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The 20 most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe

Mulled wine, Christmas lights, half-timbered houses, and delicious food - the Christmas markets in Europe herald the most beautiful season of the year: winter.

The largest Christmas market in Europe is held in Strasbourg. The most popular in Germany is the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. Find out which other markets are the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe in this article. Come with us to wintry Colmar, Prague, London, Tallinn, and Glasgow.

Updated on05.11.2022
Biggi & Flo from the travel blog Phototravellers

The 20 most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe at a glance

Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is the most famous Christmas market in Germany and one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe
  • Strasbourg
  • Nuremberg Christmas Market
  • Colmar
  • Zagreb
  • Valkenburg
  • London
  • Vilnius
  • Paris
  • Tallinn
  • Glasgow
  • Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi
  • Village de Noël in Nice
  • Prague
  • Vienna
  • Dresden Striezelmarkt
  • Budapest
  • Wissembourg in Alsace
  • Brussels Winter Wonders
  • Winterlights Luxembourg
  • Christmas market at Waltherplatz in Bolzano

1. Strasbourg

View of the lettering of the Christmas market in Strasbourg
Strasbourg Christmas market is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe and a top thing to do photo: depositphotos Leonid_Andronov

If you are interested in the biggest Christmas market in Europe, then you have to go to Strasbourg in France. But the Christmas market is popular not only for its size but is also one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. With history. In 1570, there is a record of the first Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg.

Even today you have a very special feeling when you walk through the medieval, historic timber-framed houses. At the Noël à Strasbourg, you will experience 300 market stalls, kilometers of fairy lights, which provide the Christmas flair and of course, a beautiful Christmas tree at the square Kléber may not be missing.

The Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg is also one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe.

2. Nuremberg Christmas Market

View on top of the Nuremberg Christmas Market
The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the most famous places to go at Christmas in Germany

It’s the most famous Christmas market in Germany: the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. There is evidence that the Christkindlesmarkt in Bavaria has been held in Nuremberg since 1628. Today, there are about 180 wooden stalls here, which are called “little town of wood and cloth” because of the red and white cloth roofs.

The special feature: The Nuremberg Christ Child, a Nuremberg girl between the ages of 16 and 19, delivers her prologue from the gallery of the Frauenkirche at the start, officially opening the market.

Culinary friends should definitely try the Nuremberg Rostbratwürste, which are traditionally grilled on an open beech wood fire. But also the Nuremberg gingerbread is a poem and is available at almost every stand.

In addition to the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, there are great Christmas markets in Germany. The Dresden Striezelmarkt, for example, is considered the oldest Christmas market in Germany. Advent was celebrated here in Dresden as early as 1434. But the St. Nicholas market was also held in Munich as early as 1310.

3. Colmar

View of the illuminated facades of the Christmas market Colmar
Illuminated half-timbered houses in Colmar – one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe takes place here, photo: depositphotos Xantana

One of the most beautiful cities in France, right on the German border is Colmar. Six different Christmas markets take place here at once. La Magie de Noël à Colmar – as it is called in French – promises a great experience. Here you can experience the magic of Christmas.

You walk through beautiful half-timbered streets, through the little Venice, and many other sights in Colmar. The special thing: everything shines in a beautiful glow of lights. At Place Rapp, there are beautiful Christmas trees and stalls. All trees are decorated with fairy lights.

4. Zagreb

Christmas tree with figures in Zagreb
Christmas is very important in Zagreb. The figures on the Christmas tree are one of the best things to see here!

Croatia’s capital Zagreb is known for its Christmas market. Every year in Zrinjevac Park you can find great lighting, many figures with packages, and great events.

The Christmas market has been named one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe three times. We were there at Christmas and were very excited.

On Ban Jelačić Square, for example, there is a large Christmas market with a stage. Many events take place here. The grand finale is then the New Year’s Eve celebration on the square.

Around Ban Jelačić Square there are stalls, where you can get a lot of mulled wine and treats such as small Schmalzkuchen (fried unsweetened yeast dough, covered in powdered sugar).

In addition, you can always watch the music and dance program in Zrinjevac Park. Also, be sure to stroll along the Strossmayer Promenade.

