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Winter in Europe is a wonderful time to visit the most beautiful Christmas markets. If you are looking for Christmas presents and dream of the lovely smell of a Christmas tree or the lovely sound of Christmas carols, please  dive into our selection of the best Christmas markets in Europe, the best destinations for perfect Christmas holidays.


Discover the most beautiful Christmas markets such as the German Christmas markets in Aachen, Cologne, Dresden, Leipzig and Nuremberg, but also the magic of Christmas in the United Kingdom with the Christmas market in London and Manchester. You also have the choice with a selection of the most beautiful Christmas markets in France, with Strasbourg and Lille as well as Belgium, Spain and Switzerland. 


You have been tens of thousands to vote for your best Christmas market in Europe. Through social networks you were thousands to share this vote and make your opinion count. Congratulations to the 15 destinations selected by travellers for the quality and reputation of their Christmas market!



Best Christmas Markets in Europe

2016


Zagreb Christmas market - European Best Destinations

1. Zagreb

Come and see for yourself why is the Croatian capital visited by an increasing numbers of tourists during the time of Advent; get to know its idyllic side and partake in themed programmes which take place on the streets and squares around the city centre. 

 

During the time of Advent, Zagreb offers a special atmosphere which simply must be experienced. An ever growing number of tourists choose the capital of Croatia as their destination at that time of year as good fun is had by all literally every step of the way. The city streets and squares invite you to let your hair down and partake in singing, dancing, and other kinds of entertainment with family and friends. You can also sample traditional delicacies alfresco or enjoy themed programmes which take you down memory lane.

 

 

When ? From 26th November 2016 to 8th January 2017

  


Copyright Daniel Schoenen, OTSR

2. Strasbourg

The oldest Christmas market in Europe, the Christkindelsmärik was first held in Strasbourg in 1570. With its 300 stalls, spread out over 12 locations in the city centre, the authenticity, warmth and generosity of Strasbourg Capital of Christmas form an Alsatian tradition which has been successfully maintained ever since.

 

The spiritual environment and traditions of Advent are well established in Strasbourg. You will find 4 outstanding Advent concerts, a Living Nativity and a wide range of authentic live music and cultural events. It’s the perfect opportunity to go on a cultural trip through time!

 

When ? From 25th November to 31st December 2016

  


Christmas-market-in-Aachen-Germany
Copyright : HUANG Zheng / Shutterstock.com

3. Aachen

Every year before Christmas the squares and streets round the Cathedral and the Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a paradise of lights and colours, festive sounds and seductive smells. The glorious fair in the Christmas City, which has been erected with great care and sentiment, fascinates both the young and the old. The enormous choice between original, stylish and precious goods makes small and big dreams come true. It is really no wonder why the Aachen Christmas Market has become an absolute "must" for all people of Aachen and Aachen fans as well.

The Aachen Market has become famous far beyond the boundaries of the Aachen region. This is due to its pleasant and familiar atmosphere. People come to the Christmas Market in order to meet their families, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

 

When? From 18th November to 23rd December 2016

 


Christmas Market in Colmar

4. Colmar

Let’s go to Colmar, a city where the magic of Christmas can be experienced in its purest form for six entire weeks, since 17 years. Your way will be drawn by illuminations linking to the city’s five Christmas markets, in a labyrinth of small streets lined with century old half-timbered houses.

 

Nestling in town squares with their own special architectural features, these islands of togetherness are like the city itself: intimate and authentic. Each market is a mini-village, highlighting passionate and enthusiastic craftsmen. Most of them are from Alsace and have been chosen for the quality and the uniqueness of their products.

 

Next to that, you are invited to participate to a wide range of activities, making the Christmas in Colmar an uncommon experience: guided tours, wine-tastings, children animations, exhibition of traditional toys, as well as many shows and concerts.

 

When ? From 25th November to 31st December 2016

 


Best Christmas Markets in Europe - European Best Destinations © Visitbrussels

5. Brussels

Five weeks filled with enchanting encounters, perfumes, colorful stalls, fantastic gift ideas and original tasting sessions. Joy and lights sparkled, bathing visitors in the festive atmosphere embodying the event. Winter Wonders’ attractiveness is now legendary, making it a key event in Brussels during the festive season. This unmissable happening greatly contributes to make our capital city into a privileged city-trip destination. The ice-skating rink, a gorgeous Chistmas tree, a magical and original light and sound show, videomappings, a festive Christmas Parade, the traditional Ferris wheel, the merry-go-rounds… All these amazing activities enchant big and small alike and make the course unique.

 

When? From 25th November 2016 to 1st January 2017

 


Leipzig Christmas market - Copyright Dirk Brzoska

6. Leipzig

Leipzig Christmas market dates all the way back to 1458. Its six areas are set in chime with the fascinating historical scenery of the Leipzig city centre. With more than 250 twinkling stalls embedded harmoniously in the historic centre, Leipzig Christmas market is not only one of the oldest but also one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany. Visitors are offered a multitude of festive delights: indulge in numerous culinary delights or explore the city’s traditional medieval market.

