If you are like me and you want to experience the magic of Christmas and holiday cheer, then you are already planning which European Christmas market to visit this year!
I’m a lover of all things Christmas and Christmas markets, so I’ve got all the insider tips for you in this post!
You will definitely not go wrong if you choose to visit the magical Christmas markets in Vienna; however, keep in mind that many other amazing cities have just as magical winter wonderlands.
That’s why I did extensive research and compared ALL the best markets to figure out what makes each market unique, which ones are the best Christmas markets in Europe, and their opening dates.
1. Vienna, Austria
Opening dates: from 11 November to 26 December 2023
Vienna’s Christmas markets are among the oldest and best European Christmas markets.
There are 6 main ones, but in total, there are more than 20 official markets. These markets light up the city with twinkling lights, delightful smells of spiced mulled wine, and joyful carolers.
The best Christmas market of all is the Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz, and it is a must-do thing if you’re visiting Vienna from November through December. It is the largest one, with more than 150 market stalls selling all kinds of different things, from handcrafted ornaments and sweet treats to Christmas gifts.
Families and friends gather to enjoy roasted chestnuts and gingerbread cookies while soaking in the festive atmosphere under the beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
It also has live music performances, making it a great place to enjoy the festive spirit in Vienna!
The Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace is also another stunning must-visit Christmas market in Vienna, with a beautiful backdrop of the gorgeous baroque palace and many pretty stalls selling special Christmas things.
Keep in mind that different markets open and close on different dates, so if you want to know the concrete opening dates for each market, you can check them here.
If you are planning to visit Vienna at Christmas but you don’t know where to stay, check out our article on the best areas to stay as well as some amazing accommodation options.
2. Prague, Czech Republic
Opening dates: from 2 December 2023 to 6 January 2024
During Christmastime, Prague turns into a fairytale with its enchanting Christmas markets. These markets, set against the backdrop of Prague’s beautiful buildings, are filled with twinkling lights, Christmas decorations, and the delicious smell of Czech holiday treats.
There are 2 popular markets in Prague during the festive season. The main one is located at the Old Town Square, where you’ll find many stalls to shop for traditional glass-blown baubles or to enjoy Czech Christmas biscuits with a cup of svarak, the local take on hot mulled wine.
The most impressive sight at this market is the 25m/80 ft tall towering Christmas tree, a spectacular sight to see!
The other famous Christmas market in Prague is located just 5 minutes from the main one, at Wenceslas Square. It’s not as big as the main market, but it also has plenty of stalls to shop from and a large ice skating rink to get you in the Christmas spirit.
There are also other smaller markets scattered around Prague, and you can check out more about them here.
If you’re considering a Christmas trip to Prague but are unsure about accommodation, take a look at our article highlighting the top areas to stay in and some fantastic lodging choices.
3. Copenhagen, Denmark
Opening dates: from 17 November to 31 December 2023
Christmas markets in Copenhagen, Denmark, are a magical way to celebrate the winter season!
The oldest and best Christmas market in Copenhagen is the one in Tivoli Gardens. During the holiday season, the gardens turn into a real-life winter wonderland.
Here, you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling gløgg, a Cinnamon-infused Scandinavian mulled wine, and æbleskiver, a sweet traditional holiday treat.
Apart from that, you can catch a ride on the oldest wooden roller coaster in Copenhagen, hop on the Ferris wheel to enjoy magical views of the city, or put on your skates for some fun on the ice skating rink!
Make sure that you book your ticket for the Tivoli Gardens in advance to make sure that you’ll be guaranteed entry.
For those seeking to explore additional enchanting Christmas markets in Copenhagen, the markets at the old harbor Nyhavn or the Meatpacking District are also worth a visit for a unique and festive experience, offering a delightful array of holiday delights and seasonal treasures.
If you’re visiting the Copenhagen Christmas markets on 13 December, you’ll have the magical opportunity to see the floating Santa Lucia parade in Copenhagen’s canals.
Considering a Christmas trip to Copenhagen and in need of accommodation suggestions? Find out the top areas & hotels to stay in Copenhagen.
4. Berlin, Germany
Opening dates: from 20 November 2023 to 1 January 2024
Did you know that Berlin will have over 90 Christmas markets in 2023?
That makes it a bit difficult to choose which ones to visit, right? Well, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
The biggest Berlin Christmas market is actually the one located in the Old Town of Spandau, a historic suburb in the west of Berlin. The whole town is decorated to make it look like a magical winter village.
Cozy wooden market stalls sell gifts, ornaments, and tasty treats, filling the air with the delightful scents of grilled sausages and sweet pastries.
If you’re looking for something more central, then you must visit the Weihnachtszauber, in the magnificent Gendarmenmarkt square.