In the ice park in Ledeni Park, you can put on your skates, in Maksimir Park the trees are all decorated with colorful lights and the Grič tunnel is also illuminated. So you see: there’s a lot going on in Zagreb during Advent.

5. Valkenburg, Netherlands

View into the caves with Christmas market of the Valkenburg
Underground Christmas market in the Valkenburg – doesn’t it look awesome? Photo: depositphotos JohnnyWalker61

There is a very special Christmas market in the Netherlands: the Geulstädtchen Valkenburg. The whole area around the Valkenburg near Maastricht is bathed in a beautiful glow of lights, plus there’s a lot of live music and, of course, a fair amount of culinary delights. You can enjoy all this above ground and underground. Yes, you heard right.

In the Netherlands, you will find Europe’s largest underground Christmas market. In the “Gemeentegrot” in Valkenburg, you can walk through marl-rock corridors illuminated by fairy lights.

But there are more Christmas markets around Valkenburg. For example, the Fluweelengrot, for children the Christmas show in the Mergelrijk as well as the Winter Wonderland.

6. Camden Christmas Market London

London Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
London at Christmas time is always a beautiful thing to do- Photo: Steffen Eidam

One of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets is Camden Market in London. Every year you will experience an extraordinary Christmas wonderland here. The organizers come up with really great things there. For example, there is a gingerbread grotto, hourly snow flurries, and seasonal music every weekend. But the highlight for all visitors is the street food on offer.

Especially for the kids, Santa’s Ginger Bread Workshop is a brilliant thing. Together with elves, the children make their own gingerbread men.

For the adults, the huge ice rink at Camden Market provides a special entertainment program. So you see: make sure you visit London at Christmas time.

But also the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe. We have summarized the most beautiful Christmas markets in London in our extra article for you: London Christmas Markets: these are the 10 most beautiful Winter Markets.

7. Vilnius, Lithuania

View of the illuminated Christmas tree at Vilnius Christmas Market
A Christmas tree in a sea of lights – this is what you see at the Vilnius Christmas Market, photo: depositphotos pillerss

Now let’s dive into the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, steeped in history. In the market square of Vilnius, there is a 25-meter-high Christmas tree, which is illuminated in a great way. It’s surrounded by beautiful stalls offering mulled wine and other delicacies as well as great handicrafts.

Especially families with children can be found in the garden of Bernardinai. Here a dancing fountain and a chain carousel are waiting for you. Another highlight for the kids is the Christmas train. It runs the whole Advent season from the City Hall along the festive Gediminas Avenue to the Cathedral Square.

At Vilnius Cathedral, there is an extraordinary spectacle. Three times a day, a Christmas fairy tale is projected onto the walls of the church here!

8. Christmas Market Champs-Elysées Paris

Illuminated trees of the Christmas market in Paris
The Christmas market on the Champs-Elysées is one of the most beautiful things to do in  Europe, photo: depositphotos olgacov

To the city of love at Christmas time? Paris at Christmas is not only beautiful but has one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. 15 million visitors about come to the famous Christmas market Champs-Elysées (Jardin des Tuileries).

On Paris’ boulevard, 160 huts are set up in the style of the Vosges Mountains. You should not miss it in any case. Paris would not be Paris if there were other highlights. For example, ice sculptures and the Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde await you.

There have been Christmas markets in Paris since the 1990s. Of course, the French take everything a little more charmingly and with style. That’s also how the Christmas market in Paris is designed. So you can get real delicacies and excellent mulled wine at the Christmas markets in Paris.

Other markets are right by Notre Dame and on the Champs de Mars. For families with children, the Christmas village in La Défense is perfect. You’ll also find the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas market at the church of the same name. More exquisite treats are guaranteed at the Alsatian Christmas market Gare de láest.

At Christmas time, you can perfectly combine good food and mulled wine with sightseeing in Paris.

A parade at Disneyland Paris
The Christmas parade at Disneyland Paris is a must-see on your winter family vacation Photo: depositphotos bukki88

9. Tallinn, Estonia

The Christmas train at the Christmas market in Tallinn
Doesn’t this look idyllic? Everyone gets into the Christmas spirit at the Christmas market in Tallinn, photo: depositphotos eans

Now we travel to Estonia. Here is one of the most famous Christmas trees. In Tallinn on the town hall square every year a mighty tree is erected, which is decorated great.

