Best destinations in Europe

Best Christmas Markets in Europe


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!

Copyright Daniel Schoenen, OTSR

1. Strasbourg

It was in Strasbourg in 1570 that the very first edition of the oldest Christmas market in Europe took place, then called the "Christkindelsmärik" (market of the Infant Jesus).


Since this time, Strasbourg has continued the tradition of a traditional, authentic, warm and generous Alsatian Christmas and these are all the reasons why "Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas" continues to enjoy repeated success.


When ? From 27th November to 31st December


Weihnachtsmarkt Katschhof (c) B. Schröder ats

2. 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.


When? 20 November to 23rd December


Vienna Christmas Market - Copyright  Wien Tourismus

3. Vienna


The Christmas Markets in Vienna truly are an age-old tradition. The forerunners of the present-day events date back to the Middle Ages when in 1298 Albrecht I granted Vienna's citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or "Krippenmarkt". Since then, the character and prevalence of these markets has changed considerably. Nowadays, over 20 official Advent Markets sell a vast array of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats.


When ? From 13th November to 26th December


Nuremberg Christmas Market - © Uwe_Niklas

4. 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 27th November to 24th December.


Copyright laurent ghesquiere

5. 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. You can book your stay on Lille Tourism.


When ? From 18th November to 30th December.



6. Dresden


If you like Christmas, you’ll love Dresden! Eleven completely different Christmas markets lie right at your feet: From the very traditional to the merry medieval to the après-ski charm of the Hüttenzauber – you’ll find it all. Mmmh, can’t you already smell the enticing aroma of baked apples...?


When? From 26th November to 24th December.


Best Christmas Markets in Europe - European Best Destinations © Visitbrussels

7. Brussels


Through its 2-kilometers course deploying through our historic town centre, Winter Wonders in Brussels will once again be the topic of many a dream for children and adults alike. The festive atmosphere, unique ambiance, quality activities, delicious dishes, fairy-tale lighting and the discovery of other universes and cultures on offer during the event will nourish many a reverie…


When? 27th November to 3rd January.


Copyright Dieter Jacobi / KölnTourismus GmbH

8. Cologne

Every year, the city centre of Cologne is touched by the magic of the festivities in the run-up to Christmas. When the Christmas markets in Cologne open their gates on the last Monday before Advent, millions of visitors from around the world delight at the goods on sale at the quaintly designed huts (or "Buden").


When? From 23rd November to 24th December.


Manchester Christmas Market  - Copyright Manchester City Council

9. Manchester


Manchester's world famous Christmas Markets, brought to you by Manchester City Council, return for the 16th year in the UK's capital of Christmas and this year they come boasting new sites!

Well known as being the original, biggest and best Christmas Market in the UK, the festive season is one of the most anticipated with the markets being one of the city's most enduringly popular attractions.


When ? From 14th November to 21st December

Christmas Market in Prague Copyright  Vlasta Juricek

10. Prague


15th annual international festival of advent and Christmas music of amateur ensembles. Prague looks especially romantic and particularly friendly during the time of Advent and Christmas. Maintaining its rich advent tradition, very popular in Prague. Open Air concert performances by registered ensembles will be held in the Old Town Square, enhancing the seasonal magic of Prague Christmas.


When ? From 28th November to 1st Janaury


Madrid Christmas Market - Copyright  Cristina Barroso

11. Madrid


The fair gathering antiques, artworks and collectibles is coming back to Madrid once again this year with more than 12,000 items. Collectors will find thousands of reasons to visit the Christmas Market: vintage pieces from the 1960s to the 1980s, archaeological pieces, paintings and miscellanea. Also, you’ll find pieces of furniture from different styles and periods, such as tables, chairs, stools, trunks, mirrors, home bars, lamps, desks, etc.


When ? From 28th November to 31st December


Leipzig Christmas Market - Copyright  mrholle

12. 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.


When ? From 24th November to 23rd December


South Bank Christmas Market - Copyright  Aurelien Guichard

13. London


London's Christmas markets are great places to find beautiful and unique gifts, from jewellery and crafts, to fashion and toys. The Southbank Centre Christmas Market features traditionally decorated wooden chalets selling a wide range of unique hand-crafted gifts, unusual Christmas presents, food and drink.


When ? From 20 to 3rd


© Klaus Brodhage

14. Basel

The Basel Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is considered to be one of the prettiest and largest in Switzerland. During the run-up to Christmas, many events and spectacular special exhibitions in the city's museums further enrich its cultural scene.  Christmas in Basel will be officially opened at 6.30 pm on 27 November 2014, when the city's Governing President, Dr Guy Morin, switches on the Christmas lights at Münsterplatz.


When? From 26th November to 23rd December.


Stockholm Christmas Market - Copyright Ulf Lundin/

15. Stockholm


Whether you enjoy a traditional or contemporary Christmas, Stockholm has something to offer you. Experience a Christmas market, have some glögg and ginger bread and go shopping under the beautiful Christmas decorations that light up the city every year. For a genuine Stockholm Christmas, the Old Town’s Christmas market is a must. This market has been held in Stortorget since 1915, and the little red stalls sell warm “glögg”, gingerbread, cheese, candy and craft.


When? From 22nd November to 23rd December



Plan your stay for Christmas

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