It’s the most traditional Christmas market found in Berlin, where you can find arts and crafts and taste delicious traditional German food, or if you’re traveling with kids they can ride the carousel.
Looking to spend Christmas in Berlin and seeking advice on accommodations? Check out our article highlighting the best areas to stay in, along with some excellent lodging options to make your trip memorable.
5. Brussels, Belgium
Opening dates: from 24 November to 31 December 2023
During Christmas in Brussels, the city turns into a magical place with charming Christmas markets.
The main hub is the Winter Wonders market stretching for 2 km/1 mi across the Grand Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine, and Marché aux Poissons.
This Brussels Christmas market is beautifully lit with festive decorations and is, in fact, considered the best Christmas lights destination.
Additionally, the market boasts over 200 wooden chalets where you’ll find delicious treats like Belgian chocolates, waffles, and beers. You can also hop on the Ferris wheel for amazing views over the city or experience the famous 360° Sound and Light show.
If a Christmas getaway to Brussels is on your mind, but you’re not sure about where to stay, our article can guide you in choosing the best areas and accommodations.
6. Budapest, Hungary
Opening dates: from 24 November to 31 December 2023
Budapest hosts 2 of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe, both within walking distance of each other.
The first holiday market, located in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica, is the better of the 2. Also known as the Advent Basilica, it has everything a Christmas market should have, including an ice skating rink that circles a massive Christmas tree.
However, there’s one thing that sets this market apart from other European Christmas markets.
During the holiday season, Budapest’s St. Stephen’s Basilica comes alive with mesmerizing Christmas laser projections that illuminate its grand facade, creating a magical display for all to enjoy.
It’s no wonder that the Advent Basilica market has been declared the Best European Christmas Market for 3 years.
The second market is tucked into the heart of the city at Vorosmarty Square and is Budapest’s oldest Christmas market. Here, you can enjoy delicious Hungarian treats like chimney cakes and warm mulled wine. The markets offer handcrafted ornaments and wooden toys, providing a perfect place to find unique gifts.
Thinking of a trip to the best Christmas markets in Europe and looking for ideas on where to stay in Budapest? Our article outlines the best locations and offers suggestions for fantastic accommodations.
Here are my top hotel recommendations: Hotel Central Basilica (near St. Stephen’s Basilica), Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest (near Vorosmarty Square), Penthouse w Private Rooftop and Free parking (in the city center)
7. Edinburgh, Scotland
Opening dates: from 17 November 2023 to 6 January 2024
Edinburgh is one of the world’s prettiest cities in the world. Can you only imagine how gorgeous their Christmas markets must be?
The main market in East Princes Street Gardens has over 100 stalls where you can find anything from Harry Potter-themed gifts and wooden toys to mulled Irn Bru and traditional treats! Adding to that the beautifully illuminated archways and the stunning decorations, it’s no wonder that this is the best Christmas market in Edinburgh.
The Christmas Tree Maze, a delightful labyrinth adorned with fairy lights and colorful ornaments, is also a must-visit attraction at this market.
As you wander through, the tall evergreen trees guide your way, creating an enchanting atmosphere full of wonder and excitement at every turn. It’s a magical experience, perfect for all ages to enjoy during the festive season in Edinburgh.
To see more of Edinbrgh’s Christmas spirit, don’t miss the beautifully decorated Royal Mile (a must-see in Edinburgh), where you can browse the shops for Christmas treats and gifts or have a bite to eat in the decorated restaurants.
If you are planning a visit, I suggest going at the end of December to experience the electrifying Hogmanay street party and witness the breathtaking fireworks display on 31 December.
You need suggestions on where to stay in Edinburgh during your European Christmas market trip? Then check out our article outlining the best neighborhoods in Edinburgh, plus offers affordable accommodation options in each!
Here are my top hotel recommendations: The Rutland Hotel & Apartments (near East Princes Street Gardens), Cheval Old Town Chambers Apartment (near Royal Mile), Kimpton – Charlotte Square, an IHG Hotel (in the city center)
8. Cologne, Germany
Opening dates: 24 November to 22 December 2023
There are several Christmas markets in Cologne, and each one is as magical and mesmerizing as the others. In fact, the Christmas markets in Cologne are among the most beautiful European Christmas markets.
The most popular Christmas market, also known as the Trier Christmas market, is located right in front of the Cathedral, and as such, it gives off a more historical, traditional vibe. There’s a huge number of Christmas stalls to buy some traditional gifts or taste some German beer.
The Markt der Engel is yet another Cologne market that turns into a magical winter wonderland, with fairy lights hanging above people’s heads creating a stunning starry sky. There are also ‘real’ angels roaming around and dancing around globes.