The Christmas tree in Tallinn was also the first in Europe. Already since 1441, there is a tree on the town hall square. Today the square is magnificently decorated with many spruces and lights. Here immediately Christmas mood returns.

In Estonia, blood sausage with sauerkraut is a tradition at the Christmas market. But you also have to try the typical gingerbread with mulled wine.

For children and families, there is also a lot of program and a carousel.  

10. Santa Claus Village – Rovaniemi, Lapland

View of the Santa Claus Village in Lapland
So here, in Finnish Lapland, Santa Claus is working, photo: depositphotos erix2005

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi (Santa Claus Village) in Finnish Lapland is an attraction. Due to its great program, it’s one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. As the name suggests, you can really meet Santa Claus here, watch him work in the post office, and take a picture with him.

What’s more, the Village is located on the Arctic Circle with coordinates 66°33’45.9, so you can literally jump the line in Santa’s Village. Doesn’t that sound great?

In the village you can also meet Santa’s reindeer, moreover, there is also a husky farm on site. Here you will experience Christmas in its most kitschy and idyllic form. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of restaurants and cafes.

You can visit Santa’s village all year round. At Christmas time it’s, of course, something very special. You can take a picture with Santa Claus for 30 euros. Of course, the village is quite touristy. However, it should be a highlight for families with children.

11. Village de Noël – Nice, France

At the Place Massena square in Nice you will find the Village de Noël Nice. Nice is a beautiful city in France, located right by the sea, on the Côte d’Azur. At Christmas time on the Mediterranean coast, the Christmas Village takes place every year.

In addition to an ice rink for skating, there are also 60 huts that are set up. In addition to arts and crafts, there are also quite a few typical French treats to taste. In addition to mulled wine, oysters, and champagne are also offered – well, of course, we are here on the Côte d’Azur after all.

12. Prague

Prague at Christmas - Christmas tree
During the Christmas season, Prague is pompously decorated and gorgeous. We can recommend the Christmas market

Prague is a beautiful city in the Czech Republic with very old, magnificent houses. At Christmas time, however, the city looks like something out of a fairy tale.

At the Old Town Square (Staroměstské náměstí) there is a huge Christmas tree with lights and the decorations all over the city are fantastic.

The Christmas market in Prague is one of the most beautiful in Europe. In addition to mulled wine, there is plenty of mead and the famous Baumstriezel. Other markets are held in Wenceslas Square and all the other market squares in Prague. Of course, you must also stroll through the historic streets in the center.

Besides the famous shepherd masses in the churches, there is also a huge program of Advent concerts. Prague at Christmas time is an absolute highlight.

13. Vienna Christmas Market

Advent atmosphere in Vienna at the Karlskirche
The Karlskirche is one of the most famous sights in Vienna. Here we show you our top highlights
Christmas market at Spittelberg
At Spittelberg the alleys are narrow and it becomes really cozy and comfortable

Let’s dive into the world’s oldest Christmas market. A Christmas market has been held in Vienna, Austria since 1296. In 1903, 128 booths were renovated and received electric lighting for the first time. After several changes of location, the Christmas market settled at the City Hall in 1959. Since that year there is also a Christmas tree in Vienna at the City Hall.

The Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz in Vienna is not only the oldest but one of the most famous Christmas markets in Europe. Therefore, you should definitely check out the Viennese Christmas dream. The countless stalls are definitely provided for physical well-being.

Of course, there are many other beautiful Christmas markets in Vienna. And if you are in Austria you should also visit the Salzburg Christmas market.

14. Dresden Striezelmarkt

Dresden Striezel Market
The Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest certified Christmas market © eyetronic / Fotolia

One of the most famous Christmas markets is also in Germany. The Dresden Striezelmarkt (Website) is considered Germany’s oldest authenticated Christmas market.

More than 230 stalls are located in Dresden. Advent was first celebrated here with a market in 1434. Striezel, by the way, are the predecessors of the famous Dresden Stollen. This is offered everywhere and of course also the famous handicrafts from the Erzgebirge.

