biggest and most popular in all of Berlin. With all your favourite Christmas clichés, from roasted almonds to mulled wine, this Christmas Market has it all. Explore the best that Berlin has to offer - nibble grilled sausages, sweet waffles and candied fruits, and wash it down with homemade eggnog, rich hot chocolate and warm fruity ciders. There are over 170 Christmas craft and decoration stands, with jewellery, clothes and artwork on sale. Festive decorations and small carousels give this Berlin Christmas Market a nostalgic and festive feel.

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