 

 

When? From 22th November to 23rd December 2016

 


Rothenburg Christmas market - Copyright Rothenburg Tourismus Service

7. Rothenburg ob der Tauber

The smell of “white” mulled wine and roasted almonds, the illumination by thousands of fairy lights and the festive music provided by local brass bands…

 

Once a year, the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber transforms itself into a fairytale winter wonderland. Ever since the 15th century, the festive time prior to Christmas has been accompanied by a delightful Christmas Market. Looking back on over 500 years of tradition little has changed over the years and the historical customs have been closely followed.

 

 

When? From 25th November to 23rd December 2016

 


Nuremberg Christmas Market - © Uwe_Niklas

8. Nuremberg

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! The enticing smells of mulled wine and rum punch, roasted almonds, Nuremberg bratwurst and gingerbread fill the air. And it’s not only tiny tots who will have their eyes all a-glow as the Nuremberg Christkind appears on the balcony of the Church of Our Lady to open the holiday season. Friday before the first Sunday in Advent is the day it all begins as she opens the world-famous Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt.

 

When ? From 25th November to 24th December 2016

 


Copyright laurent ghesquiere

9. Lille

 

In the heart of winter, Lille sparkles and glows with joie de vivre! With the wave of a magic wand, the city takes on a festive atmosphere and welcomes you to a winter wonderland! On Place Rihour, more than 80 chalets teem with gift ideas, nativity figurines, Christmas decorations and festive food. You can find regional specialities here, and you can also find arts and crafts from Russia, Poland, and Québec, as well as products from Native America. 

 

When ? From 18th November to 30th December 2016

 


Copyright Dresden.de

10. Dresden

 

If you like Christmas, you’ll love Dresden. A grand total of eleven completely different Christmas markets, from the by no means Dark Ages to the après ski charm of alpine huts, makes for wonderfully conflicting decisions.

Holiday sounds fill the air throughout the city. From the many oratorios, Advent, organ and gospel concerts, Dresden’s churches brim with festive insider tips.

 

Christmas tales also come to life in the city’s theatres whilst museums host special exhibitions and boats bejewelled with lights glide along the Elbe. If only Christmas could last more than just a few weeks…

 

When? From 24th November to 24th December 2016

 


vienna-christmas-market - Copyright  Wien Tourismus

11. Vienna

 

From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot punch creates a pre-Christmas atmosphere. 

 

One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional "Vienna Magic of Advent", which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights - a Viennese experience, you'll definitely don't want to miss! 

 

When ? From 13th November to 23rd December 2016

 


Copyright Dieter Jacobi / KölnTourismus GmbH

12. Cologne

 

Advent is the time for Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception, the magic of Christmas will be felt throughout the festively decorated city. The aroma of baked apples, cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine will waft through the alleys, and many differently themed Christmas markets will invite people to stroll, shop and explore.

 

The larger Christmas markets are held in downtown Cologne, but Cologne’s smaller Christmas markets also have plenty to offer.

 

Cologne’s Christmas markets attract millions of visitors from all over the world every year. You too can savour the unique atmosphere of this metropolis on the Rhine at this special time of year. You’re sure to be enchanted!

 

 

When? From 21st November to 23rd December 2016

 


Birmingham Christmas Market  - Copyright Guy Evans

13. Birmingham

Birmingham has the largest authentic German market in Europe outside of Germany and Austria, with 5.5 million visitors in 2014. Consisting of the Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas Market and the Craft Market, the market has grown from just 24 stalls in 2001 to 180 this year, covering New Street, Victoria Square and Centenary Square. The Frankfurt Market offers a wide range of products, including Christmas decorations, handcrafted jewellery, carved wooden toys, sausages, beer and pretzels, while Christmas Craft Market will offer handmade crafts, soaps and candles by local artisans, as well as a wide range of unique and quirky items imported from around the world. Additionally, visitors can enjoy the popular ice rink and big wheel.

 

When ? From 17th November to 22nd December 2016

 


London Christmas market

14. London

 

London’s spectacular Christmas destination - Hyde Park Winter Wonderland returns on 20th November for six exciting weeks of winter festivities with FREE admission and even more entertainment than before. With more than 100 rides and attractions on site, there's something for everyone.

 

For those Christmas shoppers, there’s the traditional German Christmas market with over 200 chalets. The Angels Christmas Market offers unusual and handmade gifts and crafts, including ceramics, candles, jewellery, wooden toys, nativity scenes and Christmas decorations.

When ? From 20th November 2016 to 3rd January 2017

 


Christmas Market Berlin Copyright visitBerlin

15. Berlin

 

The baroque Charlottenburg Palace is a sumptuous backdrop for this Christmas market in City West. An elaborate light installation bathes the market, the palace, the trees and decorative fence of the palace in a romantic glow. The pivotal point of the market is a pyramid in front of the palace's main entrance.

 

Wood huts and marquees, decorated entirely with natural materials, provide a festive atmosphere and offer not only a wide range of crafts but also an impressive selection of culinary choices. In addition to the traditional Christmas market stalls selling hot chestnuts, crepes or Hungarian langos, many hotels and restaurants from Berlin and Brandenburg offer fine dining in heated tents.

 

When ? From 21st November 2016 to 1st January 2017

 


 

Plan your stay for Christmas

 

Best Christmas Destinations in Europe