Of course, you have to eat the Dresden Stollen. There is no way around it. At the Striezelmarkt is also the Striezelpyramide. It’s the landmark of the Dresden Christmas Market. The pyramid is 14.62 meters high and has 43 figures. It was built in 1997.

The Bautzen Christmas market is significantly smaller but just as fine. Here you will find, among other things, enchanting products made of glass and Plauen lace. Let yourself drift here and enjoy the beautiful little town in Saxony.

By the way, the Bautzen Wenzelsmarkt (Website) may call itself Germany’s oldest Christmas market mentioned in a chronicle. It takes place from November 25 to December 22.

15. Budapest Christmas Market Vörösmarty Square

View of stalls of the Christmas market in Budapest
It’s one of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe: the Budapest Christmas Market, photo: depositphotos florin1961

In Hungary, the most popular Advent market is the Budapest Christmas Market in Vörösmarty Square. The stalls there sell typical handicrafts, of course. There you can find one or another creative Christmas gift idea. In addition, there is delicious Hungarian food. What are the specialties in Budapest? Among other things, a Christmas doughnut with apricots.

Right at the Christmas market, there is a huge Advent calendar in the city. The facade of the Cafe Gerbeaud building is elaborately decorated and a little door/window is opened every day from December 1 to 24.

In addition, there is also a Christmas market in front of the Basilica on St. Stephen’s Square.

16. Glasgow George Square Christmas Market

George Place Christmas Market
The George Place Christmas Market is one of the top sights in the cold season

When we were in Glasgow at Christmas time, a Ferris wheel was already laughing at us from afar from the George Square Christmas Market. Of course, we rode it. On the huge square, red and white candy canes are sold in the stalls, and there are typical Scottish dishes to eat and lots of sugar cookies and treats.

The bars around Georg Square are really crowded. If you want to go out at Christmas time in Glasgow, go to the pubs, then the best place to start is George Square.

You can find another Christmas market in Glasgow at St. Enoch Square.

We have summarized all the sights in Glasgow in an extra article.

By the way, in Edinburgh, the Edinburgh Winter Festival will take place from November 19, 2022, to January 3, 2023.

17. Wissembourg Christmas Market in Alsace

One of the most charming Christmas markets in Alsace is the Wissembourg Christmas Market. It’s located right next to the church of Peter and Paul.

Every Sunday in Advent, a candle is lit on the Advent wreath at the town hall at 5pm. St. Nicholas also stops by on the second Sunday of Advent. He comes with a donkey and distributes sweets to the children.

The highlight for families and children takes place on the fourth Advent. There is a small spectacle. According to it, a band of robbers comes to the square. A group of monks beats the drum as a sign of warning. In the play, the threat is averted. A torchlight procession with a carriage follows. The Christ Child comes to Wissembourg. Children can also hand in their wish lists during the play.

18. Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas Market

View of the illuminated Christmas market in Brussels
The Winter Wonders in Brussels is known throughout Europe. Be sure to check out this great Christmas market, photo: depositphotos Ale_Mi

It’s one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe: the Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas Market. It takes place on the Grand-Place and the Grote Markt in Brussels. In the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage city center.

200 Christmas stalls await you, offering typical handicrafts as well as really great treats. Right in the center, there is a big Christmas tree with a nativity scene. Families with children will be delighted by the Ferris wheel, the ice rink, and nostalgic old carousels.

It’s best to come to the Grand Place around 5 pm. This is when a sound and light show takes place, projected onto the buildings around the square. During the week the show takes place every hour, on weekends even every half hour. There’s no doubt that the Brussels Winter Wonders Christmas Market is one of the most popular free winter festivals in Europe.

19. Winterlights Luxembourg

View from above of the Christmas market with many lights of Luxembourgh
What a spectacle: the Winterlights in Luxembourg, photo: depositphotos FamVeldman

In Luxembourg (Luxembourg), the lights are in focus. At the Winterlights in Luxembourg, the entire city is illuminated. Magical mood spreads over the countless stalls. Here comes the real Christmas mood.

There are several Christmas markets that offer live music, concerts, lots of mulled wine, and treats. There is also a great animation program for children.

