To help get you into the holiday spirit, several European cities hold Christmas markets during the month of December that create a warm and festive atmosphere. Here are 10 of Europe’s finest Christmas markets that will get you excited for this holiday season:
This French city boasts the oldest Christmas market in Europe and has dubbed itself the ‘Capital of Christmas.’ There are thousands of lights that hang above the Christmas market that spread over several town squares. An interesting aspect is the international stall where visitors from other countries come to share their traditions for the festive season.
The Bruges Christmas Market is a must visit in December when visiting Belgium. The traditional architecture in the pedestrianized centre of this historic city makes this Christmas market particularly attractive with great Belgian chocolate and treats, along with a lovely ice rink.
This beautiful Hungarian city is one of the best destinations in Europe throughout the year, but during the festive season, the Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Square becomes a real hub. It is the oldest, richest and the most spectacular of all the Christmas markets in Budapest with hundreds of stalls, traditional gifts and some distinctive delicacies including honey cookies, and the wonderful scent of mulled wine floating through the market.
Around Christmas, Maastricht feels extra special as the Christmas markets are organized along various routes throughout the city, all under the collective title of ‘Magical Maastricht’. There’s lots to enjoy including a beautiful 100m squared skating rink and Ferris wheel that stands in the shadow of the cathedral in the city centre. There are some festive attractions unique to the city such as the Festival of Lights, and people come from all over the world to enjoy the stalls and shop for locally sourced items.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Christmas markets light up the city and bring locals and tourists together to share in the spirit. It is a great place to warm up with mead and traditional beers. The main markets are at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square while the smaller markets can be found around the city, by Republic Square, at Havel’s Market, on Kampa Island in the Lesser Town, and by St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle.
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
This Luxembourg City market takes over one of the biggest squares in this historical city. It has a wonderful selection of stalls with great gifts and decorations, along with a range of local treats like mettwurst sausage and potato pancakes, all served with a warming glass of glühwein.
This modern city is home to a huge market which sprawls across several areas of the city center, with Albert Square at the heart of the event. The Christmas lights are stunning here and the range of stalls offer everything from traditional to bizarre gifts that can be placed under the tree.
Copenhagen is home to the world’s oldest amusement park. It’s between the rides of Tivoli Gardens that the market stalls are located. Here, you can have a chance to purchase one of the iconic Scandinavian Christmas sweaters and eat the local apple pancakes.
The Striezelmarkt in Dresden is one of Germany’s oldest documented Christmas markets. It’s named after ‘stollen’, the rich fruit cake which has become synonymous with Christmas. Here, there’s a wonderful arch decorated with flickering candles and a range of Christmas beers is also worth trying.
The Basel Christmas market at Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is considered to be one of the prettiest and largest in Switzerland. The trees around this square are delightfully lit up to make for a magical setting. This is a great market for those looking to enjoy traditional treats such as Raclette (a local cheese) and Läckerli (a type of gingerbread that is a Swiss Christmas treat).
What’s your favourite part about visiting Christmas markets?
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.