If you are traveling with kids, you must visit Saint Nicholas’s village, which tells the story of the real Saint Nick, also known as Santa Claus. It’s the most scenic market of all, especially with the backdrop of the Hahnen gate – a 13th-century medieval gate.
Looking for recommendations on where to stay in Edinburgh during your Christmas market adventure? Explore our article that highlights the top neighborhoods in the city, along with luxury and budget-friendly accommodation choices in each!
9. Strasbourg, France
Opening dates: 24 November to 24 December 2023
It’s no wonder that Strasbourg in France is known as the “Capital of Christmas.” There are not one or two, but there are 13 amazing Christmas markets spread all around the city, all adorned with sparkly lights and Christmas decorations.
The main Strasbourg Christmas market is located at Place Broglie and around the cathedral. There are wooden stalls that sell fresh pretzels, spaetzle, knack sausage, and crepes if you want to try traditional Christmas food, and even an ice-skating rink!
Being the oldest market of all, dating back to 1570, the market at Place Broglie is the most traditional and most visited one in the city.
But maybe you’re looking for a sustainable Christmas market? Then visit the OFF Market, where you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts sold from reused shipping containers. At this Christmas fair, you have the chance to experience Christmas from a new perspective by practicing mindful and responsible consumption.
If you want to know more, read about the other Christmas markets in Strasbourg here.
Considering a Christmas trip to Strasbourg but unsure about where to stay? Let our article be your guide to selecting the optimal areas and accommodations.
10. Gdansk, Poland
Opening dates: 17 November to 23 December 2023
For those seeking to spend the Christmas holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the capital cities, the Christmas market in Gdansk, Poland, is a perfect choice.
During the Christmas season, the Main Town Hall Square, where the most beautiful Christmas market in Gdansk is located, turns into a real winter wonderland.
It is also one of the most romantic ones – there are even features designed specifically for couples, such as a kiss-under-the-mistletoe spot.
There are over 120 wooden stalls to shop for traditional wooden toys or ceramic ornaments. You must also taste traditional food, specifically pierogi (which I love!) and makowiec, a Polish poppy seed roll.
Expect to see Lucky (the talking Moose), elf parades, Gdańsk angels, the Snow Queen, and Santa Claus, or enjoy a spin on the fabulous Venetian carousel.
If you are planning to visit the Christmas market in Gdansk and you are looking for the best hotel recommendations, check our article, where you’ll find luxury as well as budget options.
11. Salzburg, Austria
Opening dates: 23 November 2023 to 1 January 2024
Spending Christmas in the hometown of Mozart exploring the Christmas markets is like a fairy tale.
As you walk around the Salzburg Christmas market located in Residenzplatz right in front of the cathedral, you’ll be surrounded by the sounds of Christmas carols, smells of delicious Austrian treats, and sights of beautiful Christmas gifts.
the most famous Christmas carol, “Silent Night, Holy Night,” was actually written and performed for the 1st time in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, a village near the city!
The Salzburg Christmas Market has over 90 Christmas events, offering a mix of social and cultural experiences. You can check out Christmas mangers, watch exciting processions with people dressed up as Perchten in spooky masks, and enjoy traditional folk songs and dances. Plus, don’t miss the highlight – the Advent Brass Concert!
Planning to celebrate Christmas in Salzburg and searching for where to stay? Explore our article that showcases the best neighborhoods to stay in and introduces some wonderful lodging options.
FAQs about the best Christmas markets in Europe
🎄 Which country has the best Christmas markets in Europe?
Each country in Europe has its own traditional Christmas markets that offer something unique. Vienna has the most numerous and magical Christmas markets you can find. However, Hungary, with Budapest’s Advent Basilica market, and Germany, with the magical markets in Berlin and Cologne, are also among the best.
🌟 What is the most famous Christmas market in Europe?
Every Christmas market in Europe attracts thousands of people from all over the world. However, according to statistics, the most favorite Christmas market among people is the Advent Basilica market in Budapest.
📅 What are the dates of Christmas markets in Europe?
Christmas markets in Europe have different opening dates. However, most of them are open from mid-November to the end of December. In this article, you can find the exact and confirmed opening dates for each market.
🎅 Which is the best Christmas market in Europe for families?
All European Christmas markets are family-friendly. However, the best one is Saint Nicholas’s village in Cologne, specifically designed for kids to learn more about the history of the real Saint Nick.
There you have it – you’ve jingled all the way to the end of this ultimate guide on the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.
In this article, I’ve covered the most magical European Christmas markets but made sure to include the busy markets of the capitals, as well as some more quiet and romantic markets in smaller cities.
I don’t know about you, but I will definitely be visiting Budapest, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on it with you.
Which European Christmas market are you planning to visit? Let me know in the comments, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out as well!
Have a magical Christmas season!
Pin it for later!
Pin it for later!