20. Christmas Market at the Walther Square in Bolzano (South Tyrol)

View of the Christmas market in Bolzano from above
Walther Square in Bolzano fills up at Christmas time with visitors drinking mulled wine at the stalls, photo: depositphotos Antonio Gravante

Winter in South Tyrol is an absolute dream. Bolzano, surrounded by snowy, mighty mountains, will impress you. At Advent time, a real magic is inherent in this city. At the Waltherplatz in Bolzano, you will find one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe.

The Christmas market in Bolzano is also the largest in all of South Tyrol. It has existed for over 20 years and offers visitors a great selection in its 70 stalls. Although there is of course a lot going on here, the Bolzano market enchants with many light installations, a wonderful flair and the well-known South Tyrolean delicacies.

Children can take advantage of pony rides, Punch and Judy shows, a children’s train, and nostalgic carousels right by the Bolzano Cathedral.

But also walk from Walther Square past the beautiful arcades to the fruit market in Bolzano. It’s famous for its wooden stalls. At Christmas time there are many chestnut stands and Christmas delicacies.

21. Oslo, Norway

Come, now we travel to one of the biggest Christmas markets in Norway. In Oslo, Winterland (Jul i Vinterland) is held annually at Spikersuppa. It’s the most important Christmas market in Oslo. In addition to crafts and beautiful stalls, there are also great Norwegian treats.

Especially for children, there is a lot on offer such as a gingerbread workshop or Santa’s Residence. In addition, there is a Ferris wheel and an ice rink. Let’s go to Oslo for the Christmas season.

Youngstorget (formerly City Hall Square) has an indoor Christmas market in large tents. The traditional lavvu tents are even cozy heated.

In addition, there are other small Christmas markets in Oslo, such as the Stortovet market, right by Oslo Cathedral. But also the Christmas market in the Margaretakyrkan, the Juovlamárkanat – Sami Christmas market as well as the Norsk Folkemuseums Christmas fair, and the Christmas market in the Hadeland Glassverk are definitely worth seeing.

Extra tip: Basel Switzerland

View of the city hall of Basel with Christmas tree in front of it
The Christmas tree in front of the city hall in Basel is brightly lit. Basel’s market is the largest in Switzerland, photo: depositphotos alfredosaz.gmail.com

Winter without Switzerland doesn’t make much sense, does it? Basel’s Christmas market on Barfüsserplatz and Münsterplatz is one of the most beautiful and largest Advent markets in Switzerland. Moreover, Basel is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland.

The Christmas tree at the Münsterplatz is decorated every year by the famous decorator Johann Wanner. In total, you will find 155 wooden chalets selling great handicrafts and typical Swiss delicacies. What you should definitely try is the Basler Läckerli as well as Swiss Raclette. Another traditional pastry you have to try: the Mödeli have been a tradition in Basel since the 14th century. These are Änisbrötli (aniseed pastries).

In the evening there is a highlight at the staircase of the Martinturm. It’s illuminated Monday through Friday evenings between 4 and 6 pm. The atmosphere is incredibly festive and beautiful.

Another tip: also stop by the Rheingasse. Here, a small street Advent market takes place, the Adväntsgass im Glaibasel. A large, illuminated Christmas pyramid rotates here.

By the way, Basel’s Christmas market was recently named Best Christmas Market in Europe.

Curiosity: Athens – crazy Christmas street Pittaki Street

The Pittaki Street of Little Kook in Athens
Think you can’t get more lights than this? Then you have to visit Pittaki Street in Athens

Finally, we can’t deprive you of an absolute curiosity. If you happen to be in Athens at Christmas time, you can expect something really weird. Here, at Christmas time, a street is absolutely kitschy and excessively overloaded with lights and Christmas decorations. We’re talking about Pittaki Street at the Little Kook restaurant (Google Maps).

Find out which other must-see sights in Athens in our article.

Biggi and Flo at Little Kook in Athen
We were totally flashed by Athens at Christmas time
View of the facade of Little Kook in Athens
Deco Deluxe – you can only find it at Little Kook at Christmas in Athens

I hope you enjoyed the most beautiful Christmas markets in Europe. Christmas time is something very special. Many tourists do not know the tradition of Advent markets. And yet it’s impossible to imagine Europe without them. We love the flair, the pre-Christmas atmosphere, the many lights and stalls that make up the most beautiful Christmas markets.

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